Travelling on board a cargo vessel: relaxation 2.0

- A.S.ADVENTURE BLOG, 07/11/2019

Who in his childhood never dreamed of sailing the seas on a large container ship? Or standing admiringly watching such an ocean giant enter the harbour, looking for a mooring place? Thanks to CptnZeppos you no longer have to stop dreaming: on simple request they will arrange a place on board a container ship for you, after which you will sail as a guest in your own cabin. A unique experience for those seeking peace and quiet.

Room for wonder

Once upon a time there was no other option: whoever wanted to travel to the other end of the world had no choice but to board a cargo ship. A journey of several weeks to the rhythm of the sailor, with no animators to help you revive your stiff muscles in the morning.

And yet that was the time of the great travel stories. Passengers had little else to do but read and write. About life on board, but also about the world that opened up to them, every time the ship anchored somewhere to get supplies. Physicists made sketches of animals for which there was no name yet. Anthropologists wrote essays about indigenous tribes they met. Without distractions, but with the eagerness of amazement.

Go aboard with CptnZeppos

Wonderment (inspired by the Red Star Line Museum) is also what prompted 47-year-old Joris van Bree to embark on a cargo ship sailing from Antwerp to New York. During a bicycle ride through the port of Antwerp, the Antwerp native wondered what life on such a ship would be like. And so he embarked on The Atlantic Sun, for a fortnight's journey to New York, via Liverpool and Halifax.

Fourteen days of "living between water and air" as he himself put it. Virtually cut off from the outside world - without internet - he gave himself, just like those early maritime adventurers, to reading, writing, photographing and filming - the latter as a modern counterpart to sketching.

With CptnZeppos he now makes this experience available to everyone. The concept is simple: you choose where you want to go - approximately - and how long you want to be underway. Or you choose a more or less concrete route on the website, with a fairly detailed description of the ship, the accommodations and the cabin you're staying in. You indicate the approximate time you can free yourself for your adventure. CptnZeppos then works out a formula, completes the administration and lets you know where and when you can embark.

A great adventure in open water

And then the adventure can begin. Travelling on a cargo ship is both an alienating and a revealing experience. With nothing but an endless expanse of water, every day going the same way and almost no distractions and a maximum of eleven fellow passengers, you lose all sense of time. Relaxation soon takes on a new dimension: you learn to see the world, and perhaps yourself, differently. You experience everything much more consciously. The play of the waves, the monotonous drone of the engines, seagulls betraying that you are slowly approaching land, the sunset that no day is exactly the same...

At your own pace - and theirs - you get to know the crew members, each with their own story. And above all, you have time. Time to read, to write, to study... for all those things you otherwise don't have time for.

Tailor-made travel and prices

It is difficult to stick guide prices on a tailor-made trip, but count on daily prices from 100 euros per person. For a one-week trip from Antwerp to Denmark you pay just over 600 euros. In 35 days and nine stages from Antwerp over Cyprus to Israel and back, it quickly costs a hefty 3,000 euros. So you can literally and figuratively go in any direction with the CptnZeppos formula.

The comfort on board? You don't have to expect a jacuzzi in your cabin, that's obvious. But simple comfort with, among other things, private sanitary facilities in the room is provided. Television, DVD player, a sauna, gym and relaxation area and on some larger ships even an indoor or outdoor swimming pool filled with seawater will provide some distraction and relaxation.

You see, that's not so bad. Just don't expect an animator to take you by the hand for a daily session of water gymnastics.

at a glance

  • Tailor-made journeys on board a cargo ship
  • Departures and destinations all over the world, from Antwerp to Yantian (China)
  • Conscious and atypical travel