The cheapest way to cross the Atlantic
January 28, 2005 10:07 AM   Subscribe

If one wanted to cross the Atlantic (west to east) on the cheap, and the time wasn't really a factor, how would one go about doing that? Are there still tramp steamers?
posted by Capn to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
good thread to look in.
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2005

How cheap, Capn? I have been finding cheap trans-Atlantic air fares on Travelocity for years, far cheaper probably than the cost of your meals alone on a ship.
posted by mischief at 10:42 AM on January 28, 2005

There's a site out there, maybe a blog, that discusses getting pasage on container ships. It sounded fantastic. Sorry I can't help with the URL. It may have been on MeFi, though.
posted by docpops at 11:12 AM on January 28, 2005

just a word of warning - i was reading an article in a magazine at the dentists yesterday that described something like this, and it sounded terrible. a small boat, full of foreign labour (so no real conversation), dirty, smelly, with bad food, and nothing to do for days on end except get seasick. this was a smallish boat - maybe larger ones are better.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:37 AM on January 28, 2005

Short answer, from my (meager) research: No. Or, not in any way that would be comfortable, easy, or worth the money.

Sometimes, in the pacific you can pay to travel on a container ship. But this is to live in approx the same conditions as the crew, which are rotten. And is ass-loads of slow and boring. Hope you like indonesian food. Or romanian.
posted by zpousman at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2005

If you have time, as you said, this book may offer some options.

I flipped through it once and it seems the main qualification is the ability to cook a tasty meal with limited provisions.
posted by OpinioNate at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2005

I've heard that ridiculously cheap fares can be had by working as a courier. Aparently, the date is not certain, but if time is not a factor, then you should be good. I'm not sure if things have changed since 9/11 though, and even if the courier thing is still available, you'll probably need a lot of time to explain the situation to security and get the package cleared. I would imagine that it would be a fairly stressful experience.
posted by spaghetti at 3:55 PM on January 28, 2005

The cheapest option (as in so cheap *they* pay you) is if you are really skilled either as a captain or as a cook. This guy in San Diego who I learned to sail from has been traveling the world by sailing private boats of wealthy people who either a) want a sailor for their own voyage or b) simply want their boat moved (e.g. to hawaii). The payment he gets allows him to live at his destination a while until he finds another gig like it. Sounded like an interesting lifestyle to me.
posted by vacapinta at 8:44 PM on January 28, 2005

From what I've heard of courier travel (which is at least second-hand, since I've never done it), you never actually see or handle your shipment (which is usually documents.) You just carry a manifest and other paperwork...I'm sure Customs/Immigration is used to it.
posted by Vidiot at 10:46 PM on January 28, 2005

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