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Caribbean to Mediterranean: 70 day

4,500 Nautical Miles via British Virgin Islands, Azores, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy

*This is our full-length summer transatlantic experience. A shorter, 50-day voyage is available for those that need to depart the vessel early.

We've been crossing oceans aboard our 112-ft modern schooners S/Y Argo & S/Y Vela since 2006, and our vessels have circumnavigated the world more than six times, but this summer is your opportunity to do something truly remarkable and sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

It all starts in June when we depart from the British Virgin Islands bound for the very beautiful Italian city of Rome via the Azores, Gibraltar, and Spain. By necessity, this 70-day program will substitute shore time for sea miles as we'll be covering 4,500 plus miles throughout the trip. Voyage emphasis? Scuba and exploration of the BVI, followed by bluewater sailing, and lots of it! Crewing a yacht on a transatlantic voyage is not something many can say they have achieved, yet our crew members will also earn nine college credits in Oceanography, Nautical Science, and Leadership and visit Caribbean, Portuguese, British, Spanish, and French ports along the way. As a team, your sense of accomplishment will be profound, and as an individual, the experience will set you apart. The skills you'll develop and the challenges you'll overcome are uncommon. Not only a perfect subject for any job interview, but this voyage is also likely to contribute long after you have departed the vessel. After all, we are the sum of our experiences, and this one will be indexing.

  • Days
  • Credits
  • Students
  • Term
  • Tuition (USD)
Jun 15 - Aug 23, 2023 - Aboard S/Y Argo
  • 70
  • 9 credits
  • 24
  • Summer
  • $22,970
Availability: Open
Review the Application Process >

Life Aboard

Sails Up Anchors Down

Activities

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Educational & Cultural Tours Hiking & Trekking Personal Time

The Voyage

Your Adventure Starts Here
Welcome Aboard!

The journey begins at our home base at Soper’s Hole in the west end of Tortola. It won’t be hard to find our 112-ft schooner, S/Y Vela, tied alongside the dock with an eager crew of 6 staff waiting to greet you with a smile. After dropping your bags in your cabin, it’s time to take a breath, look around, and realize that this beautiful schooner floating atop crystal clear Caribbean waters is now your home and classroom for the summer as you embark on the voyage of a lifetime.

Sample Trip Itinerary*
Area Ports of Call
Caribbean | British Virgin Islands Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Jost Van Dyke
Atlantic The Azores (Portugal)
Mediterranean Gibraltar (UK), Barcelona (Spain), Bonifacio (Corsica/France), Rome (Italy)
*Please note that all destinations are weather dependent and subject to change.
learning-the-ropes
Learning The Ropes
7-10 days

We cast our lines early on day two, and the journey begins. As with all Sea|mester voyages, the first week of the program is a crash course on how to be successful in your new environment. With the guidance of our staff, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to live, work and learn in such close quarters with others – from sailing to cooking and everything in between.

World-famous British Virgin Island day sails provide the perfect playground for sail drills and applying sailing theory. You’ll also have your first lectures for the Nautical Science, Leadership, and Oceanography classes during this first week. While the structure of the syllabi might look familiar, you’ll quickly find that learning from the deck of a boat couldn’t be more different.

Typical Day…
There’s no such thing!

The only thing that’s typical about a day with Sea|mester is that it will be anything but typical!

While living aboard, you’ll be involved in every aspect of running the vessel.  Whether standing watch at 2 AM under a blanket of stars, monitoring the ship’s systems, or planning, provisioning, and cooking the meals for your team, by the end of the experience, you’ll feel the accomplishment of knowing that you played a big part in the success of the expedition.

Azores
Anchors Down -Azores
(2-4 Days)

After a 3,000 nautical mile passage, the volcanic hills of the Azores will be a sight for sore legs to you and your crewmates. Crepes, cafes, and snacks galore will be burned off easily with a few days exploring the natural wonders of this remote archipelago. Soak it all in while you can because as quickly as you arrived, you’ll be back out at sea.

>Next stop: Gibraltar
gibraltar
Gibraltar
(2-4 Days)

The iconic hillsides of this minute territory are almost as captivating a sight as the notorious monkeys that reside there. While climbing, be sure not to take your eyes away from either. This pint-sized peninsula packs a wealth of experiences in the form of elaborate cave systems, UK culture, and cathedral-sized caverns. You and your crew will spend a couple of days saying hello to mainland Europe on the gateway to the Mediterranean.

