Fall 2023:
European, African, and Asian Adventure

Exploring countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, this voyage gives participants a truly impactful study abroad adventure on our floating college!

  • Overview:

    • 105 Days

    • 11 Countries

    • 11 Cities

    • 3 Continents

  • Embark:

    September 9, 2023, Antwerp, Belgium

  • Disembark:

    December 22, 2023, Bangkok, Thailand

  • Itinerary:

    Spain, Malta, Spain, Greece, Gibraltar, Canary Islands, South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia, Vietnam

  • Helpful Links:

Explore, Learn, and Grow

Join Semester at Sea as we sail to countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. You’ll experience a wide range of cultures and histories, setting sail from Antwerp, Belgium and disembarking in Laem Chabang, Thailand — with a whole lot in between — all while living and learning aboard a ship you’ll call home with a community that’s designed to build friendships for life.

Make the Voyage Your Own

With guided Field Programs and plenty of opportunities for in-country travel on your own or with fellow SAS voyagers, you’ll explore your interests and deepen your understanding of the world. Bring a sense of adventure and a willingness to discover the unknown.

Voyage Map

This map does not reflect any itinerary changes that may have occurred after voyage embarkation.

  1. Antwerp, Belgium
  2. Malaga, Spain
  3. Valletta, Malta
  4. Barcelona, Spain
  5. Piraeus, Greece
  6. Gibraltar, United Kingdom
  7. Las Palmas, Canary Isands (Spain)
  8. Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Port Louis, Mauritius
  10. Penang, Malaysia
  11. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  12. Bangkok, Thailand
  1. 1

    Antwerp, Belgium

    Sep 09

    Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe, Belgium is widely known for its rich history and serene beauty, making it a highly sought after travel destination. Nestled between several mountain ranges and the North Sea coast in Western Europe, Belgium also neighbors France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. As one of Europe’s best kept secrets, Belgium has a lot to offer travelers including medieval castles, modern architecture, a world-renowned fashion scene, and delicious cuisine!

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    • capitol Brussels
    • language French, German, Dutch
    • religions Roman Catholic
    • government Federal Parliamentary Democracy under a Constitutional Monarchy
    • currency Euro
    • population 11.59 million (2021)
  2. 2

    Malaga, Spain

    Sep 16 – Sep 21

    Spain’s diverse landscape, architecture, art, and cuisine make the country rich in culture and charm. Semester at Sea ports of call in Spain include Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, and La Coruna. Field Program options include explorations of the art, culture, and architecture of the two diverse regions. Highlights include overnight trips to Sevilla, Granada, and Madrid, with opportunities to explore the cathedrals, gardens, palaces, and other cultural sites that reflect Spain’s Moorish and Islamic heritage.

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    • capitol Madrid
    • language Castillian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Aranese
    • religions Catholicism
    • government Monarchy, unitary state, parliamentary system, constitutional monarchy
    • currency Euro
    • population 47.35 million (2020)
  3. 3

    Valletta, Malta

    Sep 27 – Oct 01

    Malta is an island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea. The country comprises five islands—Malta (the largest), Gozo, Comino, and the uninhabited islets of Kemmunett (Comminotto) and Filfla—lying some 58 miles (93 km) south of Sicily, 180 miles (290 km) north of Libya, and about 180 miles (290 km) east of Tunisia, at the eastern end of the constricted portion of the Mediterranean Sea separating Italy from the African coast.

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    • capitol Valletta
    • language Maltese, English
    • religions Roman Catholicism
    • government Unitary Multiparty Republic
    • currency Euro
    • population 502,653 (2019)
  4. 4

    Barcelona, Spain

    Oct 04 – Oct 07

    Spain’s diverse landscape, architecture, art, and cuisine make the country rich in culture and charm. Semester at Sea ports of call in Spain include Barcelona, Valencia, and La Coruna. Field Program options include explorations of the art, culture, and architecture of the two diverse regions. Highlights include overnight trips to Sevilla, Granada, and Madrid, with opportunities to explore the cathedrals, gardens, palaces, and other cultural sites that reflect Spain’s Moorish and Islamic heritage.

