I want to go from New York City to any destination in Europe on a freighter. The only place I've found information for doing this requires a round trip. I don't want to go round trip. I want to spend some months in Europe and I don't care where in Europe I start.

  • relevant current event: news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/30/… Dec 30, 2013 at 20:37
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    EU immigration will refuse you entry if they think you might overstay or seek employment. A vague "whatever, don't care" plan is a red flag, and the first defense is a definite plan to return, which is why the cargo company wants you to have one. The freight company's problem is that if immigration refuses you entry, they can't abandon you on the quay, they must guarantee your transport back, and if they failed to check your documents, pay stiff fines too. Jul 2, 2017 at 16:41

4 Answers 4


There is a Dutch company that specializes on so called cargo ship cruises. Their URL has been in my bookmarks for some years now, but unfortunately I did not find the time to experience a cargo cruise. If I remember correctly you could order one-way tickets. But best is to contact them for additional information. I believe that the average price is around $100 per day, which might make the travel fees unpredictable.

Please update here if you find other solutions. I would still like to do a cargo cruise once.

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    Thank you for the website. I found another company that allows you to book one way trips as well.
    – user221
    Jul 1, 2011 at 3:19
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    I searched through other questions on the site and this is yet another company where freighter cruises can be booked.
    – user221
    Jul 1, 2011 at 3:28
  • Websife is defunct as of 2024.
    – gerrit
    Jan 11 at 14:56

There are several agents selling freighter journeys. Some of them do advertise one-way crossings but even if they don't you can always ask. In any case, you need to contact them, explain your needs and see if they can find a ship for you. When you are ready to book, they will require a payment and some paperwork (typically a medical form). It's not like a cruise ship with a fixed schedule or a flight which you can book online in a few minutes. When I booked one from Zylmann, they actually didn't take credit cards, you get an invoice and pay by bank transfer.

Here are a few of these agents:

  • Kapitän Zylmann is based in Germany and used to list a ship on which you can book a cabin from New York to Bremerhaven or Rotterdam.
  • Langsamreisen.de is also based in Germany and used to offer trips from New York to Spain or Italy.
  • The Cruise People is based in the UK and offers something I haven't seen in other agents' brochures/websites: Tramp travel on a bulker (the other trips are on container ships). “Tramp travel” means that the ship is not serving a fixed line but goes to a different destination as needed. So you just know the ship will bring you from the Great Lakes region to somewhere in Europe or North Africa but you won't know the exact destination until shortly before departure.

Note that, as of 2023, a few freighters are taking passengers again after stopping due to the Covid pandemic but few long distance journeys seem currently available.

  • cruisepeople is defunct as of 2024
    – gerrit
    Jan 11 at 14:56

I'm afraid I don't know any companies that organise this as such. I have heard from a few travellers on the road that your best best is often just to go to the port and talk to the one in charge there. They tend the know exactly what boats are in their harbour and which ones will take passengers. I do know a lot of freighters these days have special, really nice cabins for leisure travel, they're not cheap though. Sometimes you can get free passage in exchange for doing some work on board during the trip. Good luck!

  • Thanks for your response. I tried doing this in Valparaiso, Chile but didn't get anywhere. I was told it can't be don't. Same thing in Antofagasta, Chile. Maybe I can get better luck in the U.S. I'll try what you suggest the next time I'm near an American port.
    – user221
    Jun 30, 2011 at 2:20
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    This is not true. There are many companies that organise rooms on freighters (such as freighterexpeditions.com.au). Most of the crew on these ships are professionals who have been doing the job for many years, usually from countries such as the Philippines where labour is cheap. It is extremely unlikely you would be able to work to get passage for a single trip.
    – N Reed
    Dec 5, 2011 at 5:49

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