Semester at Sea


Semester at Sea began at Chapman University in the 60s, but the program was called "University of the Seven Seas." On that first voyage, 275 students set sail for 22 ports around the world aboard the MS Seven Seas to begin a tradition of shipboard education that continues to this day. The University of Virginia has been our academic sponsor since 2006 and we've had our current ship, the MV Explorer, since 2004. We've had many people take the lead over over the years - Bill Hughes, C.Y. Tung, Dr. M.A. Griffiths to name a few, although there have been many amazing people that have helped keep our program "afloat!"

Semester at Sea students on ship

Programs from Semester at Sea

  • Multiple Countries
    This is an awesome program for those who do not get seasick and have the travel bug! Explore multiple countries around the...
    127 reviews

Program Reviews

  • Ashley
    Age: 19-24
    Portland, OR
    University of Oregon
    Recommended for Everyone

    This program changed my life more than anything else I have ever experience. Almost very day at sea is a "school day" but you don't have classes when in port. I would give practically anything to go again.

    How could this program be improved?

    Food on the ship is mediocre but the voyage makes it well worth it. You can eat AMAZING food in port.

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  • Patrick
    Age: 19-24
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Oregon State University
    Semester at Sea - There's no place I'd rather be!

    I had the pleasure of attending the Summer '13 trip around the Mediterranean. The program gave me the opportunity to meet people I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise, and has taught me lessons in life that I hold on to to this day. It was the greatest decision of my life. The classes are fun, the Ship's activities and staff are the best, and the memories the trip created are some that I can recall like I was there yesterday. Don't just think about going on it, actually do it. As Homer put it, "The journey is the thing", and it's a journey that will stay with you forever. Take the opportunity to do the program, because you might regret it if you don't.

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  • Beth
    Age: 25-30
    Denton, TX
    Texas Woman's University
    Best Experience of My Life!

    I traveled with SAS during the summer of 2013 and it was the best summer of my life! The classes were incredible, the ship was great, the friends I made are forever friends, and the experience was truly once in a lifetime!

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  • Crystal
    Age: 19-24
    Boston, MA
    Boston College
    Once In A Lifetime Experience

    If you love traveling and don't get motion sickness, you should definitely consider SAS. It was by far the coolest program I have ever, or will ever, be a part of and I would do it over 100 times if I could! You have to be ready for certain things, like eating pasta 3 nights a week, or crossing the Atlantic (12 day trek) on the ship, but all things considered, it's a pretty great living situation, you are on a cruise ship after all! You have total freedom to do whatever you want in port cities and there is never a dull moment. You can travel with different groups of people all the time and still maintain a solid friend group on the ship. So many pros that they outweigh any cons.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would try to get more food options and a more lenient alcohol policy.

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  • Maryum
    Age: 19-24
    San Diego, California
    University of San Diego
    Once in a Lifetime

    Semester at Sea was undoubtedly the best four months of my life and truly a once in a lifetime experience. I had the chance to visit 13 countries in 111 days while taking classes and making lifelong friends & memories. On the Fall 2011 voyage we traveled to Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Honduras (changed from Cuba last minute). The diversity of the shipboard community is spectacular, as I was surrounded by people with the same adventurous spirit from all different backgrounds, ages, and countries. You wake up every morning with the world to look forward to and a new country on the horizon. Dreams are turned into reality and even bigger aspirations are formed in the meantime. You learn to live a simple life. Your friends and peers become your family. You forget about technology and focus on the moment. Food isn't the best, but you get used to it - taco nights make up for it. Sleep becomes a lost luxury of the past. The world is such a big & beautiful place and experiencing it firsthand changes you in ways you cannot even imagine. It takes you out of your comfort zone and alters your perspective on everything. Even though at times you will feel helpless about the conditions you come across in underdeveloped countries, you become extremely grateful for what you have and learn how you can give back to those in need. You will be driven and inspired to do wonderful things in the world. A semester abroad in Europe would have been great, but not many people can say they circumnavigated the globe on a ship in a whole semester. The opportunities are endless and the journey is what you make of it!

    The Taj Mahal | India
    Table Mountain | South Africa
    The Great Wall | China
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