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About freighter travel from IJmuiden, The Netherlands to Cleveland

In late June I will be traveling to Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallin and St. Petersburg and arrive in Amsterdam on July 12, 2015, for a four-day stay with an AirBnb host. On July 16, I will be moving to IJmuiden, north of Amsterdam, to await my freighter departure date on a Polish ship to Cleveland, OH, my home town. I've not taken a freighter trip before, and am looking for info on the IJmuiden area and day-tripping into Amsterdam or elsewhere, as the freighter departure date is now simply the 2nd half of July, I will learn about it by July 4, or so, by email or phone call. Also, has anyone done Europe to US freighter travel and can anyone help with typical late-July weather conditions on the North Atlantic heading to the St. Lawrence? I think I have an exciting trip planned - flying, rail and sea travel, and am just looking for some additional advice/info on my stay in The Netherlands, a 12-14 day freighter passage, and weather at sea that time of year. Any and all advice will be appreciated, Thanks, safe travels, RH

Posted by
25716 posts

IJmuiden is just north of Haarlem, less than 30 km from Amsterdam.

I've only been to IJmuiden to get fish and was singularly unimpressed. I saw absolutely nothing there besides docks and shacks. Perhaps I missed something. It is certainly nowhere I would want to spend 2 hours at, much less 2 weeks, or more if the boat is late. For your sake I hope it is early.

Many years ago I crossed the North Atlantic frequently, but that was by ocean liners. I've never tried it in a freighter.

Storms can happen any time, but are very much rarer in summer, unless you get an early tropical storm or hurricane.

I would expect the stability of the boat in heavy seas would vary considerably depending on the size and type of the freighter.

A bulk carrier will be a lot different than a container ship.

Are you ex-Navy or ex-merchant marine?

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks to both Nigel and Kent for their info. I'm not concerned about my time in IJmuiden, as I have a room in a small, family-run hotel and can do trips elsewhere by bus or other means when I get a departure date. I plan to explore the countryside by bike, as well. I may not encounter anyone who has made this sea passage, but thought it worth a try. I've spent some time sailing and am looking forward to the St. Lawrence / Welland experience and the passage to Cleveland. I'm traveling on a freighter that usually carries specialty steel or grain. I am no longer working as an editor/teacher and will have time to write.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes, a freighter to Cleveland. Well, I am not making this up and will be traveling on a Polsteam freighter that calls on Cleveland. It strikes me as something more interesting than 8+ hours on an airplane to Chicago O'Hare. I've already done that.

Posted by
10344 posts

Sounds interesting. I just don't think anyone here has done this, so we're not going to be able to tell you anything you don't already know.
Best wishes on this.

Posted by
1758 posts

Boy, how cool is that? When I was maybe 14 or 15 growing up in Cleveland, I had big plans to take a freighter to Japan to visit my cousins in Yokohama. Suffice to say life, mom,and factors beyond a 14 year old's control conspired against me. What an adventure! I wish I could offer information on the Amsterdam end, but I can only recommend our experience with Prinx Studio Apartments, and am unsure how that would work with your time and budget. Good luck! Keep us posted?

Posted by
2828 posts

IJMuiden is a short bus or bike ride to the nearest station (Driehuis) from where you can take trains and travel around. There are some dunes to the south, some quite impressive ones indeed. To the North there is the IJ estuary/locks and a massive steel plant.

Posted by
1790 posts

A Polish Ship to Cleveland? Is it going directly to Parma? Is it filled with Pink Flamingos and Chrome balls for people's front lawns? How about black shoes with White socks?

You would have had to grow up in Cleveland during the early 70's for any of this to make sense.