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Freighter and Other Non-Traditional Cruise Travel


Share your interest & experiences in Freighter Cruises and other unusual forms of leisure passenger ship travel
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#21
St. George, UT
342 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
In the 20's and 30's there were no cruise lines as we have today. There were passenger liners and then there were the freighters going all over the world. As a young boy my family traveled from Mexico to The Netherlands on ships that were a combination of freighter and passenger ship. The Orinoco was one such ship and photos of it are available on the internet. In those days there were also my so called "tramp steamers" and manned by crews from many nations. Some still exist and I was offered a job as 2nd Mate on one back in the 60's. They are of questionable safety, so beware! Today there are still some freighters that will take passengers, but I'm not sure if I would take passage on a container vessel. They are jampacked fore and aft with containers which severely restricts movement about the ship. I think I would prefer a freighter carrying cargo below decks. Remember also that time in any port is usually very short because time in port costs the ship money. For example, I shipped on oil tankers for awhile and turn around time for offloading was only 15 hours. The Dutch may still have many freighters available and some of the other European countries so you can start by looking there. Dutch Lloyd for example. If you do get passage on a freighter you can learn a lot on any bridge, and that can be the beginning of a new hobby--navigation.
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Orinoco, 1932, HAL, to Mexico
Nieuw Amsterdam,1938, HAL, to U.S.
Veendam,1952, HAL, to Holland
Maasdam,1960, HAL, to Holland
Noordam,1999, HAL, to Alaska
Golden Princess,2007, PCL, To Mexico
Rijndam, 2008, HAL, to Mexico
Golden Princess, 2009, PCL to Hawaii
Coral Princess, 2009, PCL to Panama
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to Alaska
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to Canada
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to San Francisco
Sapphire Princess, 2009, PCL, to Mexico
Island Princess,2010, PCL, to Alaska
Sapphire Princess,2011,PCL, to Mexico
Star Princess,2011,PCL, to Caribbean
Sapphire Princess,2011,PCL, to South Pacific
Coral Princess, 2012,PCL,East Bound Panama
Coral Princess, 2012,PCL,West Bound Panama
Crown Princess 2012,PCL, Meditteranean
Crown Princess 2012,PCL, Western Caribbean
Star Princess 2013,PCL, to Hawaii
Golden Princess 2014,PCL, S. America-Cape Horn
Sun Princess 2014,PCL, New Zealand

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#22
Hebron, KY.
129 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I just found this topic. I see you have talked about freighters. While I am not into turn down service, big shows, casinos, getting drunk, fancy dining and food, and all the other stuff that typical cruise ships have, I don't know that freighters are for me. What other options are there for a week or two of cruising on a more stripped down ship?
#23
St. George, UT
342 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I would suggest contacting the different lines that are primarily cargo carriers. You can probably get a listing on Google. Holland America used to be one that was quite excellent, but lord knows how they operate today.
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Orinoco, 1932, HAL, to Mexico
Nieuw Amsterdam,1938, HAL, to U.S.
Veendam,1952, HAL, to Holland
Maasdam,1960, HAL, to Holland
Noordam,1999, HAL, to Alaska
Golden Princess,2007, PCL, To Mexico
Rijndam, 2008, HAL, to Mexico
Golden Princess, 2009, PCL to Hawaii
Coral Princess, 2009, PCL to Panama
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to Alaska
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to Canada
Island Princess, 2009, PCL to San Francisco
Sapphire Princess, 2009, PCL, to Mexico
Island Princess,2010, PCL, to Alaska
Sapphire Princess,2011,PCL, to Mexico
Star Princess,2011,PCL, to Caribbean
Sapphire Princess,2011,PCL, to South Pacific
Coral Princess, 2012,PCL,East Bound Panama
Coral Princess, 2012,PCL,West Bound Panama
Crown Princess 2012,PCL, Meditteranean
Crown Princess 2012,PCL, Western Caribbean
Star Princess 2013,PCL, to Hawaii
Golden Princess 2014,PCL, S. America-Cape Horn
Sun Princess 2014,PCL, New Zealand

EMAIL
#26
Tucson, Arizona
365 Posts
Joined May 2000
We are looking at this ship for a trip out of Belize. It is certainly "non-traditional" so I hope I have the right forum. Any information you can give me would be appreciated.

