Canadian Sailings: MSC Monterey Reinstates Montreal-Genoa Passenger Service Last Offered By Hanjin Palermo In November 2012

MSC Monterey

NSB’s MSC Monterey now offers a 28-day round trip vyage between Montreal and Genoa, calling at Gioia Tauro and Livorno while on the eastbound voyage from Montreal, with a direct return to the St Lawrence port.

MSC MONTEREY, round trip duration about 28 days, 1 Owners & 2 Double cabins

Route: Montreal – Gioia Tauro – Leghorn – Genoa – Montreal

For the time being bookings are only possible for the following departures:

From Montreal about November 16 / December 14 / January 11

From Genoa about December 02 / December 30 / January 27

A waitlist has been opened for later departures.

For further details and bookings please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Round the World: Crossing The Pacific On A Cargo Ship

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Another container ship, another fantastic sea voyage. There is really no greater way to travel! My first cargo ship trip was three months earlier, from Germany to US, and it made me fall in love with the sea and this slow way to travel. This latest voyage, from US to Australia was equally wonderful, and happily a week longer. Three full weeks of great company, gorgeous views and excellent food – what more could anyone want?

Boarding the ship was quite relaxed. It took me and the friendly taxi driver three tries to find the correct spot where I would get a shuttle to take me to the ship, but after that it was smooth sailing. I got to the ship and hallooed the deck hand in charge of boarding, who helpfully came down and carried my luggage up the gangway to the ship. The third officer came shortly and took me to the ship’s office where we went over paperwork and the like. Then he took me to my cabin, and I was free to settle in. My cabin was all in one room, so it was smaller than the luxurious owner’s cabin on the Jamaica. But I had my own bathroom and a window, and I was at the end of the corridor in a nice quiet corner.

The Cap Capricorn was structured very much like the Jamaica, with several decks for social spaces, crew and passenger cabins and the bridge in one super structure toward the rear of the ship. My cabin was on deck F, which was two decks below the bridge and one above the deck with the laundry. Perfect. My cabin faced aft, which I wasn’t too happy about, but I saw some fabulous sunsets and sunrises (yes, both) from my window, so came to appreciate the view.

We were only three passengers on this trip, and the other two were a couple in their 70s. Like the passengers on the Jamaica, my fellow travelers were also very fond of travel and had in fact spent most of their lives living in fascinating places and traveling all over the world. Great company! The crew was quite mixed this time, mostly Indian, with Polish, Filipino, Romanian and Chinese mixed in. The crew overall didn’t socialize with each other much, so there was no partying like on the Jamaica. But I had great time with the other passengers, we spent much time walking around the deck, having a pre-dinner drink or watching movies after dinner. Oh and the food was fantastic! Due to the many Indians onboard, there was usually a vegetarian Indian option available at meal times, which kept me very happy. Our Romanian cook was also kind enough to cook something special for me when there otherwise wouldn’t have been anything suitable. So I ate really well, which gave me extra zest for burning up the calories up on the deck!

Crossing both the equator and the international date line brought some excitement to our journey. Of course the sea looks much the same on both sides of these imaginary lines, but few people ever cross either at sea. We also successfully outraced a typhoon less than a week into our journey, and actually enjoyed mostly calm seas and sunny skies during the three weeks. Unlike on the Atlantic crossing, I actually saw about a hundred dolphins overall! And lots of flying fish, scattering away from our path. On one of the last days I also had an unconfirmed whale sighting. It was all so quick that I didn’t get a photo, but it was definitely larger than a dolphin, traveling alone rather than in a pod and moved far too slow for a dolphin.

And best of all, in Auckland we loaded a half long container with five horses onboard. The crossing from New Zealand to Australia and back usually includes horses onboard, and the horse wrangler was thus a regular visitor. For us passengers this was new and exciting and much time was spent checking out the horses and asking the handler questions. No, the horses don’t mind the ocean swells. Yes, they sleep standing up. The pee and the poo goes overboard when away from ports. No, the horses do not need to get out of their stalls in the five day trip. Nor do they need constant supervision or company. The horses were really chill about the whole thing and absolutely no trouble at all.

