Reginald H. Garrett, Professor of Biology

Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English

Ricardo Padrón, Professor of Spanish

Charles Clarkson, Lecturer Ornithology

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Starting at $2,999 per person based on cabin selection. Prices are Land & cruise only
Special Children’s rate of $395 when sharing with two adults!


Join U.Va. friends and families for an extraordinary journey to and up the Amazon River! We will begin our journey in the warm crystalline waters of the Southern Caribbean and to make our way south to Brazil with several exciting ports of call along the way. In the history, culture, geology, art and literature of the countries and regions visited. This unique opportunity offers an adventurous in port excursions combined with abundant learning opportunities afforded by our onboard enrichment sessions. Adventures such as zip lining, kayaking, river tubing, snorkeling, and hiking are balanced with service opportunities, relaxing beach trips, cultural performances, and city tours. And you never know when you might see a pod of whales or a school of dolphins. Enrichment Sessions aboard the MV Explorer will include discussions on oceanography, Caribbean music, biodiversity, cultural traditions, and Spanish lessons.

The Amazon Expedition begins in Nassau, Bahamas on December 22 traveling to ports-of-call that include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. George’s, Grenada; Manaus, Brazil; Santarem, Brazil; Port of Spain, Trinidad; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Roseau, Dominica before finally docking in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 12.

Program Highlights

  • Keynote addresses by Julian Bond and Rita Dove.


Reginald H. Garrett, Professor of Biology

Reginald H. Garrett, Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia, has taught biochemistry and zoology for over 40 years. Twice honored as a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University, he is the co-author of a widely used textbook, Biochemistry, and has taught U.Va. students marine invertebrate zoology and coral reef ecology for 20 years on site in the Bahamas and Mexico. Professor Garrett’s travels as Academic Dean for the spring 2009 Semester At Sea included calls in both Namibia and South Africa–experiences that he will share with us on this voyage. He will also trace for us the human odyssey that populated our planet from our origins in Africa, introducing us along the way to the impact of the Human Genome Project on our understanding of this and other chapters in the story of human evolution.

Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English

Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at U.Va. Steve has taught at U.Va. since 1982. With a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. from Yale, he has brought to the English Department and the American Studies Major his commitment to American literature, modern Literature, poetry, literature and the environment, and the American Civil War. His teaching has been honored with an All-University Teaching Award and the first Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship. A poet as well as a scholar, he has published six books, most recently Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle (Virginia, 1999) and Cussing Lesson, a volume of poems (LSU, 2002). His book of poems, HeartIsland, was published in Fall 2006. Steve helped create our 2007 journey entitled “Hemingway’s Africa: Sights and Safaris.”

Ricardo Padrón, Professor of Spanish

Ricardo Padrón, Professor of Spanish at U.Va. He holds a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Divinity from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Harvard University. He is interested in the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world, particularly in the various expressions of the Hispanic imperial imagination. His first book, The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature and Empire in Early Modern Spain, was published in 2004 by the University of Chicago Press.

Charles Clarkson, Lecturer Ornithology

Charles Clarkson, Lecturer Ornithology, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia


1 -

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is the capital, largest city and the commercial center of the Bahamas. Historically, Nassau is considered the historical stronghold of pirates, having been a pirate haven around 1713 for pirate chieftains such as the infamous Blackbeard. Now, the city serves as a key tourist destination, boasting world class resorts, old world and colonial architecture, white sandy beaches, and brilliant turquoise waters. Culturally, the Bahamas embody rich musical traditions reflecting both the impact of history on the islands and homegrown, distinctively national characters.

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

2 -

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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 San Juan, Puerto Rico.

3 -

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is the capital and most populous city of Puerto Rico and was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, making it the second oldest European-established city in the Americas. Historically, San Juan served as a settlement of the Spanish Empire and was used by merchant and military ships as the first stopover in the Americas.
Old San Juan: Old San Juan consists of narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque colonial buildings outlining over four hundred years of history and tradition. This district hosts most of Puerto Rico’s central government buildings and sections of the old city are surrounded by historical walls and defensive structures.

