Freighter Cruises a
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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Most ships offer a gym, small dining room, library, lounge
- 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.
- Ports can be added to the itinerary or skipped depending
on cargo demand.
- Added stops could elongate your vacation - Yippee free
- 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:
Photo Courtesy of Rickmers
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Comfortable walking shoes and shoes with good grips for
walking on wet decks.
- Items that support your interests - paints, sketch pads,
- Guide books for the areas that you are visiting.
- Puzzle books.
- Passports and Visa's (if required.).
- In general - things to keep you occupied.
- 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
- There are three factors which have dictated the increase
- 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
- The reduction in the number of freight companies offering
passenger service, along with the romance associated with
freighter cruising, has increased the demand.
Photo Courtesy of Rickmers
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
- 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
- Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance is highly
- 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