Have you ever thought about a different kind of cruise then the typical 3 day or 7 day trip around the Caribbean? How about visiting some more exotic ports, or a lengthier trip. Maybe your not interested in all the fancy dinners requiring elaborate clothing. There is a different way to travel the seas.
Booking passage on a freighter. Now this isn’t what you may think, living conditions on today’s freighters are pretty good. When you travel by freighter you travel in conditions similar to what the Officers of the ship do, or even better. Most often the cabins are of equal quality to cruise ships. You eat in the Officer’s mess with the Officers and rest assured, ships crews eat well. The quality is top notch. Usually you can catch a snack or a treat between meals in the Galley as well.
Freighters can carry up to 12 paying passengers, you won’t have the crowds found on a cruise ship. Of course you also won’t have the casino, Las Vegas Revue’s or the 24 hr buffets either. What you will have is access to the bridge and all the crew, giving you the opportunity to widen your horizon’s and get to know people of a different culture. Plenty of time to kick back, relax and read a good book or two business logistics.
Where do you want to travel to? Freighters go pretty much anywhere there is water. Common routes are North America to South America, or to Australia and the Mediterranean. Finding a ship going exactly where you want to go may be difficult, but if your flexible they can take you to some pretty exotic places. If your shipping agent knows his business it may be possible to connect a couple different ships itineraries to get you where you want to go.
Booking passage isn’t done through your normal travel agent, you need to work through a shipping agent. Do a search on freighter travel and you can find what you need to get started. The average cost of freighter travel is about $100 a day, though cheaper can be found with about $60 a day being about as cheap as it gets.
Freighter travel isn’t something you can do over a 3 day weekend, most trips are around a month in length. If you sign on to go around the world expect to be gone about 3 months. If getting somewhere at a specific time is important to you, go some other way. Freighters get there when they get there, making a deadline isn’t going to happen.
Passenger carrying freighters aren’t American ships, a common situation would be a German owned ship, flying a Panamanian flag, with a Filipino crew. Be prepared to meet and get to know people from all over the world as you will be spending a good amount of time with them. Port time will be between 8 and 24 hours so your sight seeing may be limited. Some freighters have swimming pools, more functional then elaborate. When at sea you will be able to purchase things like alcohol, cigarettes, toothpaste, or other necessities.
It’s a different way to travel, a more intimate, leisurely way to see the real world of shipping. You can feel like a part of the crew, without all the work. Having full access to the ship will be a learning experience you won’t forget. Find a shipping agent, and see where you can go. If you like leisure activities and the chance to learn new things, this is a trip for you.