This was the first time I had a port of call, and was happily able to meet some old dear friends for lunch in Auckland. After lunch we had a nice little walk around town, as between docking, formalities and the lunch, there was really only two hours until boarding time. I had spent four weeks touring New Zealand some years earlier, so on this trip I settled for only a short visit in favor of maximizing my time in Australia. I will miss all my new friends from the Cap Capricorn, but I look forward to all new adventures in Down Under!

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For further details of booking a cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

UK & Continent to South Africa In October and South Africa Return In November, Last Minute Container Ship Voyage By NSB’s m.v. Buxcoast

Buxcoast © bassheiner at Fleetmon

A last-minute round voyage has been announced by NSB for its 68,800-ton m.v. Buxcoast, a vessel equipped with an Owners Cabin, Double Cabin and Single Cabin. Fares start at €90 per person per day double and €85 per day single (a negative single supplement!) plus port charges, deviation insurance and booking fee. Single occupancy of a double cabin is €105 per day.

  • Rotterdam, October 09
  • London Gateway, October 11
  • Bremerhaven October 12/13
  • [ Rotterdam, October 13/14 ] – call not yet confirmed
  • Algeciras, October 16/17
  • Cape Town, October 29/30
  • Coega, November 01/02
  • Durban, November 05/07
  • Port Elizabeth, November 10/11
  • Cape Town, November 13/15
  • Algeciras, November 27
  • Rotterdam, November 30/December 01
  • London Gateway, December 02
  • Bremerhaven, December 04/05

Dine with the officers in a ship equipped with a passenger lounge, indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness room.  Act now in order to secure space.

For further information on this voyage, or travel by cargo ship in general, please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Round the World: Crossing The Atlantic On A Cargo Ship

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I have just discovered my favorite way to travel. The 12 day voyage was wonderful and I didn’t want it to end, no matter how much I was looking forward to further adventures in the US.

Much of the success of the ship is due to the lovely fellow passengers and crew on board the CMA CGM JAMAICA. We were five passengers: a French couple, and three other women, an American, a German and myself. Everyone was friendly, sociable and willing to party. And party we did. We were invited to a party in the crew recreation room the first day at sea, and the party lasted until 2 am when I had to beg off. The party didn’t really stop until we arrived in Charleston. Sure, the crew had work from 8 am to 5 pm, plus the on call shifts on the bridge and engine room, but that just gave us passengers time to rest until the next party.

The crew onboard was part Ukranian, mostly the officers, and part Filipino, hence most of the crew. The messrooms and recreation rooms were split according to nationality, not officer/crew distinction. I guess it works for them, but as I have been used to very mixed international groups, both at work and with my friends, I find such divisions odd. The Filipino crew especially were absolute darlings and we spent most of our time with them. Imagine our very great surprise when they told us that in their collective many years at sea, we were the first passengers ever to party with them. It may have had something to do with us being mostly women and thus a welcome change from the all-male crew. Whatever the cause, it was magical.

We did take a few nights off, watching movies or BBC’s Jane Austen TV series in my room, and I had a few solitary evenings when I felt the need to re-charge. We also gathered for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the officers’ messroom, took turns around the open deck, and spent time at the forward deck, watching the sea go by. Of course we also got stellar tours of the ship, first inside the super structure including the bridge, then twice around the ship including the outside, and finally the engine room, which was very exciting.

Meal times for passengers were 8 am for breakfast, 12:30 for lunch and 18:30 for dinner. The food was good, plentiful, and mostly potatoes/pasta, meat/fish and vegetables. There was usually also a soup (mostly with meat), and always a few different salads, bread and cheese. Dessert was usually fresh fruit, which was lovely, with an occasional cake or ice cream. I had brought some hummus with me, and I had that usually at breakfast with toast, cucumber and tomatoes. I explained that I was vegetarian at first dinner, so for all other meals I was brought the food without the dead animals automatically. Great service!

The sea was mostly calm, with a few rocky nights, but I held up well. The weather prohibited us from going outside on some days, whether it was due to waves, wind or rain, but on most days we spent at least a few hours outside. I was walking laps around the long forward deck of the ship whenever I could. The last few days were hot and sunny, and despite a high SPF sun screen, I managed to get a sunburn.

