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  #1  
Old 9th February 2018, 09:18
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passengers on cargo ships?

Having finally retired, I now have spare time on my hands, so have decided to take a trip on a Grimaldi Lines, car carrier, as a passenger.

Its for 28 days UK to UK, round the med. While I am an ex Clan Line/Union Castle engineer from the 1970's and have been on several Passenger cruises, this will be a new experience for me.

(I know about the quick turnarounds and have the standard blurb from the agents)

Does anybody have first hand knowledge of life aboard a modern RORO ship from the passengers point of view?
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  #2  
Old 9th February 2018, 16:42
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I hope you'll keep us posted. It should be an interesting experience. When do you plan to go?
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  #3  
Old 9th February 2018, 17:36
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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Similar to Mary 75.
We generally go on two cruises every year, Royal Caribbean, and probably the purists will attack me for the floating Costa. They can bugger off.

I'd love to do a cargo ship cruise but the Memsahib is wary. No doubts you will enjoy it and please keep a diary and post it on SN. (give us all some ammo).
Remember it's not Clan Line so no wee drams before dinner and no haggis on the menu.
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  #4  
Old 9th February 2018, 18:08
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Thanks for the comments. Expect my holiday story about early November.
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  #5  
Old 9th February 2018, 19:24
bryanm bryanm is offline  
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Although not relevant nowadays I have fond memories of sailing on ACT3 & ACT6 in the 80’s and early 90’s where we carried about ten passengers between the east coast of the States to New Zealand and Australia, some one way but many doing the round trip. From what I remember it wasn’t cheap but most had done the QE2 etc and wanted a more leisurely passage. The ships had been converted from steam to diesel and had many spare engineer cabins which had been converted into passenger accommodation with their own bar and lounge. One steward was signed on as passenger steward whose sole job was taking care of the passengers. They ate in the officers saloon spread amongst various officers. They were usually welcomed in the officer and crew bars and we laid on various entertainment for them from film nights, horse race meetings and barbecues on deck. I think most enjoyed their experience as they often wrote letters to Cunards passenger division in New York saying so. Although we were container ships we probably spent more time in port than modern cruise ships. I imagine thing are a lot different nowadays with lot smaller crews.
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  #6  
Old 9th February 2018, 19:48
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Sailed as passenger on ore carriers,which doesn't count,however friends used to regularly sail on the Ferrymasters vessels when running from Tees to Sweden and they reckoned that service for the dozen passengers was excellent. Grimaldi are masters of this mixed service and am sure you will enjoy.

geoff
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  #7  
Old 9th February 2018, 22:12
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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We had passenger accomdation on the lakers and frequently they were used as a thank you from the owners. A couple of companies would put the ships cruise up for a charity auction. All the passengers we carried enjoyed the experiance as sailing on the lakes ment new sceine every day. Transiting the Welland Caal and the Seaway are very impressive.
I on one occassion had a retired US Navy Vice Admiral who wished to bring an ex naval warship up as museum. He spent nearly the entire trip in the pilothouse and asked to be there each time I was there. He was lavish with his praises in a letter to the company about the proficiency of the whole crew. He as were many of our passengers thrilled with the time spent on board. On down side for us in the crew was they had drinks on board and we were required to be complete tetotalers and would hav loved to have had a cold beer on the warm summer days. Completly forbidden.
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  #8  
Old 10th February 2018, 17:53
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re: One down side for us in the crew was they had drinks on board and we were required to be complete teetotalers and would have loved to have had a cold beer on the warm summer days. Completely forbidden.

Well, when the Detroit Stroh's Beer owners made a trip on the Hanna Line's Joe Thompson, they brought along a load of their product. All of the crew each was awarded a case of twenty-four cans.

Greg Hayden
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  #9  
Old 11th February 2018, 12:41
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Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
Well, when the Detroit Stroh's Beer owners made a trip on the Hanna Line's Joe Thompson, they brought along a load of their product. All of the crew each was awarded a case of twenty-four cans.

Greg Hayden
That was one way to get rid of it I suppose. That and Coor's light which we used to refer to as making love in a canoe. F**King close to water.
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  #10  
Old 14th February 2018, 22:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyjohn View Post
Having finally retired, I now have spare time on my hands, so have decided to take a trip on a Grimaldi Lines, car carrier, as a passenger.

Its for 28 days UK to UK, round the med. While I am an ex Clan Line/Union Castle engineer from the 1970's and have been on several Passenger cruises, this will be a new experience for me.

