While Embarkation Day for each Semester at Sea voyage is a whirlwind of logistics and moving parts, lines, baggage handling, passport control, and security checks, it also marks the start of a new chapter for voyagers and their families. Voyagers embarked on a day filled with send-offs and new beginnings in Antwerp, Belgium’s cruise terminal that sits (literally) beneath the medieval fortress ‘Het Steen.’
As students filled their days meeting hundreds of people for the very first time, we spoke to some of the people who’ve known them the longest, their families, on what their hopes are for their voyagers.
John [Dad] “[It’s amazing that] she gets the opportunity to see the world through a different set of eyes.”
Karen [Mom and SAS Alumni Fall 1995] “I’m so excited that she gets to have this experience, and I’m just so happy that it is still happening!”
Elvira [Mom] “I can’t wait to [hear about] every last adventure and every story. I’m just super excited for my child, my daughter. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I’m super excited for them.”
Jennifer [Mom] “[I’m excited for all the] different cultures and experiences that she’s gonna get to have. We never got to do anything like this, so I’m just excited for this awesome opportunity for her to experience a whole new life. I think just having independence and being able to navigate like you’ve never done before. That’s huge.”
Matt [Dad] “[I’m excited] for her to see the world. I served 25 years in the military and [through that] have seen a fair amount of the world, so it’s awesome that she can do this at such a young age. [Traveling is such a unique way to learn] things like self-sufficiency, and problem solving. All that stuff you probably don’t appreciate until after you get out of school looking for your first job in life–getting a little bit ahead of that is kind of cool.”
[Mom]: “I’m looking forward to Caroline seeing many different countries she might not otherwise ever get the chance to see. And to see them in an educational format, [she can] gain an appreciation for every single country. She can learn some history and see and do a bunch of cool things!”
[Mom]: “Growth. Traveling to different countries, cultures, the experience of education at sea–for me as a parent is all just great.”
[Dad]: “I think it’s definitely the experience of learning about and immersing herself in new cultures. It’s her first time out of the U.S. So her mom and I are excited by the opportunity for her to visit these new places. That’s the most important part for us.”
Bittersweet emotions run high as families bid farewell to their voyagers who are off to explore the world for the next 3.5 months. As they wish safe travels, incredible experiences, and cherished memories to all the voyagers– the journey begins with love and support from home!
“Bon Voyage” to our Fall 2023 Voyagers as they set sail on the 132nd voyage of Semester at Sea!