Check list for freighter passengers
A small check list for the passage:
- Check your passport with regards to validity
- Visa applications if necessary
- Cash/cards and cheques
- Health insurance for the voyage
- Seasickness Pills
- Medical certificate
- Ship's address to be given to relatives/friends
- Buy guidebook/s with places of interest for the different ports of call.
- Toiletries- soap, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving foam, razors. Etc..
- Sun protection, insect spray
- A pair of shoes with non-skid soles
- Holiday reading materials
- Books and games, Cassette recorder
- Photo /video films, batteries
- Light headgear for tropical areas
- Underwear, socks
- Comb/brush, alarm clock
- A small pocket torch
- List of dialling codes for calls from abroad to your home country
FREIGHTER TRAVEL AND BOARDING EXPLAINED
We are pleased that you have made the right decision by choosing a freighter voyage.
Please read the following information with explanation of what to expect before and during your trip. We hope that you will find this information useful and it would help you with the preparations for the forthcoming trip. You will find the answers to your questions in this document.
DEPARTURE OF SHIP
- Cargo ship schedules change at any time and on short notice: changes of a few hours to several days may occur. In a very few exceptional cases, there may also be delays of up to two weeks.
- The duration of berthing times in port depends on various factors, such as weather conditions, loading operations or delays as a result of port congestion.
- Please keep in touch with the local agent to obtain confirmation of the exact arrival and departure time of the ship 10 days before the planned departure date. Agent details will be provided by Sea Travel Ltd agent either at the time of booking or well before departure.
- Please always bear in mind that the vessel cannot wait therefore if your journey to the port takes longer always make sure to include an overnight hotel stay close to the port before embarkation.
- Please leave the additional travel arrangements such as hotel stay/flight/train tickets, etc.. after arrival for as late as possible to avoid disappointment and loss of funds if cancellations are necessary due to the changes in departure and arrival dates. Before making the above reservations please ask for an up to date estimated arrival at the time.
- It is important to inform Sea Travel Ltd agent and the Local Port Agent of your present whereabouts during the days before departure, giving contact details such as a mobile/cellular phone number if you have one or at the hotel, relatives, etc. where you intend to stay so that not only you can reach us and the agent, but we too are able to contact you at any time. Please don't leave home, without having contacted the port agent beforehand.
- Usually the vessel does not sail immediately after your embarkation. Cargo procedures often take place and very often take longer than expected.
- Owing to the strict guidelines of the ISPS Code, every passenger and an accompanying person has to be registered at the terminal. It is not possible to enter the port without prior registration at the gate. This regulation now applies worldwide.
- As soon as the vessel has left the port, passengers will be briefed on all procedures while on board the vessel.
- After registration at the entrance of the terminal, you are taken up to the ship by a shuttle bus or specially designated taxis. The bus will be requested by the personnel at the port entrance. However, this service is not offered in all ports. In any case the port agent is the person who would take you to the vessel on embarkation.
- There is also a possibility to travel to the ship or depart from the ship using your own car. The vehicle though may not be allowed to park in front of the ship, where gantries, lorries or shipboard cranes are in operation. In some cases there are parking facilities and unattended parking lots in front of the container terminal. Your safety comes first therefore on arrival at the harbour please look around carefully before choosing your route, avoid any vehicles, check corners, exists, etc… as the operators of the shipboard equipment often have restricted view because of the bulky cargo.
- Please have your travel documents, passport, vaccination certificates, visas/tourist cards, medical certificates, etc… ready on boarding in case they need to be handed to the Captain of the vessel for inspection.
- - International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR EMBARKATION
- All passengers will receive in advance the address and telephone number of the charterer’s local shipping agent who would give exact details of the berth and berthing times. The agent usually organises handling by customs or immigration. If passengers require additional services provided by the agent, e.g. transfers, these have to be paid for immediately (in cash) at the time and on the spot.
- In some ports, the local agents or authorities may demand additional embarkation or disembarkation fees, which may also have to be settled at once.
- In some ports, e.g. Rotterdam, the customer must also report in person to the waterways police before embarkation or after disembarkation. In Antwerp, for example, travellers from non-EU countries must report to the waterways police. Please check with the proper authorities for any custom requirements or ask the port agent .