(I know about the quick turnarounds and have the standard blurb from the agents)

Does anybody have first hand knowledge of life aboard a modern RORO ship from the passengers point of view?

What's the ports iteniery 14 days out 14 back, food etc
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  #11  
Old 14th February 2018, 23:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine Serang View Post

I'd love to do a cargo ship cruise but the Memsahib is wary. No doubts you will enjoy it and please keep a diary and post it on SN. (give us all some ammo).

Remember it's not Clan Line so no wee drams before dinner and no haggis on the menu.

Saga ships are quite good. The PEARL is to be retired next year. Pity, she is one of favourites. Small (ish) but nothing wrong than that. SAPPHIRE might be retried ion the next two or three year. The two new ships will be on line then. Bigger but still only 999 pax.

Wines at lunch and dinner are free. No skimping. Haggis? Of course and if you want extra dram... no problem either, Highland Park!
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  #12  
Old 15th February 2018, 10:00
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Hello Septiclecky,

The ports itinery is a round trip "as required" by demand, but :-

Basically its UK & Northern Europe (TOYOTA, MERCS, VW, RENAULT etc), Spain(SEAT), Italy(FIAT), Turkey(FORD TRANSITS) with short stops in Portugal, Greece, and possibly Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco. Loading and unloading in each port. Return half of the trip is more or less the same.,

I expect the food to be mainly Italian in style, plus BBQ and some international favourites. Generally passengers are treated as honorary officers, without rank or duties.

I am taking a fully loaded Kindle, a computor full of music and games plus a 'bronzy' mat.

Also taking Euro med card 111(free from NHS), e-visa for turkey ($20), personal insurance. No vaccinations required. Taking final advice from shipping agents nearer the time.

Some ports that are more usual :- Bristol, Southampton, Antwerp, Hamburg, Setubal, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Salerno, Izmit, Gemlik.

As you will understand sailing dates and specific ports are general rather than fixed in stone. My vessel will be the 'Grande Colonia' of Grimaldi Lines. European officers and Pilipino crew, working language is nominaly English but I am taking Italian and Tagalog phrasebooks.

All my info is derived from google. I would really like to hear from somebody who has actually done a similar voyage already.

Last edited by lazyjohn; 15th February 2018 at 10:28.. Reason: adding info
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  #13  
Old 21st February 2018, 02:02
angierad angierad is offline  
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I have been on a few Grimaldi voyages - Euro-Med, Euro-Aegean and Euro-Adriatic. I love Italian food so I never had any complaints about the food and passengers are usually served wine. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Depending on the Master there could be restrictions on what you can do on board. Depending on the vessel the gym might have exercise equipment that works or does not. You have to be flexible; ports might be dropped at the last minute. I was aware of this but other passengers were very disappointed. The stay in port might be very short so you may not be able to go ashore. Taxis can be very expensive but some ports are within walking distance of the town. Most vessels have a good selection of books in different languages. Most ship personnel are friendly. Cabins are simple but comfortable. I always opt for an outside cabin. Except for the three Euro-Adriatic voyages, I have always embarked and disembarked in Southampton. The Grimaldi agents there are outstanding. I always travel in the summer and a risk is that the vessel might go into drydock in August. If you have any specific questions please let me know.
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  #14  
Old 21st February 2018, 09:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyjohn View Post
Having finally retired, I now have spare time on my hands, so have decided to take a trip on a Grimaldi Lines, car carrier, as a passenger.

Its for 28 days UK to UK, round the med. While I am an ex Clan Line/Union Castle engineer from the 1970's and have been on several Passenger cruises, this will be a new experience for me.

(I know about the quick turnarounds and have the standard blurb from the agents)

Does anybody have first hand knowledge of life aboard a modern RORO ship from the passengers point of view?
B articles? What's their day work rate?
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  #15  
Old 21st February 2018, 18:05
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Originally Posted by angierad View Post
I have been on a few Grimaldi voyages - Euro-Med, Euro-Aegean and Euro-Adriatic. I love Italian food so I never had any complaints about the food and passengers are usually served wine. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Depending on the Master there could be restrictions on what you can do on board. Depending on the vessel the gym might have exercise equipment that works or does not. You have to be flexible; ports might be dropped at the last minute. I was aware of this but other passengers were very disappointed. The stay in port might be very short so you may not be able to go ashore. Taxis can be very expensive but some ports are within walking distance of the town. Most vessels have a good selection of books in different languages. Most ship personnel are friendly. Cabins are simple but comfortable. I always opt for an outside cabin. Except for the three Euro-Adriatic voyages, I have always embarked and disembarked in Southampton. The Grimaldi agents there are outstanding. I always travel in the summer and a risk is that the vessel might go into drydock in August. If you have any specific questions please let me know.
Thank you Angierad for the concise and useful information. Just the sort of stuff I am looking for.

