Australia Or New Zealand: If You Are Planning To Sail There By Cargo Ship In 2020, This Is What You Need To Know

Nordpacific copyright Brian Saunders

The Nordpacific and Nordmaple offer eight sailings a year to Australia, with one cabin each

For “Down Under” sea travellers, things are not what they used to be. Not that many years ago, Contship, NSB, Rickmers and P&O Nedlloyd offered direct passenger space on fifteen ships running between Europe and Australasia, with a choice of sailing via Suez or Panama. The Bank Line also ran four ships to New Zealand and Blue Star Line and Columbus Line offered frequent sailings to and from the USA. And MSC once offered regular service via Durban.

Today, NSB operate but two direct ships, the 5-passenger Buxcliff and MSC Flaminia, sailing from London Gateway and other European ports via Suez to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. But they do not serve New Zealand. The Nordpacific and Nordmaple do offer occasional sailings via Panama that call in New Zealand, but have only one cabin each.

Other than these ships, which are always fully-booked, one needs to use one’s ingenuity if one wants to sail all the way to Australia these days.

Sailing From Europe: If one wants to sail all the way, and there is no space on the direct ships, The Cruise People can offer a through passage with change of ships en route. But here are some facts you need to know before proceeding:

  • As Singapore is now the last port of call in Asia it  is no longer a quick trip from the UK. The outbund trip is now more than twice as long as the inbound voyage
  • Port Kelang requires passengers arriving by cargo ship to be able to present a valid flight ticket back to their country of origin.

Here are some sample transit times and fares from Europe to Singapore and Port Kelang:

  • Southampton/Singapore 50 days (€6,627 pp double or €7,627 single)
  • Algeciras/Singapore 45 days (€5,977 pp double or €6,877 single)
  • Malta/Singapore 39 days (€5,197 pp double or €5,977 single

If you don’t mind buying refundable flight tickets to allow you to disembark in Port Kelang, it will cut at least two weeks off your sea time and save lots of money.

  • Southampton/Port Kelang 36 days (€4,807 pp double or €5,527 single)
  • Algeciras/Port Kelang 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)
  • Malta/Port Kelang 24 days (€3,247 pp double or €3,727 single)

We have regular Australian sailings from Singapore and Port Kelang to Fremantle (9 days), Sydney (15 days), Melbourne (18 days) and Adelaide (21 days). One just needs to allow enough days between sailings in case there are slippages in the schedules

Returning to Europe. If you are looking to sail just one way then we would highly recommend the northbound voyage as with Singapore now being the last port in Asia, it offers much faster sailings back to Europe. Here are the typical transit times and fares:

  • Fremantle/Singapore 8 days (€1,087 pp double or €1,247 single)
  • Sydney/Singapore 19 days, (€2,407 pp double or €2,787 single) thence
  • Singapore/Algeciras 18 days (€2,467 pp double or €2,827 single)
  • Singapore/Le Havre 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)
  • Singapore/Southampton 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)
CMA CGM Aquila Copyright Jens Grabbe.jpg

The CMA CGM Aquila sails on the Columbus PNW Line from Seattle and Vancouver

Sailing from North America: For other combinations involving a change of ship we list below some routings and transit times via Asia and the Pacific:

  • Oakland/Hong Kong 16 days (Columbus Jax) (€1,887 pp double or €2,207 single)
  • Oakland/Hong Kong 19 days (Pearl River) (€2,217 pp double or €2,597 single)
  • Vancouver/Qingdao 26 days (PNW Line) (€2,987 pp double or €3,507 single)
  • Vancouver/Singapore 39 days (PNW Line) (€4,417 pp double or €5,197 single)
CMA CGM Amber

The CMA CGM Amber connects Hong Kong and Ningbo with Brisbane and New Zealand

With connections to Australia and New Zealand

  • Hong Kong/Brisbane 21 days (Anzex Line) (€2,647 pp double or €3067 single)
  • Ningbo/Auckland 21 days (Anzex Line) (€2,647 pp double or €3,067 single)
  • Ningbo/Brisbane 16 days (Anzex Line) (€2,047 pp double or €2,367 single)
  • Qingdao/Melbourne 18 days (A3N ANL) (€2,287 pp double or €2,647 single)
  • Qingdao/Sydney 21 days (A3N ANL) (€2,647 pp double or €3,067 single)

With return times back from Australia and New Zealand

  • Brisbane/Yokohama 12 days (A3N ANL) (€1,567 pp double or €1,807 single)
  • Singapore/Yokohama 15 days (A3N ANL) (€1,927 pp double or €2,277 single)
  • Sydney/Qingdao 20 days (A3N ANL) (€2,527 pp double or €2,927 single)
  • Tauranga/Hong Kong 14 days (A3N ANL) (€1,807 pp double or €2,087 single)

And return times back to North America

  • Hong Kong/Los Angeles 18 days (Pearl River) (€2,107 pp double or €2,467 single)
  • Singapore/Los Angeles 28 days (Columbus Jax) (€3,207 pp double or €3,767 sole)

Feel free to call or email and ask to see the various fact sheets or ask about schedules to find the possibilities that might suit you.

Miri Lopusna, who handles our freighter bookings, can respond to any specific enquiry. You can reach Miri at CruisePeopleML@aol.com