- If you plan to leave the ship again, please find out the departure time in advance from the Captain to ensure you know the deadline for being back on board. Please make a note of the telephone and mobile phone numbers of the ship and possibly leave your own mobile number so that you can be reached if there are any changes at short notice.
- Take great care when boarding the ship: the gangway may be slightly wobbly or inadequately supported. Watch out for your clothing, as ropes and stays can be greasy. If you have any heavy or bulky items of luggage, ask a crew member to assist you.
- At the ship’s gangway, you will be registered by the crew’s gangway watch. If the safety level has been raised as a consequence of specific occurrences in port and on board, your luggage may be searched.
MISSING THE DEPARTURE OF THE SHIP
- In case you have missed the vessel, ask the local agent to assist you. If there are any problems, you can also contact us at Sea Travel Ltd and we might be able to help with embarkation in the next port if Carrier permits. Please note that you would have to bear all costs incurred if you miss the departure of the ship.
ARRIVAL ON BOARD
- At the port loading/unloading operations, taking on provisions, possibly a change of crew and minor repairs will be taking place at the same time. Please appreciate that this work has absolute priority.
- Please don’t expect any big “reception committee” on board, as the crew is usually very busy while the ship is in port. As soon as the vessel has left the port, all procedures on board will be explained to you.
- On board, please ask to see the Captain or the first officer. These gentlemen are not always available in the harbour because they are dealing with loading business therefore in such cases somebody else will help you and show you to your cabin. By the way, sailors call the cabin "bunk" even if your cabin is the most luxurious admiral's Suite. As soon as the ship has left the coast, there is time for tidying up and things get less hectic. The everyday life on board starts.
LANGUAGE ON BOARD
- The shipboard language is English as the crew is International. The communication with the crew and the officers will be in English and the security information will be given in English language as well. An English dictionary could be useful for passengers who are not English speaking.
WORKING ON BOARD
- All work is performed by the crew. For various reasons, passengers are not permitted to work on board or to cover the costs of a passage by working.
DANGEROUS AREAS ON BOARD
- IN PORT …
Going on to the decks and into the holds during loading/unloading work is prohibited due to the high accident risk! Going on to the relevant superstructure decks may also be prohibited when the crew is taking provisions.
- WHEN THE SHIP BERTHS OR DEPARTS …
While the vessel berths or departs, passengers will not be allowed to stand in the forward of the ship or the aft of the ship, as this is where the docking lines are and handling these heavy lines can be dangerous, even for seamen. On these occasions, you are best advised to remain on the superstructure decks, where it is safe and there is a good view of everything going on.
- AT SEA …
During maintenance work on deck, you should consult the first officer concerning the areas on deck where it can be dangerous, e.g. when machines are in operation, and should thus be avoided.
As the weather at sea can change very quickly, you should always expect a sudden seaway. Make sure that everything in your cabin is secured to prevent any items falling down and causing injuries. You are always advised to wear non-slippery shoes. board. Please always use the internal stairs or lift (if available) in a seaway, as steps on the outer decks are slippery with saltwater in bad weather and thus constitute a high accident risk.
In general, you should always follow the exact instructions issued by the port and ship personnel.
- Every traveller is personally responsible for procuring any necessary visas, tourist cards, passports, vaccinations, etc. Our notes in the specific travel descriptions and visa information are non-binding.
- Generally, a medical certificate issued no longer than 30 days prior to the commencement of the voyage is required.
- A passport valid at the end of the voyage for at least 6/9 or more months is always required. In quite a few countries, a passport with a further 12 months’ validity is required.
- For the passage through the Suez and Panama Canal, a certificate of a valid yellow fever vaccination is also demanded by the local authorities. The port authorities of the Suez and Panama Canal require these vaccinations, although according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) they are not in fact necessary. On entry by cargo ship, a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is also required by other countries (e.g., China, Latin America, Africa, etc..). The regulations for the individual countries must always be observed.
- Vaccinations are provided by your public health department or family doctor or a tropical institute.
- All passengers should inform themselves promptly about infection and vaccination protection as well as other prophylactic measures. You may have to obtain medical advice on thrombosis and other health risks. In the interest of your health, please inform yourself adequately, for example by consulting your public health department, doctors with experience of travel problems, specialists in tropical medicine, medical travel information services or the Federal Centre for Health Education.
- Occasionally entirely different visa regulations apply for all ports of call during the voyage. Passengers must find out what is required well before the beginning of the voyage from the responsible authorities, consulates or embassies of the specific countries.
