If you have the time and chance, definitely consider Seamester. I was on the 90-day Caribbean trip on the 112 -foot Argo (HEY OSCAR), and I have to say my time on board will definitely be one of the highlights of my life. If all you want to do is party, then please do not sign up, as you will be miserably tired and wet. However, if you actually want to get closer to the ocean rather than stay in an insulated hotel cabin, I believe Seamester is a superior option to other similar programs such as Semester at Sea (which I believe is on a cruise ship). There will definitely be times when living in close quarters with 20+ stinky people will get on your nerves, but if you grit your teeth and hold your tongue, you will find riches in friendship and the chance to behold on a daily basis a beauty that other people might only see once or twice in a lifetime (like sunsets and dolphins). Additionally, you will also get a chance to know your teachers as actual human beings and be inspired by their lives (an extra highlight for me, as my trip had incredible staff members). Just pack well, and get plenty of sleep beforehand, as God knows that when you start this program, you won't.
Basic Score Breakdown:
ADVENTURE: Full 10. Self-explanatory: what else can you describe a journey of 4,300 miles?
LIVING SPACE: 8. Bit cramped, and can be hot at times. Still, you didn't sign up for 5-star hotel accommodations, did you?
CULTURAL IMMERSION: With island skipping, unfortunately, you don't get much of a chance to really get into the native Creole culture. However, the sailing community is very tight knit, and Seamester really gives you the chance to break into that group of slightly weird, terribly sun-burned people. (I'll say it again: my favorite part of the whole trip was meeting incredible people, some of who were my teachers, some of who where fellow students).
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION: I'd say this is the weakest part. The trip was very good, but sometimes the red-tape can be incredible, some due to complex legal problems over your head, others because of the nature of sea life. If you just keep your head down and power through however, things will be fine. Just be warned that you'll have to exercise your bull***t shoveling muscles.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: Helicopter parents, be soothed. This program is as safe as can possibly be on the sea. We observed full safety procedures at all times.
SOCIAL LIFE: A definite hit and miss at times. It mostly depends on your luck and the group you get. Some the people I was with were absolute knuckleheads and dealing with them day after day was aggravating--yet, I also met the kindest, smartest people I know on this trip. Just stay away from the former and stick to the latter.
PS: For the Caribbean trip, the list will tell you to pack wool socks. DO NOT PACK WOOL SOCKS. In fact, pack very little socks. You have been warned.