Travelling with dogs on Acciona Trasmediterránea ferries: An update.
You may, or may not, have seen from some time ago my rant about the journey from Lanzarote to the peninsula on the Acciona Trasmediterránea ferry from Arrecife to Cadiz when we moved (click here if you’d like to read that article before continuing). In summary I was furious about the facilities for our dogs and we had a very uncomfortable journey ‘hiding’ in the car with them as the kennels on the boat were completely unsuitable.
UPDATE: Since this article was written Acciona Trasmediterránea have returned the Albaycin to the route and the facilities and customer service have reverted to their original shameful state. If you want to read the original article you can find it HERE. I strongly recommend that no dog lover ever transport their pets with this company. I certainly wouldn’t!
At this point you’re perhaps thinking he’s off again! Nothing could be further from the truth…
It’s one of those urban myths amongst expats that ALL businesses here pretty much don’t care about customer service, or about dealing professionally with any resulting complaints. Perhaps there’s an element of truth to that – after all, we all have our own anecdotes about the incompetent behaviour of Telefonica, Correos, or a banking incident – to suggest but a few examples!
However, after being a bit of a pain on Twitter as I felt my initial complaint had fallen on deaf ears, I was contacted by Acciona and given a refund on the cost of the dogs. It wasn’t what I wanted; I wasn’t after money; I wanted someone to listen rather than just refund me some cash to stop bugging them. I told them this at the time, as is the norm, expected them to go quiet and assume that I’d go quiet or go away.
I was wrong. My next contact with the company was via a phone call from a board level director (it would be improper to give a name or a job title here). How surprised was I to hear words to the effect of ‘I can not disagree with you. Things are not right. Can we stay in contact and I will go and take a look. We are interested in your thoughts and I value your comments and opinions’. The latter being something rarely heard in any sincerity when fielding a complaint. In this case though, I had no doubt that this was a man who did actually care about his company, its reputation and their clients.
Sure enough, my next contact was with the same person, who had been to see the Albayzin. Though not exactly seeing what we saw as the boat was in port, some of my points in the original complaint were accepted and I was told they would be improving staff training to ensure potential passengers were correctly informed about the facilities, that they would be ensuring levels of cleanliness, also that the ‘visiting times’ had been increased to five a day rather than three.
For me, this would never have been enough to take the dogs back on the boat, but I was pleased at least the company had listened and at least tried. I was at this point imagining this might be the last I’d here from them. I was reasonably happy if this was the end. It wouldn’t get me back on the boat, but it might make life at least a little more pleasant for others using the service.
Some time later I had another phone call, now this was the one that really impressed me! The boat on the Lanzarote to Cadiz route had been changed. I was told that the company had come to the realization that perhaps the boat with the worst facilities for animals was running the longest route. The Albayzin is now on a shorter route. The replacement, (Murillo), although I haven’t seen the facilities, I am told has kennels with 24 hour access; and with the kennels themselves being on deck, rather than buried deep in the car decks, is more suitable for the route.
I’ve wanted to ‘report back’ on this story, but have been putting it off for one simple reason. I wanted to see for myself. Last Tuesday I was invited down to Almeria by my contact and met with both him and a senior manager for a tour of the boat, Sorolla, which I’m assured has facilities comparable to the Murillo now on the Canary Islands route.
To summarize, the kennels are in a dedicated room. They are a reasonable size, though you may struggle with a very large dog. They’re basic of course; but from what I saw very clean, with water freely available in the room. If you’re taking a dog (or cat) do remember to take bedding, bowls, food and anything else you feel necessary to make them comfortable of course.
The important thing to me is that there is 24 hour access, and the door of the room itself opens up onto a dog walking area far larger than that which was available on the Albayzin.
Now for the big question: Has all this changed my mind? Would we travel with the dogs again?
If facilities are the same as those as I saw – yes, if I had to, I would. I really never thought I’d say that a few months ago.
- The initial response to my complaint was to extend the visiting times on the Albayzin
- Being the longest route the Albayzin has now been replaced by the Murillo between Cadiz and the Canaries
- The Murillo has 24 hour access to pets, and a much larger dog walking area than the Albayzin
- The company is in the process of updating the website. Improving information for pet owners is part of these changes
- The company has invested time in training call centre and other staff to enable them to describe the facilities available to pet owners
Are things now perfect? No, of course they aren’t – this is a large company and change takes time; and of course boats are not easy or cheap to reconfigure! But they are trying, and trying hard.
