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Deimos

Has anyone done a transatlantic voyage from UK to USA using CGA CGM?

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I've been pondering the options of transatlantic travel by sea, the only real option seemed to be the QM2

But I've also been trying to find out more information on going by cargo ship.

I see CGA CGM do a route called the Liberty bridge - https://www.cma-cgm.com/products-services/line-services/flyer/LIB1

Two ships seem to do the crossing, the Amber and the Coral, but information on the CGA website is sparse at best.

Has anyone had any experience of going on these boats?

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I've been pondering the options of transatlantic travel by sea, the only real option seemed to be the QM2

But I've also been trying to find out more information on going by cargo ship.

I see CGA CGM do a route called the Liberty bridge - https://www.cma-cgm.com/products-services/line-services/flyer/LIB1

Two ships seem to do the crossing, the Amber and the Coral, but information on the CGA website is sparse at best.

Has anyone had any experience of going on these boats?

 

Particularly if you are going to go by container ship, don't call them "boats" or you will face some scorn from the crew.

 

If you search down a few threads, "cruising cockroach" has done ships from the same line, and they are all basically the same. He has some good insight into freighter cruising. Realize that unless you are pretty self-sufficient in entertaining yourself for several days, this isn't for you. Entertainment will be limited to TV and videos, numbers of passengers is limited, and generally you don't have the freedom to roam the entire ship.

 

I would go to freightercruises.com, which is the Maris travel agency, and specializes in freighter travel, and their pages show a little more about the CGM ships, and if you navigate far enough around their pages, they have a Q&A about freighter travel.

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The Coral and Amber appear to be relatively tiny ships (what I sailed on was almost 3x as large in terms of container capacity). Be prepared to experience a lot of roll if seas are rough as the ships don't use stabilisers. Looks like cost is €1450 for a single cabin (3 such on the ships, and 1 double cabin) for the 10 nts from Le Havre, not sure if they'll give you a break from Southampton. Good news for you, perhaps, is that both are British officered.

 

To sail to (or via) the U.S.A., you'll need a real U.S. visa. ESTA/I-94W not applicable.

 

As said, no entertainment. Someone had taken the DVD player on the ship we were on (CMA CGM Libra) and there was only 1 movie available.

 

If you can read French, go to mer-et-voyages.info voyage ref. is 5822 which is where I got the information. There are also a couple of reviews (in French of course).

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Visa requirements are assuming you're not a U.S. or Canadian citizen and can otherwise visit the U.S. with ESTA or VWP. A lot of European and other I-94W/ESTA eligible pax sail from the U.S. as a result.

 

The ships can only take 5 pax. The solo cabins are small, only 13-16 m^2 while the double is 23 m^2. The trip reports indicate the officers are Romanian for one of the ships (Amber) though wine was served. The Romanians on my ship only served wine begrudgingly (4 bottles over 2+ weeks). If you drink, I'd highly recommend avoiding Eastern European and German-officered ships.

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Thanks Cockroach, I didn't realize I'd need a visa.But I don't need a visa for cruise ship travel? Seems strange.

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That's the way it is. I guess the cruisecos got some sort of exemption for cruise pax, perhaps as a tourist vessel or some sort. An annoying and expensive process. If you want to try it, head back from the U.S. though it its 12 days Savannah to Antwerp.

 

Feel free to ask any questions or read my trip report (link in previous threads)

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I've been pondering the options of transatlantic travel by sea, the only real option seemed to be the QM2

But I've also been trying to find out more information on going by cargo ship.

I see CGA CGM do a route called the Liberty bridge - https://www.cma-cgm.com/products-services/line-services/flyer/LIB1

Two ships seem to do the crossing, the Amber and the Coral, but information on the CGA website is sparse at best.

Has anyone had any experience of going on these boats?

Hi, I've never been on a cargo ship, but have crossed the Atlantic many times by cruise ship. Just Google "transAtlantic cruises" for other options. Good luck. Nicole

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I did a transpacific this year on CMA CGM (the Rhone). It was very nice. I'd offer my most critical observations as:

 

1. Take your own snacks. Seriously, bring a grocery bag full of stuff if you want it. I had a small refrigerator in my cabin. I don't know if they all do or not.

2. I was the only passenger on my ship, so you have to be very able to entertain yourself. The captain had come from another line that ran transatlantic and he said that there are more passengers on those routes.

