Hi, I was wondering if anyone knew of a company that does no frills (not like a cruise or anything) oceanic transport to Europe?
See, I'd like to take my motorcycle over, and thought ship would be the only way to do it.
I don't even know if such a thing exists. I'd be willing to work on ship if need be. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
It's a nice idea but the shipping costs are likely to be in the range of $1000 RT for your bike. Not to mention they take insurance and registration seriously in W. Europe - they aren't going to let you just uncrate it and drive off.
Other than Cunard's Summer service between New York and Great Britain, the only way across is by freighter. Not hard to find a berth (freightertravle.com) but not cheap -- on the order of 3-4 times the cost of a round trip airline ticket.
Being a European living in the USA and working often in Europe (mostly for US companies) I have taken several cars with me from States to Europe. Actually, if you are a US citizen, it is even easier - less bureaucracy. You can drive in most European countries a US registered car (I assume it is the same with motorcycles, but have no experience with bikes) for up to 6 months. As for insurance, you would have to purchase at least a liability insurance ( a green carnet it is called if I remember correctly), because a full insurance would cost you a bundle, especially if you intend to travel i high risk (for auto theft) countries.
You can sell your bike before returning back, usually with a handsome profit.
The shipping cost on a ro-ro from the east coast (I used Jacksonville) was in a $700-800 range, but getting the cars through European customs can be a bureaucratic nightmare - and expensive, too. In Bremen (Germany) I had to pay a $5000 bond that I will take the car out of Germany - and got my money back after 5 weeks after I - and the car - left the country. Later I let my assistants handle the customs, so I don't know exactly what loops they had to jump through, but there were loops everywhere. I was told port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) is the best, most efficient (time and cost) to use, so check it out. Good luck!
I agree that Rotterdam is almost certianly your best bet. The Dutch regulations aren't so strict (from my understanding) but the major thing is Rotterdam is just so damned big - so much going through the port that they are more concerned with drugs/stoways and see so much variety that they deal with virtually anything, very quickly and easily. It's also liable to be cheaper as there will be more frequent boats going there.