Fall 2018 Voyage Prep

FA18 Voting Information

How to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and vote while participating in the

Fall 2018 Semester at Sea Program using FVAP.gov

Before leaving:

It is always best to register to vote locally before leaving if you are not currently registered. Use your local election office’s procedures to register to vote. However, even if you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or not, using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from the Federal Voting Assistance Program will both register you and request an absentee ballot for the 2018 election.

Once you have an address for receiving mail while abroad, send in a FPCA requesting a ballot be sent to you at your Semester at Sea email address (firstname.lastname.FA18@semesteratsea.org). You can find the FPCA at fvap.gov, and use the online assistant for added ease of completion and for a complete file of all the key information you need.

Encourage others to visit FVAP.gov for these key pieces of information:

  1. Key dates and deadlines for the return of your ballot;
  2. Details on methods each State allows for the return of ballots;
  3. Key address information for your election official.


Process to request an absentee ballot:

Go to www.fvap.gov and click on Request and Absentee Ballot. You will be asked your state of residence and your jurisdiction. Follow the steps below to complete the rest of the request.


Tips for completing the FPCA:

Section 1: Check the box that says “I am a US citizen living outside the country, and I intend to return.” This is important as it identifies you as a voter who is legally allowed to use this form.

Fill out the rest of the information in section 1, make sure to include your social security number. Do not include a driver’s license number unless it is from the same state you are requesting a ballot from.

Section 2: Use the same address where you registered to vote, or if you did not register prior to departure, use the last address you were legally a resident. Your election official will not send your ballot here, but use the address to ensure you are sent the correct ballot for your jurisdiction.

Section 3: This is your primary overseas mailing address. Semester at Sea students may use the port location in Cape Town, South Africa port address. Even though you will request your ballot be sent to you electronically, this address is needed to establish you as an overseas citizen.

Your Name
C/o Rennies Ships Agency
25th Floor, 1 Thibault Square
POBox 702

Section 4: Be sure to provide your Semester at Sea email address for ballot transmission, and as much contact information as you can, so an election official can contact you if necessary.

Section 5: Semester at Sea staff and participants are encouraged to request their ballot to be transmitted to them via email. As many states require voted ballots to be returned by regular mail, the ship will provide printers for you to print your completed ballot. You do not need to fill out political party unless you are registering to vote for the first time, changing your party, or participating in a primary election.

Section 6: Along with any additional information your State may require, use this section to notify the election official about Semester at Sea. Explain that you are in the Semester at Sea Program and they may see a different postmark from the address you provided in section 3 above as you are moving between different ports throughout the year.

Section 7: Sign and date the form – it will NOT be accepted without a signature. Sign with a pen, as digital signatures are not accepted.


Receiving and Returning your Ballot:

States are required to send your blank ballot electronically at least 45 days before the election, so take advantage of the ship’s resources to print your ballot for completion, signature, and return mailing. For the November 6, 2018 General Election, the ballots will be sent out by September 22, so look for your ballot that weekend, and check the spam folder as some email services may reject larger attachments. If you do not receive it, contact your local election office immediately to work on an alternative delivery method. If your ballot is delivered without the attachment due to size limitations on the ship, please notify the Dean of Student Life, Katie Wildman (deanofstudents@semesteratsea.org). She can assist in making sure you are able to access your ballot.

Once you have voted the absentee ballot following the state’s instructions, the Semester at Sea staff have affiliations with US Embassies and Consulates at various ports who can help ensure your ballot gets back to the US. You just need to complete the ballot as quickly as possible. Please check the Dean’s Memo for instructions on the ship on mailing your ballot.

You must bring US postage to be able to mail your ballot through the US Embassy or Consulate. Please be sure to bring postage with you for your ballot as this will not be available on the ship.


One last tip!

If you do not receive your requested state ballot in time to ensure it you can meet the state deadline (usually 45-30 days before the election), use the back-up ballot called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on fvap.gov. If you do use the FWAB, and then receive your official state ballot, you can send it in as well as it may have a greater number of offices and/or ballot measures. If the election official receives both ballots on time – only one will be counted.  The FPCA tips above can be used for completing the FWAB as well.