The way the ship was organized is that the super structure, i.e. the tall part with all the crew and passenger quarters (in photo) shared spaces and engine control room, stands between the two decks. The back part is shorter, about 50 meters, and the long front part extends about 200 meters. The walkway along the edge in the front is mostly underneath the containers, which dominate both decks. There were nine decks accessible to us: the upper deck where the ship’s office was, decks A-G with cabins and shared spaces, and the bridge. We were allowed on the bridge most of the time, with permission from the officer on charge. Only when they were busy with either departure or arrival, and usually at night time, the bridge was off limits.

Boarding and disembarking went with little fuss and ceremony. I took a taxi to the harbor in Bremerhaven and was dropped off at the reception. They waved me through to a little shed next to the fence, and a shuttle bus picked me up from there. I walked up the gangway to what turned out to be the upperdeck level, submitted my passport, and signed a few papers, and that was it. I was in my cabin at around noon. The ship departed at 11 pm, and I spent it mostly in my cabin, reading. It had been a hectic few days and I was glad of the chance to take it easy. The outside areas were off limits during cargo loading and offloading anyway.

Leaving the ship was also quite straightforward. A US immigration officer came onboard to do a “face check”, i.e. comparing faces to passports, and asking a few questions about me, where I was coming from and what my plans in the US were. I got my stamps, and it all took about 5 minutes. We organized a taxi pickup from the ship with an agent who came to the ship at the same time as immigration. When we were ready, we just walked down the ramp and got on the taxi. There was no customs or further passport checks. Simple!

Two of my worries from an earlier post were thus dispelled. I was not sea sick at all, and there was no trouble with immigration. What I hadn’t expected was the emotional whiplash of leaving the ship after 12 days at sea. We were such a close group of people, amplified with the lack of contact with outside world, that leaving the ship was hard. I would have gladly continued on. After being fully pampered by the lovely crew, in my own suite of rooms, with everything prepared for us, the prospect of other people, traffic, noise, and dealing with my own accommodation, travel and food was daunting.

But, I had to get off, they wouldn’t let me stay. Besides, I had the whole of US waiting for me. And two more cargo ship passages to come.

This voyage set a really high bar for any other cargo ship trip, however, and I will never forget it, or the people I shared it with.

For further details of booking a cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Round The World On Cargo Ships, from the blog Footprints and Photos

This week, we will be featuring two blog postings by a Cruise People client who this year has crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific and is now preparing to return from Australia to Europe via Southeast Asia. Here is our client’s first blog posting on this subject as she was in the midst of her planning this January.

RTW on cargo ships

FootprintsAndFotos / January 28, 2016

Traveling round the world on a cargo ship, doesn’t that just sound like the most amazing adventure? Not only is it the most environmentally friendly way to cross oceans (more on that in a later post), but it evokes nostalgia for a world gone by.

1920s ship photoBooking a passage on a cargo ship is not as simple as booking a flight, however. You cannot book cargo passages or even view available ships and cabins online. Also, due to limited number of cabins, the passages should be booked 3-6 months in advance. However, it can be done. There are a few agencies who book passages on a cargo ship. I have used The Cruise People Ltd for all my cargo ship bookings. They are based in London and book freighter travel around the world. So how do you do it?

Planning: first, have an idea when and where you would like to go. Or, you can browse around the above website and look for inspiration. I did originally think about getting a freighter from Iceland to Greenland and from there to Canada, but that doesn’t seem possible on cargo ships. If you have found these options, do comment below. I was also thinking about South America, but that would have extended my total travel time too far, so decided to leave that in the dream pile for now.

Getting in touch: once I settled on my current itinerary, from Europe to US, then to Australia and finally to South East Asia, I then simply e-mailed The Cruise People with my questions. At first, my timelines were open, so we only established that they can book all three legs of my cargo journeys. As soon as I knew when I could set off, I sent an inquiry for the EU-US leg with my preferred date range. The agent checked and sent me an option for mid April, which I was happy to accept.

