Semester at Sea Community,
Within the next hour, the MV World Odyssey will change course and begin heading west. Based on events in the last few days in the Red Sea, Israel, Gaza, and elsewhere, conversations with U.S. Embassy officials across the Middle East, as well as multiple discussions with our ship management partners, and others, we determined that a Suez Canal-Red Sea-Gulf of Aden transit is not advisable at this time.
Instead, we intend to sail around the continent of Africa and then on to Asia, with a final planned disembarkation in Bangkok on Dec. 22.
Our ship management partners and home office staff have already begun exploring and requesting alternate port options along the way, taking into account voyager visa and vaccination status, our optimal balance of sea-to-port time, academic impacts, and more. We will provide you updated details as soon as possible, and certainly within the next three days. Our hope is that by no later than the end of next week we will have most of the semester’s adjusted itinerary finalized.
While this will continue to require your flexibility, patience, and understanding, this course of action prioritizes your health and safety.
The changes we are currently exploring include:
- At least one short (~2 days) port in the next 7-12 days when we re-provision and refuel while en route to Cape Town
- A full port stay in Cape Town, South Africa, and, Port Louis, Mauritius, historically two of our program’s most popular and impactful ports
- At least one new port after South Africa on our way to Asia
- To sail on to and attempt to visit as many of our planned Asian ports as possible, with the possible exception of India, which is challenging to include given our new anticipated route
While we recognize how disruptive this change will be, we’re confident it is the right one to make in light of the events of the last week and the ongoing crisis in the region. We’re also excited for the new possibilities ahead–which, in addition to new ports, will definitely include the celebration of Neptune Day on board (as you pass the equator in the coming weeks).
Thank you again for your flexibility, patience, and trust as we proceed together. We’ll be back in touch as soon as possible with additional information, and no later than Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Scott Marshall, President and CEO of ISE | Semester at Sea