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.


  • Smoking is usually permitted on board. However, there are restrictions, e.g. in the mess room or recreation room. Smokers are requested always to be considerate to non-smokers.

Travel documents and health regulations

  • Every traveler is personally responsible for procuring any necessary visas, tourist cards, passports, vaccinations, etc. Our notes in the specific travel descriptions and visa information are non-binding.
  • Generally, a medical certificate issued by a doctor no later than 14 days prior to the commencement of the voyage is required (see travel conditions of REEDEREI NSB).
  • A passport valid at the end of the voyage for at least six more months is always needed. In quite a few countries, a passport with further 12 months of validity is required.
  • For the passage through the Suez and Panama Canal, a certificate for a valid yellow fever vaccination is also demanded by the local authorities. The port authorities of the Suez and Panama Canal require these vaccinations, although according to the World Health Organization (WHO) they are not in fact necessary. On entry by cargo ship, a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is also required by other countries (e.g., China, Latin America). The regulations of the individual countries must always be observed.
  • Vaccinations are provided by your public health department or family doctor or a tropical institute.
  • All passengers should inform themselves promptly about infection and vaccination protection as well as other prophylactic measures. You may have to obtain medical advice on thrombosis and other health risks. In the interest of your health, please inform yourself adequately, for example by consulting your public health department, doctors with experience of travel problems, specialists in tropical medicine, medical travel information services or the Federal Centre for Health Education.
  • Occasionally entirely different visa regulations apply for all ports called at during the voyage. Passengers must find out what is required well before the beginning of the voyage from the responsible authorities, consulates or embassies of the specific countries or the travel agency.
    It is essential that you point out that the entry is by cargo ship! There may be different regulations for entry via passenger vessel or aircraft.
  • Other visa and vaccination regulations may apply for passengers without German citizenship. Please contact the responsible authorities, consulates or embassies for information.
  • IMPORTANT: Immediately on embarkation, please hand over – unsolicited – all travel documents, including passport, vaccination certificate, insurance declaration, to the Captain or the ship’s officer responsible.

Travelling abroad

  • When you end your trip at your port of destination, you must observe the specific entry regulations for passengers on a cargo ship. Please ask well before your trip the specific embassy or consulate concerning the papers required for your stay in the country of destination. Often on entry you already have to possess a valid ticket for leaving the country or continuing your journey. Please ask your travel agency for information before starting your voyage.

Purser's office

  • Shipboard currencies are the Euro and US Dollar. REEDEREI NSB’s exchange rate is fixed monthly and is readjusted on the first day of each month.
  • Money cannot be exchanged on board. Only cash is accepted. EC cards, credit cards and travelers checks are not accepted.

Bad weather

  • In a seaway, please make sure that all open doors of the ship are securely fastened on a hook, thereby avoiding any unnecessary noise and reducing the risk of injury.
  • Please make sure that all moveable objects are secured in the cabin or safely stowed. Make certain that sensitive items such as radios or alarm clocks are firmly secured. Even in fine weather, a seaway can occur at any time. Seating can always be secured.

Safety in port

  • A container port is first and foremost a place of work, involving a great deal of activity, with work generally having “the right of way”. The visibility of operators of van carriers or crane operators, for instance, is frequently very restricted because of their height above ground and the dimensions of cargo and containers. If you move about on the port site, always keep well away from all means of transport. Use marked ways where provided. You should be particularly attentive at corners, exits of sheds and other places where visibility is restricted.
  • In most ports, going on foot is strictly prohibited by the authorities because of the high accident risk. Transport in the port area is mostly via a shuttle service or specially marked taxis.

Safety on board

  • “Safety First” really is the name of the game! Dangers and accidents can be avoided only by exercising caution and observing all dos and don’ts. You are thus informed of the safety regulations on board and the use of life saving equipment while still in port or shortly after departure. As a passenger, you are also obliged to take part in any fire drills or boat maneuvers. In such cases, you have to follow the instructions of the officer on the spot. They are for your own safety.
  • Fire protection is vital on board a ship. Smokers in particular have to take care not to dispose of cigarette butts or ash in wastepaper baskets. Never smoke in your bunk. Always follow the instructions of the officers, who with their long experience can identify and assess dangers promptly.
  • When explosive materials are being transported, smoking on deck is, of course, always strictly prohibited. Smoking is also often strictly prohibited in ports because of the presence of containers with hazardous goods. Stiff fines may be imposed if this ban is ignored.


  • On the right, right side of the ship.

Electric power supply

  • The electric voltage on board NSB ships is 220 V alternating current, 60 Hz. The sockets on board meet the German/Central European standards.

Suez and Panama Canal

  • It is basically not possible to embark or disembark in the Suez and Panama Canal.
  • All travelers passing through the Suez or Panama Canal as passengers on a cargo ship have to provide a valid certificate of yellow fever vaccination (see also “Travel documents”).
  • This vaccination is required by the canal authorities. Although according to WHO these vaccinations are unnecessary, other regulations apply here for cargo vessel passengers. A passenger without a vaccination certificate may be excluded from the voyage.
  • It may be necessary to put passengers as crew members on the crew list. Passengers must follow the Captain’s instructions.

TDW (tons dead weight)

  • 1 deadweight ton = 1,016 kg. This is a measurement of ship capacity, for fuel, ballast, cargo, passengers, etc.

Transportation Costs

  • Additional costs for transfer from the hotel to the ship or from the gate to the hotel are not covered by port fees and must be paid directly to the agent in cash.


  • You decide whether or not you would like to give a tip. It is up to you to determine how much you tip. If you are satisfied with the service, it is welcomed if you show this during the voyage. The Captain will gladly give you details. After consultation with the Captain, you can, for example, donate a crate of beer for a forthcoming barbeque (see “Barbeques”). The steward or cook also appreciates a tip.


  • Passengers take their meals with the ship’s command (daily “Captain’s dinner”) in the officers’ mess. Please note the following three set meal times (subject to change):
  • Breakfast 07.30-08.30
  • Lunch 11.30-12.30
  • Dinner 17.30-18.30
  • European and Asian home cooking is provided by the Philippine cook. In other words, passengers can expect hearty seamen’s fare, which the cook prepares for passengers and the entire crew without making any distinctions. Apart from bread, jam, cheese and sausage, a warm dish is nearly always served in the mornings and evenings. The drinks usually provided with meals (tea, coffee) are included in the travel price. Other drinks are charged on top. Please note that it is not possible to prepare special dishes for diabetics or vegetarians. The cook has to make do with the provisions available up to the next replenishment. You should therefore not insist on the cook meeting any additional requirements.


  • We recommend you take out travel cancellation insurance. An accident insurance and valid international health insurance with return transport (rescue flight) and 24 hours hotline is essential.
  • We advise you also take out luggage and third-party travel insurance. Our travel agency will gladly give you details.


  • The ship’s laundry (tablecloths, etc.), bed linen and hand towels are washed once a week.
  • You can wash private clothing conveniently yourself in a separate laundry equipped with a washing machine, a supply of detergent and a drier. A drying room is also provided. Please ask a crew member when it can be used.

Valuables and customs

  • Valuables such as jewelry, money, etc. can be entrusted to the Captain for keeping in the ship’s safe.
  • Foreign exchange, photos and valuables, etc. must be declared on a customs list on arrival in a port. To avoid difficulties, you should find out in advance what items have to be entered in the list in each case.
  • If you carry technical equipment such as a laptop or other valuables (e.g., photo equipment or expensive jewelry), please take proof of purchase and have yourself given a customs visa in your home country prior to departure in order to avoid any complications with customs and the imposition of import duties when reimporting the items.

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