Friday, December 23, 2005

Your Honolulu Travel Agency

Our next Monday Night Chat Room Movie is Charlie Chan in Honolulu (www.charliehchan.info, 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM [Eastern Time] and we start our tapes/DVD's at 8:30.)
I thought that I would do a little research on traveling on freighters since Charlie--and sons!--end up amid assorted characters on the Susan B. Jennings.
If anybody things that you're sick and tire of the hustle and bustle of the Hoidays, check out http://content.onlineagency.com/c/23/23357/2695046_23357.htm,
"The Cruise People - Canada's Premier Sea Travel Agency"
Here goes:
Passenger freighters carry an average of four to five passengers, never more than twelve.
More than that and they'd need to carry a doctor, too.
The cargo MUST come first and take priority on scheduling itineraries and port stops.
"Container ships [which most freighters are] have short port stops (four to eight hours) while general cargo ships stop longer."
Passengers pretty much schedule their own days as they see fit without the formalities that are normally associated with cruise ships--or at least used to be!
This is perfect traveling for those who don't want or need others to entertain or structure their days and have the health, time and money to do it.
That means that frequently passengers must be under 70 years (and old enough to travel without parents!) and without Fluffy or Fido who may have to be shipped separately.
Facilities can be nice enough, high up enough and with windows to be comparable to cruise ships.
Eating can mean from cabins' sitting areas with refrigerators to dining with the officers in their mess (which can be four to six level, or decks, below without facilities for the handicapped.)
Many have a pantry open all the time for snacks and a passenger area with TV and VCR, stereo, games, cards or talking.
Beverages and other items are often low cost and duty-free.
Most ships have a deck for sitting, taking the sun, reading or watching any marine life that might drop by.
The crews are held to high standards with the latest necessary equipment.
They can often be counted on to advice passengers on ports to even guiding them ashore to the best places.
Passengers are recommended to be careful as they go around the ships until they are used to them to avoid hurt shins and awkwardness gangplanks.
What are the requirements for passenger freighter travel?
Valid passports are required and, in some cases, visas and shots are necessary. You will be sailing in a ship with many stairs to climb and with no doctor on bard. Your physician must sign a form indicating you are healthy enough to do this AND you must have out-of-country emergancy hospital/medical insurance that includes evacuation (sometimes called air ambulance) coverage. Cancellation insurance is not required but is hightly recommended. It is the passenger's responsibility to supply all necessary paperwork before boarding.
You can travel for one week to more than three months around the world.
The Jones Act, however, means that you can't sail between ports in the same country.
Which means you can't travel between New York and Miami, for example.
Cost is pretty much in Euros or pounds that wholesalers convert to the current rates, about Eu 65 to 120 per day.
American and Canadian dollars have gone down to 60% of the Euro.
What's included?
The fare includes passage, all food and accommodation. Most passengers rip the steward. you will need some funds for duty-free purchases and shore trips. Some lines charge separately for port taxes and fees and deviation insurance. [I have no idea what "deviation insurance is and I'm not sure I want to either!] Others build these charges in to the fare.
After going through all that . . . I'm staying home and putting my copy of Honolulu in to watch it with some turkey, dressing and an iced cold Coke!

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