Shipping Notes

The following documents are mandatory for boarding a cargo ship:

– A passport valid for more than 6 months after the date of return following the chosen route.

– A specific medical certificate issued by the shipping company and signed by your general practitioner.

– Visas and vaccinations required for the destination

– Assistance, repatriation, medical and helicopter rescue insurance.

– It is also strongly recommended to take out cancellation insurance. All passengers must have their own travel insurance, which covers accidents, medical assistance and repatriation. Citizens of the European Union traveling on routes that only call at UE ports can travel with their European card for medical assistance. The captain has the right to refuse boarding to passengers who do not produce this documents. This list is provided for information only. Each passenger is responsible for obtaining information from the competent authorities about the formalities required for each country to be visited.

 

Cargo ships up to 12 passengers do not have a doctor on board. In case of emergency, trained officers provide first aid. It is therefore essential to be in good health and able to walk normally on board a cargo ship. Ask your doctor to check whether your state of health is suitable for trip on a cargo ship. On request we can send you a blank form to certify your health. Ask your doctor for current sea sickness recommendations for your voyage. For most people, seasickness disappears very quickly, if at all.

The age limit is 77 years old, but it is still advisable not to sail between December and March, when the weather conditions at sea are worst. It should also be noted that during this period the lifts on board the ships can be switched off. Passengers should therefore be able to climb up the stairs without difficulty. Cargo ships are not accessible  to pregnant women. It is the passenger’s sole responsibility to have all personal data before disembarkation at the port of destination. You can take 50 kg of luggage with you. You must ensure that baggage is carried in easy-to-handle pieces of baggage that can always be brought on board by one person via the aisle. It must also be ensured that you can take your baggage with you in your own cabin/storage area. Upon receipt of your completed forms and the balance of the invoice amount due, we will send you the ticket and detailed travel documents approx. 10 days prior to departure.

 

Freight transport is of course a priority on cargo ships. The information in your offer corresponds to the date on which the document was printed. The arrival and departure times of the ports are only announced at short notice and are occasionally changed, as are the ports during the voyage. The travel times given are always without obligation and are usually based on past experience. Therefore, always plan sufficient trips at the beginning and end of the trip. As an intermediary, CptnZeppos bvba is only liable for its conscientious transport preparation, the careful selection of the shipping companies and the accuracy of the description of all transport services on CptnZeppos.com according to the information provided by the shipping companies on that occasion. Liability for other services is limited to damage caused by intent or gross negligence. However, no liability is accepted for the provision of the transport service itself. Any liability in this case shall be governed by the conditions of carriage of the shipping companies to which you are expressly referred and to which we will, upon request, provide you with a copy of these conditions.

Upon arrival at the terminal you will present yourself at the door with your passenger ticket. This will provide a free bus service (shuttle bus) between the port gate and the ship. Ask the captain/officer or – if you come from the shore – the doorman about the possibilities and ask who can call the shuttle bus before you leave the ship. It is imperative that you follow the instructions of the captain. Safety – including your safety – is a top priority on board.

The passenger must always bear in mind that cargo ships are subject to the rules of merchant shipping and that these ships are above all a workplace. Passengers will share the daily life of the crew and therefore maximum discretion is required.

Every person and their luggage that comes on board is subject to a check. Photographic equipment and other valuables must be declared on a so-called customs list upon arrival at the ports. In any case, ask what needs to be filled in so that customs does not ‘get angry’ if you have not put something on the list. If you bring new equipment with you on your trip, have your home country customs make a note of this before you start your trip or bring your proof of purchase. So you will not have any problems with reimportation and you may have to pay customs for it. It will only become really cosy when you board the ship. The gangway guard or steward will help you and take you to your cabin. We advise you to bring a drink for the first day. Once the ship has left the coast, it is quieter and daily life begins on board. The accommodation is in single or double outside cabins with private shower/WC. The descriptions of the cabins can be found on CptnZeppos.com. To ensure you sleep well in all weather conditions, the width of the beds on board cargo ships is generally smaller than that of the beds ashore. Maritime double berths can have a width of 112-160 cm – depending on the ship and cabin. Access to the bridge may be restricted. The leisure facilities such as video/TV, sauna, fitness room, swimming pool on board are shared by the passengers insofar as the operation of the ship permits. For washing your clothes, most container ships offer laundry facilities, including a washing machine, dryer, iron and ironing board. Sheets and towels are provided and a steward keeps the cabin clean. Passengers are responsible for returning the cabin to good condition at the end of the cargo cruise. We only sell cabins for exclusive use (No berths in shared cabins).

