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Spring 2020 Voyage Timeline Regarding COVID-19 Outbreak

Latest Update (3/11/2020):

The latest State Department/CDC advisory makes it irresponsible to continue with the voyage to any other port and beyond a disembarkation date of March 25. The COVID-19 has profoundly impacted not only our Spring 2020 Voyage, but also individuals and industries around the world.

We have collaborated with our academic partner, Colorado State University, to offer a remote solution to finishing the remaining course requirements. Voyagers will still need to participate in all remaining field classes and planned field programs in South Africa between March 14-23. On-ship time remains the same, on March 23, with the Crew Talent Show scheduled for that evening. We have reserved March 24 for packing, re-entry programming, and the Alumni Ball. Disembarkation begins at 0800 on March 25. Similar to many higher education institutions across the United States, students will be completing the remaining coursework remotely between March 26 and April 20.

Please see the updated itinerary below and the updated academic calendar.

  • March 14-23: Cape Town, South Africa
  • March 23, 1700: On-ship time
  • March 24: Packing, re-entry programming, and Alumni Ball
  • March 25, 0800-1200: Disembarkation
  • March 26-April 20: Online/remote completion of the academic program

Review frequently asked questions regarding the Spring 2020 Voyage disembarkation, or view the Semester at Sea media kit.

Timeline of Spring 2020 Voyage Itinerary Changes:

  • January 23: The World Health Organization (WHO) released an announcement, after a second day of deliberation, that the COVID-19 outbreak did not yet meet the criteria to be considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Based on this assessment, however, Semester at Sea made the decision to divert from our scheduled port stop of Shanghai, China and extended our stay in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, by six days, from February 4-15.
  • January 30: Following the decision by the WHO to declare the COVID-19 virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the MV World Odyssey proactively began following International Maritime Organization (IMO) sanitation level 2 protocol. In addition to an increase in the sanitizing of all surfaces in public areas and replacement of buffet utensils (among other measures) voyagers embarking and disembarking the ship were subject to additional health screenings, as required.
  • February 15: In consultation with Semester at Sea leadership, Captain Kostas, and key health and safety partners, the decision was made to divert from previous scheduled port stops in Port Klang, Malaysia and Mumbai, India.
  • February 26: Semester at Sea was informed that the Seychelles Ministry of Health and the Seychelles Port Authority denied the MV World Odyssey entry into the Seychelles. Two options were considered in regard to our next port stop: Mauritius and Mozambique. Upon confirmation on berth availability in Mauritius, the decision was made to extend our time in Mauritius from March 3-7.
  • March 10: The U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued advisories regarding COVID-19 and travel by cruise ships. Based on this new information, the decision was made to end the Spring 2020 Voyage in Cape Town, South Africa. Programming in Cape Town will run from March 14-23, with disembarkation scheduled for March 25. Classes will be completed via an online option remotely between March 26 and April 20.

Additional information can be found in previous voyage updates:

Semester at Sea Key Health and Safety Partners

As part of our comprehensive health and safety strategy, Semester at Sea works consults closely with partners who bring specialized expertise, resources, and services. A full list of partner organizations can be found on our health and safety page.

Important Updates from External Advisors:

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact programadministration@semesteratsea.org or 1.800.854.0195. Our home office is open from 8am-5pm Mountain Time.

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