FA18 Announcements

Free e-book

Semester at Sea has received donations of the book How To Capture Your Travel Stories In Words & Pictures written by Semester at Sea alumna, Karyn Planett & her husband Geoff Thompson. Hard copies are available in the shipboard library and free e-book versions are available! Visit, www.planett-traveler.com, go to Books, add the epub version to your cart, and use promo code “SAS” at checkout. Both authors will also be sailing with the Fall 2018 voyage from Hamburg, Germany to Cape Town, South Africa, and will be offering opportunities for voyagers to learn how to capture their own travel photos and writings. Please download your e-book prior to embarkation. 

Hawaii and Mauritius Travel Restrictions

Due to the short port calls in Hawaii and Mauritius (these are essentially fuel stops rather than Semester at Sea style port calls of 4-6 days), all students are required to be in a Field Program or required Field Class to disembark the ship.

Lifelong Learners, Faculty, Staff, and their families may have different policies. Please view your respective Voyage Prep pages for details.

FA18 Voyage Prep Emails

Click on a link below to view all previously sent email voyage communications and important documentation for your voyage. Please note that these pages are password protected. Please review your voyage update email and/deposit confirmation email for the password to these pages, use the contact email below to receive the password.

FA18 Required Travel Documents


If you do not have a passport or if you need to renew a current passport, please do so immediately. Please review this FA18 Passport Info Sheet for requirements. You may apply for a passport online.

  • Make sure your passport is signed.
  • Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your return (June 23, 2019). If your passport expires before then, you must renew it. Please contact Travisa-CIBT for assistance with first time or renewal of US passports.
  • For lost or stolen US passports, please see the State Department’s travel site.


Passport Pages Requirement

Due to the cumulative number of blank visa pages required for entry by each country on the Fall 2018 voyage itinerary, Semester at Sea will require voyagers to obtain or possess a fully blank standard passport prior to beginning the visa process. The standard 28 page US passport contains exactly 17 blank visa pages.

  • Countries along this itinerary will require travelers to have a certain number of blank passport pages upon entry. Each participant is responsible for the remaining blank visa pages in their passport, such that these entry requirements will be met in each sequential port of call.
  • If you already have many stamps in your current passport, you are advised to renew your passport, as you may run out of visa pages more quickly than anticipated. Travisa-CIBT is able to assist you with both of these options in advance of the voyage.
  • Please review this FA18 Passport Info Sheet for requirements.
  • In addition to visa requirements, Entry requirements for each country will be available through Travisa-CIBT custom webpage, set up exclusively for Semester at Sea participants. All voyagers are responsible for fulfilling all entry requirements in addition to visa and passport requirements.

Remember to consider the current processing time for receiving a passport as advised by the Department of State. If necessary, you may choose to expedite the process. You will not be able to board the MV World Odyssey without a valid passport and all required visas.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MINORS: Please note that those voyagers traveling as minors (under age 18) will have additional visa and entry requirements throughout the voyage, such as the need to provide or carry their birth certificate. Please refer to the Travisa – CIBT page for this information or email programadministration@isevoyages.org. The participant is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all visa and entry requirements are met upon arrival.


Yellow Fever Card

The Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for entry into Ghana during your voyage. You must bring your signed, original Yellow Fever Card (International Certification of Vaccination or Prophylaxis ICVP) with you to the ship, as you will not be able to board the ship without it. If you are not able to receive the yellow fever vaccination for medical reasons, this exemption must be documented in your medical health form AND the Medical Contraindication section of the Yellow Fever Card should also be completed. Not having the vaccination could restrict your ability to leave the ship in some countries.

Note: To find a clinic that is approved to provide Yellow Fever vaccine, please visit the CDC website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics/search/.  Unfortunately, there has recently been a shortage of Yellow Fever vaccine & there are only a small number of clinics that have been designated to dispense the vaccine. You will receive the yellow fever card as documentation & this is a legal document—treat it as carefully as you do your passport!

