Your child is off on the experience of a lifetime, but how do you keep in touch? What can you provide for them while they are away? The resources below will help you to know what is possible for you as a parent to stay involved and keep up to date with the voyage.
Following the Voyage Online
The official SAS blog, News from the Helm, is the best way to follow the current voyage. The blog is featured on the homepage of SAS and offers the option to sign up for an RSS feed, so you’ll receive updates automatically via email. The current voyage section of the website is another way to access important information, including a voyage map, itinerary details, and a position report.
Contacting the Ship in an Emergency
If you have an emergency and need to notify Semester at Sea, please call 800.854.0195. Our 24-hour answering service (412.571.5809) will direct calls after business hours and on weekends to the appropriate staff members. Please note this is for emergency situations only. Anything not considered an emergency will be referred to the ISE Office for response the next business day.
Getting Funds To Your Participant
ISE cannot accept checks, or other forms of payment, for transfer to a participant after initial embarkation. The most efficient way to increase your participant’s funds is to deposit money directly into his or her bank account. Participants are strongly encouraged to carry a debit card, which allows them to withdraw cash in local currency.
In the case of an emergency, or if a participant does not have a debit card, he or she must get a cash advance from the ship’s Purser. Cash advances cannot exceed $300, are limited to one per port, and carry a $15 surcharge. Cash advances are charged to a participant’s shipboard account, and must be supported by a valid credit card.
This is the current ISE Cash Advance Policy / Regulations that we are enforcing onboard for your reference:
- For emergency cases only (i.e. lost wallet which includes all credit cards, got rob in port, ATM card eaten by ATM machines, and or as per ISE approval ).
- Pax should have an Active Credit Card on file, and not the one pax lost.
- Cash Advance amount maximum of $300 with $15 transaction fee regardless of the amount requested. Over $300 must be approved by ISE.
- Cash Advance to be requested during last day at sea prior to arrival in port from 15:00 to 17:00 hours only, unless otherwise approved by ISE.
Staying in Touch FAQ
What is the best way to keep in contact with my child?
You have several options for staying in touch with your child.
Email is the most convenient and economic method. All students receive a free email account through Semester at Sea – FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME.Voyage@semesteratsea.org (ie. Jane.Doe.SP16@semesteratsea.org). The ship is also equipped with wireless internet access that enables participants to access web-based email services. A limited amount of free Internet time is allotted to students, and after it is used up, additional access minutes may be purchased on the ship.
Phone services are also available. To place a call to the ship, dial toll-free: 800.305.9203. You will be asked to provide a credit card that will be charged approximately $3.95 per minute. A shipboard operator will answer the call, and connect you to the phone in your child’s cabin. Internet phone services such as Skype are not available on board.
Encourage your child to download Whatsapp, Viber, or another international messaging application on their cell phone. While in port (wifi services are not strong enough on the ship), students will be able to easily communicate with friends and family at home, so long as everyone involved has the app downloaded.
Why isn’t Skype available?
While Skype, and other voice-over-Internet services, were piloted on previous Semester at Sea ships some years ago, it was quickly found by our Internet Service Provider to consume all the available bandwidth on the ship, which presented a risk to our critical systems, such as navigation, that rely on satellite bandwidth to function properly. As a result our Internet Service Provider has blocked the use of Skype and other such services, and has done so for the past few years.
How do I send mail to the ship?
You cannot send mail directly to the ship, but you may send it to the port in which the ship is headed. Mail will be collected in each port and delivered directly to the cabin of your son or daughter. To find mailing addresses for your student’s voyage, please click on the “Voyage Prep” tab of each voyage page.
It is recommended to send international mail at least two weeks in advance preferably via courier, but please see specific recommendations in ‘Mailing Addresses’ section of each voyage page. Do not send currency, food or medicine. Although sending packages is possible, we do NOT recommended sending items of value or items that cannot be replaced because of customs restrictions and/or duty charges (as a result, packages are not always received by the intended recipient onboard). ISE is not responsible for any mail not delivered to the recipient for any reason, even if sent by suggested airmail dates.
Should I be worried if I don’t hear from my child everyday?
Before departure we encourage you to establish a system of communication with your child while they are away. However, do not worry if you do not hear from them as regularly as you would like. The demands of travel in so many different ports can make communication difficult at times. If there is any cause for concern you will be notified by ISE and Semester at Sea officials immediately.
Will they have telephones in their rooms that can call out? Will I be able to call these telephones?
Every cabin aboard the MV World Odyssey is equipped with phones that enable around the clock ship-to-shore calling (both receiving incoming calls and placing outgoing calls). Students can make outgoing calls by purchasing pre-paid calling cards from the Purser’s Desk on the ship. Family members and friends can call the ship 24-hours a day by dialing the toll free number: 800-305-9203. The caller will be asked to provide a credit card that will be charged approximately $3.95 per minute. Your call will then be connected directly to your son or daughter’s cabin.