Semester at Sea Update

It’s been one week since my son left on his voyage with Semester at Sea. He is scheduled to arrive in Hawaii tomorrow. This is a photo of the MV Explorer. It’s considered a “small” ship. Small enough to be bothered by big waves. This is what Matthew said about the waves:

“There are two things that are certain on a SAS ship…

…they are: waves and reading. Most people didn’t sleep well last night due to drawers opening and slamming shut. A couple waves woke me up last night due to the BANG and CRASH of stuff moving around in my room. Me and my roommate were lucky though. I’ve heard stories of broken TV’s and broken dressers already today.”

I found a you tube video of a semester at sea voyage that demonstrates this very problem. Check it out.

I probably shouldn’t watch these videos because this one really doesn’t make me feel too good about having my son on a ship. This is a video taken during a SAS winter voyage. Yikes!

I asked Matthew about the food on the ship. This is what he said:

“Food on board is actually better than I thought it was going to be. It’s buffet style but you’re waited on. Its TOTALLY BIZZARE being waited on during school. You get your food and sit and someone comes over and offers some sort of juice, or coffee, or offers to get you dessert (Usually we just get the dessert ourselves though) and they get mad at you if you try and do it yourself. The food itself is hit or miss there is never anything spectacular. I’ve been trying to try everything, that way I don’t get board. They also have PBJ if there is really nothing you like. So its mostly carbs lol different pastas, rolls, various potatoes, then some sort of veggie, a meat, and usually a fish. O and there is a little salad bar thing and a dessert. Besides the buffet you can buy food from one of the bars anytime but you have to pay. I only bought a candy bar so far.”

Here is what he said about sea sickness:

“I only got kinda sick the first day since then maybe twice I had an upset stomach a little. I’ve been fine almost everyone has gotten use to it. If you get really sea sick and the pills and patches don’t work they use a shot with a 6.5” needle. 6.5”!!!!!!! What is this Pulp Fiction? So I don’t know where that goes but god knows I don’t want to find out.”

Drinking age on board?

“Every night there is pub night till 1130 or 2330 here on the boat (I’m starting to get the hang of military time). Drinking age is 18 but they’re real serious about limiting how much you drink cuz of previous voyages a few years ago. (I heard someone went over board. I don’t know if that is a rumor.) So you can either get 2 cans of beer or 2 VERY small cups of wine at dinner and 3 beers or cups at pub night. They’re all $3.50. They just have cheap American beer and this random Japanese beer which isn’t that bad. It’s really cool though cuz the entire can is in Japanese and the mouth looks like a tear drop and the tab comes off with the mouth. It looks like an old school can from waaaay back.”

What do you do on the weekends on board?

“There is no weekends on the ship. Its either class, in port, or a special event day. (we’re going to have a Ship Olympics and Neptune Day and stuff)”

How’s the weather?

“Weather has been pretty mild. It’s pretty windy and the AC on the boat is pretty cold. I’ve been wearing a T and jeans everyday. I thought it was going to be hot but I guess not for a little while.”

Matthew’s itinerary:

  • San Diego, CA USA *
  • Hilo / Honolulu, Hawaii USA
  • Yokohama / Kobe, Japan
  • Shanghai / Hong Kong, China
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
  • Chennai / Cochin, India
  • Port Louis, Mauritius
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Tema (Accra), Ghana
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL USA

You have been updated! Have you ever traveled on a ship and experienced this ship rocking problem? I’d love your comments.


  1. 1
    Elana Kahn says:

    Wow, that looks crazy!! On the one hand it looks like fun, but on the other it's absolutely terrifying. My fav part was in the 2nd video when the captain was like "this ship is not going to sink". Heh, easy for you to say! :-P

  2. 2

    Aww. I love the little interview with you son! Those cookies below look amazing!!

  3. 3
    Kristi Maloney says:

    Hi Jane,

    I remember on our honeymoon to the Virgin Islands we had some rough weather. Cabin doors flying open. The boat rocked like crazy. The weather was so bad that we missed going to Saint Marten, and had to head back out to sea…if my memory serves!

    Other than the rocky boat, sounds like Matthew is having a great time!

  4. 4
    JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    This is an amazing experience for your son! When I was 17 I went to Norway as an exchange student for a year - it did me a world of good to get a more worldly perspective. But I have a friend who did the semester at sea and totally loved it! Sounds like an amazing opportunity! You should be really proud of him!

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