My wife and I have enjoyed three two-week voyages aboard the MV Explorer as part of the Semester @ Sea Enrichment Voyage program. Making three such voyages speaks volumes about the experience.
First off, if you are looking for a typical ocean cruise, then you won't find it here. No big shows, no casino, no cattle-call port calls. Instead you will enjoy an intimate ship setting that is only available twice each year — between semesters (two and three-week voyages).
Because of the need to position the ship for the next Semester @ Sea world voyage the itineraries are usually Caribbean, Amazon River and Panama Canal passages — a blend of popular port calls and out of the way stops (Nicaragua, Honduras, Trinidad, etc.).
What can you expect? Unique itineraries (smaller ship, very fast), university professors who have sailed on Semester @ Sea voyages who give a series of lectures on the ports you will be visiting (no shop here, shop there chit chat) and if you More
have questions that go beyond the lecture they will gladly go the extra mile in helping you to understand the history, culture and unique points of interest associated with the ports of call. The professors on board are invited based upon their expertise and the itinerary of each voyage.
There is always plenty of things to do. A university library, free WiFi and internet, movies in the room, lots of decks space. Suggested port trips or do it yourself. Make an Enrichment Voyage part of your cruising experience. Less
My wife and I have done three Enrichment Voyages aboard the MV Explorer. We've had similar cabins on all three voyages. Deck four, outside (meaning large window). The cabins are perfect for two people. Super clean — because the ship normally handles 600 to 700 university students for a world voyage, they have a staff that is designed to keep the ship clean and orderly (think about what would happen if they didn't stay on top of the students). Anything you need the staff is right there to take care of you. Private shower, cable TV (with close circuit of the student union for lectures, etc.) with three or movies playing 24/7. Nothing grand, but very nice. Plenty of storage for two weeks (students are aboard for four months so closets are ample). Quiet.
Professors, as part of the Enrichment Voyage program aboard the MV Explorer, provided both cultural/history of San Juan prior to arrival, plus the staff gave a detailed pre-port on what to expect (not shopping-themed, but what to see and do). For a one-day experience, Old San Juan and the two forts (Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro), coupled with the old city, lovely walks and nice restaurants is just about perfect. Shopping is tourist-oriented, so nothing special on that count.