What Is a Tramp Steamer?

What Is a Tramp Steamer?
For some, the idea of traveling on a modern ocean liner in a comfortable cabin is no adventure. For those who want to experience ocean travel like the sailors of yore, a tramp steamer is the way to go.

What is a Tramp Steamer?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a tramp steamer is a merchant ship that "operates without a schedule, going wherever required to deliver its cargoes." Tramp steamers have the benefit of freedom of destination, cargo and route that the more common merchant liners do not.

Travel by Tramp Steamer

Travel by tramp steamer is exotic, but it does require a greater amount of patience and an open schedule. Berths are usually last minute and available at a huge discount. Once aboard, passengers are in store for a unique travel experience that might make them feel like Mark Twain as he wrote "Following the Equator."

A Few Rules

Some companies will not allow people younger than 18 years old or older than 70 years old to travel. Those that allow elderly passengers often require a certification of health.

Booking a Berth

While it is acceptable to contact a tramp steamer directly, the best way to book travel on a tramp steamer is through a booking agency.


One of the best booking agencies is Maris Freighter Cruises and Freighter Travel Club Int'l. It has available berths on dozens of ships all around the world.

Article Written By Chris Carney

A writer of diverse interests, Chris Carney has written for numerous publications, including Main Street Magazine and IO Magazine, where he was head writer. He is currently a contributing writer for Las Vegas Magazine and the director of development at Secret Legion Inc. He has a Bachelor of Arts in history and English literature from the University of Central Florida.

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