Take a trip by cargo ship!


It will take a little longer to reach your destination, but it is certainly a special adventure: traveling by container ship. Travel as a passenger on a real working container ship between containers full of bananas, bicycle bells or jeans!

Going on a cargo ship cruise is a niche form of travel that isn’t for everyone. Unlike a cruise ship, there are no nightclubs, water slides and all you can eat restaurants on board a cargo ship.

For some travelers this means of transport is therefore a hellish idea. After all, isn’t vacation a time to completely relax and let yourself be totally pampered?

But for a small group of travelers, sailing aboard a container ship where they transport freight for a living, is the perfect way to take a break from all the busyness that we have to process in daily life.

What are you doing all day?

Read books, write, learn a new language, watch movies you downloaded on your laptop (there is often no Wi-Fi on board) or maybe make friends with the crew and learn a few fun words in their language!

Language learning

Overall, Filipino sea-based workers comprised more than 25 percent of 1.5 million mariners worldwide, thus becoming the single biggest nationality bloc in the shipping industry. Chances are high you will run into crew members that are native in Tagalog or Cebuano, two of the top languages from the Philippines. 

Special places

Traveling by container ship is mainly about the journey, not the destination. The ships often dock in lesser-known places where no or few tourists come, until the unloading is completed you can discover these special places.

What does it cost?

It’s not cheap. It resembles a form of hitch hiking, but you quickly pay €75 per day for traveling on a container ship. This does include the (usually excellent) food on board and the other costs. Traveling along is however a lot cheaper than a regular cruise ship full of crowds and tourists. Because you do not incur any costs on board when the ship is sailing, this special trip can still be worth considering, despite the high daily price!

Where do you stay?

If you want to sail on a ship as a passenger, you can stay in one of the remaining cabins. There is still quite a bit of space on some ships, so you can often go with several people.

There are often some rules attached to it, because there is hard work on board. Children and pets are therefore often not accepted as passengers on the cargo ship. Actually, that makes sense of course. Furthermore, you should always follow all the rules carefully, but these differ per ship.

How do you book this?

Some travel agencies can do this for you. Because freighters sail according to pre-planned scheduled routes, you can book the trip well in advance. Keep in mind that the route and time schedule can still change depending on the freight. Sometimes it will be necessary to hold in a port for longer to load and unload containers, or your ship might have to hold last minute in another port. Flexibility is the motto!