FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if there are still some points I am not clear about before booking the voyage or before departure?
If questions come up when you are planning your trip and you are not sure what to do, just call us and we will be pleased to help you on the basis of our experience. Of course, you can also send a fax or e-mail and we will reply straight away. Especially if you have never travelled on a freighter before questions often pop up that can generally then be clarified and answered quickly.
What is the deviation insurance for?
Deviation insurance is a special type of insurance that covers the cost of operating the ship. If the ship has to deviate from its original course because a passenger has to be taken to an emergency port, this would cover the additional costs incurred for operating the ship.
What travel documents do I need?
That depends on which voyage/route you have booked. Your passport or ID card and vaccination certificate are the most important documents you should have with you. If a visa is required to enter the countries you call at, you have to make sure you obtain it in good time before starting your voyage. Please also remember that most countries will want to see your ticket for the onward voyage or the return ticket. We provide information on the minimum documents currently required in the cruise descriptions, but you should find out yourself about vaccinations and other regulations. As a passenger on board a freighter you yourself are responsible for obtaining the relevant travel documents and for observing the respective entry regulations. Get in touch with the consulates / representative offices in the relevant countries and make sure you point out that you will be entering the country on a freighter. The information we provide applies for German nationals. Travellers of different nationality should obtain information from the appropriate authorities.
Is there a shop/canteen on board?
You can buy smaller items of toiletry (toothpaste, soap, detergent, etc.) as well as drinks and tobacco products in the canteen. Ask about the opening times on board. Payment must always be in cash. Wine is not available on all ships so ask in good time before the ships departs if you need this kind of thing.
Can I “earn my passage”? / Can you still get a cabin in return for work?
It is not possible to reduce the price of a passage or pay for it by working and this is not practised on the ships we offer.
What is it essential to have with me?
You should always have: your complete travel documents including the vaccination certificate and health insurance policy (incl. emergency telephone number), passport with any visas required and as well as the tickets for onward or return travel. If you have to take special medication, make sure you have a sufficient supply for the voyage. If you go outside the ship’s superstructure, we recommend that you wear shoes with non-slip soles. We also recommend that you wear slippers in your cabin to save wear on carpets. For trips onshore make sure you have the correct currency in small denominations so that you can pay for a taxi or bus into town. Leave all your jewellery and expensive watches on board, or ideally at home, in order to avoid the risk of being robbed onshore. Tip: Take a cheap watch with you when you go ashore to make sure you are able to get back on board at the agreed time.
What are harbour dues?
We charge you for the so-called harbour dues once only in the form of a lump sum which is already included in the price of the cruise offered. The lump sum for harbour dues covers all the costs for the ports called at in the course of your voyage. These are mostly the charges made by the local cargo agents who arrange your registration with the local authorities and who keep you informed about arrival and departure times and the ship’s berth if you are joining the ship in a foreign port. If you are required to pay additional charges by unknown persons in any port, make sure you obtain a formal written receipt for any payments made.
How do I find the ship’s berth?
For embarkations in German ports as well as in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp you will receive embarkation information through our office. In all other ports please contact the local cargo agents as stated by us. Please bear in mind that the agent is a cargo agent, not an agent for passengers. The times and berth for your embarkation depend entirely on the ship’s requirements and not on the needs of the freighter’s passengers. So please be guided by the information provided by us or our agents. In the interests of all those involved we would ask you not to take independent action, for example by joining the ship late in the evening when we have fixed the morning of the following day for embarkation. Always bear in mind that there may be other passengers on board and that the crew must be given the possibility of preparing the cabins for the new passengers.
How do I organise my trip to join the ship?
The time a ship spends in port always depends on the cargo. It often happens, especially in the case of smaller so-called feeder ships, that several berths are used in the same port, resulting in a kind of small sight-seeing trip round the harbour. The timing for berths can always change at short notice so it is important that you make sure you can always be reached before you go on board, ideally by mobile phone! If you intend to travel to the ship by car, please ask us beforehand if the expected berths are suitable for cars.
Does it make sense and am I allowed to take my bicycle on board with me?
Today many container ports are located far outside of city centres. So taking a bicycle along can be very useful. On most ships it is possible to take a bicycle on board if this is agreed on beforehand. Normally bicycles are kept on deck and secured. Neither the shipping company nor Hamburg Süd Travel Agency accepts liability for damage to your bicycle, so if you take one along it’s on your own responsibility.
Am I allowed to take photographs and film?
Usually you can take photos or film everywhere on the ship. To make sure that you are not infringing any regulations perhaps you should first talk to the captain or officer on duty. There may be a ban on taking photos on some sections of the route and on some (private) terminals. If so, please observe this ban.
What is the difference between the chief mate and the chief?
The chief mate is the first officer on board (second in command) and he or she is responsible for the ship’s cargo whereas the chief is the first engineer on board and responsible for the engines.
How much luggage may I take with me on my trip?
As a general rule we say that each passenger may take 125 kg of luggage free of charge (which equals half a cubic metre). The passenger must make sure that the luggage is transported in easy-to-handle items of baggage that can always be taken on board by one person via the gangway. It must also be ensured that the passenger can accommodate his or her luggage in his or her own cabin/berth. Any luggage in excess of this is deemed to be cargo and has to be handled as freight by a forwarding agent.