Voyages of Discovery, the only cruise line to offer a dedicated school at sea programme in the UK, says it has completed another successful ‘Schools Cruise’ this past week – its first one having taken place in 1994.
More than 750 pupils and staff enjoyed an opportunity to cruise to Eastern Mediterranean’s sites of antiquity in support of their GCSE and A level studies The students, from 29 schools on this cruise, took part in a comprehensive itinerary designed to give every student maximum educational benefits from their cruising experience.
“This year’s cruise set sail from Kusadasi in Turkey and proceeded on to Haifa for Galilee, Ashdod for Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Port Said for Cairo and the island of Rhodes before reaching Athens. While at sea and prior to each port, students were treated to a stimulating programme of on-board lectures given by expert Voyages of Discovery staff,” the company said.
Voyages of Discovery has revived a tradition from the 1960s and the 1970s, when a P&O subsidiary British India Steam Navigation Company operated passenger ships on this business. The last one, Uganda of 16,907 gross tons, was withdrawn from requisitioned for the Falklands War in 1982 and remain in military service until scrapped in 1985. A much larger vessel, the 20,526 gross ton Nevasa, operated alongside Uganda in 1965-75. Both ships had rather spartan accommodation for students, but good cabins and public rooms for other passengers.
Voyages of Discovery accommodates students in normal passenger cabins on board the 20,636 gross ton Discovery. These are far superior in quality compared to the student accommodation on British India ships.
“With an extensive amount of experience running a ‘school at sea’, the specialist staff were responsible for all aspects of the schools’ daily routine including the timetabling and programming arrangements so essential for the smooth operation of an educational cruise,” the company continued.
Featuring some of the Eastern Mediterranean’s most renowned historical sites including Ephesus, Jerusalem and the ancient Egyptian Pyramids, the itinerary was carefully crafted to give students enough time ashore to absorb something of the history, culture and way of life of the places and people the ship visits. When not immersed in culture and learning the students were able to kick back and enjoy some of the many entertainment and leisure options available to them onboard including a cinema, disco, pool, organised quizzes, art and photography plus a large selection of board games to keep busy.
Mo Holland, School Cruise Manager, Voyages of Discovery explains the benefits to students: “It is so rewarding to be involved in such an exceptionally unique programme in which young people have the opportunity to gain a different perspective on our world’s many cultural and historical sites. In all my years as School Cruise Manager I have yet to find any student that has not been entranced at some level by the engaging programme of lectures and shore excursions that Voyages of Discovery is consistently able to offer year after year.”
As the only cruise line available to schools for an exclusive voyage of exploration, Voyages of Discovery offers students a unique and specialised cultural cruising experience of a lifetime and one that is a world away from normal day at school. For normal itineraries, Discovery’s smaller size accommodates around 650 passengers, allowing it to visit ports and destinations which larger cruise liners are unable to, bringing each destination to life with renowned guest speakers.