I was wondering if it would be possible to travel from India to the United States by sea. Here are the considerations I had in mind:

  • Is this even possible? Which companies offer passenger cruises? The only companies I could find are those offering luxury cruises, and none offer cruises for the purpose of transportation. How would I proceed to book tickets for such a trip?
  • Does Kochi (COK) have a passenger port with the proper immigration/emigration provisions? What about Mumbai (BOM)?
  • What route would be recommended? The particular state in US doesn't matter, so would going through the East Asia coast to San Francisco be preferred or would going through Europe to New York/Boston be preferred?
  • How expensive would this be? How long would such a trip take, and with how many stops? Would this be in some way comparable to air travel or is it far too impractical and expensive?
  • 2
    It probably makes more sense to break it into legs. Getting from India to Europe by sea or land isn't entirely trivial though. There are sometimes transatlantic crossings e.g. by Cunard, as well as cruises to the Caribbean/Florida that you might be able to get on. Another possibility might be as crew on a yacht or other vessel. The alternative would be to find a round-the-world cruise, which sometimes happen but for vast sums of money. It would help if you explained why you are doing it, what sort of budget you have in mind, whether you are prepared to travel any part by land, etc.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 11:45
  • @StuartF I'm looking at it as an alternative to air travel. The main objective is transportation, and I would be willing to travel by land. The budget would be the price of a flight ticket from Kochi to New York (or San Francisco), which is around $1000 right now. If the trip takes considerably longer (as would likely be expected), my budget might be lower at around $500. Based on the answers so far, I'm guessing this won't be possible.
    – Zo-Bro-23
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 4:40
  • 1
    @Zo-Bro-23: Frankly, I find it very hard to believe that any sea journey (of more than trivial distance) is going to be competitive with an equivalent commercial flight in terms of price, no matter the specifics of who is offering it or what the accommodations look like. Flights are fast and, adjusted for inflation, incredibly cheap by historical standards. Nobody is booking a sea voyage for transportation because it cannot compete on either speed or price. As a result, the passenger business model does not exist, and you are stuck booking a luxury cruise, a cargo ship, or a private charter.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


I do not know such route. I doubt there is a direct route (so a single ship) which will do it.

For cruise lines: at beginning and end of season there are repositioning cruises: on northern summer there are many more European, Alaskan cruises. On the northern winter many ships go on warmer seas. These cruises are usually cheap, because they are also not real cruises (a lot of sea days, and not on ideal weather: October/November or March/April). Kochi and Mumbai (do not use airport codes) have winter cruises, so it may be possible to go on other continents on early spring, but as far I know, they will go to Mediterranean/Europe. If you are lucky it may stop in "London", where you can take the liner which regularly go from UK to US.

Or you should check a cruise that go to Eastern Asia (e.g. Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo) and from there an repositioning cruises to Alaska or California. (But from there: take bus or train).

Feasible, but it will take a lot of time (and money). And also a lot of time to look for major cruise line routes (their web sites are not done for such queries, so you should check a lot of options).

Cargo ships: it is also a possibility. There are dedicated websites. With coronavirus it was much more difficult, but I hope now the situation is again normal. But in this case: you never know when you depart, when you arrive (and possibly where). Usually you have some indications on dates and ports, but the main cargo ships is not you, so the company will change plans according the ports and clients demands/availability. It is also not cheap. Looking in past the costs, I would say it is not a cheap hotel (it includes meals, and cheap alcohol, but still not a cruise line nor an hotel), and it takes a lot of time (so overall it is not cheap). And your travel is "difficult": you need to plan various stops. Or maybe you are lucky and you will find a ship from Kochi to the Eastern US cost. (Indian Ocean + Suez Canal + Atlantic is a common route).

I think it is most impracticable as "transportation" option. You may find it good as retired person or if you want to have a lot of personal time and some adventure (maybe writing a book) (but so you do not care much about destination and length of travel, not internet connection).


There are no longer any passenger ships regularly crossing the Pacific Ocean. You may be able to investigate booking passage on a cargo ship, but this will certainly be more expensive (and take significantly longer) than air travel.

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