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Cruising on a Cargo Ship

Fancy sailing the oceans but with no hordes of folks that have a cruise liner? If that's the case, then cargo cruising might be a somewhat offbeat option. Mike Uglow reports from his vessel of preference, the bahia castillo, on its long-distance journey from Philadelphia to Sydney.

What exactly is it?

Cargo cruising has existed for a while, but it's now gaining some traction among well-heeled travelers searching for that newest adventure. Essentially it calls for hopping onboard a completely functioning cargo ship, sailing a few of the world’s most widely used shipping routes and visiting destinations that lots of cruise itineraries call at, with no crowds.

Don’t be fooled though; it’s expensive and you will be on the ocean for weeks - sometimes not able to disembark at ports (Colombian docks at Sam aren’t for gringos). Plus you will find occasional treacherous seas (Hurricane Sandy ripped into us before targeting Ny this past year).

My vessel, the Bahia Castillo, is really a 41,000 tonne container ship that travels 22,500km in around 35 days from Philadelphia to Sydney. Passengers on cargo ships purchase their cabin, food and also the freedom to maneuver the vessel whenever they please. The cabins arc spacious, functional and comfy. The ship requires a more three passengers so pricier a sizable supper party and lead in times arc of ten around a couple of years because the demand is high.

So why do it?

You receive the opportunity to see firsthand how goods circle the planet and also to understand the logistics involved. Plus you satisfy the individuals who make it.

On anyone voyage the Bahia Castillo may carry as much as 450 different commodities, which range from frozen treats, ammunition. Scotch whisky or perhaps tractor tyres for that Australian mining industry.
Passengers get better knowledgeable about the crew, whether it’s around the bridge, within the engine room or perhaps in the dinner hall.

Then there’s the raw excitement while you walk from bow to stern under containers stacked five high with a rolling sea.

Or sit atop the bow from the ship immediately over the water because it carves with the ocean. It’s an ethereal solo experience and also the most serene feeling - complete tranquility using the occasional whale turtle or dolphin for company.

Things to remember?

Cargo cruise vacations are a costly mode of travel. Shipping companies charge around £170 ($292) each day. There are visas a large compulsory insurance fee to indemnify against ship diversion, and, if you’re flying to your starting place, an expensive one-way air travel.

But it’s not every not so good news. The captain runs a drinks store as well as for three euros you'll have a three litre flagon of wine, a litre of spirits (vodka is 2 euros) or 12 cans of Fosters.

Who operates cargo cruises?

Cargo ship firms that take passengers from Australia include NSB, Hamburg Sud, Reederei Thomas Schulte and CMA CGM, which transpires with own the world’s largest container ship, the Marco Polo. Tours is often booked directly or book via a cargo ship cruise specialist for example Freighter Expeditions. Prices for any one-way trip in one cabin vary from $4700 for any 25-day cruise towards the US west coast to $6100 for any 39-day visit to the united kingdom. To learn more, visit



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Cruising on a Cargo Ship