Following in the grand tradition of the popular Semester at Sea enterprise, Royal Caribbean subsidiary The Scholar Ship is primed to launch the next at-sea university.
The floating beacon of erudition will become home to 600 students from around the world when it embarks from Athens in September 2007 on a 16-week maiden voyage. Calls include Lisbon; Panama City; Guayaquil (Ecuador); Papeete and Suva (Fiji); Sydney; Shanghai; Okinawa and Kobe. (View a map of the planned route here.)
At this point, the actual vessel has not yet been selected -- but according to a spokesman for the program, more than 8,000 students from 175-plus countries have already requested an application for admission.
So what's on the syllabus? Unlike Semester at Sea, which offers a more traditional "liberal arts" curriculum (you know, your wide range of classes, arts, humanities, sciences, etc.), The Scholar Ship's program focuses more on creating citizens of the world (quite a lofty goal) and preparing its students to join the international workforce through a more experiential, onboard and off, approach; hands-on fields of study range from concentrations in Global Arts and Culture, to Conflict Studies to International Business and Communication.
Ports of call are essential to the curriculum, providing educational opportunities for students through a program of academic field studies (a visit to Bangalore to study the impact of outsourcing), shore excursions (snorkeling at Ningaloo Reef and dancing with bottle-nosed dolphins in Australia's Coral Coast) and independent travel. Back onboard the ship, students have the chance to dissect their experiences in the classroom setting.
The ship will offer most of the things you'd find at traditional land-based universities, including a bookstore, Internet "hot spots," a convenience store, a fitness center, an academic support center, laundry facilities, a 24-hour medical clinic, multiple dining facilities, rec rooms, a theater, etc.
Tuition, living costs and the voyage total about $20,000 per student for a standard two-person inside cabin with bathroom. Cabin upgrades will be available at an additional cost.
Interested in furthering your education while sailing around the world? Applications are being accepted through April 2007 for the semester beginning in September 2007!
--by Dan Askin, Editorial Assistant