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    • capitol Madrid
    • language Castillian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Aranese
    • religions Catholicism
    • government Monarchy, unitary state, parliamentary system, constitutional monarchy
    • currency Euro
    • population 47.35 million (2020)
  5. 5

    Piraeus, Greece

    Oct 15 – Oct 19

    With more ancient sites than any other country in Europe, Greece is an archaeological treasure. Philosophers and theologians have long been drawn here to explore the roots of modern thought. Even so, it is the vibrant blues and rugged beauty of the Greek Islands that beckon many visitors away from the crowds of Athens and the Acropolis. Santorini’s picturesque town of Oia is a whitewashed, blue-domed beauty. The sea-side cafes, windmills and nightlife of Mykonos are also draw for many of our participants. Sandy beaches can be found on Skiathos.

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    • capitol Athens
    • language Greek
    • religions Orthodox Christianity
    • government Republic, Parliamentary system, Constitutional republic
    • currency Euro
    • population 10.72 million (2019)
  6. 6

    Gibraltar, United Kingdom

    Oct 27 – Oct 27

    Gibraltar, a unique and captivating British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, offers a rich blend of culture, a resilient and diverse population, and a wealth of activities to explore. The culture of Gibraltar is a fascinating fusion of British and Spanish influences, shaped by its strategic location. The Gibraltarians, a warm and friendly community, reflect this mix in their customs and traditions. The community is known for its enduring British identity, with a strong attachment to the iconic Rock of Gibraltar, a symbol of national pride.

    Visitors to Gibraltar can revel in a range of experiences. The most prominent attraction is the Rock of Gibraltar, offering breathtaking views and housing the famous Barbary macaques. The city is replete with history, featuring historic sites such as St. Michael’s Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels. Gibraltar’s Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal destination for beach lovers, while the charming streets of Main Street beckon shoppers and food enthusiasts with a variety of cuisines, from traditional British fare to Spanish tapas.

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    • capitol Gibraltar
    • language English
    • religions Roman Catholicism
    • government Parliamentary system, constitutional monarchy
    • currency Gibraltar pound
    • population 33,691 (2020)
  7. 7

    Las Palmas, Canary Isands (Spain)

    Oct 30 – Oct 31

    Las Palmas, located on the stunning Gran Canaria island in the Canary archipelago, is a vibrant city offering a unique blend of culture and natural beauty. The culture of Las Palmas is shaped by its rich history as a crossroads of various civilizations. The people of Las Palmas, known as “Canarios,” are renowned for their warm hospitality and zest for life. With a population representing diverse backgrounds, the city boasts a welcoming and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

    Las Palmas is a treasure trove of activities and attractions. One of the highlights is its breathtaking beaches, such as Playa de Las Canteras, where you can soak up the sun or try your hand at water sports. The city’s historic district, Vegueta, showcases its colonial heritage with charming streets, historic buildings, and intriguing museums like Casa de Colón. Culinary enthusiasts will delight in the local gastronomy, offering a fusion of Spanish and African influences. In Las Palmas, the meeting of tradition and modernity, coupled with its breathtaking scenery, creates an unforgettable experience for visitors.

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    • capitol Las Palmas
    • language Spanish
    • religions Roman Catholicism
    • government Parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
    • currency Euro
    • population 338,308 (2021)
  8. 8

    Cape Town, South Africa

    Nov 13 – Nov 18

    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. Semester at Sea ports of call in South Africa include Cape Town. Field Program options include overnight trips to a safari park, seeing lions, giraffes, hippos, zebras, and more. Highlights include taking an aerial cableway up Table Mountain and visiting the Apartheid Museum.

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    • capitol Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), and Bloemfontein (judicial)
    • language Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venḓa, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, English
    • religions Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional African religions, and Judaism
    • government Parliamentary republic, constitutional republic
    • currency South African rand
    • population 59.31 million (2020)
  9. 9

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    Nov 25 – Nov 25

    An island nation in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a tropical paradise and the wealthiest African nation. With a unique blend of cultures, welcoming people, and being known as one of the safest nations in Africa, Mauritius is a popular destination for travelers. The capital city of Port Louis, home to the mountain known as Le Pouce, was first summited by Charles Darwin and is well worth the hike for great panoramic views of the island. Semester at Sea ports of call in Mauritius include Port Louis. Field Program options include ziplining and exploring several of the many beaches this island has to offer. Highlights include exploring the volcanic wonders of Mauritius and swimming with wild dolphins.