3. My cabin was very nice. Since I was the only passenger I got the largest cabin, and it was probably 500 square feet or so with a bed, desk, and sitting area with couch. I took a cruise ship back home and the freighter cabin was more comfortable.

4. My ship actually had a small internet connection (which I discovered a week into the trip). It was very expensive, so I just used it to send a text once per day to my wife. But it was there.

5. There's little or no outside space. You'll spend most of your time in your cabin, most likely.

6. I thought the food was very good. My crew was Romanian and Sri Lankan for the most part, so the food tended to favor those types of recipes.

 

I'd recommend it. You don't have the amenities of a cruise ship, but you have other advantages. It was cool to be the only passenger on a 1,000 foot ship.

 

Also, I made my reservations through this company: http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/details.htm. They were on the ball while the Maris company was non-responsive to my initial inquiry.

Edited by pplwatcher

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On 8/6/2018 at 11:56 PM, pplwatcher said:

I did a transpacific this year on CMA CGM (the Rhone). It was very nice. I'd offer my most critical observations as:

 

1. Take your own snacks. Seriously, bring a grocery bag full of stuff if you want it. I had a small refrigerator in my cabin. I don't know if they all do or not.

2. I was the only passenger on my ship, so you have to be very able to entertain yourself. The captain had come from another line that ran transatlantic and he said that there are more passengers on those routes.

3. My cabin was very nice. Since I was the only passenger I got the largest cabin, and it was probably 500 square feet or so with a bed, desk, and sitting area with couch. I took a cruise ship back home and the freighter cabin was more comfortable.

4. My ship actually had a small internet connection (which I discovered a week into the trip). It was very expensive, so I just used it to send a text once per day to my wife. But it was there.

5. There's little or no outside space. You'll spend most of your time in your cabin, most likely.

6. I thought the food was very good. My crew was Romanian and Sri Lankan for the most part, so the food tended to favor those types of recipes.

 

I'd recommend it. You don't have the amenities of a cruise ship, but you have other advantages. It was cool to be the only passenger on a 1,000 foot ship.

 

Also, I made my reservations through this company: http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/details.htm. They were on the ball while the Maris company was non-responsive to my initial inquiry.

Thank you for these tips, I've always wanted to try this...Is it common to not have much access to an outside deck?  That would be a real downer for me!

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Chadr135 said:

Thank you for these tips, I've always wanted to try this...Is it common to not have much access to an outside deck?  That would be a real downer for me!

 

It's nice that this site sends notifications if someone quotes a post.  A year later, I can respond quickly.

 

It was my first time doing it, so I tried to be careful to not inconvenience the crew.  I had open access to two catwalks on the bridge that were maybe 8 feet by 20 feet, but they were mostly for standing.  I probably could've dragged a chair up there, but it would've felt awkward.  The guys manning the bridge were just inside some windows.  I suspect a person could do it, though.

 

I could go out onto small catwalks on each deck, but they were very small, and had the potential to be slippery since this particular ship was in cold weather for half the trip or more.  The captain put a little lounge chair out on one once it got warm, so I probably could've done that.  The spaces were maybe 6 feet by 6 feet.  They were mostly stair landings so that you could go from deck to deck outside.

 

The actual "deck" of the ship was not a place to hang out at all.  Most of it wasn't really a deck at all - the containers were stacked 12 deep from the hull so the ship was essentially a bathtub full of containers, with some catwalks in between them.  I wasn't allowed out there due to risks of shifting containers.  There were small decks on the port and starboard, but they were completed covered and were very much working spaces where a person wouldn't relax.

 

All in all, it was a 1,000 foot long ship, and I had access to maybe 50 feet in length, in a 12-story conning tower.  The only true outside access was on the stairs going up the conning tower and the small catwalks at the top.  I've tried to upload a video that shows one of the catwalks - let's see if it loads.

 

I enjoyed the trip and would do it again, but I'll note that it's not for everybody.  You have to be open to spending a lot of time alone, and be somewhat open on diet.  (I had never had Romanian food or Sri Lankan food before, and had no info on the crew makeup before I left, so it could have easily been some other type of menu.  I thought the food was very good on my trip, but it sounds like there's some randomness from ship to ship.)

 

Edited by pplwatcher
Added a little clarification.

