Sailing the world with school

Olivia Song, Business Manager

As of May 12th, The Semester at Sea program has Vice President of Public Affairs for the Semester at Sea program has announced that the Fall 2020 Voyage has been cancelled.

“Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases around the world (and especially in the United States) continues to rise and the travel and cruise industries have not yet established policies and procedures to create widespread containment, testing, and care.  These conditions indicate that international travel remains uncertain. In order to create some certainty for our students, Lifelong Learners, and faculty/staff, we have a responsibility to cancel the Fall 2020 Voyage at this date.”

Semester at Sea (SAS) is a study abroad program that allows college students mostly, but adults who want to be lifelong learners can do the program. The ship that SAS uses is called the MV World Odyssey. SAS offers the adventure of a lifetime visiting over ten countries and three to four continents in about 106 days. College students are able to complete this study abroad with their university. Semester at Sea overs a fall and spring voyage. Each voyage is different from the previous voyage that others have taken in previous years. 

Most students choose SAS because they travel the world on an on a moving campus. Enrolling in SAS guarantees students experiences in different cultures that they might have not been able to experience if they did a study abroad in one country, make lifelong friendships, and ship life are just some experiences students look forward to on SAS.

The Study Abroad program is much more expensive than a normal study abroad because they are paying for the tuition, visas for the countries, rooming, and more. Keep in mind enrolling with SAS when visiting a country if they would like to spend the night in the cities and not on the ships you Semester at Sea doesn’t. Semester at Sea also doesn’t pay for the excursions or food outside the ship, but if they choose to do a field program which is a field trip with SAS in the country they pay for it when they enroll with the program and everything is taken care of for them. Also, if they would like to buy souvenirs on the ship and the store students would want to be the first ones there because they will sell out of a lot of the merchandise. Going on the program you can expect to spend about 35,000 to 41, 000 dollars. 

Ship life is another one of the reasons why students choose to do SAS. When students are not visiting a country they  are taking classes that will help students earn college credit to graduate. 

On the ship you have A days and B days; on both A and B days every student takes global studies with the rest of the classes they are assigned when they board the ship on day one. Usually, students will have a busier class schedule on either A or B days and a relaxed schedule on the other day. Students on the ship also get study days where no classes are being taught and one can experience the pool and lounge out working on upcoming assignments.

With sailing on the ship you also get to experience the Sea Olympics, where everyone on the ship takes a day off of school and gets in their Sea groups which are categorized by where the student’s cabin is located. In Sea Olympics you will participate in many different fun activities such as musical chairs, synchronized swimming, ping pong, tug a war, and dodge ball to name a few of many more activities. At the end of Sea Olympics, the ship finds out who won for their voyage. The different seas will find out who won at the end of the day of Sea Olympics with all their tallied scores.  The Spring 2020 voyage winner was the Bering Sea. 

Another fun activity that happens on the ship is Neptune Day.  This is when the MV World Odyssey crosses the equator and the whole ship celebrates by getting woken up in the morning by the crew members with drums, cowbells, and tambourines. During the day the student’s participate in activities like getting “fish guts” poured on them by the crew members, swimming across the pool, kissing a fish, and then bowed to by the King Neptune himself and Minivera. Another tradition that some opt-out of doing is shaving their heads on Neptune Day. 

The MV World Odyssey offers two dining halls called Lido and Berlin, there is usually a friendly competition on if Berlin or Lido is better. The dining hall Lido and Berling offer similar foods but different in their own ways. Lido offers outside sitting so you can watch the sunrise or sunset eating breakfast or dinner with your friends. There is also the Lido grill which is on the pool deck, so if you are not feeling the dining hall food, you can pay a little extra for a hamburger and fries or a grilled chicken sandwich. Lido and Berlin are completely free and part of the amount you pay for the voyage. 

There is also fancy dining, what the students call it aboard the ship. Going to fancy dinner you also get to dress up and get out of wearing your normal clothes. This dinner you do have to pay extra, but this is fun to do with friends if you are celebrating a birthday or big accomplishment for one of your friends. On the ship you can also order a cake or ice cream cake with a happy birthday message or an inside joke you have with your friends; the cakes cost extra. 

At the end of the voyage, all students on the ship participate in an Alumni Ball and their last pre-port. The Alumni Ball is where the students dress in their best attire and enjoy a bountiful and delicious feast with their friends. After the dinner, a dessert buffet is offered and a dance party on the pool deck. Pre-port is where everyone comes together and learns about the currency, time change, culture, and more, so the students know some information about the country. Pre-port happens whenever the ship enters a new country. Their last pre-port is usually extra special. The students conclude the voyage and talk about all the experiences made, and the captain will usually say something to end the night. If you are interested in going on Semester at Sea go to to find more information.