What documents do you need to obtain before starting your voyage? What do you have to look out for on your shore excursions? Can you shop on board? Is there electric power supply in the cabins? What clothes should you take with you? ...

Answers to these and many other questions can be found here in our shipboard ABC.

Departure of ship

  • Cargo ship schedules can change at short notice: changes of a few hours to several days may occur. In a few exceptional cases, there may also be delays of up to two weeks.
  • The duration of berthing times in port depends on various factors, such as weather conditions, extent of loading operations or delays as a result of occupied berths.
  • Contact your travel agency to obtain confirmation of the exact arrival and departure time of the ship three days before the planned departure date.
  • Please always bear in mind that the vessel won’t wait!

Missing the departure of the ship

  • If you have missed the vessel, the locally based ship agency will try to help you. If there are any problems, you can also contact the embassy and your travel agency. You have to bear all costs incurred if you miss the departure of the ship.

Travel to ship Germany and Travel to ship or embarkation outside Germany

  • If you require a longer journey to the port, to be on the safe side plan one or several hotel overnight bookings at the port. We will gladly help you find accommodation.
  • Owing to the strict guidelines of the ISPS Code, every passenger and accompanying person at the terminal has to be registered. It is not possible to enter the port without prior registration by REEDEREI NSB at the gate. This regulation now applies worldwide.
  • Please do not expect any big “reception committee” on board, as the crew is usually very busy while the ship is berthed. As soon as the vessel has left the port, you will be briefed on all procedures on board.
  • Please make a point of noting the safety regulations in the port! Driving into the port in private vehicles is not allowed.
  • Transfer from your hotel/ or from the gate to the vessel must be paid in cash to the agent directly upon embarkation. The same rule applies for the disembarkation.
  • After registration at the entrance to the terminal, you are taken up to the ship via a shuttle bus or specially designated taxis. The bus is mostly requested at the port entrance by the personnel there. However, this service is not offered in all ports.
  • If travel to the ship/departing from the vessel with your own car is nevertheless permitted, the vehicle may not be parked in front of the ship, where gantries and lorries or shipboard cranes are in operation.
  • If in exceptional cases the vessel is lying in the roads, passengers must embark via motor boat.
  • Please have your travel documents, passport and vaccination certificates ready if necessary to give to the Captain immediately after boarding.

Additional information for embarkation outside Germany

  • You will receive in advance the address and telephone number of the charterer’s local shipping agency. This is seldom an agency affiliated with REEDEREI NSB. You can obtain exact details of the berth and berthing times at the agency. The agency also usually organizes handling by customs or immigration. If you use additional services of the agency, e.g. transfers, these have to be paid for immediately (in cash) on the spot.
  • In some ports, the local agencies or authorities may demand additional embarkation or disembarkation fees, which may also have to be settled at once. Please keep the original vouchers carefully!
  • In some ports, e.g. Rotterdam, the customer must also report in person to the waterways police before embarkation or after disembarkation. In Antwerp, for example, travelers from non-EU countries must report to the waterways police. Your travel agency will give you further details.
  • If you plan to leave the ship again, please find out the departure time in advance from the Captain to ensure you know the deadline for being back on board. Please make a note of the telephone and mobile phone numbers of the ship and possibly leave your own mobile number so that you can be reached if there are any changes at short notice.

Working on board

  • All work is performed by the crew. For various reasons, passengers are not permitted to work on board or to cover the costs of a passage by working.


  • There is no doctor on board. The vessel has a well-stocked ship’s dispensary and a treatment room. The Captain and officers have the necessary skills to give first aid and are also able to provide further treatment.
  • In emergencies (accidents on board) the Captain can seek expert advice from a medical emergency service.
  • You should ensure that you take an adequate quantity of important medicaments you will need during the voyage (daily) with you on board. The ship’s dispensary is not equipped to meet such a requirement. A list with your medication (in English) confirmed by your doctor must be taken on board with you. 

