Packing, Prohibited Items, Life at Sea

Shipboard Life

Student Life at Sea

Participants are encouraged to join in and take advantage of all Semester at Sea has to offer to engage the shipboard community both on and off the ship. Many of the available activities complement coursework, while others provide recreational outlets for students to pursue their interests and try new things.

  • Semester at Sea (SAS) Traditions: A number of traditional shipboard-wide activities – with a several-decade history – occur on each Semester at Sea voyage. These events are open to the entire shipboard community and all are encouraged to participate.
  • Co-Curricular Activities: Semester at Sea is an extraordinary experience in that students have the opportunity to learn through action, observation, reflection, and engagement. SAS provides a unique “immersion” experience: as the ship travels the globe, it becomes its own port where the entire community learns about globalization and individual cultures in preparation for the ports. Just like on a land-based campus, Semester at Sea offers activities and enrichment opportunities for all participants. These programs complement student coursework and enhance the experiential learning on In-Country Field Programs. 
  • Extra-Curricular Activities: Several student organizations and clubs form on each voyage – sometimes these are more traditional in nature (women, LGBTQIA, international students, etc.) and sometimes they organically form depending upon the unique interest of participants (Star Wars, knitting, etc.) Thematic programming emerging from these groups is common and adds to the rich fabric of diversity on the ship. These recreational clubs and organizations are an excellent way for members of the shipboard community to get involved, share their passion and skills, and learn from each other.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Throughout each voyage, there are opportunities to learn about the countries on the itinerary before, during, and after visiting each port. Voyagers learn in their classes, on their Field Programs, and through shipwide community programming. Onboard cultural enrichment includes presentations by interport lecturers and interport students, pre-port briefings, evening programs, and post-port reflections.


Student Life Team 

The Student Life Team is responsible for the purposeful and holistic promotion of student learning and development that enhances the overall educational experience. This team includes the Dean of Student Life, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Resident Directors, and focuses on developing a dynamic relationship between academics and co-curricular learning. The RDs live in an assigned student residential area (known as a “sea”) and promote community development activities as well as advising, counseling, and crisis intervention in their “sea”. RDs develop programming in many co-curricular areas which you can read more about on our website.

  • Academic Success
  • Community Service and Learning
  • Career Development
  • Intercultural Competency
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Health and Wellness
  • Leadership
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Recreation and Student Activities


Student Support Services

A range of support services are available for Semester at Sea participants. Services include support for those requesting academic, physical, dietary, and mental health accommodations. If there is a specific accommodation you feel would support your needs, please contact our office as soon as possible to make arrangements. 

Health and Wellness Support Services 

  • Health Clinic: The health clinic on board the MV World Odyssey is among the most advanced medical facilities available on ocean-going vessels today. Voyage medical staff are U.S.-licensed health professionals and include a board-certified physician and a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. 

    The on-board clinic receives patients every day both at sea and in port. A member of the medical team is on-call 24/7 in case of emergencies. The ship’s crew also includes a crew doctor and a crew nurse who are available to administer care to voyage participants. The medical team responds to the routine and emergent health conditions of Semester at Sea participants and provides educative programming and outreach to the shipboard community. Prior to every port, they present a medical briefing with best practices and advice for prevention of issues common to travelers and visitors to the upcoming country. A premium travel health insurance policy is provided to all students and lifelong learners as part of their program fee. Please refer to our website for specifics on our premium health insurance coverage.

  • Mental Health Care: On each voyage, Semester at Sea deploys two licensed clinical psychologists responsible for coordinating, implementing, and evaluating total mental health care and education for all passengers. This includes diagnostic assessment and short term clinical therapy in all areas of mental health. In addition to facilitating on-board support groups (e.g. alcohol/drug abuse, eating disorders, etc.), voyage psychologists execute educative programming and outreach to the shipboard community and are contributors to pre-port briefings. Counseling is available by appointment. 
  • Health and Wellness Programming: The Student Life Team is  tasked with providing resources for health and wellness. They design, implement, and evaluate prevention, education, and wellness programs, services, and initiatives designed to advance the health of students and the entire shipboard community in an effort to enhance student learning and create a strong learning environment.  On recent voyages, activities have included Peer Health Educator organizations, activities to disseminate health related information (e.g. nutrition/healthy eating, alcohol and drug abuse, stress management, time management, overcoming homesickness, etc.), friends of Bill W meetings, and games and contests to further health education and healthy lifestyles. 

Academic Life at Sea

Academic Life at Sea

Living and learning on a Semester at Sea voyage is an exhilarating, exhausting, and challenging endeavor. Chances are it is unlike any living-learning experience you have had, either on a traditional land campus or any other study abroad program. The experience has a number of distinctive elements you should bear in mind:

  • The rhythm of the voyage dictates your life more than a typical academic semester does. Classes meet every other day at sea, including Saturdays and Sundays. Port stays are the closest you will get to a weekend. However, some days in port will be dedicated to Field Classes. See a visual breakdown of the schedule of class days on the Academic Calendar.
  • Time management can be a challenge during Semester at Sea. You will face a myriad of outside pressures—from cultural exploration in port to a vibrant student life program on the MV World Odyssey—that may tempt you to postpone your coursework. While a large part of your time during the voyage will be spent outside of the classroom, it is expected that you will come to class prepared, with all assignments completed on the due date. You must make time to study. 
  • You will be living and learning in a floating residential college with nearly 600 students from over 200 different colleges and universities; a number of Lifelong Learners; 25-28 faculty members and their families; 25 staff members and their families; and upwards of 200 crew members from around the the world. The ship’s community includes a rich mix of generations from young children to senior adult Lifelong Learners. We encourage you to embrace this unique and diverse academic village and avail yourself of your shipmates’ knowledge and experiences.