Paperwork, Part 1: I received an option for the journey in return mail, with four pdf files and an excel invoice. The deposit needed to be paid and documents signed within a week to confirm the booking. The initial paperwork depends on the shipping line, but typically includes various terms and conditions, indemnity letter and an identity form with details about myself, such as address and passport details.

Paperwork, Part 2: once the deposit has gone through and the initial paperwork received by the agent, the booking is then confirmed and a final round of paperwork is needed. Again, this varies from ship to ship, but usually includes a declaration that I understand the terms and conditions, a doctor’s certificate qualifying me to travel on a cargo ship, information about travel and health insurance, and relevant visas. Many of these I didn’t have available at time of booking, but they can be provided closer to sail time, fortunately. Having completed what I could, I sent the scans back to the agent.

Photo by Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons The rest of the passage fare needs to be paid within 2 months of planned departure. The doctor’s certificate can only be obtained less than 30 days of departure. This means that for the US to Australia and Australia to Malaysia, I will need to get these from local clinics in my departure country. Additionally, you need of course a valid passport and visas for all relevant countries. All in all, it can take weeks to book your cargo travel and provide all necessary documents.

Cargo travel is not a fast and cheap travel option. In a single cabin, the cost is around 80-100 euros per day, with additional booking fees, port fees and taxes and a deviation insurance of about 200 euros (in case the ship has to make an unscheduled stop due to a medical reason). Crossing the Atlantic takes around 11 days, with about 21 days from US to Australia, and another 10 days to Malaysia.

Yet, cargo travel is a wonderful option for those with time and money, and ability to commit to a schedule many months in advance.

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For further details of how to book a cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Last Minute Polsteam Cargo Ship With Open Cabins From Amsterdam To The Great Lakes, Second Half September, From $1,640 Plus Taxes

Polsteam Isadora DSCF21065

Polsteam’s Isadora, photographed by Gordon L Wolford in the St Lawrence River near Brockville, Ontario.

For those wanting to return to North America this autumn by sea, or sail into the Great Lakes we have an extra sailing by Polsteam’s m.v. Isadora, scheduled from Amsterdam/IJmuiden for Cleveland, Ohio, and Burns Harbor, Indiana, in the second half of Septober.

Available for last-minute booking are the Owner’s cabin on Bridge Deck, a double cabin on Main Deck and two single cabins on Main Deck, one with a forward hatch view and one with an outboard view to the side.

Arrival IJmuiden for loading is presently scheduled for about September 16 and sailing three or four days later. To qualify for this sailing, passengers that are not US or Canadian citizens require a full US visa as cargo ships are not party to the visa waiver scheme.

Fares for this departure are $1,640 per person single or double to Cleveland and $1,880 to Burns Harbor, while the Owners cabin is $1,835 to Cleveland and $2,035 to Burns Harbor. Port taxes are extra at $132 per person.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at passenger agents The Cruise People Ltd in London om +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

 

Four-Ship Europe-Singapore Cargo-Passenger Service Offered By Peter Doehle On The Hanjin Run

Hanjin AsiaConnections to and from Singapore are now made by four 5-passenger ships of the Hanjin Asia class

Notice: No further passenger service is offered on any Hanjin route.

Now that so many European container services sail to Malaysian ports such as Port Kelang and Tanjung Telepas, there is only one regular cargo-passenger service left between Europe and Singapore.

These fast express  voyages are now available on a 63-day round trip (speeded up from 77 days) from Hamburg, Rotterdam and Algeciras to Singapore and China. The voyage from Algeciras to Singapore takes only 18 days. In the reverse direction, a fast and frequent 22-day cargo-passenger service is available from Singapore to Hamburg.Calls after Singapore are made at Yantian, Pusan, Shanghai and back to Yantian and Singapore again.

These particular cargo-passenger services are offered by four Peter Doehle-owned ships on the Hanjin route (Hanjin Africa, Hanjin Asia, Hanjin Blue Ocean and Hanjin Harmony), with bookings by Frachtschiff-Touristik Kapt Peter Zylmann. Each of the 2012-built ships has one Double Owners cabin and three single cabins.

For further details of booking passage to or from Singapore or other ports please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.