It is essential that you point out that the entry will be by cargo ship! There may be different regulations for entry via passenger vessel or aircraft.
- Other visa and vaccination regulations may apply for passengers. Please contact the responsible authorities, consulates or embassies for information.
- IMPORTANT: Immediately on embarkation, please hand over – unsolicited – all travel documents, including passport; vaccination certificate; insurance declaration; etc.... to the Captain or the responsible officer.
- There is no doctor on board. The vessel has a well-stocked ship’s dispensary and a treatment room. The Captain and officers have the necessary skills to give first aid and are also able to provide further treatment.
- You should ensure that you take an adequate quantity of important medicaments you will need during the voyage (daily) with you on board. The ship’s dispensary is not equipped to meet such a requirement.
CONTAINERS and CONTAINERSHIPS
- Containers are standard metal boxes used in specific sizes worldwide. They are usually 20 and 40 ft containers (a 20 ft container is 6.06m long and 2.44m wide and high. A 20 ft container unit is also called TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit)).
- Containerships are designed exclusively for transporting containers, in which goods of all types are carried. Sea Travel Ltd. does not organise any cargo/container transport services and do not have information of what is the content of the containers.
- The Crew on Containerships are International. The Officers are manly from EU countries and most of the remaining crew members are from the Philippines. Should you wish for all crew members to be tipped then please ask the captain about a crew kitty. This is A THANK YOU in the form of a donated video film for the crew (usually VHS System) or DVD is a good idea and will make people happy. Please keep in mind that most of the crew members speak English. The crew on board some ships are not allowed alcohol to avoid complications. Please ask the captain.
- Deviation insurance is mandatory for every person on board and is automatically added to the fare quoted or paid. Deviation insurance covers the shipping company costs if the vessel is forced to change course due to an illness, accident or death of the insured person. However, treatment, transport and similar costs for the insured person are not covered by the deviation insurance. To cover these costs, an international travel health insurance for ship voyages incl. return transport is essential.
- The cost of the deviation insurance can vary and will be advised and added to the fare.
THEFT IN PORTS OR WHILE THE SHIP IS BERTHED
- With regret we need to mention the fact that there are thieves everywhere in the world, not just in “exotic” ports.
- We therefore recommend that you close your cabin door and windows carefully in port, even if you remain in the cabin. While in port, please also lock cupboards containing valuables, such as a camera, wallets, valuables, etc….
- A personal tip regarding the cabin door. After a while at sea you will realize that your closed door signals: "I don't want to talk to anybody." The open door, on the other hand: "Somebody may look in."
- All cargo ships carry a limited number of usual shipboard canteen goods customarily provided on board, e.g. specific brands of cigarette, alcoholic beverages, lemonade, juices, chocolate and personal grooming products. The store has fixed opening times, about which you are informed on board. However, no items can be sold in port, as the store is closed by the customs. The items purchased must always be paid for in cash, either when the goods are handed over or at the end of the voyage via the Captain. Currencies on board are the EURO and the USD. Payment by EC card, credit card or traveller’s cheque is not allowed.
- As the range of items in the store is limited, you should cover your personal travel requirements yourself if at all possible. In the course of a voyage, one or several articles may be sold out, and these can then be replenished only with the next delivery of provisions.
ELECTRIC POWER SUPPLY
- The electric voltage on board the ships is 220 V alternating current, 60 Hz. The sockets on board meet the European standards – double pin round sockets.
- Passengers are permitted to take photographs everywhere on board provided that they do not thereby disturb the crew’s work. Taking photos may be prohibited in some areas, e.g. in the Panama or Suez Canal. Please find out about this in good time by asking the Captain! Taking photographs in ports is generally strictly prohibited on the basis of the ISPS Code and is punished by the authorities with heavy fines and sometimes even prison sentences.
- Passengers must take an adequate supply of films and batteries with them, as these cannot be bought on board.
- There are no leisure animators on board cargo ships. Every passenger is responsible for his or her leisure activities and entertainment. Various leisure activities are possible on board: you can bask in the sun on a deckchair, read in the ship’s small library, watch a DVD in the common room or do something for your health by spending time in the swimming pool,sauna or fitness room . You can watch the crew at work and in the evening challenge a crew member to a little game. In fact, there are no limits to your leisure activities, as there is always something to see, learn or do on a ship. Many passengers also enjoy keeping a travel diary.