Storm can occur at any time of the year and in all trade routes. Seafarers and passengers are prepared for this: All doors of the ship can also be hooked up when they are open. Make sure the doors are securely fastened or closed, especially during departure and at sea, otherwise they will close in the swell. Even if you stand in the cabin, you should position all things so that they cannot fall down in the event that the ship swings later. It is good to bring a strong ribbon/string to tie the radio etc. that you have brought with you. Even if the weather at sea is very calm, you should always be prepared for the swell. The outside decks and stairs are quickly slippery in the rain or even in the sun due to saltwater mist. If it swings more, it is better to use the inner stairs. The outside decks can also be dirty. The crew will be grateful if you make extensive use of the door mats on the doors and wear slippers in the cabin.

Of course some areas are reserved for the crew, especially the navigation bridge and the engine room. However, the captain will often allow passengers to visit these areas, provided they are discreet and do not interfere with the crew. Merchant ships generally have an indoor seawater swimming pool and a fully equipped gym and table tennis table. Some ships also have a sauna. There are parts of the ship where passengers are not allowed unless the captain (or a person designated by him) has given prior permission and accompanied by a member of the crew: the Garage (at sea), the Kitchen, the Engine Room and generally all work areas. Under the ISPS code the bridge is a restricted area, to which access is generally not possible. We appreciate that our passengers enjoy a stay on the bridge, but ask the captain for permission to visit the bridge.

There are never more than 12 passengers and they share the relaxation room and dining room with the crew. The living area includes a TV, DVD player, library and board games. It is a cozy place where you can talk to the officers, relax, watch a movie or lose yourself in a book.

There are people of different nationalities on board these ships. It is therefore advisable to speak English in order to speak with them, but also to make yourself understood when disembarking in ports of call.

There is a washing machine, dryer and iron at your disposal for your personal laundry.

You are traveling on board a cargo ship. While you are of course a welcome guest, you should keep in mind that the captain, officers and crew must abide by their daily duty and routine to abandon the ship and while in port to unload and load the cargo. The service we can offer you, compared to pure passenger ships, is necessarily somewhat limited. However, you can be sure that all the staff involved will do their utmost to make you feel comfortable and happy on board the ship. All persons traveling on board the ship are subject to the general discipline, safety and security rules established by the company and the captain.

For the safety of everyone on board, it is important to follow the instructions given during the exercises regularly organised on board the ship. These training sessions allow everyone to know what to do in case of emergency.

All our ships have an elevator. But in case of breakdown with the elevator, you must be able to get up or down the stairs.

On larger ships there is occasionally a swimming pool and fitness room for the leisure of the crew on long sea voyages, which you can also use. The use of the pool is not possible in heavy seas. The surrounding deck can be smooth with water running over the edge. So danger of slipping! Be careful. The filling and use of the pool depends on the instructions of the captain. The pools on board are filled with clear seawater on the high seas.

Alcohol on board is prohibited. It is not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on board, bought ashore.

Smoking is NOT allowed in the ships. Cigarettes purchased ashore can be transported on board without exceeding 10 packets (200 cigarettes) or their equivalent in cigars or tobacco.

On merchant vessels, work is organised into four-hour shifts, meaning that crew members are on two shifts per 24-hour period for four hours. This means that some people sleep during the day. Children need to exercise more than adults. Even speaking out loud in the corridors can be annoying.

