my good friend bill in chicago recently sent a link to an article on travel by cargo ship. according to wikipedia, freighter travel is a viable alternative to the security hassles and weather delays of air travel, or to the much more expensive commercial sea cruise lines. essentially, you are paying a cargo vessel to transport you along with whatever they are ferrying across the sea. passenger manifests are limited to 5-10, and you enjoy a small cabin with a sea view. your meals are taken with the crew, you have access to the crew lounge, and your time is your own. it is a no-frills experience -- no upscale restaurants or ballrooms or social events. you provide your own ways of passing the time at sea. aside from books, activities might include enjoying the sea, the weather, passing birds, and land when you are near port.
passsengers tend to include retired people, traveling students, relocating executives, airline pilots, and those who simply prefer a more leisurely journey than that afforded by air travel. see the above links for more information on what to expect, as well as links to travel agents and shipping companies. as someone who worked on a freezer ship along the southern coast of alaska in 1982, i recommend freighter travel as a unique and colorful way to journey around the world.