- You can, of course, also take your own CDs, DVDs or a world receiver with you on board.
- All leisure facilities on board are communal facilities shared with the crew.
PETS AND BICYCLES
- It is generally not allowed to take pets on board.
- Motorcycles and cars are also not permitted.
- Bicycles can be taken on board free of charge after making a suitable inquiry, although Sea Travel Ltd assumes no liability.
- A passenger’s cabin is his or her “home” for the entire duration of the voyage, and the passenger is responsible for ensuring that everything is “shipshape”. The steward usually cleans the cabin once a week, but you should bear in mind that he is concerned mainly with another working area, which means that he is scarcely capable of providing any additional cabin service.
- Cabins are mainly outside cabins.
- Bed linen and hand towels are provided.
- Under certain circumstances, the view from the windows of the cabin may be restricted or even blocked by containers or life boats stowed in front. An unobstructed view from the cabin window can therefore not be guaranteed.
- While passengers are disembarking, the new intake may already be waiting. If such a change of passengers is imminent, please vacate your cabin promptly before the ship berths.
Occasionally your cabin may still not be completely ready when you arrive on board. If something is missing, e.g. bed linen or hand towels, just contact the steward or another crew member.
- You should avoid entering the cabin of a crew member if the door is closed, as this indicates that the seaman wants to rest. Owing to the shift work on board, some crew members also sleep during the daytime. However, if the door is open and the crew member is also in the cabin, you can knock and enter on request.
- Even when in the harbour the auxiliary diesel generators continue to produce electricity. Many passengers love to listen to the comfortable humming of these engines. To be on the safe side we recommend that passengers who are particularly sensitive to noise take ear plugs with them
- It is essential to take non-slip shoes (e.g., sailing or gym shoes) for the voyage.
- We recommend windcheaters or wind- and weatherproof clothing suitable for the trip and season. If every type of climate zone is passed through on the voyage, you need to take a warm pullover and trousers and a rainproof jacket as well as light cotton clothing such as shorts and T-shirts.
- There is no dress code on board – we recommend light casual wear.
- Please avoid wearing bathing dress or shorts at meals.
BRIDGE AND ENGINE ROOM
- You have to ask the Captain or chief engineer for permission to enter these areas. It is not permitted to enter the engine room alone.
The engine control room and bridge are nerve centres of the ship, which you should make a point of seeing. It is normally possible to access the bridge. In adverse weather conditions, when the vessel is berthing or departing and at port entrances and exits, you will probably not be permitted to enter the bridge or engine room, as the Captain and officers have to concentrate fully on their work. Please appreciate this.
When on the bridge, the passenger should avoid the workplace of the officer and should ensure that his work is not obstructed. This ruling also applies when the ship is out at sea.
In time, you will develop a “feeling” that tells you when a visit to the bridge is likely to be welcome.
- Incidentally, it is not usual to knock before entering the bridge when the vessel is at sea. Greet those already on the bridge – particularly when it is dark – just loudly enough to make yourself noticed or understood. If it is night, after coming on to the bridge wait until your eyes have accustomed themselves to the darkness.
- Please never enter the bridge from the wing of the navigating bridge at night, as this can cause potentially dangerous misunderstandings with the bridge crew members, who may also fear a pirate attack in some areas.
- While on the bridge You will experience the tension caused by every manoeuvre in harbour. However, on many ships it is not possible to visit the bridge because of the ISPS security codes (International ship and port security code), that is valid since 2004. However, the best view will only be half as beautiful without good binoculars. As the binoculars on the bridge are important for nautical work, they cannot be lent to the passengers. Please use your own.
- It is customary — if something is happening around the ship — to speak in a low voice so that the crew are able to listen to the ship's radio. In the case of fog, steering towards a port and travelling along a river, distractions may easily have serious consequences. On the other hand, many a seaman will enjoy an interesting conversation with you during the long watches at sea. But please keep in mind that the bridge is a working area — you could call it an office —and the officers and the captain have to make some phone calls, do important planning or administrative work besides the watch.
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SHIP
- Passengers can receive mail during the voyage. The specific postal address can be found in the “port agent list”, which is attached to the travel documents.
The names of the recipient and the ship must be written in large, legible letters on the envelope. Find out in advance from the post office about the mail delivery times to ensure that the letter arrives promptly. It is advisable not to send valuables due to the risk of theft.
