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Freighter Travel Facts

Are freighter trips considerably longer than regular cruises?

A freighter's schedule is dictated by the cargo aboard and any it might pick up along the way...or even out of its way. This results in the somewhat unpredictable nature of freighter travel and the necessity to plan for schedule changes and possible extra days. Flexibility is the key to freighter travel.

How do freighters compare in cost to more conventional cruise ships? Aren't they supposed to be cheaper?

Yes, and no. It's true that freighters in general cost much less than conventional cruise ships, compared on a day-to-day basis: $100 per day versus the $200-$300 average per diems now prevalent aboard popular cruise ships. But when you multiply the lower daily rate of a freighter by the 30 or more days that you'll be gone, freighter voyages still represent a sizable vacation investment. So if you're trying to get from Point A to Point B, a jet liner will probably be more cost effective than a cargo ship.

What do you do on a freighter? Isn't it boring?

If you entertain such a question, the answer will undoubtedly be "yes!" Travel aboard freighters has never been for those looking for casino play and other around-the-clock activities. The goals of avid freighter buffs are relaxation, the fascination of unusual destinations, and the camaraderie of a few generally well-read and perceptive fellow travelers.

How many other passengers are typically on a freighter?"

Most freighters accommodate just 12 and often fewer passengers. There are also a limited number of cargo liners in service which carry medical personnel; this term typically suggests a more "people-oriented" ship with a passenger contingent of 75 to 130 (and no age limit, unlike 12-passenger ships).

What kind of people am I likely to meet on a freighter trip?

Freighters appeal to inquisitive, independent types, those who prefer not to travel as part of a large group. And because of the lengthy and often unpredictable nature of these voyages, you can expect a good percentage of retired folks, self-employed professionals, teachers, and professors on sabbatical.

How are the accommodations aboard a freighter? Aren't they rather spartan?

Accommodations aboard a freighter are equal to - and often better than - the higher-priced staterooms found on deluxe passenger liners. Most are spacious outside cabins high above the water, with large windows rather than small portholes, private facilities, and comfortable sitting areas. Typically, you'll sail with no more than 12 passengers, and share a dining room with the officers.

How do I get comments from people who've actually sailed aboard a freighter?

Word of mouth is always the best endorsement for any experience. At TravLtips, we understand this and have designed our quarterly e-newsletter to feature articles and accounts of freighter voyages written by the members themselves. They'll give you a first-hand glimpse of what freighter travel is like: the accommodations, food, and service as well as the destinations encountered.