Before embarking on my SAS journey I had no idea just how intense college courses would be. I am so grateful that I decided to do this program before entering my first year of college. It really provided me with an idea of what to expect in the fall.
Why Semester at Sea?
Hear From Past Voyagers
The Semester at Sea Difference
Semester at Sea has been a pioneer and leader in multi-country comparative education for more than 58 years. Unlike traditional study abroad, our focus on global comparative education empowers students to learn about and connect to the world’s peoples, patterns, cultures, and traditions.
Frequenty Asked Questions
Our parent community is lively, engaged, and deeply curious. Here are
answers to the questions we hear most from parents like you.
Yes, students from all majors regularly enroll in Semester at Sea. More than 40 majors are typically represented on any given voyage.
It varies. Voyages typically fill one to four months prior to sailing. We encourage you to submit your application early but please contact our office if you have a last-minute opportunity to join our program for the semester.
We do not offer payment plans for the Parent and Family Trips at this time. Full payment is required upon registering for the trip. You may use a credit card or mail a check (specific payment details are listed in each trip).
All cancellations or transfer requests must be mailed, emailed, or faxed by the participant on or before the posted cancellation deadline for the voyage. The Institute for Shipboard Education’s payment and cancellation policy specifies the refund structure for those participants that must cancel their plans to sail.
The Institute for Shipboard Education’s payment and cancellation policy for all voyages is as follows:
Prior to fall and spring departures, refund of all payments, with the exception of the application fee (not applicable to Lifelong Learners), will be made for written cancellations or transfers received no later than the 90-day payment due date before the beginning of the voyage. Cancellations received after the 90-day payment due date before the start of the voyage will automatically result in forfeiture of the deposit made at the time of confirmation of acceptance in the Program. Refund amount is based on cancellation date:
Cancellation up to and including 90 days prior to the voyage – full refund to participant
If cancelled 89-60 days prior to voyage – 75% of program fee is refundable*
If cancelled 59-45 days prior to voyage – 50% of program fee is refundable*
If cancelled 44-31 days prior to voyage – 25% of program fee is refundable*
If cancelled 30 days prior to the voyage and after voyage departure – voyage fee is fully nonrefundable*
After voyage departure, no refund will be made to a Participant who voluntarily withdraws from the program or who must withdraw from the program due to any violation of the Standards of Conduct. No refund of any kind will be made if the Participant must interrupt the semester due to a medical or psychological illness.
A note for Spotlight (partial) Voyages: the refund schedule and deposit information listed above is the same as if you were sailing the full voyage. For example, full payment for the voyage is due 90 days prior to the beginning of the voyage, not 90 days prior to when you board the ship. Please contact LLL@isevoyages.org for more information.
Each trip will have different needs, but the golden rule of traveling is to always pack light for more freedom and less hassle. Often times we are taking an in-country flight or transferring hotels, so packing light and bringing smaller luggage is highly encouraged to make it a stress-free experience. It’s recommended to bring sunscreen, hat, layered clothing, sneakers, camera and chargers/converters. As always, leave expensive jewelry and flashy items at home – safety first.
Semester at Sea, like any company, sets up a yearly budget based largely on estimates of fixed and variable costs with some room for variation. We are directly impacted from time to time just as everyone is in the travel industry and the maritime industry in particular, with periodic and significant overall increases in our fuel prices. Depending on each port’s regulatory and environmental requirements, we have to consider at least two different types and grades of fuel, each with significantly different price points. Political unrest in certain parts of the world, as well as periodic natural disasters, also can contribute to increasing and unpredictable volatility as well, which in turn lends to overall instability and unpredictability in fuel prices. Fuel charges remain a material component of our overall cost structure. We make every effort to contain fuel costs through enhanced itinerary planning (which we conduct one to two years in advance), and through the use of standard advance fuel purchase commitment arrangements when appropriate. However, it is impossible for us to accurately predict what we might pay for fuel per voyage, port-to-port. Like airlines and major shipping companies, we regrettably must offset these higher costs from time to time with additional fuel surcharges.
In order to facilitate your financial planning, we may invoice you with a “fuel fee,” which at the time is our best indication of what our final “fuel surcharge” is expected to be. In advance of sailing, Semester at Sea may enact a fuel supplement surcharge for all participants, in the event that the average price for the blended types of fuel and related costs during the voyage is expected to exceed a certain budgetary threshold in pricing per metric ton, the amount of which will be offset by advance fuel fee billings/payments. These incurred costs include not only what is expected to be paid in various ports, but also include additional costs for fuel contracts entered into. These fuel contracts are intended to cushion the financial impact if future fuel prices became volatile. Such surcharges when enacted are necessary to offset the total excess fuel costs that exceed this budget threshold. For more information please review our fuel surcharge policy.