Coronavirus / COVID-19 Response

We are dedicated to continually evolving our health and safety protocols in line with best practices and expert recommendations.


While the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted three planned Semester at Sea voyages (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021), we resumed our program in the Spring of 2022 and continue to operate at full capacity. Today, our voyager experience looks very much like it did prior to the pandemic. This is due to an ongoing and longtime focus on voyager safety and wellness, the assistance and support of our voyagers, as well as our crew’s dedication to meeting and exceeding our industry’s high standards for sanitation and cleanliness.

Our Current Approach


Travel Insurance

All voyagers are covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy provided by Semester at Sea. This policy provides for medical treatment in the port countries, including treatment for COVID-19.

The policy Semester at Sea provides through CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International) has two components: medical and security. While services deemed medically necessary are covered, security evacuation for fear of catching a pandemic/epidemic illness is not covered. This is not a covered occurrence under the benefit due to the exclusion for endemic or epidemic diseases or global pandemic diseases. (This is not just the case for this policy. Most insurance carriers do not consider it something that is insurable at this time.)

The provided travel insurance will cover COVID-19 testing as long as the individual being tested is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19. There is no limit on the number of times someone can be tested (as long as they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.) Treatment for pandemic-related illness is covered on the medical side (doctor visits, medication, hospitalization, medical evacuation, etc.)

Voyagers are encouraged to read the full policy and consider purchasing additional coverage for items not included (for example, trip interruption/cancellation if desired.)

Medical Facilities Onboard

Trained Medical Staff

One of the great parts about studying abroad with Semester at Sea is that you travel with a team of U.S. licensed health professionals ready to support you 24/7 no matter where you are in the world.

We may increase the number of medical personnel on any given future voyage to include additional trained physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical swing positions (who stay in-country with any voyager who needs to remain in port for medical reasons after the ship departs). There is a provider call system in place, so help is always available.

Medical Facilities Onboard

Ship Clinic

The clinic aboard the MV World Odyssey is staffed with U.S. licensed health professionals and is equipped to handle common emergencies and urgent cases and provide short-term follow-up for exacerbation of chronic conditions. The facility is most consistent with that of an urgent care clinic in the United States or Europe. We are capable of stabilizing voyagers with severe respiratory distress, including that seen with COVID-19. This includes oxygenation, intubation, and ventilation with a transport ventilator before an emergency evacuation is commenced.

Going forward, the medical clinic will have improved and enhanced medical equipment and PPE for treating critically ill patients with COVID-19 or other serious illnesses. The clinic has been redesigned to separate and treat those passengers with suspected infectious diseases from those without.

The clinic is not established to take the place of a primary care provider and participants are instructed to bring ample supplies of the home medications with instructions for appropriate use for the entire voyage. If evolving medical conditions cannot be adequately addressed at the clinic, we work with numerous health care partners to meet the medical needs of the voyager in port. Occasionally, there are emergent needs that require a voyager to return home for additional medical care to ensure their safe recovery.

In cases requiring advanced and/or emergent medical attention, the onboard health team works closely with our international crisis management partners to determine the most viable course of action (including helicopter evacuation if necessary). 

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