Oliver, passenger on board HS Bach

Oliver came on board HS Bach in Bremerhaven, in August last year. The minute he arrived in the Ship’s office with his backpack and his blue eyes, a little shy, but very alert and eager to start his adventure, I understood he was for the first time on a vessel. I was a little amazed by his very young age and curious to find out the reasons for which he chose to travel on a container vessel. We had plenty of time to get to know each other better – while staying outside in the wing to watch the departure from one port or the arrival in the next one, while spending time forward bird watching together with the other passenger on board, Annemarie (her story here). He enjoyed spending time with the crew and he joined them few times in their Recreation Room – listening to their karaoke singing and having fun.

As we were having a barbeque with a baptism ceremony coming (for one member of the crew) he accepted with great enthusiasm to be part of this important event. He enjoyed every minute of the ceremony and received the baptism certificate from Neptune with a big smile on his face.

Baptism ceremony on HS Bach

Baptism ceremony on board HS Bach

Baptism ceremony on board HS Bach 2

I am sure he felt like belonging to our ‘family’ and was a little sad to leave us at the end of the trip. Arriving at his destination – after spending 2 weeks on board – he really wanted to watch HS Bach leaving the port, so he waited for the departure time and came on the pier to bid us goodbye.

One year after he completed his journey, Oliver was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the time he spent on board:

-Why did you choose travelling on a container vessel? (why not plane, cruiser? …)

‘I decided to travel with a container vessel because I wanted to travel in a special way. What I also wanted was to find out how life at sea is like and how the people work on such large ships. Another reason why I chose a container vessel is that there aren’t as many people on board as in a cruise ship, this makes it possible for the guest on board to interact with the crew and to see firsthand how the containers are charged and discharged in the different ports.’

-When did your trip take place and which area did it cover?

‘My trip took place in August 2013. The trip started in Bremerhaven (Germany) and ended in Veracruz (Mexico). The vessel made two short stops in Charleston and in Miami.’

Arriving Miami– Arriving in Miami –

– What can you say about the preparation of the trip – papers involved, visas… ?

‘I booked this trip with the travel agency “Hamburg Süd Reiseagentur”. This agency organized everything for me. They gave me all the important information I needed to start the trip without complications. The only thing I had to organize on my own was the tourist VISA for the USA.’

-How were the weather and the sea?

‘During the two weeks I spent at sea the weather was very friendly during most of the time. The temperatures varied between 20 and 25°C. What I found astonishing is how fast the weather can change in the middle of the Ocean; the weather could change from sun and blue sky to fog and rain within a few minutes, and this several times a day.’

-How would you describe accommodation/ food on board?

‘I was accommodated at the owner’s cabin. The cabin was large and had a small office, a comfortable bedroom and a private bathroom. I was very pleased with the cabin.

The food on board was great, the cook managed to fix a healthy and tasty menu.’

– How was your relation/interaction with the crew?

‘On the ship I had a good relationship with everybody of the crew, especially with the Filipinos. They were always very friendly. They also gave me the possibility to talk with them about life at sea on such a vessel and about how it is like to live away from their families and friends.’

-Did you take part in any celebration/party while on vessel?

‘Yes, I had the possibility to celebrate with the crew the birthday of one of its members. They organized a small after-work karaoke.

Karaoke party in Crew Recreation Room

In addition to the karaoke they also organized a “Baptize” for me because it was the first time I crossed the Atlantic. We had a Barbecue outside of the bridge, with a whole roasted pig and salads. We had a wonderful time together.’


-Would you do this kind of trip again?

‘I would certainly do a trip like this again. For me it was a great experience, I had the possibility to get to see nature at sea, to see great sunsets and to meet great people.

I would certainly recommend a trip like this to everybody. It is a great change to have an unforgettable adventure and to see the world from a completely different side.’


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