My experience, to say the least, wasn't that unpleasant. I was expecting the worst, so maybe that's a factor. I had to deal with the crowds at the port - people cutting lines, the pushing and shoving when boarding the bus that would take us to the boat. Also, I was subjected to listening to 2Go Travel's annoying jingle on repeat. Those are probably on the top of my list of not-so-good experiences during the trip.
I'm just proud of myself because I survived the whole trip and arrived in Manila in one piece. Even if that was the case, I vowed to never travel by ferry alone. It's just too damn lonely. The next time I take a long boat trip, it's going to be with a group of people. I bet the experience will be way better.
Anyway, let me just rate the different aspects of the trip.
I stayed in a Tourist accommodation, which means that I had to share a room with three other strangers. It's a good thing that the two sets of roommates that I had going to Cebu and then to Manila were relatively okay. They weren't that freaky, except for this one guy who asked me if I knew how to sing. Seriously, what kind of question is that?
Moving back, I do not recommend this room if you are traveling alone and if you have the luxury to ride a plane instead. My primary reason would be privacy and safety. If you're sharing a room with people you do not know, you have to be extra careful with your belongings. I kinda did not enjoy carrying my bag everywhere I went, even if it was just to have a quick trip to the toilet. Second, the room was a bit untidy. Can you believe I actually found someone's nail clippings on my bunk? Also, some roomies (like mine) tend to leave their trash behind, which leaves you to clean up after them. Not good.
Also, 2Go prides in providing its clients with an on-board bar/entertainment room. This is great, but not when it's time to go to bed. I had to subject myself to the sound of offbeat karaoke singing every time I wanted to sleep. I would also like to add that the temperature on the ship was freezing! I also had a hard time going to sleep because of this.
I thought of also pointing out the good points. Well, the room comes with a flat screen TV that has limited channels. Aside from the bar I mentioned, the ship also has a convenience store and a salon.
The food was okay. The prices are high. What else do you expect anyway? I had to spend a lot especially on water. As for the food itself, let's just say that I do not enjoy eating cold food. Also, their rice has this weird texture. It felt like eating day-old rice. Maybe I'm just a little picky. I don't know.
Also, I think I should mention that the lines are terribly long whenever you claim ticket meals. Some people even line up an hour earlier just to be the first to be served. The dining area's okay, but it isn't proportionate to the number of passengers on board. The seats are really limited, so you have to be quick in securing your own. If not, you'll have to eat in your own room.
If ever you decide to pursue your own solo trip by sea, here are a few reminders:
- Bring a jacket and warm clothes. As mentioned, it can get really cold on board.
- Have some snacks with you to avoid purchasing the pricey food from their convenience store.
- Make sure to bring a book, a tablet/phone/laptop, or whatever it is that can entertain you during the whole trip. I survived two days at sea because I had a book with me and of course, my trusty smartphone. Whenever there was signal, I was able to surf the net a bit as well.
That's basically it. I'm no expert in traveling by sea, but those are the only things I noted from my own experience.
Now do you see why I'm swearing off boat travel? As a side note, I'm still quite curious about their Cabin and Stateroom accommodations. I might just give 2Go another try if I was given a chance to stay in those rooms. Of course, I'll only agree to that if I was traveling with a companion or a group of people.
P.S. I'd like to thank Rappler for sponsoring my boat tickets.