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Sunday, November 1, 2015

travelling by ships ~ need not be Cruises ! one can travel by Cargo ships too !!

~ looks like a dream luxury suite …. Do you know where it is located ?

SHIPs are enchanting and are treat to watch – be it from the close quarters or seeing them at a distance, sitting on the shore ! adventurers have navigated across the seas in search of great fortunes braving winds and waves.  Ships have been growing bigger and speed ever increasing with modern technology. 

In Dec 2008, i had circulated something on ‘MSC Daniela’ being  extraordinary not only in terms of size, but also in its design aspects-  the biggest containership ever classed by Germanischer Lloyd (GL)  at that time.  It was touted to be  with  14000 TEU capacity.  In Nov 2012, CMA CGM Marco Polo had the unofficial title.  It can  hold 16,020 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit containers) superceding the previous largest Emma Mærsk and her seven sisters of the Mærsk E-class.  The giant Christophe Colomb, has  capacity of 13344 TEU of which 800 are reefers.

While all those are Container ships – the ultimate in luxury in ‘ luxury cruisers’. A cruise ship  is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are a part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way. Transportation is not the prime purpose, as cruise ships operate mostly on routes that return passengers to their originating port.  Stay inside these vessels itself is considered a luxury – there are even "cruises to nowhere" or "nowhere voyages" where the ship makes 2-3 night round trips without any ports of call.  ….. at ports where they call, people would get down to trotter around and see the important places – these people are not getting out this luxury cruise at will !

Most of us thought that Passenger ships carry passengers and Cargo ships [bulkers, general carriers, container ships, ROROs, tankers and more] transported cargo from one place to another.  This  interesting article in Daily Mail is on ‘ travel by a freight ship’ !!!

Tired of long delays, aggravating security lines, and airports that confiscate your shampoo? Then you might want to try traveling by cargo ship. Cargo ships can take a maximum of twelve people on board as travelers - and have more frequent and varied routes, according to WTOP. Cargo travel can also be cheaper than cruise lines. But best of all? No line for the buffet, far less crowds, and no dress code. And absolutely nobody will nudge you to dance the Macarena on a stage by the pool. Nor will anyone try to sign you up for on-land tours or drinking packages.

CMA CGM is one freight company that will take passengers to ports all over the world - it costs about $100 a day, and includes three meals and a cabin that's comparable to a cruise ship cabin or even better.  Freight passengers take meals with the ship's crew - which can lead to much more interesting conversation than the usual.  There are other ships like MV Baltrum Trader that  carries passengers - carrying nearly 2,000 containers filled with food, clothing and other goods.

In these type of ships, one can take as much luggage as would fit one’s cabin.  Most cabins have a refrigerator, but not necessarily a TV. Cabins are comparable, or even better than, a deluxe cabin on a cruise ship.  While there may not be a disco or casino (a plus or a minus, depending), you can still buy booze and cigarettes via the duty free. Internet access is limited, but there are usually Ping-Pong tables, dartboards, a selection of CDs and DVDs, according to Bloomberg News.

Three meals a day are included in the price, which is usually ranges from $65 to $100 a day, according to Passengers stay in a cabin, just like on a regular cruise line. But there's very little housekeeping, as cabins are usually cleaned only once a week. The downside? Freight ships are slow.  One 72-year-old retired farmer from Australia told Bloomberg News his personal record at sea is 110 days getting from Dunkirk, in northern France, to Singapore. But he told the outlet that he 'likes the solitude.' Freight ship passengers should like solitude, long days at sea, and chatting with ship's crew.

The Panama Canal (above) offers freight travellers an easy way to get to many ports of call - CMA CGM offers an 83-day 'world adventure' to China and Europe via the canal.  The average length of a freighter trip is 40 to 50 days. Passengers also need to book about a month in advance - and aren't guaranteed a ride. The most popular routes are between China and Europe. Shipping company CMA CGM says it has taken about 600 passengers across the sea since 2012.

It need not be Panama Canal ~ can be the exotic Singapore, Malaysia also !  ~ but before booking a slot, there would not be qualified medical attendants and hence not the preferred mode for those with health problems.  Additionally, freight ships do not have stabilizers, so if you're prone to sea sickness, you may want to book that cruise ship or flight after all. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

1st Nov. 2015.

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