There have been some major changes in a short period, and having spent time with the people I have from the company this week (people who had taken time out to spend with me, to listen, to ask, to make notes as we talked) I am totally convinced they do care; that they are committed to improvement across the business (not just for pets) and that they valued my opinion.
Of all the complaints I have ever made (there have been a few), none have ever been dealt with so personally, so comprehensively, and so professionally. Put simply – well done Acciona Trasmediterránea!
Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at AlanGandy.com and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram.
Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan’s photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patreon page to find out more.
April 27, 2013 @ 6:40 pm
Well done you!! And well done Acciona !!
July 21, 2013 @ 8:02 pm
As future passangers of this service we would like to thank you for your time on this matter, Which was extraodinary helpful. People in Spain never tend to complain, which is wrong and is bad for themselves, however they do not seem to understand this logic. After living more then 7 years in this beautiful country I came to the conclusion that being a victim is the national sport, perhaps a legacy of their story, but sure enough the result of get used to being put down.
And because of this that is why “Spain is different”.
July 21, 2013 @ 8:57 pm
Thanks for the comment Mike. The real credit has to go to the Director at the company who took my concerns seriously and has done all in his power given the constraints he has to improve the situation on the Canary Islands route and across the fleet.
July 21, 2013 @ 8:24 pm
This is such a relief to see this new information as I’m using the ship with my dog in October and was very much thinking of not going this has put my mind at rest so thank you.
July 21, 2013 @ 8:59 pm
Best of luck Nicola, do let us know how you get on.
October 26, 2013 @ 10:09 pm
Great to read this update and can I add my thanks to you Alan for all the energy you put into this very effective campaign. There is Hope! Now I just need to find out exactly what happens on the boat trip from Barcelona to Minorca. If anyone know recent news then I would be so grateful to know. Kate
October 27, 2013 @ 8:58 am
Kate, I’m just a moaning expat who loves his dogs a little too much! :) The credit has to go to the director I dealt with at Acciona (a dog lover himself) who spent the time with me, listened, and instigated the changes. I doubt things are perfect now (not a simple thing to change the configuration of a ship!), but feel satisfied they have improved, and that the company now cares enough to try and make things better.
No idea what you have Kate. But I was told that if you have a small dog they can actually travel with you on the ‘fast ferries’ now.
Good luck – do let us know how you get on?
February 21, 2014 @ 5:03 pm
Dit posten als comment:
Thank You for all your efforts Alan. It’s really nice of you and good results, but .. When I now look for a ferry to canaries from Cadiz on http://www.trasmediterranea.es/en/ .. They say I get the Albayzin.. Not the Murillo.. Do you know why that is ? .. The boats did not yet change ?
I am in spain now with my dog and wanted to go to la gomera for 6 weeks this weekend… But now I don’t know :(.. My dog is old and aggressive towards strangers (dogs & human) .. If I can stay with him on a lead in a “dog area” it would be good..
Anyone experiences with the route from Huelva with Naviera armas ?
February 25, 2014 @ 10:50 am
Hi Gunther. I see Alan is already chatting to you on his personal blog.
Maricescu Nicu Roxin
May 8, 2014 @ 12:25 pm
Arrecife – Lanzarote Albayzin ferry is back !!! With even worst conditions. Videos are published on youtube. We did the complaints toward to Canarias Government. More than 10 dog owners did the same. What else we can do ? Any Pet Protection Department ?
Any suggestion, much appreciated. Thank you !!!!
May 8, 2014 @ 12:44 pm
Can you post the YouTube links here?
Maricescu Nicu Roxin
May 9, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
Thank you very much for your assistance.
July 19, 2014 @ 10:48 pm
Just taken this route after a lot of research to make sure that everything would be ok for my dog. Everything they told us was a complete lie. We checked in their offices in Arrecife, via email and with other people that’d used the company before to make sure we were able to be with the dog 24h if we wanted to and they lied to us everytime we spoke to them. As soon as we boarded, we saw a big poster stating visiting times (which was about 4 out of the 36 hours on board) and had to lock her in the cages in the heat as we had no choice… far too hot, unclean, horrible conditions. I screamed and shouted in reception until the manager agreed to see me and completely lost it with her too. Must get my complaint form sent off asap and take to twitter as I promised them I’d do everything I can to make sure people don’t travel with their company! When I asked how many dogs had died travelling in those conditions, they found it highly amusing! Never again.