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    • capitol Port Louis
    • language English
    • religions Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
    • government Parliamentary republic
    • currency Mauritian rupee
    • population 1.266 million (2020)
  10. 10

    Penang, Malaysia

    Dec 05 – Dec 09

    What makes Malaysia worth visiting is the country’s diversity. Within this one country, you get to explore thriving, modern cities while exploring colonial architecture. At the same time, you have the option to relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and trek in lush green jungles home to orangutans, leopards, tigers, elephants, and more. Semester at Sea ports of call in Malaysia include Penang. Field Program options include visiting Kuala Lumpur and taking Malaysian cooking classes. Highlights include a multi-night trip to Malaysia’s Peninsula, exploring rainforests and cities, and staying with a local family.

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    • capitol Kuala Lumpur
    • language Malay
    • religions Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism
    • government Democracy, parliamentary system, constitutional monarchy, elective monarchy
    • currency Malaysian ringgit
    • population 32.37 million (2020)
  11. 11

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Dec 12 – Dec 17

    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. Semester at Sea ports of call in Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City. Field Program options include cruising down the Mekong Delta or having a homestay with a local family. Highlights include a multi-day trip to Ha Noi and Ha Long Bay.

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    • capitol Hanoi
    • language Vietnamese
    • religions Atheism, Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism
    • government Unitary state, communist state, socialist state
    • currency Vietnamese đồng
    • population 97.34 million (2020)
  12. 12

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Dec 22

    Thailand has emerged as one of the most visited travel destinations in the world. Travelers flock to this warm destination for the tranquil beaches, delicious cuisine, magnificent temples and scenery, colorful history, and archaeological sites. Affectionately nicknamed as “a land of smiles”, Thai locals are known for being warm and welcoming, and their hospitality is considered to be world class.

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    • capitol Bangkok
    • language Thai
    • religions Theravada Buddhist
    • government Constitutional Monarchy
    • currency Thai baht
    • population 71.6 million (2021)
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  5. 5
  6. 6
    United Kingdom
  7. 7
    Las Palmas
    Canary Isands (Spain)
  8. 8
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  9. 9
    Port Louis
  10. 10
  11. 11
    Ho Chi Minh City
  12. 12

Diversion Ports

As we have been operating shipboard voyages since 1963, we’ve learned that itineraries are subject to adjustment. More than half of our voyages have required some deviation from the planned itinerary. The need to change an itinerary prior to and/or during a voyage can arise due to a number of factors: weather, political unrest, and other health and safety considerations. Should there be a need to adjust our published plans, we have identified potential diversion ports in each region of our expected travel. These ports are selected based on a number of factors including safety, educational value, and accessibility. These diversion ports simply serve as a backup should anything prevent us from traveling to our planned itinerary.

Other ports may be added as required. Just as our world is dynamic, this list of potential ports is also subject to change. Every destination must pass a comprehensive health and safety assessment, regardless of being a planned or diversion port.

Fall 2023 Diversion Ports

  • Porto, Portugal
  • Brest, France
  • Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
  • Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Limassol, Cyprus
  • Mahe, Seychelles
  • Muscat, Oman

Voyage Curriculum

The Perfect Mix of Classroom and Field Education

Semester at Sea’s global comparative study abroad program is enhanced by a robust academic program led by a team of academic experts from renowned institutions around the world. During the 100+ day voyage, students can earn 12-15 credits from Colorado State University, while taking major or elective courses, drawn for 20-25 fields of study. Each class also includes academically required Field Work courses, which are developed by faculty and allow for experiential in-country learning throughout the voyage.

Field Programs

Semester at Sea Field Programs 

When Semester at Sea arrives in each country, voyagers will either explore via required Field Work for their classes (for voyagers enrolled in academic courses), participate in optional Semester at Sea-designed Field Programs, or they can plan their own travel experiences.

Looking to Sail as a Lifelong Learner?

