It may sound counterintuitive, but some of today’s best cruising experiences are available on cargo ships. When most travelers envision a cruise, they see a purpose-built ship in their mind’s eye. Whether it’s a luxury cruise by Cunard or a family-friendly trip with Carnival, they’re expecting a passenger liner. The truth is that some cargo ships have always moved people, too. And today, cargo ships offer some of the most unique cruising options for discerning travelers.

The German line NSB is based in Hamburg and delivers goods to ports all over the world. They also offer one of the most unique and lengthiest cruises for passengers who love to travel. The Hamburg to Cape Town voyage clocks in at almost two months of travel time, at 55 days. During that time, the ship passes through the Canary Islands and travels down the West Coast of Africa. This is a unique experience, to say the least. It’s also not the only route that NSB accepts passengers on.

It’s also possible to cross the Atlantic on a cargo ship. One of the best examples of this journey is the cargo-passenger service from Liverpool to Nova Scotia. Operated by the Italian shipping company Grimaldi, this route replicates the journey taken by many immigrants from the UK to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century. Currently, there are 12 spaces for passengers aboard this voyage. They included standard and lounge style cabins. Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s maritime provinces and boasts beautiful coastline. The province features great fishing, hiking, golf and more.

At the other end of the spectrum is a day trip on the MV Uchuck III, in the Vancouver Island area. The MV Uchuck III is a World War II-era minesweeper that operates delivering supplies to remote islands in the Nootka Sound area. It takes passengers around to several small islands as it makes its rounds delivering goods. When the weather permits, travelers may even see Resolution Cove, which was made famous after Captain Cook stopped there in 1775. This journey takes passengers through lots of scenic, heavily-wooded coastline. It’s an unusual and interesting way to see a very beautiful place. This cruise is also loaded with plenty of history.