July 20, 2014 @ 12:06 am
Amanda. I’m really disappointed to hear that they have gone back to their old ways. It’s such a shame after the initial changes and promises made from my original dealings with them. Despite the good intentions of one individual (who I developed a lot of personal respect for) it would seem that the company itself doesn’t give a damn and in the 18 months since we made the journey NOTHING has changed. Clearly the company puts penny pinching and commercial interests above animal welfare and customer experience. Screw them – to anyone reading this, pets or not pets I suggest you use ARMAS who sail from Huelva – shorter journey time, and I’m told you can stay on deck with your pets.
APPALLING, DISGUSTING and downright INHUMANE.
September 12, 2014 @ 4:57 pm
We will be traveling with dogs and cats from Arrecive to Cadiz and it shows it is on the albayzin
there is no other choice in ferries anymore from Lanzarote.
I will be documenting the situation with pictures and video and keep you posted
September 14, 2014 @ 10:41 am
Hi Joe -I have to say with the Albayzin back on the route there is no way I would take an animal on that boat myself again. Despite initial noises it seem Acciona have stopped giving a damn about the route. Good luck?
Are Armas still doing Canaries to Huelva? I’ve heard that’s a shorter journey time, and you can stay on deck with your animals.
September 14, 2014 @ 5:34 pm
With “there is no other choice in ferries anymore from Lanzarote.” I tried to say that Armas quit serving Lanzarote.
If you are moving away from Lanzarote to Spain with cars there is no other way.
I saw the above linked youtube clips. Is this the albayzin where the cages are in the truck loading area?
September 14, 2014 @ 8:05 pm
I’m sorry to say… It is!
November 6, 2014 @ 10:57 am
Hello. I am due to travel on the ferry from Cadiz to Arrecife next Tuesday with my two small dogs and now having just read your bog/comments I feel rather sick and trying to think what I can do. There is no way I can put them through such an ordeal, does anyone have any recommendations?
November 6, 2014 @ 11:15 am
Sorry Jade – as far as I know little has changed. Do let us know how you get on?
Assuming it is the Albayzin still (never could have done it with mine as they are too big) I’d think about trying to find a way to sneak them into your cabin. Alternatively, look at the car as we did – but you can only get away with that if the car is on the open deck.
November 6, 2014 @ 12:57 pm
Thank you for your quick reply I’m going to try and get them into the car I think also I read that some ferries allow you to take your pet in a kennel in the seating area if under a certain weight, do you know anything in regards to this?
November 6, 2014 @ 1:56 pm
I believe Acciona do allow that, but only on the shorter Med routes, not on this one. Do let us know how you get on, and good luck.
January 30, 2015 @ 3:47 pm
Thank you so much for everything you have done here, we are going to be travelling with our 2 year old bichin in the fall. It is really helpful, so it looks like going via Huelva using Aramas is better. Wish they had pet friendly cabins though, don’t look forward to leaving her even at night..
January 30, 2015 @ 6:03 pm
Good luck Vallerie.
We agree about the cabins. The companies could set two ro three cabins aside for that specific use. I know we would have paid a premium for that option.
January 30, 2015 @ 6:11 pm
Thank you Elle . I had posted a request on Tenerife Residents and Friends Facebook page, and although I know there are a lot that do it, the only people who replied were people who did the trip years ago. So really helpful getting some more current info.
January 30, 2015 @ 6:25 pm
You’re welcome. Although ours was two years ago, people are posting their experiences on the thread too… plus we get emails from people who are unhappy.
Good luck with your journey! x
January 30, 2015 @ 7:43 pm
Since 10/2014 there is only one company connecting Arrecife with the mainland (Cádiz) and it´s Trasmediterranea with the Albayzin.
Armas stopped there service ( Arrecife-Huelva) after a trial periode of 1 year.
We travelled the route at the end of 11/2014, with 2 dogs and 3 cats and although it had been stressful, it was not too bad.
The animals kept each other company, which made it a bit easier for them.
The cages are made of metal and they´re completly empty, so you need to bring everything (bowls, blanket, toys etc.)
We brought along some cardboard for the cats as well as old towels to keep them a bit comfortable.
There are paper towles and a water hose next to the cages to help with the clean-up.
If I recall it right the kennels are located on the 5.th floor, right behind the trucks.
When we drove into the ship I notified the staff that we were travelling with several animals and they let us park our car in the truck-section, on level 5.
Then I had to go up to level 6 in order to get the locks for the animal cages ( you get it at the check-in, where you also get your keycard for the cabin).
There was a small security deposit for the locks required ( I think it was 5 Euros/lock) but it keeps the animals from leaving the kennels and you get your money back when you turn it the lock.