>Next stop: Mallorca
IMG_0600
Motril & Barcelona
(2-4 Days)

Visit the historic streets of one of Europe’s most vibrant and artistic cities. Tour the Sagrada Familia, Arc del Triompf, art gardens, parks, and fountains. Stroll through the famous open market area of La Rambla and smell and taste your way through Catalan cuisine. Barcelona is a magical city which you won’t soon forget.

>Next stop: Corsica & Sardinia
nice
Corsica & Sardinia
(2-4 Days)

Though Corsica and Sardinia are technically parts of France and Italy respectively – these islands provide a very different feel from their mainland counterparts and are diverse enough to be continents in their own right. Visit the birthplace of the Argonauts and the place of Nelson’s legendary navigation. You’ll continue your studies and navigate Vela through the steep cliffs that have provided mariners with shelter for millennia.

>Next stop: Rome
Admin Ajax
Rome
(3 Days)

Though we will park our beautiful floating home S/Y Vela in the port town of Civitavecchia, we will spend our days wandering one of the western world’s most historic cities… Rome! While in Rome we will take a guided tour that lets us walk the footsteps of gladiators at the Coliseum, stare at one of the homes of a world religion at the Vatican, see relics of old Roman pagan gods at the Pantheon, and finally visit the stones of the original Roman Forum. So much history packed into one city!

>Next stop: Home!
Rite of Passage
Life and Rhythm on the Big Blue

Entering the open ocean can be daunting, but once life at sea starts to become your new normal after you’ve gone through your station drills, man overboard scenarios, fire drills, etc. – it will be time to put your new skills to the test on this transoceanic passage. The time at sea outweighs the time on land from here on out. You’ll cross the prime meridian, battle squalls, navigate the tradewinds and make the currents work for you as you learn to soak in passage life. Make no mistake, as a Sea|mester student, you are not a passenger; you are the crew responsible for making the ship sail. You’ll be an integral part of a watch team, sharing the responsibility of navigation, bow watch, engine checks, sail trim, and steering the ship to its intended destination.

Seamester Study Abroad Gap Year Brochure

From the moment we set foot aboard Argo, we have been hopeful. Even in those moments when my crewmates are bent over the rail, losing a staring contest with the ocean - I have every faith that they remain cheerful and hopeful for what is to come. I mean, come on! We're setting out to cross an ocean. How could our hopes be anything but high?

Harper E.
IMG_0123
Time to Say Goodbye

The best way to explain what it means to say goodbye after such an incredible experience is to use the words from someone who had to do just that…

As we go back to our homes we will try to share what we saw, how we felt and what we learned with our friends and families. This has been an awesome adventure and there are some great photos we can show you, but there are so many things we will find difficult to fully explain. How we now deeply appreciate things we had never given a second thought about before. How much more pride and respect we have for ourselves. What happens when you just throw your whole life at something so vast and completely new. How we now look at the world with new eyes, full of possibilities and opportunities rather than problems or changes to be feared.

Trip Logs

Need More Information?

Vocational Certifications

Depending upon previous experience, students will have the opportunity to complete a number of the following certifications during their voyage.

Seamester is an International Yacht Training partner school

Sailing Certifications

International Crew
VHF Operator
Navigation Master
Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore Theory
Learn more about sailing

Seamester is a PADI 5 Star Resort

Scuba Certifications

Open Water Diver
Advanced Open Water Diver
Sport Diving
Learn more about scuba
 

Seamester Safety Certifications

Safety Certifications

Emergency First Response - First Aid & CPR

Need To Know

Our 70-day Global Summer Sea|mester Voyage offers a unique opportunity to cross the Atlantic Ocean gaining over 4,500 sea miles while earning up to 9 academic credits for the Oceanography, Basic Seamanship and Student Leadership classes taught aboard. For more information on our classes, please visit our academics page.

None at all. All you need is a great attitude and a willingness to fully participate in every aspect of the experience.

Six professional staff members live aboard full-time. There will be the Skipper, the First and Second Mate and two Marine Biologists (who are typically scuba diving instructors) and a sixth staff member who could also be an EMT or someone with other special skills. Take a look through our team page for more information.

Meet our team

Starting in the Caribbean we should experience some classic hot tropical weather with the refreshing Caribbean trade winds. Once heading north and east into the northern Atlantic it’s likely that we will see varying weather conditions with an overall cooling trend. The weather in the Mediterranean is likely to be very pleasant with highs in the high 70’s during the day, cooling to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

When we are ashore or close at anchor there will be plenty of opportunities to communicate with friends and family at home. That said, while aboard we have guidelines as to when it is appropriate to use your personal communications devices. The environment we strive to create relies heavily on each individual remaining focused on the group and our experience. Being tied to the modern world of “instant communications” can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to the personal and group processes aboard.

