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Alumni in Action: Spring 2019 “We Got This, 126!” Gathers for Five-Year Reunion

For Nick Hayden and Simon Lowry, co-chairs for the five-year reunion of the Spring 2019 SAS voyage (otherwise known as the “We Got This, 126!” voyage), it was clear as they planned that they wanted to replicate as much about the original voyage experience as they could. “When we considered where we’d have our reunion, we wanted to be very intentional about recreating parts of being on Semester at Sea,” Nick said. “We considered land-based options, but in the end, we knew we just had to do it on a ship!”

SP19 Reunion Planners, Nick and Alex

When they then looked for locations to begin their reunion cruise, one place also really stood out: Ensenada, Mexico. “On our voyage, after we arrived in San Diego, we actually were all bussed down to Ensenada to board the ship and embark,” Nick said. “But then, we set sail, and I remember thinking, ‘everyone on the ship just got a Mexico passport stamp, but we didn’t spend much time here.’” So, when Nick and Simon then found a three-day cruise, embarking in Los Angeles on January 5, 2024—exactly five years to the day the Spring 2019 voyagers embarked on their voyage from Ensenada—they knew it was fate.

Though the reunion voyage experienced some unexpected changes—most notably, the ship ended up not being able to port in Ensenada due to rough seas on the planned port day—the reunion was still a hit. In true SAS style, the voyagers adapted, made the best of the unexpected, and had a great time enjoying each other’s company while replicating many special moments from their original voyage.

Around 65 Spring 2019 voyagers gathered on the “mini SAS voyage” aboard the Carnival Radiance to celebrate their five-year reunion. This included one full day at sea, a planned day in Ensenada, and a return to Los Angeles. During the reunion, voyagers enjoyed many re-creations of major SAS events including a mini Sea Olympics, “snack jams” sessions, and trivia. The voyage also included a celebration of life for Nicholas Weber, a Spring 2019 voyager who, very sadly, has passed away since the original voyage. Members of Nicholas’s family were in attendance at the remembrance, bringing even more meaning to the celebration of his life.

Although the voyage ended up with an extra day at sea instead of a stop in Ensenada, it’s worth noting one particularly awesome field program that was planned for the visit, in which roughly one-third of the reunion voyagers would participate in a service/impact trip to Genesis Diez Ministries’ orphanage. While at the orphanage, voyagers were set to help build an extension of the orphanage building. “We really wanted to offer something that would positively impact the community while we were there,” said Alex Rosenblatt, a friend of Semester at Sea who also helped plan the reunion with Nick. “It felt like a very good match for Semester at Sea for us to visit and help this organization.” 

SP19 voyagers at the five-year reunion

While the ship did not end up in Ensenada, Alex and Nick were struck by how well the SAS group handled the changes. “Everyone really lived the SAS idea of ‘expecting the unexpected,’” Alex said. “Everyone in our SAS group was at ease and not terribly fazed by the changes. It just goes to show how much everyone just appreciated being together on the ship.” Despite the many months he had spent planning for the stop in Ensenada, Nick also exemplified the SAS spirit of adaptability. “We always talk about the adaptability piece. We saw just recently how the Fall 2023 Voyage had to adapt to several itinerary changes, and we really saw that on our five-year reunion of the Spring 2019 Voyage as well. The SAS community just adapts and goes with the flow so well.” 

Spring 2019 voyagers celebrating at Five-Year reunion

After concluding the five-year reunion, Nick and his co-chairs are already looking forward to a 10-year reunion—and they’ll perhaps try again for a stop in Ensenada at that time. “It’s so great to see the insane excitement levels that people still have for Semester at Sea, even five years later. People want these types of reunions and events, and it’s been so fun to get to see everyone again!”

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