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7 minutes ago, pplwatcher said:

 

It's nice that this site sends notifications if someone quotes a post.  A year later, I can respond quickly.

 

It was my first time doing it, so I tried to be careful to not inconvenience the crew.  I had open access to two catwalks on the bridge that were maybe 8 feet by 20 feet, but they were mostly for standing.  I probably could've dragged a chair up there, but it would've felt awkward.  The guys manning the bridge were just inside some windows.  I suspect a person could do it, though.

 

I could go out onto small catwalks on each deck, but they were very small, and had the potential to be slippery since this particular ship was in cold weather for half the trip or more.  The captain put a little lounge chair out on one once it got warm, so I probably could've done that.  The spaces were maybe 6 feet by 6 feet.  They were mostly stair landings so that you could go from deck to deck outside.

  

The actual "deck" of the ship was not a place to hang out at all.  Most of it wasn't really a deck at all - the containers were stacked 12 deep from the hull so the ship was essentially a bathtub full of containers, with some catwalks in between them.  I wasn't allowed out there due to risks of shifting containers.  There were small decks on the port and starboard, but they were completed covered and were very much working spaces where a person wouldn't relax.

  

All in all, it was a 1,000 foot long ship, and I had access to maybe 50 feet in length, in a 12-story conning tower.  The only true outside access was on the stairs going up the conning tower and the small catwalks at the top.  I've tried to upload a video that shows one of the catwalks - let's see if it loads.

Thank you so much for the quick and thorough response! 

 

Is there a way to ascertain (pre-booking) the amount of outside access you will have, or is it a bit unpredictable?

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Just now, Chadr135 said:

Thank you so much for the quick and thorough response! 

 

Is there a way to ascertain (pre-booking) the amount of outside access you will have, or is it a bit unpredictable?

 

I got almost no information ahead of time other than the name of the ship.  I presume that's somewhat normal.

 

I also suspect that most ships are like mine in terms of outside access, since most ships will be container ships.  I could be wrong on that, though.  Maybe a ship that's carrying cars or raw materials or something would have different outside access.

 

I'll note too that the first half of my trip was in very cold weather as we went north past the Aleutians.  I got in the habit of staying inside and I'm not really a sun-worshiper to start with.  But the only places to be outside were the catwalks I show in the video and the stair landings on the tower.  

 

Here's a picture and short video of one of the stair landing areas, and the third picture is essentially the entire deck that I could access (or at least half of it, since this was only the port or starboard side).  I only went out there once for a fire drill.

 

 

B Catwalk and Ship 2018 04 10.jpg

IMG_20180409_170553484.jpg

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Thanks for the videos and photos.

I weighed up the pros and cons of travelling by freighter, in the end, it seems like the ocean liner QM2 always comes on top, in so many ways.

A 7 day journey by Cunards QM2 comes to around £1398 for the inside cabin

A journey via cargo ship comes to around £1440 for a single occupancy cabin.

When you factor in all the things the QM2 has to offer VS what isn't available at all on the cargo ship(s), it seems somewhat pointless going by cargo ship.

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On 6/3/2019 at 11:53 PM, Chadr135 said:

Thank you so much for the quick and thorough response! 

 

Is there a way to ascertain (pre-booking) the amount of outside access you will have, or is it a bit unpredictable?

No cargo ship will allow passengers out onto the main deck of the ship for insurance reasons.  There are too many trip and head bump hazards to be acceptable for non-crew members.  Every container ship that carries passengers will limit access to the accommodation block only and the outside stairs and any outside decks (most notably the top of the block outside the bridge) that are part of the accom block.

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On 6/3/2019 at 6:28 PM, Deimos said:

Thanks for the videos and photos.

I weighed up the pros and cons of travelling by freighter, in the end, it seems like the ocean liner QM2 always comes on top, in so many ways.

A 7 day journey by Cunards QM2 comes to around £1398 for the inside cabin

A journey via cargo ship comes to around £1440 for a single occupancy cabin.

When you factor in all the things the QM2 has to offer VS what isn't available at all on the cargo ship(s), it seems somewhat pointless going by cargo ship.

 

Yeah, I did the cargo ship west across the Pacific and did a cruise ship coming back.  I wouldn't hesitate to do a cargo ship again, but for the same price I'd probably lean toward the cruise ship unless you just want to try something unusual.

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