There are many websites and other sources available giving general information on what a passenger on a cargo ship should know and take with him. I will not add another collection but just mention a few things I found to be useful and did not hear about before.
- Take some currency for the countries you are expecting to visit. This can save you a lot of time for running around and looking for ATMs which, once you found them, sometimes don’t work with your card. At the end of your journey you can make the remaining money part of your tip so you don’t have to convert it back.
- Take some passport pictures with you in case you have to apply for a visa in a certain port.
- The best things to have for me were a Laptop and a mobile GPS device.
Why I took a GPS with me and how it contributed to improving my journey can be read under GPS togo.
The laptop was used to write a diary, to watch DVDs etc. (Sometimes one of the crew members detected an open WLAN in a port and so we all set on the pilot deck reading and sending our eMails)
- You may want to exchange pictures with other passengers or ask the captain to send off an email for you. So an USB memory stick is very important to have.
- Only a few weeks before I started my journey I discovered that there is a complete version of the Wikipedia (a snapshot at a certain date) available on DVD. This DVD was especially useful to read about countries and places we were going to. Besides that it could answer all the questions that came up in the talks between passengers, like “Who were the actors in film xyz?”. Please search the Internet to find where you can by a copy in your country. I paid less than 10 € for it.
- Power supply on the Rickmers ships is to German standard. If you want to run things like a laptop or a battery charger you should take a multiple socket with you.
- You should make sure with your provider that your mobile phone is able to work abroad. It should have GSM and UMTS (3G). I experienced that my phone did not work in Japan because they seem to use a different standard from the rest of the world.
- If you want to do data transfer (eMail, Internet) from your mobile phone, laptop or PocketPC make sure that you are subscribed to the best tariff.
- While soap and washing powder were supplied on my RICKMERS ship I could not buy shampoo or tooth paste there.