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.