Travelling via shipping container ship

When planning your next trip you usually tick off the obvious modes of transport, plane, train, car, motorbike or cruise ship. However, there is another unlikely suspect – the cargo ship. I often watch these large boats at posts and wonder where they have come from but never considered travelling via cargo ship until a friend mentioned it as an option recently. Apparently, I am not the only curious one, folks across the world are jumping on cargo shipping container vessels not just as a way to get from A to B, but as a truly unique journey.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-6-10-46-pmHow does it work?

Travelling by cargo ship means that you go where the ship goes, either from port to port, or you can choose to alight at one of the ports for another (land-based) adventure. While aboard it’ll be a time for reading, relaxing, staring out over the ocean, spotting sea creatures through your binoculars, playing board games, and socialising with the crew if you wish. There’ll be food provided, crew members to help you, common areas, and you’ll be able to view the bridge, and some of the inner workings of the ship, if that tickles your fancy.

Trips can take anywhere from a week to a few months, depending on your itinerary, and you’ll be able to go on day excursions from many of the ports that you arrive in.

What is the accommodation like?

You stay in cabins aboard the ship along with the crew, and often have a choice of cabin types to choose from. These will be comfy, have an ensuite, and depending on the vessel, a TV, sitting room, and other facilities.

The benefits

Container ship travel is a great choice if you:

  • Wish you could spend more time on the ocean
  • Want an alternative to flying, as you don’t like to fly
  • Enjoy peace and serenity, away from modern distractions
  • Have the time to take an extended break
  • Want to make your holiday less environmentally obtrusive

How do I book one?

You can try a quick Google search online, or you can look into trying to contact cargo ports yourself. One NZ company that helps to arrange container travel is Freighter Travel NZ. This is not a last minute type of travel booking, you should look into arranging travel at least a month to 12 months in advance to ensure that you get the type of journey that you are after.


If you are after a unique way to travel on the ocean and dislike the style of travel that cruise ships offer, then travelling by container ship may well be something to consider for your next trip.