I will be joining in Bristol, as I live nearby.

Just a few questions for you.

In your opinion, would a lone English speaker get along o.k. without going stir crazy. I am strictly a learner in Italian?

What type of passengers can I expect to share with? Old? young? family groups? loners? couples, none?

Will the saloon have a bar or will passengers be expected to keep their drinks etc. in their cabins?
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  #16  
Old 22nd February 2018, 01:47
angierad angierad is offline  
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I've never had any problem communicating. I have an Italian phrase book but I used it on very rare occasions. Most of the officers speak/understand English. Most of the rest of the crew, usually from the Philippines, speak English.
Variety of passengers. Few times I was the only passenger, (I'm 64), for the entire voyage. Last summer there were three gentlemen on board to transport their vehicles and trailers to Cyprus. Usual age range is 50s to 70s. Only once were there young children who were travelling with their mother and they were moving to Israel. Not many travel that way for the adventure alone. The ship is big enough that you aren't always bumping into somebody.
Saloon? None. Passengers are served wine with meals (set meal times) but no, nowhere to sit and have a pre-dinner drink or post-dinner. Actually, passengers aren't supposed to take liquor on board. Ship personnel are not allowed to drink. Sometimes liquor is available from the cook and I don't know the cost. Not all cabins have fridges. On my eleven trips, only three vessels had fridges in the passengers' cabins.
For me they are always unforgettable experiences. Quite often, not another vessel in sight but dolphins keep us company.
If you have any other questions or comments I'll gladly answer. Angie
I live in Alberta, Canada now but grew up in Nova Scotia. And I do like Bristol.
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  #17  
Old 22nd February 2018, 12:32
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I've never had any problem communicating. I have an Italian phrase book but I used it on very rare occasions. Most of the officers speak/understand English. Most of the rest of the crew, usually from the Philippines, speak English.
Variety of passengers. Few times I was the only passenger, (I'm 64), for the entire voyage. Last summer there were three gentlemen on board to transport their vehicles and trailers to Cyprus. Usual age range is 50s to 70s. Only once were there young children who were travelling with their mother and they were moving to Israel. Not many travel that way for the adventure alone. The ship is big enough that you aren't always bumping into somebody.
Saloon? None. Passengers are served wine with meals (set meal times) but no, nowhere to sit and have a pre-dinner drink or post-dinner. Actually, passengers aren't supposed to take liquor on board. Ship personnel are not allowed to drink. Sometimes liquor is available from the cook and I don't know the cost. Not all cabins have fridges. On my eleven trips, only three vessels had fridges in the passengers' cabins.
For me they are always unforgettable experiences. Quite often, not another vessel in sight but dolphins keep us company.
If you have any other questions or comments I'll gladly answer. Angie
I live in Alberta, Canada now but grew up in Nova Scotia. And I do like Bristol.
Hello again Angierad,

I think (hope) I made a mistake with my question. We might have a crossing continents type of misunderstanding.

I know in some parts of Canada that the local saloon is more like what I know as a bar or pub. A place mainly for drinking alcohol.

In my seagoing experience, the 'saloon' on many European ships is the general meeting room or lounge. Where people meet, relax, watch videos, read, play cards or just generally socialise while off duty. Some have a built in bar and some don't, depending on company policy.

I hope I just phrased my question badly. Is there a lounge or socialising room or does everybody have to socialise in their cabins.

Alberta sounds nice. Is it still snowing?
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  #18  
Old 22nd February 2018, 14:38
angierad angierad is offline  
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Actually I do know what a saloon is, just that nothing like that on Grimaldi vessels. Yes, there is a officers' lounge, seldom used by the officers, with couches, tables, chairs, a TV but alas, no bar. Passengers can socialize there but the strongest drink I ever had there was coffee! Perhaps when there are more passengers on board or are couples or friends they socialize in the lounge or in their cabins. I always travelled in the summer so we usually always sat outside, except those who did not like the heat.
From your itinerary it sounds like you will be on Euro-Aegean. The one time that I was on that route officers/crew were from Italy and India. Do you like curry? It might have changed now on that route and crew from the Philippines.
Alberta is beautiful. More snow this winter than other years and we are warming up. Last month had a few -40C (-48C with wind chill) days. I dress for it with layers and scarves and out I go. I'm a tough old gal. LOL
Please keep those questions coming.
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  #19  
Old 6th April 2019, 17:02
blindkiwi blindkiwi is offline  
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Bulk carrier trip

