This was on the German-Bohemian mailing list and a book on sailing ships
is mentioned. Maybe we should try to check it out.
John Haberman wrote: Was there some significant advantage, cost
perhaps, for a family immigrating from Bohemia to the USA in the 1870 -
they traveled on a sail powered vessel instead of a steam powered one?
If you are near to a library that has the books Merchant Sail you
find info in there that tells what the comparative cost of passage was
older sailing ship versus a steam assisted sailing ship or steam powered
ship. They will also have pictures of individual ships and data and
narratives about crossings in those vessels. It is not necessarily
organized to find the information easily but it is such a good read, it
fun to search for it.
I suspect that a sailing ship may have cost less since they were less
comfortable and much slower. I remember seeing a cost for one passage
from $33 to $38 in steerage around 1860 but I don't recall what type of
it was. The meals served on board ship may have cost extra. Most
took a lot of food with them and many cooked their own hot food with
portable stoves they had.
Some peasants worked while on the ship. Kitchen work was common.
folks may have chosen the ship on which they could get work.
What ship a peasant took may have depended on how eager they were to get
of port and what ships had space available. Waiting in port could be
expensive and the decision to board the first ship with space may have
driven by how much money they could risk waiting for another ship. If
didn't get a berth they may have to sell some of their posessions in
remain in port and wait.
Some peasants booked passage in advance via an agent who agreed to pay
passage if they would sign up to work for his employer -- a lumber
mine, factory, etc. Then the emigrant may have had no choice in the
matter. He had to go on the ship the agent booked.
As the ships became more crowded it became more important to have a
booked in advance. I have no idea how peasants got the information to
that from their homes.