Sailing The High Seas On A Freighter?? | Freight Cruising

Sailing The High Seas On A Freighter?? | Freight Cruising

Have you ever looked at a freight ship and wondered at what faraway port they would eventually dock?  Or thought about how they could possibly carry enough freight to fill such a large vessel?  Well, quite often than not, they have additional space on board for those who enjoy cruising at long intervals.

Freight Cruising

Freight cruising is a little-known way of transport for people who either do not like to fly, have a penchant for cruising for long stretches of time or have a fantasy of sailing the high seas in general.  This type of passenger has had enough of the crowds and who just wants to walk outside of their cabin, grab a deck chair and watch the sunset for a quiet respite.  Rumor also has it that some celebrities find this to be the ideal venue for protecting their privacy.

There are several booking agents that will arrange passage to world destinations like Scandinavia, South America, South Pacific, India, The Far East, New Zealand Australia, Northern Europe and The Mediterranean to such travelers.  One of the most revered is Freight Travel Club International.

Here are some FAQ’s you may want to keep in mind when planning such a venture:

  • Age limits are between 13-79; Some freighters will make exceptions, but this range is the most accurate.  Passengers are small in number…usually, less than 10 are allowed to travel per cruise.
  • Book 3-6 months in advance, or earlier if you plan to travel during the quickly sold out, high season.  A 25% deposit is required at the time of registration from the booking agent.  The balance of the fare, plus port and vessel fees for voyages on the German ships, is payable 70 days before departure.
  • Baggage limit is usually 200 pounds per person.  You are not allowed to take cars/motorcycles with you; they will have to be shipped independently of the freighter you will be traveling on.
  • The dress is casual, passports are required, if visas are required, you will be notified in advance.  A medical statement of good health and accident insurance are required.  Inoculations for yellow fever or cholera may be required on some trips, there is no internet access, fares are established in euro currency, the fare includes all meals (whose menu usually depends on the nationality of the crew), soft drinks but passengers must pay for liquor.
  • Port times vary from 6 to 24 hours.  However, a bulk cargo ship could dock for several days or more (which would be great for sight-seers).
  • A self-service laundry is available at no charge.  It includes washer, dryer and drying room, iron and ironing board.
  • The majority of freighter cruises last between 30 to 75 days.  But some cruises can last only two weeks.  The fares typically range from $100.00 to $130.00 per day depending on your destination.
  • Each spacious room is a well furnished outside cabin with private facilities.  Most ships have a lounge with upholstered furniture, a TV and music center, exercise rooms, a book and video library, a small pool and good deck space where you can watch the seagulls fly by.

Here is a sample itinerary of what you could expect on a typical trip:  Savannah, GA (Day 1); New York (3); Halifax, NS (5); Tarragona, near Barcelona, Spain (14); Haifa, Israel (19); Leghorn (26) and Genoa, Italy (27); Tarragona (29), Halifax (37) and New York (39), all 2nd calls, and back to Savannah (42) .  As you can see, the route covers quite a bit of geography in 42 days.

To book a freighter cruise, you can contact Freighter Travel Club International at 800-996-2747 for more information.  Be sure to sign up for their lifetime membership (only $59.00), you will be able to secure discounts of up to $500.00 on each cruise.

Bon Voyage!



Renee King
  • Anil
    Posted at 14:30h, 25 March Reply

    Pretty cool, didn’t know about this. I’ve got a friend who worked several years on a cargo ship and he’s saw a lot of the world that way.

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:05h, 30 March Reply

      I agree, Anil. It’s always nice to find new and different ways of experiencing travel. I’m not a fan of traditional cruising, but I believe that something like this would definitely hold my interest!

  • Linda
    Posted at 10:29h, 17 May Reply

    There is a company in London UK called Sea Travel Ltd. They organize freighter travel. You can skype them: seatravelltd or check their destinations

  • Monica
    Posted at 00:22h, 22 May Reply

    Cool idea I had totally forgotten about! I had a friend in college who traveled to Europe by freighter. It was cheap, safe, and oh, so exotic to me back in the day. If I wasn’t prone to horrible motion sickness, I’d definitely do it!

