Sometimes it is more expensive, sometimes it is not. The last time I checked it cost about $2,500USD to ride a container ship from a China
port to a west coast
USA port. If you shop around, you can get an airline ticket for less than $1,000 cattle class. Manila or Cebu to LA usually less than $900 if you catch the right deal, which is not that hard to do. The ship will take 3 weeks give or take, the airplane ride less than a day. Of course, riding cattle class you have no leg room and a good chance of screaming kids
all around you. On the ship, you get a private room, and usually pretty good food
, all included.
Within the Philippines, it costs around $50 USD or less depending on the class to take a ferry
to Manila from most anywhere in the Visayas. To fly the same route
is usually $10 to $30 USD more. Depending upon the promotion running at the time you buy your ticket. Within the Philippines, I almost always take the ferry
as I enjoy being at sea, I find it very relaxing and the security
is not near the hassle as it is at the airport
. On the downside, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to fly and a day or so to take the ferry. If you opt for a suite on the ferry you usually get a separate dining room and the food
is usually pretty good. Then again the airlines are chronically late while the ferry is usually on time or early. The Manila airport
is nightmarish in most respects, the Cebu airport better by a little, both are out of the way and traffic can be nightmarish. The ferry ports
tend to be close to downtown and offload you much closer to your probable destination.