Three meals are served every day. They are included in the cost of your cruise, prepared by the ship’s chef, and are taken at regular intervals in the officer’s knife. These daily meetings offer passengers and crew the opportunity to talk to each other in a friendly and friendly atmosphere. You will be able to get to know the officers and hear their fascinating stories. The meals are prepared by a standard naval cook and reflect the preferences and needs of the crew. Please respect the meal hours. Meals cannot be served in your cabin. Special diets are not possible. Meals are the same for crew and passengers.

During your cargo ship cruise you can enter the deck and move freely. Sun loungers are provided so you can relax and enjoy the sun (loungers are available on board when the weather permits) Observe the ocean, feel the spray on your face, and discover the changing landscape, day after day. You can also walk past it or even jog.

The ship you are sailing on is of a comfortable size that makes it possible to sail safely under all circumstances. For your safety and comfort, we recommend that you do not wear shoes with high wheels or beach sandals. Even in good seas a sudden movement of the ship is possible and often the outside deck is wet.The dressing code is informal, but remembers that there are certain unwritten rules on our ships. The captain, officers and crew appreciate it when the passengers also follow these rules: no swimsuit or beach gear is worn in the mess room, lounge or bridge.

You should avoid the decks next to the fences or holds while working in the harbour (increased risk of accidents). This also applies to the fore and aft deck during mooring, i.e. the places where the mooring lines are located. Working with heavy mooring lines is not safe even for seafarers. During the voyage with calm sea, a stay on the foredeck is a special experience. For safety reasons, it is customary on most ships to look at the bridge to see if you want to visit the foredeck.

220 Volt. The sockets are European standard. If necessary, bring an adapter.

If you love reading, bring enough books that you’ve wanted to read for a long time during your trip. We also recommend you bring a world receiver and download music and movies on your laptop.

There is no public phone or Wi-Fi on board these ships. Communication from a mobile phone is only possible in the 15 mile zone. However, you must be reachable by phone when disembarking in the ports of call, so it is preferable to have a mobile phone with a worldwide contract. The use of means of communication in the vehicle is only possible in exceptional cases. The passenger pays the costs directly on board. Before you start your journey, it is best to check with your mobile phone provider which mobile phone networks abroad guarantee the functionality of your mobile phone. Internet access is normally not available on ships.

Under the ISPS code, the bridge is a restricted access area, to which access cannot generally be permitted. We appreciate that our passengers like to stay on the bridge, but ask the captain for permission to visit the bridge. A visit to the command bridge is generally possible. However, always remember that the bridge is a workspace – one could almost say office space – and that the officers or captain should call the guard and do important planning and administrative work. On many ships it is not possible to visit the bridge outside the sea routes (during boat trips, river trips and port visits). But don’t be afraid to ask the captain or the awake officer: a friendly word opens many a bridge door. The best view is only half as beautiful without good binoculars. Because the binoculars on the bridge are important tools for navigating, they cannot be lent to passengers. If you are interested, please bring your own binoculars. By the way: If you enter the bridge at sea, knocking is not common. You greet – especially in the dark – just loud enough to be understood and noticed – and wait in a “blind spot” until your eyes get used to the darkness. Usually – and especially when there is “something going on” around the ship – one speaks in a muted tone, so that the ear of the mate or captain still perceives the radio. In fog, when calling at ports and river cruises, distraction can quickly have unpleasant consequences. On long journeys, however, some crew are particularly happy with an interesting conversation.

Euro, US Dollar and any other currencies for the shore excursions must be denominated in small denominations. If you do not have the option of exchanging your money in local currency, it is better to handle small notes than large ones. If you go ashore outside office hours, only the larger hotels will remain in the city where you can be redeemed. Therefore, we recommend that you take the amount of money you need for your first shore leave with you for each country. In most European countries you can also get local currency with the EC card at an ATM in the city centre. Not every country allows the exchange of foreign currency into local currency outside the official exchange offices and not all countries allow the import of foreign currency. There are no possibilities to exchange currency on board cargo ships. Cheques and credit cards are not accepted either. Everything has to be paid in cash.