FA18 Travel to the Ship

This section is for FA18 Students and Lifelong Learners only. Faculty, staff and dependents should refer to voyage update emails for information regarding travel to/from the ship.


The MV World Odyssey will be located at the Hamburg Cruise Center Altona in Hamburg,  Germany, located approximately 30-40 minutes by car or metro south of Hamburg Airport (Flughafen Hamburg; HAM).  The Port of Hamburg is located on the southern point of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the northeast. It is situated on the River Elbe. On September 9, 2018, Fall 2018 students and Lifelong Learners will embark.  

Name of Port: Port of Hamburg Berth: Hamburg Cruise Center Altona


DEPARTURE FLIGHT We strongly recommend that you arrive in Hamburg on September 8, 2018, the day prior to embarkation. The ship will not delay departure to wait for late-arriving participants on September 9, 2018.

Hotel Accommodations in Hamburg, Germany

There are several events in Hamburg and the surrounding area during the week of your voyage embarkation. Due to this, lodging options are limited so we urge you to act quickly to secure your overnight accommodations  for September 8, 2018, the evening before embarkation.

Semester at Sea has secured two room blocks available to voyagers and their families. Space is limited so we encourage you to book early to secure a reservation. When contacting the hotels below please mention the “Semester at Sea” room block.



The MV World Odyssey will dock at the Port of San Diego, located approximately 3 miles from San Diego International Airport (SAN). Expected arrival time to the pier is 0800 on Sunday, December 23, 2018.


Name of Port: Port of San Diego

Address of Port: N Harbor Drive & West Broadway, San Diego

Berth: B Street Pier


RETURN FLIGHT – Book your return flight from San Diego, CA AFTER 1700 on December 23, 2018. Although the ship will arrive to San Diego at 0800 on December 23 each passenger must go through United States customs and immigration upon arrival before anyone can disembark from the ship. Timelines for this process are out of Semester at Sea’s control and can take several hours. Disembarkation order for passengers will be determined and announced onboard the ship towards the end of the voyage and no early disembarkation exceptions will be allowed for individuals who choose to book a flight prior to 1700 on December 23.


Debarkation Day Transportation & Accommodations: Taxis will be plentiful and available immediately outside the ship terminal for those travelling to the airport or other destinations. For those travelling regionally, Union Station (also known as the Santa Fe Depot), San Diego’s main downtown train station, will be located across the street from the cruise ship terminal. Amtrak service and routes are available from Union Station. Voyagers should NOT book train service prior to the mid-afternoon hours of December 23. For those requiring hotel stay in the San Diego area, please see hotel recommendations provided by the San Diego Board of Tourism.

If you have any questions as you finalize your preparations for sailing, please contact our office at 1.800.854.0195 or operations@semesteratsea.org.

FA18 Voyage Demographics

Last Updated: August 1, 2018

All Voyage Gender Demographics

Program Participants Male Female
Faculty 33 18 15
Family Member 61 31 29
Lifelong Learner 20 10 10
Staff 31 10 21
Student 452 129 323
Total 559 198 398


Student Ethnicity Demographics

Ethnic Group Participants Percent of Total
American Indian/Alaska Native 5 1.11%
Asian 52 11.50%
Black or African American 25 5.53%
Hispanic or Latino 24 5.31%
Multiracial 55 12.17%
White 291 64.38%
Total Participants 425


All Voyage Nationality Demographics

U.S. Passport Holders: 401 (88.72%)



Student School Demographics




FA18 Medical Requirements

Medical History Form

All participants must be medically approved to sail prior to embarkation. You will not be allowed to board the ship without medical approval. All confirmed voyagers received the Medical History form along with detailed instructions on how to submit the form via email in April 2018. This form is also available via the self-service page in MyPsssportThe deadline to return the Medical History Form is July 1, 2018.