Semester at Sea’s Lifelong Learning program provides adult educational travel to people at least 30 years of age who are seeking an opportunity to travel and learn as part of the Semester at Sea community. There are opportunities to sail on a full or partial (Spotlight) voyage.

Program Fees Overview

A Study Abroad Experience Is a Significant Investment, and Also One of the Best Investments for a Student’s Future.

In addition to earning 12-15 transferable college credits from Colorado State University, student program fees include many amenities and benefits to support students before and during their study abroad experience.

A look into what’s included:
  • Semester’s tuition and travel
  • Housing, meals, and amenities
  • Academic Field Classes
  • Email account
  • Starter Internet package
  • Comprehensive travel health insurance
  • Pre-voyage advisement and on-site residential student services staff
  • Fuel fee — subject to change depending on global cost fluctuations

Hear From Past Voyagers

Before embarking on my SAS journey I had no idea just how intense college courses would be. I am so grateful that I decided to do this program before entering my first year of college. It really provided me with an idea of what to expect in the fall.

My experiences prepared me for life, not just for college. After SAS, I was academically, socially and emotionally more than ready for college…I realized several aspects of my personality, and during SAS, my true personality showed up, and I was exposed to a whole new spectrum of myself…I loved it so much that I came back for another voyage, and I’m positive that I will sail again in future, not just once, but multiple times. MV Explorer is home for me.

One of the most valuable things I took away from my experience was the relationships I made aboard the MV Explorer, some of which I continue to connect with. They were all current college students, and offered me great advice when I began my freshman orientation during the fall after my summer voyage.

We learned a lot [about] how to live with others who are completely different [from each other] and still have respect and a lot of fun together and still hold our friendship until this day.

On SAS, I had the opportunity to feel a bond and closeness with people with whom I wouldn’t have otherwise had a connection. I learned about their lives, their children’s lives, their daily struggles, their most significant times of joy and began to really care. As I traveled, I became more connected not only to the people I met, but all people everywhere. We are all the same and every human life is important.


Semester at Sea welcomes curious, engaged students of any sex, gender identity, race, disability status, veteran status, nationality, or ethnicity to apply to travel the world as part of our living and learning community.

Gap Year Students

Recent high school graduates who are interested in sailing before enrolling full-time at an undergraduate institution

Undergraduate Students

Students who are enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program at an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university

Recent College Graduates

Students who have recently completed their undergraduate studies and wish to extend their learning

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about joining a Semester at Sea voyage.

Are faculty and staff allowed time to travel while in port?

Yes. However, some staff positions require the individual remain within a certain proximity of the ship for a portion of time. This individual shares in a rotating duty schedule and is available to the shipboard community in cases of emergency. Faculty members lead in-country field work for each course taught. When scheduled for such field work, faculty are not able to undertake personal travel. Otherwise, personal travel is permitted.

Are there age or physical fitness restrictions?

We welcome trip participants over 10 years of age to join us. While there is no maximum age, all participants must be physically fit, active, and in good health. Certain itineraries are better suited for families, and we encourage you to reach out to a Semester at Sea staff member to inquire about your own personal needs. Please refer to the program brochure for trip-specific requirements.
Any condition that requires special medical attention or assistance must be reported at the time a reservation is made. The individual trip brochures will provide specific details on the rigors of individual trips. If you have concerns about your ability to participate, please feel free to call us.

Are there discounts for alumni?

At this time, we offer a Loyalty Award to alumni (of any kind) who are sailing a full voyage as a Lifelong Learner. Read more.

Are there medical facilities in each port that can treat COVID-19 should I acquire it during the voyage?

Through our contract with CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International), Semester at Sea receives medical capability briefings for each country prior to arrival from AXA Assistance. These briefings provide lists of preferred medical facilities that indicate they have been vetted by their local representatives to provide quality and reliable care. These preferred facilities also have an established direct-bill arrangement with AXA to assist with prompt care and logistical response.

In the event that on-site medical care does not meet the needs of an individual (related to COVID-19 or otherwise), AXA would coordinate a transfer to another facility that can meet the needs.

Are there payment plans?

We do not offer payment plans for the Parent and Family Trips at this time. Full payment is required upon registering for the trip. You may use a credit card or mail a check (specific payment details are listed in each trip).

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.