On the Summer 2014 voyage, students have been welcome to travel independently within each country — including making their own overnight accommodations off the ship if they choose. But they haven’t been able to enter different countries unless traveling with a Semester at Sea field program.
That’s just one reason why 125 voyagers signed up for a day trip by ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, as well as an overnight trip that took them to Tallinn and beyond, while the ship was docked in Helsinki, Finland. The field programs also offered local insight into the history, politics and geography of the region — not to mention an unusual dining experience in a medieval building in Old Town, served by waitstaff in period costume and accompanied by medieval music.
Knowledgeable local tour guides showed participants some of the key landmarks of Tallinn, including the grand Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the only surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe. Free time for shopping and sightseeing allowed voyagers to return to the ship with treasures to remind them of their time in Estonia, such as hand-made sweaters, scarves and hats, as well as hand-crafted wooden utensils and unusual pottery.