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Freighter Trip to the Mediterranean -- Part IIAuthor: DocJohnB (More Trip Reviews by DocJohnB)
Date of Trip: May 2006
My journey had ended.
Some Final and Random Thoughts
About the only thing similar between a mass market cruise and this type of cruise is that they both are seagoing ventures. This type of travel is not for everybody. One must be adventurous, self-reliant, and as I have mentioned over and over -- FLEXIBLE.
On a freighter you are stuck with the passengers you travel with. On a cruise ship, you can normally manage to avoid them if you want. One distinct draw-back, especially for me though, would have been to have no other passengers. I suppose I would have been able to enjoy myself, but certainly not as much as I did interacting with the other passengers.
The crews on both cruise ships and freighters are hard, hard working individuals.
Make sure you have a planning list made out well in advance of your trip. You can add or delete items as necessary.
On a freighter, no matter the length of the trip, you only need enough clothes to for 7-10 days as there are laundry facilities available. You do not need to bring anything fancy as the atmosphere is strictly casual.
Money -- Make sure you have enough cash. Or you have a viable option, i.e. credit card with cash withdrawal or an ATM with an accessible PIN. I learned that traveler's checks are as popular nor as easy to cash as they were previously. Had I had a proper PIN, I could have gotten by with a couple hundred dollars cash to start this trip (and possibly even less).
If I were to do another freighter trip, it probably would not be on a containership. Their time in port is short and so much depends on time of arrival as to how much time you have to spend in any given port. Patty mentioned that on a bulk freighter the time in port can range from 1-3 days and even more. If you are interested in ports rather than just the sea travel, this is something to think about.
IMPORTANT: Find out as much information about your port of embarkation/debarkation as possible. I was somewhat familiar with the Port of Miami, but I was still surprised at the difficulty I experienced in getting to the ship. Getting off in Miami would have been even more difficult. Pierre the elder was transporting a wood burning stove that he had brought in France back on the ship with him. This thing weighed at least 300 pounds and he had no idea how he would get it off the docks to his home in Palm Beach. I am sure he found some way, but...
Take plenty of reading material or other things to do. You are charged with your own entertainment. When you leave the ship, contribute to the ship's library for travelers who will follow.
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