Hawaii, United States
The “Aloha spirit” is universal, and certainly contagious, when you set foot onto the Pacific paradise of Hawaii and the port of Hilo. The small, archipelago state presents a beautiful tapestry of natural sights, including secluded beaches, magnificent waterfalls, and a vast rainforest filled with fauna. Among the extensive list of geographic must-sees is Hilo’s National Volcano Park, home of the most active volcano in the world.
Port of Yokohama: Jan 15 - 28, Port of Kobe: Jan 30 - 31
The second and third stops on our itinerary bring us to another Pacific archipelago, and the ports of Yokohama and Kobe, Japan. With its blend of modern industry amidst preserved ancient culture, Japan presents a variety of options for experiential learning. Students often enjoy getting a glimpse into traditional Geisha culture, taking a train to Tokyo, or exploring the many options for top-notch Japanese cuisine in Yokohama’s Minato Marai 21 neighborhood or the Harborland district in Kobe.
Shanghai International Port: Feb 3 - Jan 4, Port of Hong Kong: Feb 7 - 8
(Shanghai + Hong Kong) China presents a spectacular array of historic traditions, stunning landscapes, and magnificent architecture including its vast and iconic Great Wall. Cultural opportunities are endless with the chance to meditate in a Tibetan monastery, converse with Buddhist monks, or practice the Chinese art of Tai Chi at sunrise while overlooking the bustling city of Shanghai. In Hong Kong, SAS students may partake in a junk boat project to aid in the recovery of plastic pollution in local, oceanic waters.
Port of Ho Chi Minh City
(Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam is known for its lush, emerald green mountains, outstanding cuisine, and welcoming citizens. Here you can explore the Cu Chi Tunnels where Viet Cong soldiers lived and fought, travel by boat through the Mekong Delta, sample world-class pho, or bike through small villages. Students often enjoy a three-day trip to Cambodia from Vietnam to interact with an NGO that educates and trains disadvantaged locals in rural areas for employment in the hospitality industry.
Port of Singapore
(Singapore) With Indian, Malay, and Chinese influences, the island nation of Singapore has a unique culture that is easily revealed by exploring its various ethnic neighborhoods and exotic local cuisine. This spring, Semester at Sea will be in Singapore during the Chinese New Year and students will be able to observe and participate in the cultural celebrations.
Port of Yangon
Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, has preserved its Buddhist traditions and predominantly rural culture. In many ways, Burma has remained unchanged since British colonial times. SAS students may partake in a visit to an elephant camp, engage with teachers and children at a local school, or participate in a meditation.
As one of the most populous nations in the world, India is bustling with a vibrant culture influenced by a variety of religions, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Explore the Taj Mahal, one of the world’s seven wonders, or travel to the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges River. Get a taste of how 70% of Indians live by visiting the rural, traditional Chendamangalam village.
Port Louis Harbour
A small African island nation in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a tropical paradise and the wealthiest African nation. The ship will dock in the capital city of Port Louis, home to the mountain known as Le Pouce, first summited by Charles Darwin and well worth the hike for great panoramic views of the island.
Port of Cape Town
Whether hiking Table Mountain for one of the world’s best views, riding horseback on safari, or engaging with local entrepreneurs in Cape Town, students always fall in love with South Africa. Full of adventure and captivating sights, Cape Town offers countless opportunities for cultural and natural exploration. Cape Town is also home to world-renowned social rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who students just may have the opportunity to meet as he is a member of the Institute for Shipboard Education Board of Trustees… and a big fan of Semester at Sea!
Takoradi Harbour: Apr 6 - 7, Tema Harbour: Apr 8 - 10
Located in West Africa, the nation of Ghana is of rugged, sub-saharan beauty bursting with a unique and thriving culture. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy treks through the Accra plains and neighboring reserves, while those seeking an authentic village immersion experience can make homestay arrangements through SAS field programs. Tour the infamous Cape Coast Castle and Slave Dungeons for a historical African perspective on the 17th century slave trade. The ship will first dock in Tema, and from there will reposition itself in Takoradi.
Port of Casablanca
Morocco is an immensely rich cultural center point of north-western Africa that exudes influences of all of the proximal regions, including Spain and the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Sahara Desert, and the Atlas Mountains. The port of Casablanca, established in the 20th century, is a busy metropolis and home to the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world after Mecca. Teeming with color bazaars and exotic culture, Casablanca and nearby Rabat and Marrakech will give voyagers a taste of a culture far different from any other place.