In the fall of 2017 my wife and I sailed from Milwaukee to Ravenna in Italy aboard PZM lines "Isadora". For me it was a "bucket list" thing of sailing through the Great Lakes and St Lawrence seaway and my wife very bravely came along too. Super trip and a completely different experience from a cruise ship. It's not for everyone cause schedule, route and ports can change. Also one has to be fairly fit and mobile ( stairs and no elevator ) and able to entertain oneself - books, jigsaws, card games, old video movies, etc. In our case we had been given a probable boarding window of about ten days and then a weeks notice to board in Burns Harbour near Chicago. We had planned a couple days holiday beforehand in Chicago and were in Calgary airport departure lounge when we got a hurry up change of plan notice to board tomorrow in Milwaukee. Furthermore we did not know where our voyage would end uuntil about ten days later. From Milwaukee, the last discharge port for a cargo of rolled steel from Ijmuiden, we sailed to Duluth/Superior to load a cargo of wheat. We then sailed to Ravenna via Montreal. We both enjoyed being able to visit the bridge as much as we wanted and just hang out there or chat with the various pilots and the Captain who spoke good english. Asking questions and chatting with the three watchkeepers was harder 'cause their English was limited but they all seemed very pleased to have us aboard. The Chief was also very pleased to show us round the engine room and answer my questions. I visited there three times. Beautiful fall weather through the lakes, the St Lawrence and the Med but there were several rough weather days in the N.Atlantic. Only downside to the trip was we were beginning to be bored with the Polish food after a couple of weeks.
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Old 6th April 2019, 17:19
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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The only cargo ships on that had passengers aboard were the Ardetta,and the Dottrel British and Continental Lines they did the round trip this was in the 50s .
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  #21  
Old 7th April 2019, 10:01
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Originally Posted by blindkiwi View Post
In the fall of 2017 my wife and I sailed from Milwaukee to Ravenna in Italy aboard PZM lines "Isadora". For me it was a "bucket list" thing of sailing through the Great Lakes and St Lawrence seaway and my wife very bravely came along too. Super trip and a completely different experience from a cruise ship. It's not for everyone cause schedule, route and ports can change. Also one has to be fairly fit and mobile ( stairs and no elevator ) and able to entertain oneself - books, jigsaws, card games, old video movies, etc. In our case we had been given a probable boarding window of about ten days and then a weeks notice to board in Burns Harbour near Chicago. We had planned a couple days holiday beforehand in Chicago and were in Calgary airport departure lounge when we got a hurry up change of plan notice to board tomorrow in Milwaukee. Furthermore we did not know where our voyage would end uuntil about ten days later. From Milwaukee, the last discharge port for a cargo of rolled steel from Ijmuiden, we sailed to Duluth/Superior to load a cargo of wheat. We then sailed to Ravenna via Montreal. We both enjoyed being able to visit the bridge as much as we wanted and just hang out there or chat with the various pilots and the Captain who spoke good english. Asking questions and chatting with the three watchkeepers was harder 'cause their English was limited but they all seemed very pleased to have us aboard. The Chief was also very pleased to show us round the engine room and answer my questions. I visited there three times. Beautiful fall weather through the lakes, the St Lawrence and the Med but there were several rough weather days in the N.Atlantic. Only downside to the trip was we were beginning to be bored with the Polish food after a couple of weeks.
I am glad that you enjoyed your trip. I see that the Isadora was Cyprus flagged so what was the nationality of the crew? still Polish.

Cheers Frank
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  #22  
Old 7th April 2019, 17:43
blindkiwi blindkiwi is offline  
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Isadora crew nationality

On the trip we made the crew were all Polish. Furthermore they were all male. After conversations with the Captain who spoke excellent english they do occasionally have other nationals in the crew - the odd Ukrainian engineer for instance - but typically 90% plus are Polish. Likewise they occasionally have females in the crew - often Cadets or deck officers. I was favourably impressed with the professionalism of all the crew and the fifteen year old ship was very well maintained. She was owned by PZM ( Polish steamship line ) but registered in Limassol, Cyprus. Carrying a cargo of Canadian wheat from an American port to Italy. Interesting that she did not have electronic charts although position fixing was largely by gps. The traditional paper charts were all from the Admiralty hydrographic office in Cornwall.
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