  • Nancie (Ladyexpat)
    Posted at 08:34h, 18 June Reply

    The fact that the ship might dock in Halifax sells me on the idea…haha (my hometown)

    I did two European cruises when I was in high school. The ships were set up like dormitories. We left from England and sailed the Mediterranean. They were awesome trips for a teenager.
    Nancie (Ladyexpat) recently posted…Are Koreans More Polite When They’re Naked? — A Visit to a Korean BathhouseMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:03h, 18 June Reply

      That does sound like a great experience for a teen. Thanks for checking in!

  • Barbara Weibel
    Posted at 11:18h, 18 June Reply

    This is something brand new to me and I am fascinated. Thanks for such a complete post, with all the details of how it workd.
    Barbara Weibel recently posted…Mexicans Are Serious About Their Speed BumpsMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:02h, 18 June Reply

      Thanks for dropping by, Barbara! It is a fantastic way of seeing the world!

  • Leng
    Posted at 14:10h, 05 July Reply

    I didn’t know freighters sell passengers space. This is definitely something to be experienced once you got the time and the money. Great post!
    Leng recently posted…Book the BEST accommodations by checking out the WORST reviewsMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:58h, 07 July Reply

      I definitely think it’s something worth looking into. Thanks for coming by!

  • jon
    Posted at 22:49h, 14 July Reply

    A lot of people here in Ecuador try and catch freighters out of the port to the galapagos instead of footing the flights and entrance fee..

    It´s a rare occurance that you get one and if you do you have to find someone with a yacht who will sign papers that say you came in with them..

    The trips from your article look better..
    jon recently posted…Passion and Prose-People I’ve met hereMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:40h, 29 September Reply

      Wow…the things that people will do. Very interesting, Jon…thanks for sharing that!

  • ecothreesixty
    Posted at 17:09h, 29 July Reply

    Great post, definitely think this is the way to go if you fancy getting on with the book you keep meaning to write.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:06h, 06 August Reply

      Agreed…..I can’t think of a better way to be left alone with your thoughts…great opportunity for writing!

  • Ant Stone
    Posted at 20:12h, 05 August Reply

    This looks great! Is this post your own or by the company in question? I wondered if there were any other companies you knew of that do similar things?

    I’d heard of it before — it’s a great idea. I can’t stand the thought of traditional cruises so this would be a good alternative.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:06h, 06 August Reply

      Hi Ant,
      No, this post is mine. I don’t allow companies to write posts on my blog to promote their own product. If I happen to discover something unique and fun about traveling, I like to share it with my readers…but all of the commentary is mine with no influence from the company that I am writing about. In fact, I’ve never gotten a response from any of the companies that I write about….mostly because they probably don’t even know that I exist! lol

  • Andrew
    Posted at 08:44h, 04 October Reply

    Very interesting, I used to work in shipping and had no idea you could do this.
    Andrew recently posted…The Best Ski Resorts in ItalyMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:28h, 04 October Reply

      Andrew, they say that you learn something new every day! Glad you stopped by!

  • Crash Williams
    Posted at 08:42h, 05 October Reply

    Hi Renee – a subject close to my heart! After 11 years in the same job (of which I’ve recently resigned) my wife and I are soon to be joining Grande Francia – sailing from Tilbury Docks UK via France, Spain, Africa, Brasil and finally ending up in Buenos Aires! A trip lasting approx 31 days.

    Quick tip re booking – we went direct to the freighter company and saved ourselves a whole heap of cash, we thoroughly recommnend Grimaldi Group who couldn’t have been more helpful.

    Our trip is here:
    Crash Williams recently posted…Grande FranciaMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:14h, 05 October Reply

      How wonderful!! It looks like you are covering a nice piece of geography there. I like the idea of going direct to the freight company if possible. It will require a bit of legwork, but I’m sure it will be worth it. Thanks for the tip about the Grimaldi Group…always good to have more resources. Thanks for your comment, Crash….it’s much appreciated! Going to comment on your blog now…..

  • Crash Williams
    Posted at 10:24h, 05 October Reply

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

    To be honest, booking direct was so painless (I have a huge aversion to too much bureaucracy) and this couldn’t have been easier.

