Anna Brickhouse, Professor of American Studies

Bruce Holsinger, Professor of English and Music, University of Virginia

Fred Levine, Professor of Art History, Palomar College

Allan Schoenherr, Professor of Ecology

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Special children’s rate of $395 when sharing with one or more adults! Adult rates from$2,499 to $4,999 depending on cabin selection, per person, double occupancy, not including air

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Join fellow U.Va. families for an extraordinary journey through the Panama Canal and an exploration of eleven amazing Central American ports of call. Immerse yourself in the history, culture, biology, geology, art and literature of the countries and regions visited. We will experience an intriguing blend of nature and culture, plus a transit of the legendary Panama Canal. As a “Land Bridge” between the two Continents of the Western Hemisphere, the region features a vast diversity of flora, mammals, birds, insects and reptiles which coexist in one of the world’s most complete ecosystems. There will be ample interpretation in the field and animated discussions. Bring your binoculars!

Program Highlights

  • Lectures from scholars and experts
  • A daylight cruise through the Panama Canal’s massive locks, the eighth wonder of the world and one of humankind’s greatest engineering achievements
  • Field program of unique travel options
  • Activities for children and families
  • Great single supplement rate
  • Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Cozumel!


Anna Brickhouse, Professor of American Studies

Ms. Brickhouse is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Virginia. She holds a PhD from Columbia University. Her book, Transamerican Literary Relations and the Nineteenth-Century Public Sphere (Cambridge 2004) won the Gustave Arlt Award as well as an honorable mention from the American Studies Association. She has published in PMLA, American Literary History, and African American Review, among other venues. Dr. Brickhouse sailed as a faculty member on the Summer 2007 Semester at Sea voyage. She will provide Enrichment Sessions on Latin American literature.


Bruce Holsinger, Professor of English and Music, University of Virginia

Mr. Holsinger currently serves as Associate Dean for Humanities and the Arts in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Primarily a scholar of medieval European culture, he has published a number of books on topics from early music to the war on terror to contemporary film. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He will present an enrichment session on the medieval legacy to the colonial Americas.

Fred Levine, Professor of Art History, Palomar College

Mr. Levin has authored numerous publications and spoken widely on a vast range of issues in art and cultural studies both in the United States and overseas.

Allan Schoenherr, Professor of Ecology

Mr. Schoenherr has taught a variety of ecology classes at the University of California, Irvine, and California State University at Fullerton.


1 -

San Diego, CA, USA / Ensenada, Mexico

After getting settled in our cabins, we will gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

2 -

At Sea

Today, enjoy a relaxing day at sea, explore the ship’s many amenities, read a book and/or attend any or all of a selection of talks, lectures and presentations by the talented faculty accompanying the journey. Among the many features of the ship are a fitness center, pool and sundeck, spa and salon, 8,000 volume library, computer lab and FREE wifi Internet. (We won’t tell your boss.) This afternoon, there will be a pre-port introduction to Cabo San Lucas. Mexico.

3 -

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Today we have included a variety of excursions to explore in and around Los Cabos. You can: explore a regional blend of contemporary and Mexican rustic art; see the Hotel California (inspiration for the famous Eagles song); horseback ride along the golden beaches and turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez; visit the former pirate’s haven and current capital of Baja California Sur, La Paz, and get a taste of nostalgic “Old Baja”; snorkel or kayak the tropical bays of Santa Maria and Chileno; or experience the thrill of an ultra fast zip line in the old Gold Canyon Yeneka. For additional cost you can go sport fishing from the “Marlin Capital of the World” or take a two-tank scuba diving trip.

4 -

At Sea

Today, recover from your active visit to Cabo San Lucas and enjoy a leisurely day at sea where a variety of talks and enrichment sessions will be presented among an array of scheduled shipboard activities for everyone.

5 -

Acapulco, Mexico

Learn about the fascinating history of Mexico’s struggle for independence and the birth of a nation as we visit three towns with important ties to Mexican history. We will visit Texca, Piedra Imám and La Providencia in the Sierra. If history isn’t your thing, choose a tour of Acapulco including the Main Square, cliff divers and lounging on the famous beaches.

6 -

At Sea

Relax at sea as you gear up for Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica!

A variety of talks and enrichment sessions will be presented among an array of scheduled shipboard activities for everyone.

7 -

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Explore the port city of Puerto Quetzal on your own or participate in one of the optional activities. Today is full of options from a wildlife safari, to visits to Guatamala City and Antigua, to flying to one of the largest Mayan cities yet uncovered and researched, the ancient city of Tikal. All of today’s activities are optional and at an additional cost.

8 -

Corinto, Nicaragua

Nicknamed “The Central American Pompeii,” visit the colonial city of León, founded in 1524 by Spanish conquistadors, which sits next to Lake Xolotlan and the active Momotombo Volcano. In 1610, the original city was buried in ash during an eruption of the volcano and was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Family activity: visit the Betania Foundation educational facility for over 400 students where you will interact with the children and learn about their lives in Nicaragua.

9 -

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers such a broad range of activities that we have left this day open for you to choose your pleasure, some at additional cost. Options range from visiting a cloud forest and the crater of a volcano to river rafting or a zip line canopy tour. Other options include exploration of a tropical rain forest, a coffee plantation, a picturesque mountain village or birding in Carara National Park. All of today’s activities are optional and at an additional cost.

10 -

At Sea

Relax at sea and enjoy a leisurely cruise as we make our way to the entrance to the Panama Canal.

A variety of talks and enrichment sessions will be presented among an array of scheduled shipboard activities for everyone.

11 -

Panama Canal

Today we transit from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic through one of the largest and most difficult engineering project ever undertaken. The 48-mile canal through the isthmus of Panama is a key conduit for international maritime trade by replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn.