Carolyn
#27
British Columbia, Canada
31 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Hi out there, is there anyone still cruising non-trad? Here's a couple of good resources to start: https://www.freightercruises.com/voyages.php
http://www.seatravelltd.co.uk/

http://www.freighter-travel.com/travel-itineraries.html

Actually it's more the kind of cruising my husband & I would like to take, although I realize that the actual ports you may access aren't necessarily close to anything that might be of interest to a tourist, more at the industrial end of cities I'm sure. Would love to connect with anyone who's done it lately.
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No kids, No pets, All travel
#28
Arizona, USA
5 Posts
Joined Nov 2017
Originally posted by canadjineh
Hi out there, is there anyone still cruising non-trad? Here's a couple of good resources to start: https://www.freightercruises.com/voyages.php
http://www.seatravelltd.co.uk/

http://www.freighter-travel.com/travel-itineraries.html

Actually it's more the kind of cruising my husband & I would like to take, although I realize that the actual ports you may access aren't necessarily close to anything that might be of interest to a tourist, more at the industrial end of cities I'm sure. Would love to connect with anyone who's done it lately.
I'd like to add to this reply.
If you are researching, a GREAT place to start is Wikitravel.org....search for Freighter travel ( https://wikitravel.org/en/Freighter_travel ).

At this time (11/2017) there is list of eleven Freighter Agents along with books & articles. It really doesn't take long to get a "feel" for what is out there & what the experience of Freighter travel is like. All prices are in Euros so it is best to find your current exchange rate to help understand prices.

P.S. If you are a traveler and don't have experience with Wikitravel; YOU SHOULD. Try it out and you will find it is a Great tool to aid in your Travel research,
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PhrankinPhoenix - Solivagant

"Everyone's Journey is Different"
#29
British Columbia, Canada
31 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Thanks, PhankenPhoenix, a very useful site for more info! Haha, now I have to plan this and we haven't yet gone on our first cruise (not counting sailboat weekenders).
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No kids, No pets, All travel
#30
British Columbia, Canada
31 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Hi again to the freighter cruisers! Just thought about a wrinkle to planning this sort of trip (for me anyway.) I have special dietary needs (celiac) so I'm assuming that probably won't fly with a freighter trip. Anyone else out there with allergies or other special needs that does this kind of trip? I know I'm well taken care of on a traditional cruise with a MD interview and menu planning the night before for the next day's meals and even special requests without a problem or extra charge. I'm thinking the menu might be more limited on a freighter cruise?
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No kids, No pets, All travel
#31
Maine or at sea
13,731 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by canadjineh
Hi again to the freighter cruisers! Just thought about a wrinkle to planning this sort of trip (for me anyway.) I have special dietary needs (celiac) so I'm assuming that probably won't fly with a freighter trip. Anyone else out there with allergies or other special needs that does this kind of trip? I know I'm well taken care of on a traditional cruise with a MD interview and menu planning the night before for the next day's meals and even special requests without a problem or extra charge. I'm thinking the menu might be more limited on a freighter cruise?
You eat what the crew eats. If you have a dietary restriction, it falls to you to pick out the foods that you can eat, and stay away from those that you can't. Most ship's cooks and stewards won't know what a gluten allergy is, or even what foods contain glutens, as most of the world doesn't get these, so if your allergy is serious, I would not try this. I know people on ships that try to restrict glutens, and probably some of them have minor allergies, but they manage on their own.
#32
British Columbia, Canada
31 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Thanks, chengkp75.... that's what I was afraid of. I love all kinds of 'ethnic' food and cook Thai, Japanese, Indian, Filipino, and Szechuan myself at home with appropriate substitutes, but those substitutes likely wouldn't be available on the ship and even if I brought my own, the galley would likely not be gluten safe either. And the galley crew/chefs wouldn't have time to prepare anything separate/special.
Sad about that, but best to know about it in advance rather than becoming very ill on a trip.
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No kids, No pets, All travel
#33
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
5,035 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by canadjineh
Thanks, chengkp75.... that's what I was afraid of. I love all kinds of 'ethnic' food and cook Thai, Japanese, Indian, Filipino, and Szechuan myself at home with appropriate substitutes, but those substitutes likely wouldn't be available on the ship and even if I brought my own, the galley would likely not be gluten safe either. And the galley crew/chefs wouldn't have time to prepare anything separate/special.
Sad about that, but best to know about it in advance rather than becoming very ill on a trip.
Good point, and it's worth adding that this caveat applies especially to medical conditions. While rudimentary emergency care is probably available on freighters you can't count on there being any qualified physicians or medications on board.


In addition make sure you consider full coverage travel insurance that will cover medevac or other unusual transportation requirements.
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Host Walt
(Walt Tuthill)
Cruise Critic Message Board Host

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#34
Maine or at sea
13,731 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by Host Walt
Good point, and it's worth adding that this caveat applies especially to medical conditions. While rudimentary emergency care is probably available on freighters you can't count on there being any qualified physicians or medications on board.


In addition make sure you consider full coverage travel insurance that will cover medevac or other unusual transportation requirements.
The international requirement for "Medical Care Provider" is a 5 day course in basic first aid. The ship will have a contract with a shore based medical provider, who will direct the ship's Medical Officer (usually the Captain or one of the Mates) in what to look for, how to use the equipment onboard, what drugs to prescribe, etc. All medical care by remote control, and anything really serious is not going to end well.