Although you can always hand mail over to the port agent, we cannot guarantee that it will arrive or even be passed on by the port agent.
- It is simpler and faster to phone or send a fax message. However, this is also comparatively expensive and should thus be reserved for urgent cases.
- The e-mail system on board may be used for a fee to send and receive e-mails following registration on board. As administrator of the private e-mail addresses and the software, the Captain is technically also able to read e-mail traffic. However, he is urged not to do so out of respect for users’ desire for privacy.
- Payment is in cash (Euros or US dollars).
- There is no internet access on board.
- It is ideal to take your own mobile phone although they don't function in every country or near the coast. Making calls from shore is cheaper. In many countries telephone cards have gained acceptance. Telephone cards can be purchased at post offices, some big railway stations, tourist information or sometimes even at the stevedore agencies at the harbour.
- Passengers may take shore excursions on their own responsibility. They have to organise these themselves. Excursions must be carefully planned, as the ship’s berthing times are usually quite short. It is best to obtain the relevant country information or travel guides in advance. Crew members may also give you tips for a shore excursion. In exceptional cases, shore excursions are not permitted in a few countries/ports.
- Before leaving the vessel, please always first ask the ship’s command whether you can go ashore and, if this is possible, find out exactly when you have to be back at the latest. It is best to take along a mobile phone so that you can be reached if there are any changes to berthing times. You should always note the designation of the berth, the mobile phone number of the ship and the telephone number or address of the port agent.
- During a shore excursion, you have to pay for taxi rides, drinks and meals, excursions and other services immediately in cash. If you want to order a taxi, please contact the ship’s command, which will try to order one for you via the local agency.
- The vessel may enter the port in the evening and depart the next morning. Sometimes the ship’s berth is far from the city or delays may occur because of the customs clearance. Under these circumstances, it is sometimes impossible to organise shore excursions.
- Before every shore excursion, please find out how safe the particular port is and whether or not certain areas should be avoided.
- We recommend that you take with you small notes, in Euros and US dollars, e.g. for taxi rides and tips.
- Even if you are unable to exchange money into the national currency, small notes are better. Before the trip, please ask your bank for information on the various valid currencies and foreign exchange regulations of the countries involved (e.g., taking foreign currency in and out of the country). It is not permitted to exchange foreign currency outside official exchange offices in every country.
- Unfortunately, there is crime everywhere in the world, and it can be particularly prevalent in some places because of extreme poverty, so always be wary on shore excursions. Don’t wear any jewellery on display, take with you only enough cash for the excursion and try to avoid carrying a handbag. It is best to keep valuables close to your body. Seamen usually distribute their money for shore excursions on various points of the body. You should also make a point of carrying your photo equipment inconspicuously.
- It is also possible that a vessel has to load or discharge on the roads (outside the port) and shore leave is not possible or not free of charge.
- If you wish to rent a car in the harbour, then tell the captain in time. Possibly (but not always) he can ask the harbour agent to bring brochures of local car companies or even order the car for you. Regulations regarding driving licences will differ.
- With regard to the duration of shore leave we are not able to give details. The stay may differ between a few hours and I-2 days according to the area, ship or amount of cargo. The duration depends on the time of arrival, the quantity of cargo, the cranes and the work force at disposal. Therefore the captain will only be able to give times on arrival. The ships may enter or leave the harbour at night. The ship's berth is often far from the town centre. Ask on board how is best to get into town, and find out when you should be back on board. It would be a pity if the ship continued its voyage without you. The ship cannot wait for individuals. Write down the designation
- As berthing times are very expensive in the various ports, the charterer of your ship will do everything to ensure that the vessel completes loading/unloading operations as quickly as possible. A ship usually berths for 6-24 hours. A berthing time of up to two days can be expected in some ports or if a particularly high volume of cargo has to be transhipped. Berthing times can also be at night. Under some circumstances, it is then not possible to go ashore.
- The liner vessels are vessels, which (as a rule) circulate between specific ports on a route fixed by the charterer within a regular schedule, i.e. they normally operate according to a predetermined timetable.
- Pilots assist the Captain on all dangerous shipping routes and in channels and port entrances and exits. Pilots are informed about the current local conditions and advise the Captain on the manoeuvres required. It may not be possible to visit the bridge if a pilot is on board, as passengers would disturb the concentration of crew members or obstruct their visibility.
