If you’re looking for an unconventional travel experience, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to travel on a cargo ship as a passenger. The short answer is yes, it’s possible, but there are a few things you need to know before embarking on this kind of journey.
First of all, it’s important to understand that cargo ships are primarily designed for the transportation of goods, not people. While some cargo ships do have cabins for passengers, these are often limited in number and may not offer the same level of comfort and amenities as you would find on a traditional cruise ship.
That being said, if you’re willing to trade luxury for adventure, traveling on a cargo ship can be a unique and rewarding experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering this type of travel:
Travelling on a Cargo Ship as a Passenger
1. Research your options
Not all cargo ships offer passenger accommodation, so you’ll need to do some research to find a company that does. Some popular options include CMA CGM, Grimaldi Lines, and Hamburg Sud, but there are many others out there.
You’ll also want to consider the route and duration of the voyage. Cargo ships typically travel slower than cruise ships, so you may be spending more time at sea. However, this can also be an opportunity to unplug and
2. Plan ahead
Because cargo ship travel is less common than other forms of transportation, it’s important to plan ahead and book your trip well in advance. You may also need to obtain visas or other documentation depending on the countries you’ll be visiting.
3. Be prepared for a different kind of experience
As mentioned earlier, cargo ship travel is not the same as a traditional cruise. You’ll be traveling with a small group of passengers and a crew who are primarily focused on transporting cargo, not catering to tourists. You’ll likely have limited access to amenities such as dining options, entertainment, or spa facilities.
4. Be flexible
Because cargo ships are primarily designed for cargo transportation, schedules can sometimes change unexpectedly. It’s important to be flexible and patient in case of delays or changes to the itinerary.
5. Follow safety guidelines
Cargo ships are designed with safety in mind, and passengers are expected to follow all safety guidelines and instructions. This may include participating in safety drills and wearing a life jacket during certain parts of the voyage.
Traveling on a cargo ship as a passenger can be a unique and rewarding experience for those willing to forego luxury in exchange for adventure. By researching your options, planning ahead, being prepared for a different kind of experience, being flexible, and following safety guidelines, you can make the most of this unconventional form of travel.
Types of cargo ships you can Travel as a Passenger
There are four main types of cargo ships and they are divided into four groups based on the cargo they transport: general cargo vessels multipurpose vessels dry-bulk carriers and last but not least tankers.
Also read Everything about Merchant Navy Ships
Typically general cargo ships transport packaged products such as food clothing footwear equipment furniture motor cars etc.
The tankers are ships with specifically made containers that will be perfect for transporting liquid goods such as petroleum and chemical products.
Dry-bulk carriers transport food grains coal and other comparable items in an unpackaged loose state.
According to their name the multipurpose ships transport various cargo including liquid and dry products. For all of these commodities they have multiple storage bins and systems. The liners and the tramp ships are other categories into which the cargo ships are further divided by a different type of specification.
Liners or cargo liners are ships that operate according to a set schedule and levy fees. On the other hand tramp ships are boats that are chartered by different customers to transport their cargo at a set contractual price but do not adhere to any predetermined timetable or itinerary.
Worried about Safety onboard Ships? Read Safety onboard Merchant Navy Ships
Can cargo ships carry passengers?
Due to a lack of fleet size the smaller shipping companies typically use tramp ships for their travels.
The cargo ships occasionally also transport a few passengers. A passenger-cum-freight liner is any ship carrying 12 or more passengers in addition to the cargo.
So to answer the question yes. You can travel on a cargo ship.
One thing is sure: you won’t find the usual comforts on a cargo ship as you’ll be traveling as a passenger rather than a customer.
After all the vessel is still a cargo ship. Therefore the main priority is to transport cargo not passengers.
There won’t be any performers leisure activities or wellness facilities. It is possible to go on shore excursions but this is only allowed if you agree with the ship’s management and the route and timetable allow it.
The ship could then set sail again without you if you don’t arrive back from your vacation in time.
What to expect when traveling on cargo ships
In the past if you wanted to “hitch a ride” on a cargo ship you may try to persuade the captain of your handyman abilities and negotiate for a bed in exchange for your labor on the vessel.
Of course such arrangements are no longer feasible in the modern era.
A cargo ship’s crew typically comprises 20 to 30 people who have undergone professional training and every action is flawlessly synchronized. An untrained layperson would only cause trouble.
However more and more shipping businesses have started offering travel options as a secondary source of revenue since an increasing number of travelers want to experience the allure of a weeks-long voyage over the sea with nothing but the horizon.
A cargo ship may carry a maximum of twelve passengers; if more than that international shipping regulations call for a doctor to be present.
On a freighter you won’t find luxury but you can still find some measure of comfort.
In truth these enormous ships frequently provide amenities like a pool sun deck library or bar. In addition the cabins are often very well furnished; if lucky you might even get one with a little fridge and a TV or video device. Both the crew and the visitors have access to washers and dryers. The daily events serve as the “entertainment program.” After all with the exception of the cargo hold engine room and kitchen guests are typically free to walk around the ship.
Anyone acquainted with the sizes of contemporary container ships may visualize what it would be like to stroll across one of their decks. Even the bridge has (restricted) access enabling guests to have a close-up view of activities on the open waters.
The well-being of the crew and passengers is also taken care of by an onboard steward a feature of many contemporary cargo ships. Due to the lack of a doctor on board deviation insurance is strongly advised.
This protects passengers if the ship deviates from its path owing to a sick passenger and the scheduled departure and arrival dates cannot be fulfilled.
This insurance is automatically included when making a reservation with a travel professional. But of course it goes without saying that you need travel and liability insurance in case of an emergency such as a terrible illness in the middle of the Pacific.
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