Day 11 (28th): Upgrade !
So I may have mentioned in some of my previous posts that our inside cabin has been incredibly hot. The aircon is not working, and being right above the engine room and with no windows, it was getting quite sticky. It wasn’t so much the heat as the lack of ventilation, leaving us unable to sleep well.
I didn’t want a reputation for complaining, so I stuck it out for a while, in particular not wanting to bother anyone while we were busy with ports. But with 5 days between Vigo and Dakar, and having bonded over expensive chocolates at Christmas, now seemed a good time to escalate things.
I had raised it with the steward and then when that brought nothing but promises to fix the aircon that didn’t materialize, I raised it yesterday with the deck office (I still don’t understand who is who in the hierarchy, but I spoke to one of the mid ranking officers). I said I’d be willing to pay for an outside cabin for the rest of the journey, although this was in fact a bluff as it’d be a good few hundred euros. He said he’d get the electrician to look at the Ac, but to no avail.
It was a delicate situation as the Germans had a similar problem although their cabin wasn’t quite as hot as ours. I decided a strategy was needed, and that softly-softly might work better than demanding. After all, I’d booked the inside cabin, it’s the cheapest, and there were no promises of aircon in the paperwork.
I walked around inspecting the deck and discovered that there was one outside cabin available – the owner’s cabin no less. There was another, but it said ‘isolation’ and had remnants of yellow and black tape sealing the door…. The owner’s cabin would have cost an extra 3500 euros if we had booked it though.
At the officers’ dinner time I made a point of being seen looking hot and bothered at one of the doors to the deck. Later, I moved my chair into the corridor when Lauren went to bed, leaving the cabin door open to allow air to circulate a bit. Sure enough, when the captain passed by on his way to his own cabin, he asked if all was OK. I said the room was too hot and made me feel unwell. He had clearly been told about my previous complaints and I was glad I had done the hierarchy thing rather than going straight to him. Even though you get zero feedback, stuff is clearly happening behind the scenes.
He gestured for me to follow him, and took me to the owner’s cabin – the best cabin on board, the same as his, with a separate office/sitting room and even a small bath. I honestly didn’t care about any of that, although its lovely, but each room has a nice big window that can be opened and the rooms were verging on chilly. He told me to forget about the money, and to move in immediately. His only caveat was that he only had this one spare outside cabin so to tell the Germans he’d moved me because I felt unwell – which was true enough.
So here we are now for the rest of the journey in the best cabin on board. We have a big sofa and another easy chair, a brand-new fridge (we had to remove the polystyrene to turn it on), a big desk for school work, a double bed, lots of storage, a flat screen TV, and even a tiny bath with a shower.
Best of all, we can wake up every morning to the sight of the sea, and open the windows to let in the breeze. We also have functional Aircon if it gets hot and lots of blankets if it gets cold.
Well played, I reckon.