Freighter travel

Maris Int’l is an agency that books passages on a few container ships servicing ports in the US and Europe. I contacted them to book a passage to Europe at the advertised rate of 120 Euro per day per pax. They came back with a rate of 180 Euro per day. That’s a huge increase in expense, especially considering that even segmented travel takes 12 to 18 days each way.
So I’m looking to book on other ships at lower cost if anyone knows of any.
Ideally Norfolk VA to Amsterdam or Rotterdam but flexible.

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Wouldn’t get you to Norfolk, but Polish Steamship (PZM) offers east and west bound transits between continental Channel ports and the Seaway on bulkers. Most people go all the way to Milwaukee or Burns Harbor Harbor, IN but IIRC the option exists to disembark at a Canadian Seaway port west bound.

I met some nice passengers over the years when I was a pilot.

This link more details and pics of the boats…


What is the appeal of traveling by freighter? It looks awfully expensive for the kind of no thrills accommodations and ports.

Freighter expeditions did most of the bookings with the passengers that I carried Trans Pacific. We had 3 passengers suites each with their own day room. Food was ordinary but probably better than what crews are getting now. I carried some interesting passengers including a rocket scientist and a lady who had been a professor in mathematics at MIT.

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A couple of reasons. I’ve had my fill of sitting in aluminum tubes with no elbow room for 10 hours at a time and I wouldn’t travel on a cruise ship if you paid me. As an added bonus, the missus was always wanting to know what I was doing when I was at sea and I rarely had anything interesting to report. This way, she can experience it for herself.
I’m perfectly ok with couple of good books for company or passing the time swapping tall sea yarns with the crew.


I’ve often thought I might a enjoy a sea passage on a ship where I wasn’t required to stand a watch and could spend my days drinking coffee, reading, talking with the crew, and preparing for whatever I might have planned at our destination. I’d like to do it some day. Even better to take a friend or lover with ya.


I worked with several guys who got paid top dollar to do what you describe except I think they would quit if they had to bring their spouses with them.


I like the idea of bringing a lover along but my wife would probably have a fit.

1st chuckle of the day. A bit late today.

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There was a naval toast: “To wives and girlfriends and may they never met.”
The one trip I did on a cruise ship the part I really enjoyed was looking out the cabin window at the fog and seeing the pilot vessel coming alongside while I enjoyed a cup of coffee and debated whether to lie down for a while longer.


The end was near.

Take them both?

I don’t think it was that it was over but that he didn’t have to worry about the foggy inbound and could just relax.

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You’re on the money. The port was St Petersburg and we were half way through the cruise.

Makes sense, was thinking something else. My bad.

If I remember correctly some of the major shipping lines let you book a ride through them directly from their websites.

Not Europe, but summer is pretty nice up on the Great Lakes. Interlake used to raffle off trips on their 1,000-footers (I think they still do actually). The VIP cabin on those was pretty nice as I recall from cadet shipping way back when. Suite on the upper most deck, floor to ceiling windows in the day-room. Trips through the locks. Not the most exciting port visits though!

I never minded being stuck onboard after my relief showed up, or even after being relieved of the watch. I like bullshitting with the fellas anyway, so doing exactly that while having no responsibility is ideal.

In my youth, when newspapers existed, I read an article about a couple in their 80s that cruised on freighters often. The point of the article was that they received answers to their notes in a bottle. They would bring a case of gin on their travels and toss the empties overboard with a note in them and receive a surprising number of responses
I’ve always thought freighter travel would be the most enjoyable, since the point of it all, to me, is to be at sea.
My wife and I had the opportunity to ride the yacht we ran as passengers aboard a float-on float-off semi-submersible Dockwise ship from Vancouver Island to Port Canaveral. We stayed on the yacht with power supplied, and sea water for the air conditioning that I re-plumbed. Had a really great voyage and got to know the Ukrainian crew. All meals in the mess, which itself was a gastronomic discovery voyage. Managed a lot of maintenance on the yacht in 30 days! The only downside was when we stopped to pick up a dredge in Long Beach harbor that was being delivered to the Bahamas. There was a noticeable aroma until the sea growth dried out on the dredge, and then again when the ship’s crew earned some extra money scraping and painting the dredges hull.

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Thanks for the tip but I haven’t found any. My research points to just a handful of agencies who specialize in this type of travel.
The closest to what I’m looking for is a ship that does a loop that includes stops in Wilmington DE and Antwerp. Round trip 7K, 11 days going 14 days coming back. Airline tickets would be 4K.
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There use to be a lot to choose from but after incidents accumulating over the years insurance companies put a stop to it.
too bad but sue happy types have ruined a lot of life styles in our life time.