Lifelong Learners


When you sail with Semester at Sea, you are at the helm. With a variety of options for itineraries and involvement, you can chart your own course!

See the World for Yourself!

There are many ways you can travel the world. What makes Semester at Sea unique is the floating college offering academic enrichment opportunities, the in-port excursions that go deeper than just sightseeing, and a shipboard community that offers life-long friendships.

Watch: Day in the Life of a Lifelong Learner


What makes Semester at Sea unique from a traditional cruise? The rich academics and opportunities for continued education, all included in your rates!

Most Lifelong Learners choose to partake in undergraduate coursework while at sea. Lifelong Learners attend class regularly, participate in group discussions, and complete the readings but are not expected to submit papers or take exams. Lifelong Learners do not receive academic credit for their involvement. Lifelong Learners may also select one Field Class per voyage for one of the courses they commit to during their sail. Field Classes are instructor-led, full-day in-port experiential programs uniquely designed to bring course concepts to life. Field Classes are required for undergraduate students and optional for Lifelong Learners who are sailing the full voyage.
Global Studies
All members of the voyage community participate in the Global Studies course, which is taught daily while at sea. This course offers an integrated, interdisciplinary introduction to each of the countries visited on the voyage. The Global Studies curriculum helps voyagers deepen their understanding of specific features of contemporary life and culture including politics, religion, environment, art, music, family systems, health, and more. It is also designed to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to think critically about their own societies and global change.
Evening Programming
Evening seminars are learning opportunities open to the entire shipboard community. They are led by voyage faculty and other community members and target timely and relevant topics to the voyage itinerary.
Logistical Pre-Port
The night prior to arrival in a port, all voyagers are invited to attend this special presentation. The voyage leadership team will brief participants on important details for the port stay, including health and safety concerns, matters pertaining to disembarkation and immigration, in-country program logistics, transportation options, and more.

Sail as a Family

Did you know that you can sail with your children, ages 5-17, as Lifelong Learners? Families can select large suites that accommodate parents and up to two children, or select separate cabins for parents and children. Lifelong Learner children and grandchildren participate together with the children of faculty and staff in the onboard Dependent Children’s Program, a unique learning cooperative. Children of all ages will gain insight into college curriculum and learn from the inter-generational shipboard community. Pricing is based on age and cabin requests.

Contact the Lifelong Learning Program team for personalized cabin recommendations and pricing options.

What Is It Like to Sail as a Lifelong Learner Family?

Field Programs

Field Programs are SAS-sponsored in-country excursions. Semester at Sea collaborates with well-known, trusted, and insured in-country providers to offer Field Programs in each port stop at an additional cost. Field Programs range in cost and duration and are optional for all voyagers. Many Lifelong Learners choose a balance between Field Program participation or planning their own travel in port. Learn more about Life on Land, or view our Sample Field Guide for Lifelong Learners.

Extended Family Program

Lifelong Learners, faculty, staff, and students have the unique opportunity to join the Extended Family Program on their voyage. The program allows Lifelong Learners and other adult passengers to “adopt” a group of students, with the intent of serving as mentors, providing support, and establishing an extended family on the ship. The Lifelong Learners create, organize, and initiate “family activities.” This could include a meal together, a designated game night, or smoothies by the pool on a warm day.

The Extended Family Program has resulted in many long-standing friendships long after voyages have concluded. Watch the video below to meet Tom and Linda Reid and their three ship family members from the Spring 2011 Voyage.

Extended Family Program Impact

Lifelong Learner Involvement

Daily Lifelong Learner Meeting

Every day at sea, there is a seminar organized by the Lifelong Learning Voyage Coordinator. The seminars are designed to be of particular interest to the Lifelong Learner community. They may include presentations from faculty, staff, crew members, or even one of your Lifelong Learner peers. Topics may include a faculty member’s research project, a staff member’s view on higher education, or how the ship’s kitchen prepares meals for all voyagers.

Have Fun!

Join in our Neptune Day festivities when we cross the equator. Show your strength during the Sea Olympics. Participate in the talent show, holiday festivities, and dances! What are you good at? Lead an evening seminar to others related to your career or hobby. Volunteer your time to help the school-aged “ship kids” with schoolwork or arts and crafts activities. Opportunities are endless onboard the MV World Odyssey.

The Ship

The MV World Odyssey has operated as the SAS campus since 2015. The World Odyssey is a medium-sized vessel and can carry up to about 700 passengers. The ship consistently meets or exceeds the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. public health requirements, as well as all other statutory standards. The World Odyssey boasts 10 decks (seven of which are accessible to passengers, not including the sports court), three dining areas, nine classrooms, a theater and library, a large auditorium, a gym, spa and salon, two pools, a medical clinic, a campus store, and interior and exterior cabins ranging in size to meet every voyager’s needs.

Health & Safety

The health and safety of all our voyagers is our number one priority! Semester at Sea and the captain and crew of the MV World Odyssey take health and safety very seriously. The ship offers a medical clinic with basic diagnostic services, over-the-counter medications, and limited prescriptions. There are 4-6 medical professionals on each voyage and one is on-call 24/7, even while the ship is in port. There are also two mental health counselors available to all voyagers. Included in the rates is medical coverage through CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International) and a subscription to SAFEY, a platform designed to keep voyagers safe and in communication with the ship in case of an emergency while off-ship.

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.