- Smoking is usually permitted on board. However, there are restrictions, e.g. in the mess or recreation room. Smokers are requested always to be considerate to non-smokers.
- See “Safety on board”
- When you end your trip at your port of destination, you must observe the specific entry regulations for passengers on a cargo ship. Please ask well before your trip the specific embassy or consulate concerning the papers required for your stay in the country of destination. Often on entry you already have to possess a valid ticket for leaving the country or continuing your journey. Please ask for information before starting your voyage.
- Shipboard currencies are the EURO and US dollar.
- Money cannot be exchanged on board. Only cash is accepted. EC cards, credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not accepted.
- In a seaway, please make sure that all open doors of the ship are securely fastened on a hook, thereby avoiding any unnecessary noise and reducing the risk of injury.
- Please make sure that all moveable objects are secured in the cabin or safely stowed. Make certain that sensitive items such as radios or alarm clocks are firmly secured. Even in fine weather, a seaway can occur at any time. Seating can always be secured.
SAFETY IN PORT
- A container port is first and foremost a place of work, involving a great deal of activity, with work generally having “the right of way”. The visibility of operators of van carriers or crane operators, for instance, is frequently very restricted because of their height above ground and the dimensions of cargo and containers. If you move about on the port site, always keep well away from all means of transport. Use marked ways where provided. You should be particularly attentive at corners, exits of sheds and other places where visibility is restricted.
- In most ports, going on foot is strictly prohibited by the authorities because of the high accident risk. Transport in the port area is mostly via a shuttle service or specially marked taxis.
SAFETY ON BOARD
- “Safety First” really is the name of the game! Dangers and accidents can be avoided only by exercising caution and observing all dos and don’ts. You are thus informed of the safety regulations on board and the use of life saving equipment while still in port or shortly after departure. As a passenger, you are also obliged to take part in any fire drills or boat manoeuvres. In such cases, you have to follow the instructions of the officer on the spot.
- Fire protection is vital on board a ship. Smokers in particular have to take care not to dispose of cigarette butts or ash in wastepaper baskets. Never smoke in your bunk. Always follow the instructions of the officers, who with their long experience can identify and assess dangers promptly.
- When explosive materials are being transported, smoking on deck is, of course, always strictly prohibited. Smoking is also often strictly prohibited in ports because of the presence of containers with hazardous goods. Stiff fines may be imposed if this ban is ignored.
- Pasteurized milk is frequently used on ships because of the good storage. Children, in particular, do not always like the taste of pasteurized milk. 1n such cases it would be advisable if you bought fresh milk in the respective harbours. Your children will be grateful to you if you take a cassette recorder with some exciting stories, as well as some books, paper pads and crayons according to age. Children have to move around more than adults but please remember that work carries on aboard ship round the clock. Due to watch duty some of the officers and crew have to sleep during the day. Even to speak loudly in the service alleyways might be disturbing. Safety of children must be insured and they need to be supervised by an adult at all times.
SUEZ AND PANAMA CANAL
- It is basically not possible to embark or disembark in the Suez and Panama Canal.
- All travellers passing through the Suez or Panama Canal as passengers on a cargo ship have to provide a valid certificate of yellow fever vaccination.
This vaccination is required by the canal authorities. Although according to WHO these vaccinations are unnecessary, other regulations apply for cargo vessel passengers. A passenger without a vaccination certificate may be excluded from the voyage.
- It may be necessary to put passengers as crew members on the crew list. Passengers must follow the Captain’s instructions.
TDW (tonnes dead weight)
- 1 deadweight tonne = 1,016 kg. This is a measurement of ship capacity, for fuel, ballast, cargo, passengers, etc.
- You decide whether or not you would like to give a tip. It is up to you to determine how much you tip. If you are satisfied with the service, it is always good if you show this during the voyage. The Captain will gladly give you details. After consultation with the Captain, you can, for example, donate a crate of beer for a forthcoming grill party (see “Barbecues”). The steward or cook also appreciates a tip.
- On longer voyages, grill evenings are staged now and then on deck on many ships. This is a welcome break from routine and an opportunity for socialising, not only for the crew.