Malaria Prophylaxis

The Fall 2018 voyage will be entering areas where malaria is likely to be present which could present health risks for you. Be sure to talk with your physician regarding malaria prophylaxis and make sure you bring adequate medication with you. The CDC publishes recommendations you can review with your physician. Please also review the Semester at Sea Travel Medical Concerns document developed specifically for your voyage.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

The Yellow Fever vaccination is required for the Fall 2018 voyage. It is recommended for several destinations & is legally required for entry to some countries. As you may be aware there is a shortage of the Yellow Fever vaccine & only a small number of clinics nationwide have been designated as sites to dispense the vaccine. To find a clinic that is approved to provide the Yellow Fever vaccine, please visit the CDC website:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics/search/As noted on the CDC website, Stamaril is an acceptable alternative to the Yellow Fever Vaccine.

You MUST make arrangements for the vaccine well before the voyage to assure you are able to obtain it. However, please realize that due to the shortage, some clinics will wait to administer the vaccine until just before you travel. Please note this on your medical history form. Once you receive the vaccination, you will receive a yellow card as documentation & this is a legal document—treat it as carefully as you do your passport!

Tips For Completing Your Medical History Form (MHF)

  • Do not submit your form until it is complete-including any required immunizations. Incomplete forms will not be reviewed. (The only exception to this may be the yellow fever vaccine – see yellow fever notes.)
  • Your MHF does not need to be completed by your primary care physician. You may visit your campus health center or any local health clinic to complete your exam.
  • Your completed MHF should be emailed to CSUHN_records@mail.colostate.edu. You will receive an email confirming receipt within two days. If you do not receive this email:
    • Check your spam folder. If you find it there, please add CSUHN_records@mail.colostate.edu to your email provider’s safe sender list so that you may receive all follow-up emails. If it is not in your spam folder please resend your MHF.
  • Please save the hard copy of your MHF should any issues arise requiring you to resubmit your form.

After You Submit Your MHF

Please allow up to 2 weeks for your form to be reviewed by our medical team. You can check the status of your MHF via MyPassport. Once your form has been approved, your medical status in MyPassport will change to ” Completed – Your MHF has been approved.”

Download the Medical Clearance Checklist

FA18 Email & Communication Tools

The PDF below outlines the email and communication resources for your upcoming voyage on the MV World Odyssey:

Email and Communication Tools

Please review this PDF carefully as it has general communication and technology information as well as details on how to set up your new Semester at Sea email account that you will need to have configured prior to arriving at the ship.

Please plan configure your Semester at Sea email prior to embarkation. If you have any issues or concerns please feel free to contact us at techsupport@semesteratsea.org and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

FA18 Program Fee Refund Plan

The cost of semester study abroad is a substantial investment.  If you are hurt or become ill and cannot complete the semester, you stand to lose thousands of dollars.

Semester at Sea’s Program Fee includes the cost of tuition (which includes required field classes), room and board, and travel health insurance–less financial aid. The Program Fee does not include the cost of Semester at Sea field excursions, on-board purchases, or independent travel.  The Program Fee is not refundable once the semester is underway.

The Program Fee Refund Plan will help to alleviate the financial loss in the unfortunate case where illness or injury forces you to leave the semester. It will provide funds which can reduce your loan obligations under government or private loan programs.

The Plan is administered by A.W.G. Dewar, Inc., Quincy, Massachusetts, now in its ninth decade of service to the higher educational community. Over 1,200 schools and colleges throughout North America offer the Plan. The Plan described below has been specifically designed for the needs of college students and parents. It offers a unique benefit of a significant refund of Program Fee when you are forced to withdraw for medical reasons at any time during the semester.

The Program Fee Refund Plan

Terms and Conditions


Fall 2018 Students

Students enrolled on Semester at Sea’s Fall 2018 Voyage will be automatically enrolled in the Program Fee Refund Plan at a charge of $254. Students who do not wish to participate may opt out of the Plan by logging on to My Passport and waiving coverage. We have structured the payment arrangement this way because it helps reduce the premium costs. The deadline for opting out is August 24, 2018 10 a.m.Eastern Standard Time. Within a week of opting out, the charge for the Plan will be removed from the student’s Semester at Sea account and a refund processed, if applicable. After August 31, the coverage will be locked in and the balance becomes due. If not paid, the charge will be added to the first shipboard billing statement.