Boarding the ship

  • If you board the vessel in a German port, loading/unloading operations, taking on provisions, possibly a change of crew and minor repairs will all be taking place at the same time. Please appreciate that this work has absolute priority.
  • Please don’t expect any big “reception committee” on board, as the crew is usually very busy while the ship is in port. As soon as the vessel has left the port, all procedures on board will be explained to you.
  • On board, please contact an officer or the gangway watch – someone will show you to your cabin.
  • Take great care when boarding the ship: the gangway may be slightly wobbly or inadequately supported. Watch out for your clothing, as ropes and stays can be greasy. If you have any heavy or bulky items of luggage, ask a crew member to assist you.
  • At the ship’s gangway, you will be registered by the crew’s gangway watch. If the safety level has been raised as a consequence of specific occurrences in port and on board, your luggage may be searched.

Alcoholic drinks / spirits on board

  • Spirits / hard liquors are NOT allowed on board and can also not be bought in the store, only beer and wine.


  • Left, left side of vessel.

General ship facilities

  • Each ship has a recreation room, bar and small seawater swimming pool or whirlpool, which is filled only with water of the relevant quality and temperature (not in port). The pool is emptied when there is a strong seaway. You are also allowed to use the sauna, fitness room, laundry and drying room and general areas.


  • On longer voyages, barbeques are staged now and then on deck on many ships. This is a welcome break from routine and an opportunity for socializing, not only for the crew.

Language on board

  • The shipboard language is English. German is often spoken as well.

Containers and containerships

  • Containers are standardized metal boxes used in specific sizes worldwide. They are usually 20 and 40 ft. containers (a 20 ft. container is 6.06m long and 2.44m wide and high. A 20 ft. container unit is also called TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit)).
  • Containerships are designed exclusively for transporting containers, in which goods of all types are carried. NSB does not organize any cargo/container transport services.


  • Containerships managed by REEDEREI NSB have an international ship’s command, partly German. The crew members are from the Philippines.

Theft in ports or while the ship is berthed

  • It is a regrettable fact of life that there are thieves everywhere in the world, not just in “exotic” ports.
  • We therefore recommend that you close your cabin door and windows carefully in port, even if you remain in the cabin. While in port, please also lock cupboards containing valuables, such as a camera.

Deviation insurance

  • Deviation insurance is mandatory for every person on board and is automatically taken out by us. Deviation insurance assumes the shipping company costs if the vessel is forced to change course owing to the illness, accidental injury or death of the insured person. However, treatment, transport and similar costs for the insured person are not covered by the deviation insurance. To cover these costs, an international travel health insurance for ship voyages incl. return transport is essential.
  • The cost of insurance on ships of REEDEREI NSB is €105 per person for voyages lasting up to 14 days and €160 per person for voyages of 15 and more days. The prices can vary at other shipping companies.

Embarkation and disembarkation fees

  • If you embark or disembark outside Germany, the local agency may charge a fee. As an embarkation and disembarkation flat fee is already charged on booking, the fees are refunded on presentation of the receipts. Please note that the fees are higher in countries like Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.  
  • The embarkation and disembarkation fees do not include transfer and similar costs and must be paid directly to the port agent (in cash).


  • All cargo ships carry a limited number of usual shipboard canteen goods customarily provided on board, e.g. specific brands of cigarette, alcoholic beverages (ONLY beer and wine!), lemonade, juices, chocolate and personal grooming products. The store has fixed opening times, about which you are informed on board. However, no items can be sold in port, as the store is closed by the customs. The items purchased must always be paid for in cash, either when the goods are handed over or at the end of the voyage via the Captain. Currencies on board are Euro and US Dollar. Payment by EC card, credit card or travelers checks is not allowed.
  • As the range of items in the store is limited, you should cover your personal travel requirements yourself if at all possible. In the course of a voyage, one or several articles may be sold out, and these can then be replenished only with the next delivery of provisions.
  • If you have any special requirements (specific types of cigarette, etc.), contact your travel agency promptly before beginning your voyage, as it may be possible to order specific items in advance via the ship’s chandler.

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