Thieves do not only operate in exotic ports. A few comments about your cabin: never forget to lock the door and lock the windows before leaving the cabin. Even if you sleep in the cabin while in port, you must lock the door from the inside out. To protect yourself against quick grip, it is also a good idea to lock the cabinet in which you store your camera, for example. All this is not necessary at sea, crew are “honest skins”.

Local regulations, official regulations or other circumstances may make it impossible to go ashore in ports or individual berths. It may also happen that a ship is anchored (outside the port) and that there is therefore either a full possibility or a cost for a water taxi. The shore excursions are organized by the passengers themselves. Our tip: Ask for a travel guide / information material before you start your trip. Always coordinate clearly with the ship’s command for the excursion and return to the ship on time. Remember that otherwise the ship will continue its journey without you and you may incur significant additional travel costs. A mobile phone can be very useful for embarkation and shore excursions. Arrival and departure can take place at any time of the day or night.

You are not obliged to tip. However, if you want to give something to the crew members, you are free to do so. They will appreciate this very much.

If you have problems or are dissatisfied, you should speak to the Captain or the Chief Mate (1st Officer). Whenever possible, they will help you.

One of the biggest advantages is that you can stay away from the world of work at all times. No one will bother you if you withdraw to the sun deck and read your book or cool down on large ships in the pool. Very quickly you will build a warm relationship with the crew, even if you feel a little lost in the first few hours. The practice has shown this time and time again and the many enthusiastic letters from our customers show this too. We would also love it if you could tell us briefly how you enjoyed it after you returned from your trip. This helps us to advise potential customers correctly and is of course also good for you in case you make a further voyage on the cargo ship. Most people who have been on the cargo ship once, always come back to sea. Of course we are always very interested in reports and pictures of the trips.

The delays and cancellations of which the company is responsible may be a refund if it has more than 7 days. If the trip is shortened by less than 7 days, the agency will not reimburse (the agency will not invoice if the travel time is longer than expected). We will always find a solution to offer you a new departure date, or a new boat, or a new destination or a new departure date.

It is not possible to reduce or pay the price of a crossing by working and this is not applied to the ships we offer.

No animals are allowed on board.

Deviation insurance is a special type of insurance that covers the cost of using the ship if the ship has to deviate from its original course because a passenger has to be taken to a port of refuge, this covers the additional costs of operating the ship.

The information for the embarkations in the ports you will receive through our office or you can contact the local freight agents as indicated by us. Please note that the agent is a freight agent, not an agent for passengers. The times and berth for your embarkation depend entirely on the requirements of the ship and not on the needs of the cargo ship’s passengers. So be guided by the information provided by us or our agents. In the interests of all concerned, we ask you not to take independent action, for example by joining the ship late in the evening, when we have scheduled the morning of the next day for embarkation. Always keep in mind that there may be other passengers on board and that the crew must be given the opportunity to prepare the cabins for the new passengers.

Usually you can take pictures or film on the ship. To be sure that you are not breaking any regulations, you should first talk to the captain or officer on duty. On some sections of the route and at some (private) terminals, you may be prohibited from taking photographs.

Today, many container ports are located far outside the city centre. Bringing a bicycle can therefore be very useful. On most ships it is possible to take a bicycle on board if this has been agreed in advance. Normally bicycles are held on deck and secured. Neither the shipping company nor CptnZeppos Bvba accepts liability for damage to your bicycle, so if you take a bicycle with you, it is on your own responsibility.

You must always be in possession of: your complete travel documents, including vaccination certificate and health insurance (including telephone number for emergencies), passport with any necessary visas and also the tickets for onward or return travel. If you need to take special medication, make sure you have enough stock for the trip. If you go outside the superstructure of the ship, we advise you to wear shoes with non-slip soles. We also advise you to wear slippers in your cabin to prevent wear of carpets. For travel ashore, make sure you have the right currency in small denominations so you can pay for a taxi or bus to town. Tip: Make sure you can board again at the agreed time.