- Passengers take their meals with the ship’s command (daily “Captain’s dinner”) in the officers’ mess. Please note the following set meal times (subject to change):
Breakfast at 07.30-08.30
Teatime at 10.00
Lunch at 11.30-12.30
Afternoon coffee at 15.00
European and Asian home cooking is provided by the Philippine cook. In other words, passengers can expect hearty seamen’s fare, which the cook prepares for passengers and the entire crew without making any distinctions. Apart from bread, jam, cheese and sausage, a warm dish is nearly always served in the mornings and evenings. The drinks usually provided with meals (tea, coffee) are included in the travel price. Other drinks cost extra. The ship cook can be advised regarding dietary requirements but these cannot be guaranteed or always met as The cook has to prepare meals according to the provisions available until the next replenishment. On some — mostly smaller — cargo ships the mess facilities are simple, according to seafaring custom. There may be an easy-care plastic table-cloth or the sugar pot is an old jam jar. Table wine is not usual on board. There is no dress code on board although passengers are asked not to appear in swimwear. Please give prior notice if you don't intend taking a meal.
- We recommend you take out travel cancellation insurance. An accident insurance and valid international health insurance with return transport (rescue flight) and 24 hrs hotline is essential.
- We advise you also take out luggage and third-party travel insurance.
- The ship’s laundry (tablecloths, etc.), bed linen and hand towels are washed once a week.
- You can wash private clothing conveniently yourself in a separate laundry equipped with a washing machine, a supply of detergent and a drier. A drying room is also provided. Please ask a crew member when it can be used.
- In some parts of the world rare cases of piracy take place.. For objects lost in this way or consequences caused by such incident neither the shipping company nor Sea Travel Ltd will assume liability.
VALUABLES AND CUSTOMS
- Valuables such as jewellery, money, etc. can be entrusted to the Captain for keeping in the ship’s safe.
- Foreign exchange, photos and valuables, etc. must be declared on a customs list on arrival in a port. To avoid difficulties, you should find out in advance what items have to be entered in the list in each case.
- If you carry technical equipment such as a laptop or other valuables (e.g., photo equipment or expensive jewellery), please take proof of purchase and have yourself given a customs visa in your home country prior to departure in order to avoid any complications with the customs and the imposition of import duties when reimporting the items.
- Please deposit objects of value, money or cheques with the captain and get a receipt. Bigger ships will have a safe. Please remember that the contents of the safe have a very limited insurance value.
MEANS OF PAYMENT
- You should have US dollars, British pounds and similar in small quantities on you for the trips ashore. If you don't immediately have the opportunity of changing your money into the national currency then it is better to have bank notes of small denomination. Normally, smaller amounts can be changed into national currency at the cashbox. But it is possible that, before arriving at the next port, the cashbox is at "low ebb", meaning that there is neither foreign currency left nor can it be procured. Should you go ashore outside office hours the only possibility to change money is at the larger hotels. So we recommend that you take enough local currency for the first shore leave. In most European countries you can get local currency with your European banking card but you need to get to the town's cash machines. Not every country permits the exchange of currency outside the official exchange offices. (And not all permit the importing of currency). Euro cheques are not valid in every country. Ask your bank. Cheques cannot be accepted on board cargo ships. When travelling back by plane or train you generally have to pay for your ticket directly at the place of departure. Money and objects of value are best deposited in close fitting pockets.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD BE TAKEN
- We are frequently asked how much money a person should take on a voyage. This, of course, is a difficult question to answer because the passenger's needs differ. It depends on whether you wish to take a taxi, the bus or even walk into town. Whether you want to visit a restaurant or are happy with a snack and then eating properly back on board the ship, whether you wish to buy gifts or not. It is difficult to estimate. Our rule is: Take twice the amount that you would take with you on a sightseeing trip in a strange town in your own country. On board you will only need pocket money for buying drinks in the canteen and possible phone calls from the ship.
- Should relatives await your return or want to meet you at the port then please ask them to contact the port agent at the port of disembarkation for times and date of arrival. You will always have the latest information and the possibility of letting your friends and relatives know of any changes in plan.
Now that we have explained much of what life is on aboard ship. We hope that this information gave you an idea of what to expect and how to get ready. We would appreciate if you send us a short report on your return as to how you liked the voyage. Your report will be help us when advising interested future passenger and will benefit you when you book another passage on a cargo ship. Most people, having once sailed on a cargo ship, come back to seafaring again and again. We are looking forward to welcoming you onboard and receiving your pictures from the voyage.