Wednesday, May 24, 2006

TMC Ferry - Mazatlan to La Paz

Here is another Ferry you don't hear much about, probably because it's mainly a freight shipping company. Some people with RV's have suggested it as an alternative to Baja Ferries and their 'pets' regulations. Supposedly you can stay in your vehicle with your pet.

The latest fotos on their web site show a dining room which looks to me like they may have some tourist facilities.

TMC Ferry Web Site

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Recent Baja Ferry experience with a Pet

Posted by tahoenow on the Woodalls RVing in Mexico and South America message board

So as Paul Harvey would say, "here's the rest of the story". We need to divide our impressions into two categories. One from the point of view of those without dogs and one from those with. Without a dog, the Baja Ferry experience would have been excellent. The boat is enormous enough to be impervious to sea conditions (although a storm would test that) and it is a very new boat (2003) so the amenities and comforts are top notch. Driving the motorhome onto this ferry along with over one hundred eighteen wheelers, two Harleys and a bunch of cars was exhilarating. For an extra $47 you can have a very nice cabin that has a full bath and will sleep four. The restaurant and two bars are very nice. The staff is highly professional and they are everywhere.

With a dog, things change. You run smack into a major cultural difference between our two countries. First of all, we did our homework. We checked in advance to make sure the boat would accept dogs. We were told the dog would need to be in a kennel crate which they would provide. We reserved a cabin so that we could all be together. Sounds good so far, doesn't it? Well, the crates they had on hand were for underfed chihuahuas. Hugo could not and would not fit. We told them that we would not need their canary cage as we would have Hugo with us in the cabin. They said, "we can't allow that". I asked why. They answered, "it's the rule". I asked why that was the rule. Now here is where our cultures really breach. We norte americanos need to know why a rule exists. Mexicans do not. It is enough for them that "that is the rule". Mexicans do not confront a superior with the question "why is this a rule?".

You can see where this is going. We are without a solution at this point and I have told them that we will not leave our dog chained to a railing in a kennel area. Did I mention that we would not be allowed to stay with him in the kennel area? So a superior is beckoned and after warm greetings are dispensed with, the superior has a solution. We can stay with Hugo in a stairwell area adjacent to the hospitality desk where we can sit on chairs next to him for the duration of the trip. I ask why we can't all be in the cabin we paid for, and of course, the answer is "it's the rule". Our evening consisted of sleeping in the cabin in shifts and lying on the floor under the stairs with Hugo.

There is the possibility of change coming out of this experience. First of all, we taped the whole mess and that made everyone very nervous. The superior confided to me that this is not the first time foreigners have brought their pets on board with an unsatisfactory outcome and the ships "rule makers" are currently discussing solutions. I suggested that it would be easy to set aside two or three cabins out of the hundred they have as "pet friendly" with tile floors instead of carpet just in case. They seemed to respond to that.

Before any of you try to take your pets on a Baja Ferry, check with them to see what the current policy is. We survived and would go through the whole mess again to be sitting here in wonderful La Paz this evening, but the process needs to be improved and let's hope that it is.
Baja Ferries sails from La Paz to Topolobampo and from La Paz to Mazatlan. They took over the Mazatlan run from Sematur as of April 2005.

You can always try for current prices and schedule at the Baja Ferries Web Site

Baja Ferries
Baja Ferries on Facebook
TMC Ferries
Se Habla - La Paz

Baja California 1949