The kennels are accessible several hours each day..( As of 1.12.2014)
Horarios de las perreras; Trasmediterranea, Albazcyn, Arrecife – Cádiz
08:00h – 09:00h, 11:00h – 12:00h
15:00h – 16:00h, 18:00h – 19:00h
22:00h – 23:00h
These times can change at any time during the voyage, depending on the travel conditions. One time they shut down earlier because of heavy sea conditions.
Visiting hours had been reinstated ( loudspeaker announcement ) as weather improved.
Please note that the stairs which lead to the kennels are very steep and a bit slippery and every time you walk your pet it has to get up and down these stairs as the “poop deck “is located above the kennels.
Good luck to all travellers with their animal companions.
February 2, 2015 @ 6:34 pm
Exactly the same as when we did the journey then. No way would I transport our dogs in those conditions.
February 2, 2015 @ 7:11 pm
I wish people would have a choice but without ANY competition on this route it´s unlikely that it will get any better soon.
February 2, 2015 @ 7:56 pm
Despite the best efforts of the original contact I had there at the time. He genuinely did care. The company itself has NO intention of improving the situation. I recently travelled to Melilla on Acciona – the facilities on that ship were not much better.
someone who tried to change things
July 22, 2016 @ 12:07 pm
Don´t give up Alan, things might change one day. And thank you very much for your kind words. Some of us did really care as you could see, but sadly it wasn´t enough…Best regards
July 25, 2016 @ 11:42 am
It was very clear to me at the time that the individual I dealt with and his team did care and were trying their level best to improve both this and other aspects of the service offered by the company.
I can’t see Acciona ever changing without the kind of forward thinking they clearly rejected from those they engaged to implement improvements. The company would appear to me to be outdated and penny pinching, and treats animals (and passengers) as nothing more than cargo.
We’ll continue to do our best to highlight the appalling conditions and I do hope these articles have become something of a thorn in the side for Acciona!
If this message is from who I think it is, I wish you well and much success wherever you are now….
October 6, 2015 @ 5:51 pm
Well, I’ve just got on the Albayzin to Gran Canaria and I’m disgusted with the Kennels for the dogs… Gofio, our Cockerpoo is distraught at being left in the pigsty I have had to put him in…. If I had the choice I would have stayed in the car with him but we have a 2 year old and it’s not possible.
Thank God this will be the only time we have to do this as we are moving back for good but I am so upset at the minute. No one seems to care, the children’s play area stinks and I feel that nothing is clean.
I have spent 20 years traveling around Europe and much of that time spent on boats across the North Sea and Channel. Saying this boat is only 20 years old, it’s a disgrace…..
Back to Gofio – I feel that something should be done about this, he is one really sad dog.
October 7, 2015 @ 12:57 pm
Hopefully your ordeal is over by the time you are reading this. How did you get on? Hope your dog is safe.
There is no way on this earth I’d ever consider doing that journey with dogs again, and without them I wouldn’t even consider getting on that tub of a boat! The sad thing is that when I complained three years ago now the company had just brought in a senior executive to sort this (and a number of other service issues out). I know from talking with the person involved over a period of time that they were apparently banging their head against a wall in their attempts to improve matters. My reading the conversations I had with them I came to the conclusion that the company is not prepared to spend any money. The team my contact built has since been disbanded and he has moved on. They just don’t care.
Not really much point complaining any more, nobody will listen. Personally I just try to warn people in advance through this information just what they are letting themselves in for.
They have the worst boat for pets on the longest route. I can only assume it’s cheaper to run than those that are more suitable.
February 26, 2016 @ 6:13 pm
Have things improved? Is it possible to arrange your car to be on the open deck so you can keep your dog in the car? Anybody had any recent experiences traveling with a dog?
February 27, 2016 @ 10:30 am
A friend did it about 6 weeks ago and things are still the same I’m afraid.
May 20, 2016 @ 11:48 am
Hi Alan,Great work for the dogs.I take my dog everywhere I go.Not so good on the wife status though,18 marriages.Must be a misprint or do you just like wedding cake?
Are you sure it was just the dogs you put in the kennels on these trips ha.Good luck to you.
May 20, 2016 @ 2:05 pm
He he he. He hasn’t really had 18 wives… it’s just a bit of a joke. E x
December 10, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
Hello, Looking for so information on the ferries to Cadiz with dogs, has anyone got recent feedback for me, we have 2 Tibetan terriers and need to get them to Cadiz, flying is to difficult so the ferry is are only option, but I’m worried about the conditions in the ferry, can anyone help me out, thanks Andrea ( Lanzarote )
December 10, 2016 @ 1:40 pm
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Andrea, but to the best of our knowledge standards have reverted to pretty much exactly what they were when we made the journey in 2012.