Cell Phones: Check with your provider before you go, but so long as you have a sim card, your cell phone will likely work in most global locations.

Internet: While our vessels are not wifi equipped, another way to communicate is by email, text, Facetime or Skype using shore side internet. The internet is often free or available to purchase in most of the locations that we visit.

Both on the vessel and ashore, the answer is up to you. The vast majority of the meals during your trip are prepared and eaten aboard. For meals aboard, each person on the crew takes a turn as head chef to plan and cook the meals for an entire day with the help of another person acting as sous-chef. We all work to stay within a budget, with both students and staff responsible for stocking the vessels. We endeavor to accommodate everyone aboard while providing what any alumni will tell you, was a great dining adventure. During your free time ashore you will have the opportunity to eat more adventurously. With this voyage starting in the Caribbean, students will get to sample some traditional West Indian meals such as Chicken Roti or some local Salt Fish! Once across the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean influence will take over and by the end of the trip most of the crew will have sampled some Spanish Tapas and fine Italian Pizza!

Nitty Gritty

Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

This voyage is scheduled to:

  • Start in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Either fly to St. Thomas (airport code STT) and take a ferry to the BVI or direct to Tortola (airport code EIS)
  • End in Rome, Italy (airport code FCO)

When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

Recommended Travel Agents

a. TRC Travel Center

Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

b. Global Marine Travel

An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
Email: info@flygmt.com

When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

  • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
  • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
  • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

Passports

Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

Visas

US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

  • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
  • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Sea|mester requires all students to be fully vaccinated* for COVID-19 before the voyage’s start date.

With most countries worldwide working hard to vaccinate their population as quickly as possible, there is considerable speculation on how vaccination status will change an individual’s ability to travel internationally. Many countries are adopting policies requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to fast-track quarantine requirements or even enter their Territory. These policies protect their population (many of whom may not receive the vaccine for some time) while restarting their tourism economy.

We respect individuals’ right to choose whether a COVID-19 vaccination is appropriate for them. Yet, as an international program visiting multiple international destinations, we must be ready to adhere to local policy while looking out for our students’, staff’s, and local community’s general health and safety. Any student with medical considerations or religious beliefs that precludes vaccination should contact us to discuss program options for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.

*Fully vaccinated – current definition
The CDC considers individuals fully vaccinated for COVID-19 greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc.), or greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).

It’s possible that this definition may change with the recommendation of “booster shots” and will be updated in our protocols accordingly.

Other Immunizations

We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
  • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
  • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
  • Full room and board
  • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
  • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
  • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
  • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
  • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $85 | 40-day voyages = $150 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $225) LEARN MORE >
  • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
  • In-country COVID-19 testing fees – Dependent on voyage itinerary and individual country health requirements. Expect $200 to $500 USD.
  • PADI required course books and materials
  • Personal spending money
  • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >

Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

This voyage is scheduled to:

  • Start in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Either fly to St. Thomas (airport code STT) and take a ferry to the BVI or direct to Tortola (airport code EIS)
  • End in Rome, Italy (airport code FCO)

When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

Recommended Travel Agents

a. TRC Travel Center

Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

b. Global Marine Travel

An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
Email: info@flygmt.com

When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

  • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
  • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
  • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

Passports

Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

Visas

US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

  • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
  • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Sea|mester requires all students to be fully vaccinated* for COVID-19 before the voyage’s start date.

With most countries worldwide working hard to vaccinate their population as quickly as possible, there is considerable speculation on how vaccination status will change an individual’s ability to travel internationally. Many countries are adopting policies requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to fast-track quarantine requirements or even enter their Territory. These policies protect their population (many of whom may not receive the vaccine for some time) while restarting their tourism economy.

We respect individuals’ right to choose whether a COVID-19 vaccination is appropriate for them. Yet, as an international program visiting multiple international destinations, we must be ready to adhere to local policy while looking out for our students’, staff’s, and local community’s general health and safety. Any student with medical considerations or religious beliefs that precludes vaccination should contact us to discuss program options for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.

*Fully vaccinated – current definition
The CDC considers individuals fully vaccinated for COVID-19 greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc.), or greater than or equal to 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).

It’s possible that this definition may change with the recommendation of “booster shots” and will be updated in our protocols accordingly.

Other Immunizations

We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
  • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
  • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
  • Full room and board
  • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
  • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
  • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
  • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
  • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $85 | 40-day voyages = $150 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $225) LEARN MORE >
  • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
  • In-country COVID-19 testing fees – Dependent on voyage itinerary and individual country health requirements. Expect $200 to $500 USD.
  • PADI required course books and materials
  • Personal spending money
  • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >

Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!