FA18 Visa Information

This information below contains extremely important information regarding visas for the Fall 2018 Voyage. It is crucial that all voyagers read this section thoroughly and any linked information in its entirety.

International passport holders will have different or additional visa requirements. If you are a non-US Passport holder, you will receive a separate e-mail with visa instructions.


Jump to a Section

Important Documents to Review

What are Visas?
Visa Instructions & Applications
U.S. & Canadian Visa Requirements
Important Information Guide
Tavisa – CIBT Visa Service
FA18 Passport Info Sheet
FA18 Visa Checklist and Deadlines
FA18 Visa Checklist
Step-by Step Visa Video
Visa Copies
Passport Copies & Blank Visa Pages
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Additional Requirements for Minors

What are Visas?

Visas are travel documents placed in the traveler’s passport that shows you are allowed to enter a specific country for a specific period of time. It is every participant’s responsibility to obtain all pre-voyage required visas prior to embarkation. Visa regulations are subject to change and ISE cannot be held responsible for incurred fees, fines, detainment or deportation due to missing visas. Additionally, should we have to reroute our itinerary for health & safety concerns, ISE cannot be held responsible for any required visa fees

U.S. & Canadian Passport Holders – Visa Requirements 
Must be obtained prior to September Embarkation


  • U.S. & Canadian passport holders also require a visa for Viet Nam and Burma/Myanmar, but these visas will be obtained en route and SHOULD NOT be obtained prior to the voyage. The visa fees for Viet Nam and Burma/Myanmar will be charged to your shipboard account.
  • International passport holders will have different or additional visa requirements. If you are a non-US Passport holder, you will receive a separate e-mail with visa instructions.
  • It is each voyager’s responsibility to obtain all visas required by their nationality in order to fully participate in the voyage as intended. Participants with missing visas will not be permitted to embark the ship.
  • Voyagers are also responsible for meeting entry requirements for countries where they do not require a visa. Entry requirements are listed in the Important Information Guide.

Travisa – CIBT Visa Service 

Semester at Sea has retained the services of Travisa-CIBT to assist participants with obtaining passports and entry visas. We strongly encourage all voyagers to utilize the services of Travisa – CIBT.

Why should I use Travisa-CIBT to obtain my visas?

Travisa-CIBT can:

  • Provide each voyager with special SAS visa and passport processing rates
  • Review all applications and required documents prior to submission
  • Ensure the progress of visa applications can be tracked
  • Advocate on behalf of the applicant in the event of application errors, denials or consular closures
  • Minimize the need to mail your passport and/or travel to consulates more than once
  • Expedite the passport process for first time passports, and passport renewals. Click here to begin your passport order.

Travisa Additional Services
Need further assistance with your applications? Travisa offers additional services for an added fee. These services can include extra attention filling our visa forms for you, document review, additional tracking and extended business hours.  Please click here for a description of services.

Fall 2018 Visa Checklist & Deadlines

Download the FA18 Visa Checklist
for step-by-step instructions on how to obtain your visas.

U.S. & Canadian citizens only


Date Deadline Requirements
June 20 Priority deadline. Submit your visa applications on or before this date in order to have your visas back by August 1. We strongly recommend all voyagers apply for their visas by this date in order to avoid any unforeseen delays such as incorrect visa applications, consular closures, etc. Applicants that apply by the priority deadline will be able to utilize standard visa processing to avoid any expedited visa costs. To proceed with standard processing you must provide Travisa with (24) business days for the processing of the three visas. On the Travisa order form you must indicate a passport need back date (24) business days after your completed order has been received in the Travisa office. Voyagers with international travel during the summer and/or prior to embarkation or voyagers not using Travisa must submit their visa applications by the priority deadline.
June 20 Voyagers must disclose any of the following information to Semester at Sea:

