Where can you travel with a port container vessel?

Generally speaking, a container vessel can go anywhere, from China to Peru and from New Zealand to Cape North (except Antarctica). The longest non stop passage can last ~ 3 weeks (for example, crossing the Pacific Ocean or from Japan to Brazil) and the shortest distance between two ports can be covered in less than 2 hours (for example, between Trieste – Italy and Koper – Slovenia, or between some small ports in China).

You have to know that only some companies allow passengers on board their cargo vessels and, if you want to travel from one place to another, you have to spend some time doing research. If you want to ask help from a travel agency, the best thing you have to do is state the destination and period and let the agency come with some available options regarding which vessel to join.

The most popular route for passengers is crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from Europa to USA or the other way around.

Most of the passengers embark/ disembark in ports like Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, Southampton, Felixstowe, Barcelona, Valencia, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Genoa or Trieste and disembark/embark on the other side of the Atlantic, in Miami, New York, Charleston, Boston or Savannah. If you are interested only in the crossing over the Atlantic, you can embark in Europe, in the last port the vessel is calling and disembark in the first port in the USA. In this case, you will only be able to watch the departure maneuver in your port of embarkation and the arrival in the port of signing off. A journey like this can last between 7 and 14 days (depending on the speed/schedule of the vessel). If you want a longer voyage, you can join the vessel in one port in Europe and have the possibility of visiting more than one-two European ports before starting the ocean passage.

If you are not interested in crossing the Atlantic or just want a few day voyage you can find a vessel which is calling more European ports. In this way, the cost regarding your transfer (from home to vessel) will be smaller and also the paper work less demanding as you’ll not have to apply for a USA visa.

Choosing the route is more connected with your actual intention. If you need to arrive from one point to another, you have to stick to this route, but, if you only want to have a nice and relaxing voyage, all you have to do is find the better option, taking into account costs for transfer (airplane ticket), weather, timing and availability.

If you want to go to Australia or New Zealand, you can join the vessel in Europe and arrive at your destination in about 4-5 weeks, after crossing the Suez Canal and calling a few more ports on the way.

There are many destinations you can choose from and you can even make an ‘around the world trip’, calling many ports from different continents. This kind of voyage can last between 2 and 3 months.

A very important thing you must take into consideration when booking a trip on a cargo ship is weather as it will decide your level of comfort more than you can imagine. Be sure you know how the weather is changing from one continent to another during a short period of time and choose your period of voyage in relation to season. For example, if you want to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the best time of the year will be between May and November.

As, generally speaking, a port container vessel can travel everywhere around the world, there are some areas in the world where passengers are not allowed to go or pass. In the last 5-6 years, due to an increase of piracy attacks around the East coast of Somalia, this area is considered of high risk and passengers are not allowed to embark on vessels trading/passing in these waters. Some companies extended these areas and included in high risk zone even the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. Anyhow, as piracy attacks have slowed down in the last year and it is continuing to pace down, it is possible that these routes can be back on the charts of passengers voyages in a very short time. A new risk area is considered to be the West Coast of Africa, especially the Gulf of Guinea.

It is also possible that some other areas to get more and more dangerous and become risk areas, so be sure you know what you choose as a destination for your trip.

Before embarking yourself in a longer passage, you might have a start with a few day voyage to see if this is the thing for you. Once you decided the route and the period of time, be sure to measure and compare a few options before choosing the vessel and booking the trip.


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