Activities for Christmas will include transit of the Panama Canal, caroling, a visit from Santa, a special holiday dinner and a holiday show.

12 -

Cristobal, Panama

Immerse yourself in the unique native traditions of a remote Emberá Indian village, deep in the heart of the lush Panamanian rain forest. You will learn more about the customary lifestyle of a people virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. The local shaman will describe some of the medicinal plants and herbs found in this environment, many of which are still a vital part of everyday life.

13 -

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

A variety of activities are offered, some at additional cost, including a visit to a sloth sanctuary, a tropical garden, pineapple plantation, the canals of Tortuguero National Park, horseback riding and mangrove kayaking.

14 -

At Sea

Today, relax at sea as we make our way towards Honduras.

A variety of talks and enrichment sessions will be presented among an array of scheduled shipboard activities for everyone.

15 -

Roatan, Honduras

Explore Honduras on your own or choose one of the many optional activities, some at additional cost.. You can snorkel, explore the town of Roatan,…

16 -

St. Thomas De Castilla, Guatemala

Open to explore on your own and take advantage of the many activities available, some at additional cost.

17 -

Belize City, Belize

Visit the ancient May ruins at Xunantunich.
New Years Eve includes parties for various age groups with games and activities, dancing, champagne toast with the Captain, food stations around the ship after midnight.

18 -

Belize City, Belize

Enjoy the first day of 2011 gliding across the sparkling Caribbean Sea and partake of festive events onboard including a New Years Day special brunch.

19 -

Cozumel, Mexico

Explore Cozumel on your own or choose an optional excursion to the ancient Maya site of Chichen Itza at additional cost.

20 -

At Sea

Enjoy final Enrichment lectures as we make our way back to the U.S.A.

A variety of talks and enrichment sessions will be presented among an array of scheduled shipboard activities for everyone.

21 -

Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

Disembark in the morning.

All ship board activities, presentations, or parties are included.  Many activities and excursions in the various ports-of-call are included. Some ports have so many exciting activities of varying interest that we have left them optional and some are at additional cost. You are always able to explore on your own.


The Semester at Sea ship, MV Explorer.
590-Feet Long   25,000 Tons   7 Decks
The MV Explorer is one of the fastest, safest and most technologically advanced vessels afloat. Amenities include: 8,000-volume library and a computer lab with free internet access, fitness center, pool and sundeck, spa and salon, live entertainment nightly, multiple dinning options, lounges and piano bar.


All meals and snacks aboard ship are included.

Program Fees

Starting at $2,499 per person, double occupancy, cruise program, based on cabin selection. (See Chart below.) A special rate for children is $395 when sharing with one or more adults!

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of 125% of the per-person, double occupancy rates in select cabins only.  There is also a discounted rate for the 3rd and 4th adult in a room of $695 while supplies last.

Stateroom ~ Category ~ Type~Deck ~ Early Booking Rate
G – Economy ~ 2 ~ $1,999  (SOLD OUT)
F – Standard ~ 3 ~ $2,099
D – Superior ~ 4 ~ $2,199
DA – Special ~ 5 ~ $2,299
A  – Superior ~ 2 ~ $2,499
TC- Deluxe w/picture window ~ 3 ~ $2,599
TB – Deluxe w/picture window ~ 5 ~ $2,699
TA – Deluxe w/picture window ~ 4,5 ~ $2,899
SC – Deluxe Junior w/picture window ~ 3,4,5 ~ $3,499
SB – Deluxe w/balcony                     ~    5   ~ $4,099
SA – Deluxe Sky Suite w/balcony      ~    7   ~ $4,699

Government tax and fees of $280 per person is in addition to the program cost. Basic medical emergency insurance is included.

General Terms & Conditions

Full Terms & Condition will be sent to upon registration and are available upon request.

Passage Fare: Fares are per person, based on double occupancy. Fares are cruise only and do not include airfare. The Passage Fare covers only the sea passage portion and food and accommodations while on board the Ship. It does not include Tuition, Practica and/or Field Programs, text books, travel to and from ports of embarkation and final debarkation, visas, the damage deposit, port charges, tobacco, alcoholic or special beverages (bottled or tap), miscellaneous extras and optional personal services provided by independent contractors available on board the Ship for Your purchase. Unpaid amounts for such additional charges must be made in U.S. dollars prior to disembarkation. Taxes, port charges and loading expenses, stamps, health fees and any other charges imposed by governmental authorities in a port shall be borne by the Passenger and the Carrier shall be entitled to be reimbursed for any such charges.

Single Rate = 125% of regular rate and is available for a limited number of cabins in categories TA, TB,TC,A,D,F, and G. 3rd or 4th person in cabin with two full-fare passengers = $695. (Limited cabins have capacity for a 3rd or 4th person). Children’s rate (under 17 years of age) and in a cabin with two full-fare passengers = $395.

Reservation Deposit:
A deposit of $300 per participant is required with reservation. Final payment is due 90 days prior to sailing date.

Port Charges and Fees:
$280 per person in addition to the program cost. Basic medical emergency insurance is included.

Cancellation Policy: For a full refund, notice of cancellation must be received in writing in our office 61 days prior to sailing date. Cancellations received fewer than 60 days prior to sailing date will be handled as follows:

If cancelled within 46 to 60 days prior, deposit is non-refundable

If cancelled within 31 to 45 days prior, 25% of fare and deposit is non-refundable

If cancelled within 8 to 30 days prior, 50% of fare and deposit is non-refundable

If cancelled fewer than 8 days prior (or non-appearance), 100% of the fare is non-refundable

Fuel Surcharge:
There is no fuel surcharge at the time of this printing, however, the Institute for Shipboard Education may impose a surcharge to meet costs arising from an increase in the cost of fuel beyond their reasonable control.