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Bon Voyage MV Explorer



Apr 29, 2015


Bon Voyage MV Explorer

MV Explorer Mosaic_960
Photo mosaic made up of the faces and photos of the Spring 2015 voyage

As we look optimistically toward the future, we say “bon voyage” to a dear friend. The Spring 2015 voyage was the final voyage on board the MV Explorer, one that will go down in Semester at Sea history. The voyagers who made up the final group to sail on the iconic SAS ship used since 2004, arrived at their port of disembarkation, Southampton, England, today.

Spring 2015 was a voyage similar to many other SAS voyages, yet distinctively special, as it was the final time the MV Explorer would navigate the globe with Semester at Sea. Departing from Ensenada, Mexico, it traveled to 12 countries in 112 days with 629 students from 267 different colleges and universities worldwide. The voyage welcomed a record number of international students, with 84 participants from countries outside of the United States.

MV Patterns
Do you recognize the patterns from the MV Explorer?

When the ship pulled away from the dock in Ensenada, the realization set in, that was the final time the MV Explorer would go through the welcoming embarkation process. This would be the first ‘last’ of many during the Spring 2015 voyage.

“The great group of students made the last voyage on board the MV Explorer an extraordinary one,” said Spring 2015 Executive Dean, Bob Vieira of Oregon Health and Sciences University. “Throughout the voyage, students were forthcoming, open, and friendly. Above all, they wholeheartedly welcomed learning, change, and adventure – putting themselves forward in ways that SAS alumni would be very proud.”

The voyage also included an outstanding group of 40 faculty members, 30 staff participants, and 42 lifelong learners.

“The faculty and staff were a terrific group of talented people that came from various experiences,” said Vieira. “They stood together as a team – we cried a bit and laughed a lot.”

As voyagers disembark the MV Explorer for the final time today, the shipboard community is thankful for their home for the last four months.

G46A1988_600“Thank you for a life-changing journey for everyone and for a voyage family. Thank you for transporting us safely throughout the journey, and most of all thank you for transforming so many students’ lives over the years,” said Vieira.

Students of the final MV Explorer voyage thank and say a tearful goodbye to the vessel they have grown to love.

Shelby Allen from Chapman University reflects, “Thank you for being my safe haven and giving me an amazing community to thrive in while abroad!”

“Thank you MV for giving me the world and a life changing experience!” exclaimed Eddie Viera from the University of San Francisco.

Michelle Lazoff from Syracuse University is appreciative of her SAS experience. “Thank you MV Explorer for opening my eyes to the world. SAS has indefinitely changed me—with new thoughts, morals, and opinions. Who knew four months can change a person?”

As the SAS community says goodbye to one another and the shipboard campus they have grown to love, the executive dean reminds all voyagers, past and present, “It isn’t about the ship. You fall in love with whatever ship you sail on. It’s the great memories, people, community, and places visited that forever make this journey special.”

With 629 new global citizens eager to change the world, the Spring 2015 honored the MV Explorer in true SAS form for this monumental sail around the world.

Semester at Sea Spring 2015 | Evan Meyer / Semester at Sea
The Spring 2015 participants

Photos by Evan Meyer



  1. Kyle
    April 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Im confused. What ship will they be using for fall 2015?

  2. Lauren Judge
    April 30, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Hi Kyle:

    We have moved away from ship ownership and are reverting back to our original business model of chartering a ship. We should have a signed contract for a new ship any day now. When we do, we will send out an announcement and update our website.

    As you may know, we have adapted to many different shipboard campuses in our 51-year history, and we look forward to introducing you to our program’s sixth ship.

    Please let me know if you have further questions!

    Lauren Judge
    Director of Public Affairs

  3. Theo
    April 29, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I sailed on this ship in the Spring 2007 Semester with Desmond Tutu.

    Everyday was a dream come true.

    We started in the Bahamas and sailed to Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Hawaii.

    It was the greatest time of my life.

    Thank You and God Bless.

  4. Matthew Straub
    April 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Fellow S07’er here! Totally agree. I feel emotional about the “loss” of the MV Explorer, but thankful for another opportunity to reflect on the incredible impact SAS had on my life as a young adult.

  5. Gary Whitney
    May 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    We also sailed in S07. My son, Tyson Whitney, sailed in ’04, my niece, Whitney Sharpe, sailed in ’05 as a student and again in S15 as staff. Yes, it is a life-changing experience. The MV Explorer is a beautiful ship but the real value on SAS is the concept itself and the wonderful staff of ISE and the shipboard crew.

    Gary Whitney & Diana Whitney

  6. Diane Wilkinson
    April 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks so much Kristen for putting this together, I sailed as a 19 year old, never out of the country in 1968. We left Los Angeles and our first stop was Lima Peru, over 47 years ago years. I will never forget those experiences. I can tell you my exact itinerary, and exactly what I did in the 15+ ports we visited. I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world for those experiences. I have been fortunate to sail on 4 incredible enrichment voyages. I am sad the MV Explorer is separating from the program but I am optimistic as long as I am in good health I will have more SAS in the future, and of course I wish that for all to experience!!!

  7. Robyn Rajkovich
    April 29, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Beautifully written. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. The MV Explorer kept our youngest daughter safe for four months while traveling the world, learning about things which could never be taught in a classroom and, most importantly, about herself. SAS was the best investment a parent could make for their child. So sad to see her go 🙁

  8. Karen Gerrior-Mariani
    April 29, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Such wonderful memories on the MV Explorer and certainly made long lasting friendship. I will treasure my time on the ship and hope my own children will be able to enjoy a similar experience as I.

    SAS, thank you for all that you do and for enhancing students lives as they explore the world we live in.

    Karen Gerrior-Mariani, S 1988

  9. Serra Erbas
    April 30, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Semester at Sea changed my life forever in ways I never thought were possible. For everyone who has done SAS, the ship is an icon of the experience and how it altered us forever. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the loss of the MV is like the end of an era, a final letting go. I don’t know I’ll meet her again, maybe never! But I am happy to know that just as the students of SAS are adaptable, flexible and ingenious, so is the Semester at Sea program. This is just one of the many necessary changes made throughout the 51 years of the program!

    ~~SAS 43v3r~~ <3 <3 <3 xoxo

  10. Riya Karumanchi
    May 5, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, my name is Riya and I am a grade 6 student in Ontario, Canada. We had an assignment about finding a unique school in the world and writing a report about it. I was trying to find a school to research, and yours caught my eye. I thought it was an amazing, and innovative idea to make a university on a ship. Not only does your school provide a global experience for the students who attend it, but it also helps them meet new people and cultures to see how life is like with them. By going to this school, I feel like it doesn’t only help the students, but also the people they meet.

    I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about this school and how it looks like inside! I just needed a few pictures for visual aids for my presentation. Recently, I visited the website which provided me with panoramas of the typical cabin you stay in and a diagram of the boat. Now that the pictures were taken off, I didn’t get a chance to use them.

    It is not fair that not many people know about this unique university. During my presentation, I will spread the word about how much your university benefits numerous people around the globe! As for myself, I really appreciate the effort and work that was taken into building this extravagant university and I think others should as well. I am definitely interested in applying to this university in the future! Thanks for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it!

    P.S: If you do decide to send me a few pictures of the interior or the boat itself and tell me more about the university, feel free to e-mail me at

    Thanks for your help!

    Riya Karumanchi

  11. Janet LeBlanc
    May 11, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Our daughter has recently been accepted to the Fall 2015 program and we are very happy for her. Please let us know if you know what ship she will be sailing on (as of today, your website did not have this information) and, if or when you will have a Fall 2015 Parent Trip information.

    Thank you

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