No buffets on these voyages.

By Claire Groden / Fortune
October 30, 2015
Stewart Sutton

For about $115 per day, curious travelers can hop a ride on a working ocean freighter—but only if they book the trip months in advance.

With slowing global trade, shipping a passenger between Europe and Asia is around ten times more lucrative for freight companies than shipping their usual fare of containers, according to Bloomberg. And customers are leaping at the opportunity, creating long waitlists for the chance to travel alongside shipping containers.

The ocean freighter travel experience is a far cry from the floating luxury of ocean cruises: each freighter takes a maximum of a dozen paying passengers, who dine and pass the time with the ship’s crew. There is limited internet access and only moderate stores of alcohol, and passengers are expected to do their own laundry.

But for those who want to travel by sea without the luxury and crowds of a cruise, the ascetic nature of a working container ship seems to be a welcome alternative.

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