Has anyone tried traveling by freighter ship?

It may not fall into most people's concept of cruising but it qualifies by the definition, traveling by ship. How many here have given this non-traditional form of cruising a try? Aside from creature comforts and 10 different bars to drink at, what were some of the differences not readily identified? What did you like and/or not like as much as compared to traditional cruising? Finally, would you do it again?

Tags: Non-traditional cruising freight ship cruising

7 Answers

30 or 40 years ago maybe but not in today's day and age. Space is usually very limited and the stops to load and unload can be extremely lengthy.

There is a cruise that you can book on a freighter that services the Tahitian Islands area.

Look it up.

The Alaska Marine Highway is another option for freight cruising.

I think this is something I would like to try, but don't see it in the near future.

Years ago, before we started booking passage on cruise line ships we were interested in traveling on cargo carriers, container vessels mostly, Banks Line, etc. Most only have two or three cabins including the owner’s suite.

Since we are born and raised Alaskans, we traveled a lot on the Alaska State Ferries (Alaska Marine Highway System). I called it the “poor man’s cruise” back then. You can’t really compare the state ferry system to freighters though, they do have drive on an off traffic, a lot of being tractor-trailers, but they also have cabins and large lounges. Hard core Alaskans take their sleeping bags and crash all over the place, mostly in the summer. The system is primarily for A to B transportation on Alaska’s coast, but tourists like to take it from Bellingham Wash. to link up with the road system at Haines or Skagway, Alaska with short stops at seaports in between. A lot of summer visitors like to travel on Prince William Sound on the ferry as well, mostly between Whittier and Valdez.

Anyway, a friend, whose mother road the freighters a lot, got us a subscription to a freight cruise publication. Alex Hailey, author of “Roots” did most of his writing while riding on freight ships they say. I was really interested for a while, but then her mother got stuck on a tramp freighter which was loaded with cockroaches and jumped ship in the middle of nowhere. Also, we began cruising for real about that time.

Then terrorism really took hold and heavy security restrictions became common place in the dock yards, meaning it was/is extremely difficult for a passenger on a freighter to get in and out of the secure dock areas (plus cabs can’t get inside very easily) and to walk through those dark and populated with unsavory character, areas, where containers are stacked everywhere, without a gun, is asking for it. Anyway, we got spoiled by the real deal and bagged the cargo idea.

ooooo! I may have to... Depends how desperate I am to go to Tahiti!

I never have but my parents took a cruise on a freighter that traveled around South America. We saw them off in NYC. Their schedule was loose but they had a great time. This was their first cruise so they did not have any high expectations. I think that I'll stick to mainstream cruise lines, though. But, hey, if you have a sense of adventure, go for it. Just be flexible.


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