Bank Line - Around the world voyage

17th December 2008, 13:45
Hi folks,
Looking for advice/information. The Bank Line currently has four ships doing a round the world service. The voyages last approx 110 days. The route is: Dunkirk, Panama Canal, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore, Suez Canal, Spain finishing in Hamburg. I may have the opportunity of taking this trip as a passenger. Can anyone tell me what three month period would you choose to take such a voyage if you could go anytime but wished to avoid bad weather. Please don't think I'm stupid, I know the weather can turn bad anytime anywhere, just hoping to avoid extremes (hurricanes, typhoons and the like).
Any comments would be appreciated especially from members who may actually have been on this route. It is 33 years since I was a nav cadet with Ellermans and I never visited any of the above.
Dave Reynolds

Alistair Macnab
17th December 2008, 16:19
The service is actually run by the Swire Group as one of their extensive services connecting southeast asia with the world. The "round the world-eastbound" service, the "opposite" service to the Bank Line service is Swire's U.S.Gulf-south and south-east asia, papua new guinea and western Pacific islands back to the U.S, Gulf.
But back to your original question, the ships were Finnish built for the Russian frozen north (White Sea) service. They are assuredly the only ice-breakers employed in the South Pacific! Andrew Weir Shipping are the booking agents for passengers and I draw your attention to the published book "Through
Hell and High Water" which details somewhat sardonically, a voyage on one of the Bank boats!
Others who have served on board these ships will tell you more.
Kind regards,
Alistair Macnab, Houston TX

19th December 2008, 11:33
Hi Alistair,
Thanks for responding. I will lay my hands on the book, 'Through Hell and High Water', sounds like a good read.

20th December 2008, 14:45
Hello, I did this round the world trip twice during 1959. First clockwise, then anticlockwise! The only bit you need to worry about is the Atlantic side and the Caribbean. Miss the hurricane season!!! Otherwise its a great trip as long as you don't expect Cruiseship facilities. Merry Christmas. Howard

20th December 2008, 14:59
Hi Howard,
Thanks for the tip. Have a Merry Xmas.

Andy Lavies
20th December 2008, 20:44
Hi Dave,
I got paid for doing those trips with Bank Line but it was more than 40 years ago. Do it if you can - then tell us what it was like!

21st December 2008, 12:31
Hi Andy,
I certainly will. It's likely to be 2010 as we're taking a 'banana boat' from Antwerp Apr/May 2009 to the Azores, Martinique, Guadelope, Cartagena, etc back to Dover and finally Antwerp. The trip last 5 weeks and it's with the Horn Line of Hamburg. Yes, it must sound like a busman's holiday but I haven't been to sea in 33 years and my wife wants to do it to, so can't be bad.
PS Great photo in your profile. Is it Tenerife?

21st December 2008, 21:27
Hi Dave,
I have just got a book out of the local library called "Saddled at Sea" by Josie Dew, (A 15,000 mile journey to New Zealand by Russian freighter). I have only just started it so cannot tell you much about it.

Basically she joins the "Speybank" at Dunkirk for the trip to New Zealand, she keeps referring to it as a "russian freighter" but she is registered at Douglas, IOM and has a British Captain,3rd. Mate, Ch/Eng, Purser and two Irish Cadets the rest of the crew are Russian.

It looks like it will be a good read as I have skimmed through a few pages. Josie Dew is foremost a cyclist and has ridden all over the world. She has her own web site at if you click on it you will find extracts from her book. She joined the ship at Dunkirk in Oct. 2003 so I wouldn't know if the ship is still going.


Hamish Mackintosh
21st December 2008, 21:47
If I dare ask, what would a trip like that cost these days??

21st December 2008, 22:12
The Bank Line ships still do round trips. You can get to really exotic places. The Mahinabank spent a week in Blyth Northumberland earlier this year.

22nd December 2008, 00:31
If I dare ask, what would a trip like that cost these days??

There's an outfit called Freighter Travel that organises these trips with both Bank Line and the Oldendorf ships ..... used to work out at +/- US$100 per day pp. Try Googling them.

22nd December 2008, 10:28
Hi all,
Firstly thanks for responding. Let me tackle each reply.

Trader: I'll will try to lay my hands on 'Saddled at Sea'. Good tip.

Hamish: Cost. It does vary and of course with the euro/pound situation it can vary a great deal. However at it is 8545 for the trip with the Bank Line whilst at it is $12500. This is for westward around the world but you can go eastwards with Rickmers. The Bank Line ships are Boularibank, Gazellebank, Mahinabank and Tikeibank.
Suffice to say there are loads of routes, length of voyage and types of ship you can take a busman's holiday on.

Peter: You made us laugh. I see we were in the same line of employment. Click on my 'Profile' if you're interested.

Punter: You're bang on with the prices. Not cheap I know but still better than a cruise liner and much more interesting anyway, I think.

Regards all and a very Merry Xmas to you and yours.

Dave Reynolds

22nd December 2008, 12:25
Take a Look

Hope the food is better than it was in the 60's / 70's....hope it turns out OK for you both....

Andy Lavies
22nd December 2008, 21:56
Hi Dave,
Not far off on the photo - Lanzarote on a weeks holiday.

Hamish Mackintosh
22nd December 2008, 22:15
Thanks for that Info Fellas, and as you say if the Dollar, Pound ,Euro, would stand still long enough ,one might have a chance of coming up with a ticket price

23rd December 2008, 16:06
I sailed on the Birchbank during 1978 with a few passengers from europe through Panama to the Islands and Aussie. One of the passengers , Roger Hulme , spent much of his time on the bridge watching the world go by. He wrote an article in the Bank Line House magazine of Oct 1980 .

I am have copied it to the gallery under life on board - it is 30 years ago - but it gives you a flavour.



23rd December 2008, 16:11
Apologies - cancel my last - the files are too big to upload - will be happy to try to e-mail if you wish.


Chris Woods
30th December 2008, 07:41
A friend is currently enjoying a cruise on the TIKEIBANK:

"Your email just caught up with me in Fiji. I am on MV
Tikeibank - 18,ooo tons of versatlity, 5 cranes, ro-ro ramp and 11
deep tanks calling at 16 ports and back to Hamburg by the end of
March. We have an English master and Russian crew most of whom came
with the ship when Andrew Weir bought her and three others in 1995.
She's now 25 years old but built for ice work. But the upperworks are
pretty rusty because much of the crew time is cleaning the veg oil
tanks to receive coconut or palm oil."

Google 'TIKEIBANK' to find out about her, and check the weather at the vrious destinations before selecting the dates - my brother managed to turn up in Fikji in the rainy season,

30th December 2008, 17:27
Hi Chris,
Many thanks for joining the thread. Very interesting to hear from someone who is actually on the voyage at the moment. I would love to hear their thoughts when they return at the end of March.