This might be my kind of cruise

The first afternoon is spent finding the ship, and then finding the lounge and the theater, the two dining rooms (one buffet, one sit-down) and the library. Eventually and inevitably, we end up on stools at the Harbor Bar on the aft deck.

About the ship. The S.S. Universe Explorer was launched in 1957, is 617 feet, 6 inches long, 84 feet wide, 130 feet from water line to mast top and has a 27-foot, 3-inch draft. She carries more than 750 passengers and a crew of 350. She has a cruising speed of 17 knots and sails smartly in crisp, white paint with dark blue racing stripes.

She might be the only ship afloat that suffers from multiple-personality disorder. In one persona, she is a passenger liner carrying summer tourists up the Inside Passage and winter tourists through the Panama Canal. In her other persona, she serves as the floating classroom for the Institute for Shipboard Education, also known as Semester at Sea. The spring and fall semesters are spent in 100-day cruises around the world, which explains the full-service library instead of a casino forward of the Mid-Ocean Lounge.

Cautiously, I think that this might be my kind of cruise.

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Dana View All →

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3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. For their 80th birthdays, my parents went on a Semester at Sea cruise, starting in Bermuda and ending in Seattle three months later. They loved being surrogate grandparents to the students. They could audit any class. They dined with the Captain and the dozen or so other seniors. They did field trips from every port, including a visit to Cuba just after Americans could get in, and a safari in Kenya. As a surprise, we rounded up all their real kids and grandkids for a birthday celebration in Seattle.

    • The captain told me that there were multiple repeat customers for Semester at Sea, to where some of them might have been said to live on board permanently. He said they loved it because of the students and auditing the classes more than the shore excursions, although those didn’t hurt. I will always be sorry I wasn’t able to do at least one semester.

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