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I did the freighter trip last year from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and then flew to Manila. It was the adventure of a lifetime and I would do it again if I could. The fare was $1400 but if you contact the shipper directly, it would be under $1000. The crew was 2 Germans and the rest Filipinos and I had the time of my life. There was only 1 other passenger a guy who was going to Hong Kong to marry a Filipina he was corresponding with. I have made friends with a couple of the crew members as I was really a celebrity when they knew of my love for the Philippines and that I was moving here permanently. The room was under the pilot house so there is a lot of stair climbing but I lost 10 lbs. I never got seasick.
The trip reminded me of my train rides on a sleeper on Amtrak. The company is called Transveste Shiffart and they have 2 ships--I rode on the Trade Bravery and it took 17 days but I brought all my paperwork from my US business with me and my computer. Customs was a breeze in Hong Kong and leaving Long Beach Ca. same way. We stopped in Oakland then in a port near Hong Kong for the day--the ship anchored in Hong Kong so we had to board a small boat to get to shore. The voyage in good weather is 17 days and this was something I had wanted to do all my life and never was bored for a minute as the crew was fabulous.