Importance of freezer for cruising?
I think yours is the typical kind of question we see here which, bottom line, others can''t help you very much with. Jeff''s right that a freezer can put add''l stowage & electrical demands on you, but it''s really your cruising style that determines whether these are unsuitable or worth the trade-off. Can you do without refrigeration altogether? Others find it acceptable or perhaps even desireable...but what does that mean for you and your crew?
Having said all that, I think you''re asking a ''digital'' question for an ''analog'' issue: yes or no to a freezer. We have a 5 cu ft reefer, as well, yet we''re able to stow away a small amount of frozen food as needed and our ice is as clear and hard as any other boat''s with whom we''ve had contact. So don''t overlook having both in one box...and if your current system can''t support this on a reasonable electrical budget, perhaps the real question you mean to pose is whether it makes sense (for you, not me or others...) to modify the box and system so you can have your (5 cu ft) cake and eat it too.
(As a general guideline, we''re seeing a 35 amp/hr/day demand for the above, in Florida and the Caribbean. That level of electrical demand seems very reasonable to me, especially for solar- and wind-rich SoPac cruising where alternative energy sources pay good dividends...but only if your crew finds value in the reefer''s benefits to begin with).