Not into flying? Traveling to Ireland by boat may be an option for you!

If you've always wanted to travel to Ireland but are afraid of flying, or if it's been a lifelong dream to set sail on the seas, why not consider traveling to Ireland by boat?

Read more: Northern Ireland and Game of Thrones tours

Cruise lines and passenger services still operate trans-Atlantic routes from ports like Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and of course New York in the US, and many sail into the Irish port towns of Belfast, Cork, and Dublin.

While there are several companies that make stops at Irish ports, most do tours of Ireland and the British Isles based out of London, rather than a trans-Atlantic route with a port of call in Ireland.

Silversea, Regent, and Cunard, which owns Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2, and Queen Victoria, all offer routes with an Irish stop. Certain tours from Princess Cruises offer stops in Ireland, such as their Trans-Atlantics and British Isles tours.

Read More: Ireland off the beaten track: Sights and sounds of a Shannon cruise

The alternative to a pricey cruise is to travel by cargo ship. Ireland as an island nation receives plenty of freighter traffic, and it’s easier than you might think to hitch a ride on a commercial ship.

Freighter travel agencies exist, and among the best are A la Carte Freighter Travel and Maris Freighter Cruises. If you live close to a major port city in the US, call any of these companies to see what they have available heading towards Europe and Ireland.

Next, call the port authority itself, to see what freighter companies operate out of your nearest seaport.

Prices vary widely based on time of year, the number of passengers, and ports of call, but the one certainty is that you’ll need traveler’s insurance. It’s a near-universal requirement of freighter companies.

Read More: Tiny unmanned sailboat made it across the Atlantic from Cape Cod to Ireland

It's important to note that travel aboard a freight isn’t a cruise, though! You’ll need to bring along your own entertainment, as well as any food you want to have with you, since you’ll be eating with the crew, and you’ll be eating whatever is prepared in the galley. 

Whichever way you cross the seas, there are a few things to keep in mind. Naturally, you’ll need a passport – seaports have customs and immigration officers, too.

Traveler’s insurance is also a necessary requirement of crossing international waters. Rates vary widely based on the ports of call visited, so it’s necessary to have a complete itinerary before getting insurance. It protects things like travel disruptions and unforeseen emergencies. It’s also a legal requirement for the unconventional cargo ship option.

Happy sailing!

Read more: Galway and the West tours

H/T: USA Today and Edwin Thomas Demand Media

Traveling to Ireland in 2019: Are you hoping or planning to travel to Ireland this year? Join with other travelers, adventurers and lovers of Ireland in our dedicated travel group, where you can find top tips, great recommendations, and air out any of your concerns and questions.

Have you ever traveled to Ireland by ship? Would you want to? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.

* Originally published in October 2015. 

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A cruise ship in Cobh, Co Cork.Ireland's Content Pool