  • Extensive travel abroad prior to embarkation
  • Dual citizenship
  • Intention to obtain visas independently (not through Travisa – CIBT)
  • Insufficient blank visa pages (voyagers that do not have the 52 page passport book)
August 1 Final visa deadline. This is NOT the mail/postmarked date. All visa applications should be submitted and in the hands of Travisa – CIBT by this date. Visa Pre-Check is advised to avoid delays due to application errors. Visa applications should be expedited wherever possible. If you are intending to travel at all prior to your voyage, your visa applications should be submitted by the priority visa deadline (June 20). Please Note: Those voyagers that have not submitted their visa applications by August 1 may be cancelled from the voyage.
August 1 Voyagers must disclose (via email to programadministration@isevoyages.org) any situation which may prevent obtaining a required visa.
August 1 All participants must update their visa status via the MyPassport self service portal.

Step-by-Step Visa Video

Travisa has developed the step-by-step video below to help you complete your visa applications.

Visa Copies

Travisa – CIBT will scan and provide emailed copies of China and Ghana visas to the applicant and to Semester at Sea staff to keep on file. The Indian visa is processed last and sent directly back to the applicant. Once your passport is returned to you, please e-mail a copy of your Indian visa to Program Administration. The password to access your visa copies is worldodysseyfa18.

Voyagers intending to obtain their visas independently must disclose this information by  June 30. Independent applicants must have their visa copies submitted to programadministration@isevoyages.org by August 1. If voyagers choose to obtain visas independently, Travisa will be unable to step in for assistance should your applications be rejected or you are unable to reach consular agents.


Passport Requirements and Blank Visa  Pages

Each voyager must abide by the passport and blank visa page requirements detailed in the FA18 Passport Info Sheet in order to embark the ship. As a reminder, you cannot apply for visas until you have obtained your passport and verified you have an adequate number of blank pages. Semester at Sea strongly encourages voyagers to obtain the 52 page passport book.


Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Semester at Sea enrolls all participants (regardless of citizenship) in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the voyage itinerary. If you have extensive international travel plans before or after your voyage, it is advised that you also enroll in the STEP program for your pre- and post-voyage travel.

Additional Requirements for Minors

Voyagers sailing as minors will have additional visa and entry requirements. Please ensure to include the following requirements:

  • Full birth certificate or a certified/notarized copy. All documents issued in a language other the English must be accompanied by a sworn translation into English and certified in the issuing country.
  • If the minor is traveling with one parent, then the minor must present an affidavit from the absent parent stating consent to travel, or a court order granting full parental responsibilities to the present parent, or a death certificate in case of a deceased parent.
  • If the minor is traveling with an adult other than the parent(s) then the minor must also present a notarized affidavit from the parents/legal guardians stating consent to travel, providing contact details of the parents/guardians.
  • Copies of passport information page or identification documents of the parents/legal guardians. International passport holders must also provide a copy of their U.S. resident status.

The following documents are required to enter South Africa – minor voyagers must carry these documents with them to the ship. Failure to present these documents to immigration upon arrival to South Africa will result in the voyager being detained on board and the ship being fined.

In all cases an Unabridged Birth Certificate will be required for minors departing and arriving in South Africa. They will not be allowed to travel without it.

  • Requirements for children travelling with only one parent:
    When a child travels with only one parent, the child will require a passport, Unabridged Birth Certificate, a notarized affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, or a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than 6 months old from date of travel.
  • Requirements for children travelling accompanied but without either parent:
    In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the Unabridged Birth Certificate must be supplemented by notarized affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the ID documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.
  • Requirements for children travelling on their own as unaccompanied minors:
    A child travelling as an unaccompanied minor has to produce not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also notarized proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address, contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her ID document, passport or residence permit.
  • Please complete this form prior to embarkation. It must be presented to immigration in South Africa along with any required additional documents as noted in the form. Contact information for South Africa is as follows:Megan Gobey
    25th Floor, 1 Thibault Square
    PO Box 702
    8001 27 21 419 8660
    27 83 383 3270

If you have questions about these additional requirements please email programadministration@isevoyages.org or call 800.854.0195.