Worldwide Freighter Cruises

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NortheastCruiseGuide Freighter Cruise Index

 

Freighter Cruises a Unique Adventure

Passenger Cargo ship Aranui 3 - Photo Copyright: Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime

Passenger Cargo ship Aranui 3 - Photo Copyright: Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime..

Freighter cruises are ideal for people who

  • Are flexible and do not have time constraints because freighter cruises can be extended a few days to a week depending on the addition of ports of call.
  • Have a spirit of adventure.
  • Like to see the world in a casual environment.
  • Can occupy themselves and are comfortable reading a book, viewing movies, relaxing, conversing with other passengers and crew.
  • Are in good general health - since most freighters do not have a medical staff.
  • Like a solitary vacation experience.
  • Enjoy many days at seas.
  • Can afford a month of more of vacation.
  • People who are flexible and do not expect perfection.

Freighter accommodations are normally:

  • Clean.
  • Functional.
  • Air-Conditioned.
  • Have a television and possibly a VCR or DVD player.
  • Have ample storage.
  • Accommodate between 4 to 12 passengers depending on  the number of cabins available.

Notes:

  • Forward and rear facing cabins may have their visibility obstructed by containers or deck cargo.
  • Electricity: Normally a two prong adapter is required to use North American Appliances.
  • Cabins are cleaned once per week.

Public Spaces

  • Most ships offer a gym, small dining room, library, lounge and pool,
  • Public rooms are shared with the crew and officers.
  • Dining rooms are usually smoking free. Smoking is normally permitted in other public areas.
  • Some ships have elevators but most do not. Be prepared to navigate the stairs.
  • Washers and driers are available for use.
  • Deck may be slipper due to the sea spray, weather conditions and general maintenance.

Itinerary:

  • Ports can be added to the itinerary or skipped depending on cargo demand.
  • Added stops could elongate your vacation - Yippee free cruise days!
  • Ports can also be eliminated reducing the length of the trip. In these cases, no refunds are provided.
  • The amount of time spent in port will vary based on the time required to load and unload cargo.
  • Normally one day is spent in each port.
  • Normally freighter cruises dock away from the center of town and main tourist areas (Container terminals are usually located on the outskirts where there is vast land to store and move containers), therefore you will need to arrange or negotiate your own transportation.

Life On Board:

Freighter Cruise Dining Room

Photo Courtesy of Rickmers Linie.

  • Food is good - but more traditional and less fancy.
  • Following the European tradition, lunch is usually the largest meal of the day.
  • Most freighters have a small dining room able to accommodate diners in a single sitting,
  • There are three meals a day served at set times.
  • Some freighter have complimentary wine at lunch and dinner.
  • The ships usually have an open kitchen/pantry policy, where if you are hungry you can go into the refrigerator and get a snack.
  • No special diets can be accommodated.
  • In general travelers tend to be 65+ years of age.
  • Even though freighters only carry a small amount of passengers, there is the possibility that the ship may not be fully booked.
  • The ship is staffed by an international crew.
  • English is normally spoken, although the crew or officers may use their native language when speaking to each other.

Entertainment:

  • Freighter cruises tend to have many days at sea.
  • Unlike cruise ships, freighters do not have shows or organized entertainment. Most entertainment is in the form of chatting with the crew and fellow passengers, a small library for your reading pleasure, a limited DVD, VHS movie collection and sun bathing.
  • Some freighters have a small swimming pool and/or gym.
  • No shore excursions are offered by the freighter company.

Weather:

  • Understand that the weather in your destinations may be markedly different than you departure port. You may need to bring clothing for multiple seasons.

Things to Bring:

  • iPod or CD Player with music collection.
  • Your favorite movies (check with the freighter company to see if your cabin has a DVD player or VCR).
  • A selection of reading materials.
  • Deck of cards.
  • Sun tan lotion.
  • Sweater.
  • Comfortable walking shoes and shoes with good grips for walking on wet decks.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Items that support your interests - paints, sketch pads, laptop, etc.
  • Guide books for the areas that you are visiting.
  • Puzzle books.
  • Passports and Visa's (if required.).
  • In general - things to keep you occupied.

Price:

  • At one time freighter cruising was significantly less than the cost of a traditional cruise experience.
  • Now freighter cruises cost about the same as traditional cruise vacation.
  • There are three factors which have dictated the increase in price:
  • Originally freight operators pursued passengers, because freight ships carrying passengers were give priority berthing in ports which had limited facilities, This helped shippers have an edge on the competition and be able to keep their ships on schedule, Since priority berthing is no longer a concern, freight companies do not have to assure that they have passengers on every sailing.
  • The prices of traditional cruise vacations have come down over the past 10 years, due to competition, over-capacity and the need to fill older ships. This reduction has made traditional cruises and freighter cruises on par as far as price.
  • The reduction in the number of freight companies offering passenger service, along with the romance associated with freighter cruising, has increased the demand.

Freighter at Sea

Photo Courtesy of Rickmers Linie.

Restrictions and Requirements:

  • French ships will accept travelers up to 74 years of age. German ships 79 years of age.
  • Your doctor will need to provide a letter providing details about your physical ability to travel and general heath.
  • Passengers are required to have a valid passport. The expiration date should NOT be less than 6 months from the end date of you travel plans.
  • Some ports visited will require Visas. You will need to be obtained the required Visas before sailing.
  • Depending on the destinations, you will need to assure that all of your inoculations are up to date, In addition, there may be additional vaccinations required.
  • Mandatory International Health and Accident Insurance is required.
  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended.
  • The freighter company and/or travel agent will provide the details of the requirements.
  • Most passenger freighter are owned by French or German operators and can fly the flag of various countries.
  • Port charges and fees are additional.

For More Information - check out the following sites:

Passenger Freighter Operators

Sites Specializing in Freighter Cruises