There are a lot of cool cruise opportunities out there, but Semester at Sea might be the most unique of them all. It’s a program that has existed for quite a while, yet very few people actually know about it. Let’s take a look at what makes Semester at Sea so great!
Semester at Sea is basically what it sounds like. It’s an opportunity for undergraduate college students to spend a semester of their education on a cruise ship. Classes are taught on the ship by teachers taken from a variety of different schools, though it is currently sponsored by Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Students from any university are encouraged to apply for the program. The education on the ship connects to the port visits as well. Students are encouraged to explore new cultures that the ship stops at on their own time, but there are also structured experiential lessons that involve port cities. About 600 students are allowed to sign up for the program, and the voyage lasts the typical length of a college semester.
Semester at Sea was started back in 1963. There were nearly 300 students, and the ship they were on visited 22 different ports. The maiden voyage took place on the MS Seven Seas, but that ship was later replaced by Holland America’s SS Ryndam in 1966. It wasn’t until 1977 when the program gained the name Semester at Sea. Since then, the program has run almost every year (with a few exceptions), each year with a different itinerary. New speakers visit with the students at port cities every year as well. Some of the most notable speakers have been Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Mother Teresa.
To get an idea what the itineraries for Semester at Sea are like, let’s take a look at the planned fall 2021 itinerary. Between September 9th and December 22nd, the MV World Odyssey will take students around Europe, Asia, and Africa. The ports include Reykjavik, Stockholm, Dublin, Casablanca, Haifa, Mumbai, and many more. The ship will also travel through the Suez Canal. The program was unable to run in 2020 due to COVID-19, but organizers are hopeful that Semester at Sea will go smoothly in 2021. They specifically chose cities that will likely have most of their population vaccinated come the fall. Ports were also specifically chosen to be close together so as to make back-up plans easier to create on the fly if needed.
Semester at Sea is definitely an amazing opportunity for any students out there looking to see the world. If you wanna learn more about the program, check out their website over here.