Freighter Update

This update is coming a little late. We have successfully reserved a spot on a freighter from Naples Italy to Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia on or about February 1st, 2009. The itinerary currently takes us through La Spezia Italy and Barcelona Spain. We are hoping that we end up in Barcelona at a time when we can make a brief visit. The freighters stop in ports for between 6 and 24 hours, and the stop could be at any time of day, so there are no guarantees that we’ll get to Barcelona at a time when we could do any sight seeing.

I say reserved rather than bought a ticket because there are a couple more hoops we need to jump through yet. We need to purchase insurance and send along our policy numbers to the booking company. We are waiting for the fine print of a policy to arrive in the mail, so that we can decide where to buy the insurance. We’ll be getting a policy for our entire trip (emergency medical), so that complicates the decision a little.

The booking company is also saying that we need to get a doctors note not more than 30 days before the trip, and that they cannot issue the ticket without the note. This means we need to see a doctor while in Turkey or Greece to get the forms completed. Our agent was going to see if this was really necessary given our ages. A lot of freighter travelers are in their 70’s, which makes the medical form important; however, we are hoping that the freighter company will wave that requirement for us.

We will be staying in the owners cabin on the Hanjin Athens. The freighter companies have a neat utility that lets you check where in the world the ship is at any given time.

We have not yet booked anything to get us from North America over to Europe. We are waiting to hear about whether the Canada Senator renews its charter, expected in May. If it does, we’ll need to see if the timing works to take it from Montreal to Gioia Tauro, Italy. If the Canada Senator does not renew, then we will need to take one of the ships from Savannah Georgia to Italy (there are three or four listed). Savannah is a little further south than we wanted, so we would need to take a train from Boston to Savannah, as it would take too long to ride that distance.

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