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Here’s why tourists are taking cruises on cargo ships

A container ship being unloaded is visibA container ship being unloaded is visib
A container ship being unloaded is visible during the launch voyage of the Aquarium of the Pacific's new "Urban Ocean" cruise, May 27, 2010 in San Pedro Bay off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Photograph by Robyn Beck— AFP/Getty Images

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.