Dietary Restrictions

The dining halls on board the MV World Odyssey will have a variety of options for each meal, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options. Each meal will also have a sign posted above it indicating if it contains any dairy, nuts or wheat/gluten. While this is sufficient for those with light allergies or sensitivities, it should not be your only resource for those with severe food allergies.

If you have any medically diagnosed dietary restrictions, please speak with a dining room steward so they can properly prepare meals. View the video below to learn more about vegan eating options on our shipboard campus!


Packing List

What to Bring, and What to Leave

Preparing to pack for your voyage may seem like a daunting task, but words to live by are: lay out everything that you think you need, put back half, and then pack what’s left. The bottom line: come prepared, but travel lightly. Your belongings (including the luggage itself) are stored in your cabin. Keep this in mind when you are deciding between a huge suitcase or a soft-sided duffel on wheels (the latter is a great choice.) The packing list is intended as a suggestion only and is not exhaustive. Please use your personal judgment and best discretion when preparing for your voyage.


General Packing List

Baggage Limit: 2 checked bags, 1 carry-on luggage (such as a small duffel bag), 1 personal item (such as a backpack)

  • Your luggage will be stored in your cabin. Consider bringing a duffel bag on wheels rather than a huge suitcase.
  • You may want to sway toward more conservative dress in port as certain instances, such as visits to businesses, meetings with government officials, and special events or dinners, will call for special attire. Additionally, visits to houses of worship will require covered shoulders, shorts/skirts below the knee, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Life with Semester at Sea is casual except for a few special occasions. You are limited to two pieces of luggage plus a carry-on. Pack for maximum versatility.
  • Bed linens and bath towels are provided on the ship. You do not need to pack them.


Additional Tips for Preparing to Sail on the MV World Odyssey

  • The MV World Odyssey only has European outlets with a voltage of 220v. If you have a non-European device with an input range of 110v-240v you will only need an adaptor. If your device only has a single input range of below 220v, you will need a converter. To verify if you will need a converter, check the label on your device’s power supply.
  • There are only two European outlets in each cabin and one shaver outlet in the bathroom. The shaver outlet is dual voltage (110v and 220v) however, it is designed for low voltage appliances and can only accommodate shavers or similar devices. Power strips and extension cords are not allowed. However, in order to increase plug capacity, consider purchasing an adapter that also offers two USB connections.
  • Straightening/curling irons are only allowed on board if you have proof that they are auto-shutoff. If you have no proof, it will be confiscated during check-in and will not be returned to you. Please verify the voltage on your device as many of these devices are single voltage and may need a converter to be used on board. You may also consider purchasing a dual voltage hair straightener or curling iron.
  • You will not be allowed to affix any items to your cabin walls. The cabin walls on the MV World Odyssey are not magnetic. All adhesives including, but not limited to, regular tape, duct tape, wall mounting tape/adhesive strips, poster tape, and thumb tacks/push pins are not allowed on the ship. Cabin stewards check cabins daily so please do not plan to affix any items to the interior or exterior cabin walls. If any adhesives are brought to the ship they will be confiscated at check-in.

Prohibited Items


In accordance with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, the following items are prohibited aboard the ship.  Confiscated items cannot be returned and will be destroyed. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive and is updated as necessary.

(includes empty bottles/cans, souvenirs, or gifts)
Illicit Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia 
(includes pipes, water pipes, hookas, souvenirs or replicas)
(includes these guns: air, bb, pellet, flare, paint ball, starter, blow, and replicas)
Sharp Items/Weapons 
(includes ice pick/axe, box cutter, utility knife, saber, swords, or look-alikes)
Martial Arts/Self Defense Items

  • billy clubs
  • black jacks
  • brass knuckles
  • Kubatons
  • night sticks
  • nunchucks
  • throwing stars
  • stun guns/shocking devices
  • Disabling Chemicals (includes pepper spray, mace, tear gas)
Drones or Kites of any kind
Adhesive Tape

  • duct tape
  • electrical
  • regular tape
  • double-sided
  • masking tape
  • blue (painter’s) tape
Select Tools 
(includes hammer, crowbar, axe, saw, hatchet)
Dangerous Materials
(includes fire extinguishers, bleach, paint & thinner, fireworks, flares, all fuel)
Any Items that are potential fire hazard

  • aerosol cans
  • candles
  • incense
  • oil lamps
  • lighters
  • matches
Items with Hot/Heating Elements 
(includes hot or coffee pots, halogen lamps, clothes iron)
Personal hair appliances that are not auto-shut off

  • Curling irons and hair straighteners must be UL approved and have auto shut-off devices
  • Portable Hair Dryer for In-Country Use Only (Each cabin is equipped with a hair dryer)
Electrical Extension Devices (includes extension cords, octopus plugs, power strips)
Walkie-talkie and 2-way radios
Select Sporting Goods 
(includes darts, bats, bows & arrows, spear gun)
Oversized Items
(includes surfboards, bikes, scuba gear, steamer trunks, x-large luggage, x-large musical instruments, x-large exercise equipment, x-large souvenirs, oversized fossils/stones)
Live Animals/Pets/ Plants
(of any kind/size)
Select Food & Beverage Item, to include but not limited to:

  • Unsealed fresh or dry food (individually factory sealed portions not exceeding 1 kg /2.2 lbs) OK; they must be able to be consumed at one time)
  • Fresh produce of any kind
  • Beverages with twist-off caps; ** No beverages may be brought to the ship at the initial embarkation
  • Ready-to-eat meals

*Lifelong Learners, Faculty, Staff, and their legal-aged Dependents may bring aboard two bottles of alcohol per port (maximum size: 1 liter per bottle) for personal use in their cabin.