Admitted Students

Congratulations on your admission to Semester at Sea! Your student portal has everything you need to know to prepare to set sail, and you’ll find additional helpful information on this page.

Ready, Set, Sail!

The time between receiving your acceptance letter and embarking on the voyage of a lifetime is exciting, busy, and sometimes bewildering. If your voyage is less than 12 months away, you will receive a login to a student portal that contains everything you need to know, including important dates and deadlines. If your set-sail date is further out, we welcome you to explore this page to get a taste of what Semester at Sea has in store for you.

What’s in the Student Portal:

  • Important dates and deadlines
  • Funding and payment
  • Academics and class selection
  • In-port travel information
  • Health and safety information
  • Details on planning travel to the ship
  • Roommate requests
  • Packing list

Haven’t Received Your Student Portal Login Yet?

If you’ve received your acceptance letter, but you can’t log into the student portal, don’t worry. There are two common reasons you may not be able to log into the portal: your voyage is more than a year away, or you haven’t yet paid your deposit. It’s important to pay your deposit as soon as possible, as cabin types and voyages do fill up.

Life on a Ship

Semester at Sea’s passenger ship is outfitted as a globe-exploring university; a living-learning community that provides a platform for discussion, coursework and deep connections all while traveling to new locations. Every aspect of the shipboard learning experience encourages discovery and growth.

Helpful Videos

Day in the Life of Semester at Sea

Going to School on a Ship

10 Pieces of Advice for Your First Week

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of the most common questions we hear from admitted students.

How will roommate pairings be made?

It is expected that most participants will have a specific individual in mind to live with and mutual roommate requests will be honored when possible, regardless of gender, as long as both parties are requesting the same cabin type. For those interested in a gender inclusive cabin who do not have a specific roommate in mind, please contact the Director of Student Life, Laura Roth, to discuss cabin placement. She can be reached at or (970) 491-8806.

Can there be a fuel surcharge?

Semester at Sea, like any company, sets up a yearly budget based largely on estimates of fixed and variable costs with some room for variation. We are directly impacted from time to time just as everyone is in the travel industry and the maritime industry in particular, with periodic and significant overall increases in our fuel prices. Depending on each port’s regulatory and environmental requirements, we have to consider at least two different types and grades of fuel, each with significantly different price points. Political unrest in certain parts of the world, as well as periodic natural disasters, also can contribute to increasing and unpredictable volatility as well, which in turn lends to overall instability and unpredictability in fuel prices. Fuel charges remain a material component of our overall cost structure. We make every effort to contain fuel costs through enhanced itinerary planning (which we conduct one to two years in advance), and through the use of standard advance fuel purchase commitment arrangements when appropriate. However, it is impossible for us to accurately predict what we might pay for fuel per voyage, port-to-port. Like airlines and major shipping companies, we regrettably must offset these higher costs from time to time with additional fuel surcharges.

In order to facilitate your financial planning, we may invoice you with a “fuel fee,” which at the time is our best indication of what our final “fuel surcharge” is expected to be. In advance of sailing, Semester at Sea may enact a fuel supplement surcharge for all participants, in the event that the average price for the blended types of fuel and related costs during the voyage is expected to exceed a certain budgetary threshold in pricing per metric ton, the amount of which will be offset by advance fuel fee billings/payments. These incurred costs include not only what is expected to be paid in various ports, but also include additional costs for fuel contracts entered into. These fuel contracts are intended to cushion the financial impact if future fuel prices became volatile.  Such surcharges when enacted are necessary to offset the total excess fuel costs that exceed this budget threshold. For more information please review our fuel surcharge policy.

When should I submit the $1,000 deposit to reserve a space?

As soon as you are academically admitted, please submit your deposit within 30 days of admission. The deposit is applied against the tuition and fees for the semester. It is refundable up to 90 days prior to the start of the semester should you decide that you are unable to attend.

What is the Payment Policy?

In order to confirm your intent to participate for the upcoming term, you must submit your $1,000 deposit online. Cabin space is not guaranteed solely upon admission. Deposits are accepted by check (payable to “Institute for Shipboard Education” Mail to: Institute for Shipboard Education, P.O. Box 842945, Dallas, TX 75284-2945) or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover). The deposit is not a supplemental expense and will be your first payment toward the total cost of the program.

The entire balance of the program cost is due 90 days prior to sailing (excluding participants enrolled in the Semester at Sea payment plan).  Students anticipating financial aid should plan to provide documentation of approval from aid source(s) indicating details of the disbursement to ISE. Necessary forms are provided to students. Documentation of any financial aid that is to be credited to a student’s account (such as Stafford loans or Parent PLUS loans) must be submitted to ISE by the payment deadline. Participants who have not made arrangements for full payment by the due date may forfeit enrollment in the program.

NOTE: The $1,000 deposit is refundable until the 90-day payment deadline. Deposits are refundable past the 90-day deadline for waitlisted participants only. Participants confirmed into cabins from the waitlist will have two weeks to make full payment.

What if I pay my deposit after the payment deadline for my voyage?

If students place their deposit after the advertised final payment/cancellation deadline for their voyage, they will have 21 days (3 weeks) to make payment in full, provide proof of deferred payment due to home institution aid (financial aid notification form), or request a full refund of the deposit.

When do voyages fill?

It varies. Voyages typically fill one to four months prior to sailing. We encourage you to submit your application early but please contact our office if you have a last-minute opportunity to join our program for the semester.

Do I need a passport? What about visas?

Yes, if you do not already hold a passport, you should apply for one now. If you do have a passport, you should check its expiration date. Your passport needs to be valid for six months beyond the end of the voyage. We advise purchasing the largest passport book available. Specific passport requirements are available for confirmed Lifelong Learners via the voyage prep portal.

Visa requirements vary depending on the countries included on the itinerary. Typically, you will need to secure two or three visas individually. Some of the group visas will be obtained by ISE.

Get Ready to Set Sail!

We are excited to welcome you aboard at Semester at Sea.