4 -

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Holiday Feast and Activities

5 -

Basseterre, St. Kitts

Basseterre is the capital of St. Kitts and is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean. Basseterre was founded by the French in 1627. Serving as a large, successful port, Basseterre commanded Eastern Caribbean trade and colonization, making the city a valuable asset to the French. Unfortunately, Basseterre has one of the most tragic histories of any Caribbean capital, having been destroyed several times by colonial wars, fires, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Today, Basseterre is St. Kitts’ main commercial and industrial center. Geographically, Basseterre is home to dormant volcanoes, golden sand beaches and lush green hills. Its rich history is reflected in its abandoned fortresses, landscaped gardens, city squares and architectural details.

Main points of interest include:
Independence Square: Built in 1790 for slave auctions and council meetings, Independence Square has now become the administrative, commercial and social center of Basseterre.
The Circus: The Circus is a roundabout that serves as the centerpiece of Basseterre’s Georgian architecture. In the middle of the Circus stands the Berkeley Memorial Clock. The Clock was built in honor of Thomas Berkeley, a former president of the General Legislative Council in the 1880s. The bright green, bronze Clock features a drinking fountain and four faces each facing one of the four streets leading to the Circus.
St. George’s Anglican Church: Originally called Notre Dame, St. George’s was destroyed four times before it was restored 1869.

6 -

At Sea

Relax at sea as you gear up for the jungles of Grenada!

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

6 -

At Sea

Relax at sea as you gear up for the jungles of Grenada!

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

7 -

St. George's, Grenada

Known as the Spice of the Caribbean, St. George’s is the capital of Grenada and is surrounded by the hillside of an old volcano crater located on a horseshoe shaped harbor. The city is characterized by lush vegetation, mountainous terrain and colorful colonial architecture. Grenada is also filled with all kinds of spice trees and is a leading provider of spices such as nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cocoa.

8 -

At Sea

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

9 -

Amazon River Entry

10 -

Cruising Amazon River

The Amazon River is the world’s largest river with an average discharge greater than the next six largest rivers combined. The bulk of the river flows through the Amazon Rainforest, home to more than one-third of all species in the world making it the richest tropical forest in terms of biodiversity.

Special animals that inhabit the waters of the Amazon include:
Amazon River Dolphin: It is the largest species of river dolphin.
Amazonian Manatee: It is also known as the “sea cow” and is a mammal and herbivore.
Giant Otter: It is a member of the weasel family and is the largest of its kind.
Piranha: A carnivorous fish which congregates in large schools.
Anaconda: One of the world’s largest species of snake and spends most of its time underwater.
Historically, there is evidence that complex large-scale pre-Columbian social formations, towns and cities were established in many areas of Amazonia.

11 -

Manaus, Brazil

Manaus is the capital of the state and most populous city of Amazonas. The city was founded in 1669 by the Portuguese with the building of the Fort of Sao Joe da Barra do Rio Negro. In 1835, a revolt known as the Cabanagem placed the blacks, Indians, and mestizos in power, resulting in greater integration of people surrounding the city. Manaus was at the center of the Amazon region’s rubber boom and was described as “one of the gaudiest cities in the world” but fell into poverty once the rubber tree seeds were smuggled out of the region.

Attractions include:
Mercado Adolfo Lisboa: The city’s oldest marketplace and is a copy of the Les Halles market in Paris, great for shopping for Amazon food products and handicrafts.
Ponta Negra Beach: A famous beach and neighborhood. The area is urbanized and the beaches boast shops, restaurants, bars, night clubs and hotels. Morro do Careca (Bald Hill), is a large sand dune located on the beach.
Amazon Theatre: The Opera House has 700 seats and was constructed with bricks from Europe, French glass and Italian marble. Closed for many years, the theater reopened in 1997 and how hosts international entertainers.
Municipal Park of Mindu: This area is used for scientific, educational, cultural and tourist activities. It is one of the last habitats for sauim-de-coleira, a species of monkey that only exists in Manaus.
Meeting of the Waters: See the confluence of the Negro River’s dark water and the Solimoes River’s muddy brown water come together, running side by side without mixing.

12 -

Manaus, Brazil

Enjoy a second day in this fascinating destination.

13 -

Cruising Amazon River

Enjoy the biodiversity of this amazing wonder of the world.

14 -

Santarem, Brazil

Santarem is located in the Para state of Brazil and was once home to the Tapajos Indians, a tribe of Native Americans who were the leaders of a large, agricultural chiefdom. The city is the home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santarém. One special aspect about Santarem is that it’s bordered by the Amazon and the Tapajós Rivers and both rivers run along many kilometers in the front of the city, side by side, without mixing. This phenomenon is another so called “meeting of the waters.”


