I have a flight phobia, but I would love to see Europe. What would be the cheapest and direct way to cross the Atlantic without having to take a regular cruise?
-Alexandru, Lincoln, Neb.
If you'd like to cross the Atlantic but prefer not to use a cruise ship or a plane, then you're looking for a freighter crossing. Most freighters have far less in the way of amenities than cruise ships and are far slower than planes, but they've got a charm all their own.
Freighters are working ships, and if you choose one, you'll be one of a handful of passengers. Stewards are rare, and many crew members will not speak English. Some, though, do have some amenities, like gyms, lounges, and even swimming pools.
Prices are generally higher than plane tickets, but usually lower than cruises. For example, a ride on a TIM shipping freighter from Philadelphia to Antwerp, Belgium, takes 10 days and starts at about $1360 (or 850 euros). For comparison, a 13-day transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Lisbon, Portugal starts at $2,644.