    Great site btw and will certainly utilise whilst away!
    Crash Williams recently posted…Grande FranciaMy Profile

  • Jason
    Posted at 12:54h, 26 October Reply

    Nice post and great tips on taking freighters. I’ve always wanted to do it but never have. About 20 years ago I walked down to the San Francisco port and walked around for hours trying to find a freighter to New Zealand but was unsuccessful. I ended up flying. Maybe next time.
    Jason recently posted…Sunday Morning Pickup Basketball In CuscoMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:57h, 26 October Reply

      I’m surprised that so many people already knew about this….cool! Yeah, you should definitely give it a go next time, Jason.

  • Rachel
    Posted at 15:59h, 06 November Reply

    Great site. Inspired by movies, starting with Indiana Jones, I have always wondered what it would be like to travel on a freight ship. You see it in movies all the time and yet, it never occurred to me that one could actually do that – unless you are a criminal trying to escape the law…lol – I am excited by the fact that I can actually do this and will definitely consider it next time I take a trip….now all I have to do it convince my hubby who doesn’t care much for boats…lol
    Rachel recently posted…Suede Strikes A PoseMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:39h, 06 November Reply

      Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for stopping by! I’m always thrilled when my readers are able to take something new from my articles. Hope that you can end up persuading hubby!

  • Stan Kogen
    Posted at 02:54h, 14 December Reply

    Like your website. Just thought to tell you that. Continue with the good writing. I’m a blogger myself, but not as good yet 😉 Feel free to visit. Take Care, Stan

    • Catherine
      Posted at 09:18h, 30 April Reply

      This is certainly something that I had not heard about before today! This is fascinating. When I think cruise my vision is quite different. I could see where one can find their privacy traveling on one of these. My first thought would lean toward tourists! Thank you for sharing….I enjoy learning new things.

  • Dennis Salvatier
    Posted at 14:09h, 30 April Reply

    Wow, I had no idea this was possible. This was very thorough. Thanks for teaching me something new today.:)

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:37h, 17 July Reply

      You are so welcome, Dennis…thanks for dropping by!

  • Billye Survis
    Posted at 08:11h, 02 May Reply

    I have been on my fair share of cruises but I would never have thought about looking into cruising this way. Now you’ve peeked my curiosity and I need to look into this a bit further as my husband and I are planning a trip for our anniversary next year!


  • Sophie's World
    Posted at 15:36h, 14 May Reply

    Great article, Renee. I love the idea of travelling on a cargo ship. One I’m looking into is the Royal Mail ship to St Helena.

  • Looking back in time – My 7 links
    Posted at 09:44h, 16 July Reply

    […] enough, my  Sailing the high seas in a…..freighter? post went viral.  I suppose freighter cruising is still novel enough to garner a lot of interest […]

  • Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    Posted at 10:23h, 16 July Reply

    This is really great info. I would not have thought of this as a way to travel before, but I think it would be a great experience.

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:13h, 17 July Reply

      I think so, too Stephanie….

  • santafetraveler
    Posted at 14:14h, 27 December Reply

    I knew about this in my youth, but totally forgot. A great way to travel for a memorable adventure.
    santafetraveler recently posted…Santa Fe Recipes: Chef Louis Moskow’sMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:40h, 28 December Reply

      Cool! I hope that you actually do it one of these days. I think that I will after reading about Craig’s adventures.

  • James
    Posted at 16:10h, 22 October Reply

    This article is so cool. I didn’t know you can travel on a freighter. Thank you for the information
    James recently posted…Best Islands In The World – Popular Travel Destinations updated Thu Oct 18 2012 9:54 pm EDTMy Profile

    • Renee King
      Posted at 19:05h, 28 October Reply

      No, thank you for coming by and it’s always exciting to share new info with others!

  • The Most Conspicuous Escape From The UK.....Ever!
    Posted at 02:40h, 16 June Reply

    […] guest poster, Craig “Crash” Williams.  We met when he posted a comment on my article, Sailing the high seas on a…..freighter, which detailed the growing freight cruise industry.  Well, it’s one thing to write about […]

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