Mercado Modelo: The main market which consists of boutiques, shops and floating vendors who sell local produce. At this market, you can find local handmade souvenirs.

15 -

Amazon Exit

16 -

At Sea

Enjoy programing aboard ship or just relax and read a book.

17 -

Port of Spain, Trinidad

Port of Spain is the capital and most developed city of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It serves primarily as a retail and administrative center and is also an important financial services center for the Caribbean. The oldest part of the city is Downtown and at the heart of Downtown is Woodford Square, a green oasis with a late-Victorian fountain, trees and lawns. There are also many art galleries, panyards and theater, clubs and bars in Port of Spain.
Queen’s Park Savannah: Port of Spain’s largest open space and one of the world’s largest traffic roundabouts.
Royal Botanic Gardens: The Gardens were established in 1818 and are situated north of the Queen’s Park Savannah. It is one of the oldest Botanic Gardens in the world and occupies 61.8 acres (25 hectares) and contains some 700 trees.
Magnificent Seven: A group of late Victorian buildings built in eccentric and flamboyant of styles. These are the Queen’s Royal College; the residences of the Anglican bishop and the Roman Catholic archbishop; Whitehall, the office of the prime minister; Mille Fleurs, undergoing restoration as a public museum and headquarters for the National Heritage Trust; Roomor, an ornate black-and-white chateau-like private residence; and Stollmeyer’s Castle, a turreted house undergoing restoration as a future ambassadorial residence.

18 -

Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgetown is the capital and largest city of Barbados. The present day location of the city was established by English settlers in 1628 and is now a financial, informatics, convention centre, and cruise ship homeport in the Caribbean region. The city’s architecture blends attractive, balconied colonial buildings with warehouses and brash modern office blocks.

Broad Street: The main street of Bridgetown and consists mainly of banks, department stores and duty free shops.
Careenage: A marina bordered by the Barbadian Parliament.
Kensington Oval: One of the major sporting facilities on the island and is primarily used for cricket. Locally referred to as “The Mecca” of cricket, it has hosted many important and exciting cricket games between local, regional, and international teams during its 120+ year history.
Garrison Historic Area: At the centre of this area is a large horse-track with grassy parade-grounds called the Garrison Savannah. The Garrison area additionally contains several buildings including barracks for military personnel.

19 -

Roseau, Dominica

Roseau is the capital and largest and oldest city of Dominica, built on the site of the ancient Kalinago Indian village of Sairi. The city is characterized with a mixture of modern and colonial French style architecture.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park: This area was established as a national park by the Dominican government in July 1975, the first to be legally established in the country. The National Park is named after its highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, meaning mountain of three peaks. The park is a significant area of volcanic activity. Features within the part include the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers; the Boiling Lake, Titou Gorge, and Emerald Pool.
Dominica Museum: The Dominica Museum in Roseau provides visitors with an interesting look into the culture of the Dominican people. Artifacts and displays take travelers through the history of the island.
Botanical Gardens: A 40 acre botanical garden with vibrant tropical flowering shrubs constructed in 1890.

20 -

At Sea

Enjoy programming aboard ship or just relax and read a book.

21 -

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.

22 -

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Your journey comes to an end in the beautiful state of Florida. Disembark for your next destination!


The Semester at Sea ship, MV Explorer: Smaller and more intimate than traditional cruise ships, our well-appointed vessel includes two dining rooms, a wellness center, outdoor swimming pool, outdoor sport court, fitness center, library, computer lab, and wireless Internet access. The Explorer is one of the fastest, safest and most technologically advanced vessels afloat.
590-Feet Long — 25,000 Tons — 7 Decks


All meals and snacks aboard ship are included.

Program Fees

Prices are based on cabin selection and are per person, double occupancy, land & cruise only. We have a special children’s rate of $395 when sharing with two full-fare passengers.

Single rooms are currently sold out. Please call to be on the waitlist.

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

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

Price Includes:

Does not include:
Port charges and fees which are currently $280 but subject to change.

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.

Third or 4th person in cabin with two full-fare passengers = $795. (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.

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 = 150% 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 = $795. (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 91 days prior to sailing date. Cancellations received fewer than 90 days prior to sailing date will be handled as follows:

– If cancelled within 61 to 90 days prior, 25% of fare and deposit is non-refundable
– If cancelled within 31 to 60 days prior, 50% of fare and deposit is non-refundable
– If cancelled fewer than 30 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.