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Trip Report NEVER travel with Grande Navi Veloci

I want to preface this post by saying this is my first ever negative post about a company. The Grande Navi Veloci is extremely unprofessional, seriously neglectful and unbelievably stingy. I live and work on the road and have traveled through dozens of countries, I understand problems occur. It’s the way a company chooses to address them that defines their corporate culture.

• My ferry was half way to Tunis, Tunisia, from Palermo, Italy, when 2 out of the 3 engines stopped working. It was turned around and returned to Palermo. I spent 10 hours on a boat only to return to where I started. The crew did not take advantage of the 5 hour return time to make any arrangements for the passengers.

• Upon docking, we learned that all the cabins had already been distributed. We were expected to sleep in the Pullman room with all of our belongings. The company made no effort to help find us alternative accommodation or transport. It was after midnight and they insisted on holding our passports if we wanted to re-board the boat in the morning (they guaranteed we’d be leaving by 10am).

• Anger was flaring and the security was so poor that a passenger stormed the bridge and managed to smash a window in the attempt to commandeer the boat (at least that was the general belief as to why he took the actions he did). The screaming, yelling, pushing, shoving and general animal like behavior of the passengers, being uncontained by security, caused me to feel I would be at risk if I remained on board.

• I arrived the next morning on time and waited for hours, only to be told that the boat was not yet repaired, but that we would be sailing later in the day. The Grande Navi Veloci offered us a lunch that would barely pass as acceptable in a hospital or high school cafeteria. Passengers had to fight with the staff in order to receive free bottles of water.

• Much later in the day, we were informed that the boat could not be repaired and we would be leaving on a new vessel that would be arriving the next morning. We were told to be ready to leave at 6am.

• The following day no reliable information was forthcoming from the staff and we finally boarded the new boat in a disorderly stampede mid-morning.

• There was one employee on the new vessel that, with the help of an assistant, dispersed the cabin keys to every single incoming passenger. We all waited in a very long line for a long time. An even more inedible lunch was served.

Maybe I should have found my own alternative path to Tunisia, but I kept giving the company the benefit of the doubt because I sincerely couldn’t believe they could be this inept, rude and indifferent. Three days of missed tickets and accommodations are annoying, but the physical and mental wear and tear of the journey amounts to a much higher cost. There was no offer of refund from Grande Navi Veloci, although their bylaws declare a 25 – 50 percent refund for delay. I emailed them over a week ago, but received no response. Do not travel with Grande Navi Veloci under any circumstances.

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