MV World Odessey is a state-of-the-art multi-storey passenger cruise that operates the world’s floating campus, an academic voyage for students to study while aboard a ship.
The vessel also known as a ‘floating campus’ is operated by Semester at Sea. It is the sixth ship in Semester at Sea’s history. This ship, like its predecessors, serves as a travelling home and campus that brings approximately 600 undergraduate students to the farthest reaches of the globe every semester.
The ship has been meticulously maintained since construction in Germany in 1998 and underwent routine dry-dock maintenance in May of 2016. The MV World Odyssey meets the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Public Health requirements, as well as all other statutory standards.
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The ship’s architecture and design give it a similar feel to a college or university. It is designed with Cabin berths to accommodate approximately 600 students.
Just like any tertiary learning institution, it has a reception and administrative offices on board, with around-the-clock crew presence as well as Sea field programme and administrative staff.
MV World Odessey has nine classrooms, each with state-of-the-art technology to support engaged learning and other amenities including an indoor gym with weights, weight machines and cardiovascular equipment. Its outside features a spacious sun deck for recreational activities, including a basketball/ volleyball court and a swimming pool.
The ship has a gross tonnage of 22.496, 604 lower beds, 613 berths, and 7-passenger decks. The vessel is 175,49 metres long and has a 23-metre beam.
MV World Odessey has a main propulsion comprising 4 diesel engines; make MAK 2 type 8M32 DMR and 2 type 6M32 DMR with a total output of 12.320 kW. It has 2 Controllable pitch propellers. The vessel’s service speed is 19 knots with a maximum speed of 20.5 knots.
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MV World Odessey docked at the Port of Mombasa on Sunday, November 27, 2022, in its maiden voyage to Kenya.
The Semester at Sea started its journey in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on September 9, 2022, and has cruised to Lisbon-Portugal, Casablanca Morocco, Valencia-Spain, Dubrovnik-Croatia, Piraeus-Greece, Limassol-Cyprus, Aqaba in Jordan and now Mombasa-Kenya.
The 800 tourists include 500 students of various nationalities with 90 per cent of them being from the USA, about 100 lecturers and 180 crew members.
The students are expected to learn about Kenya as part of their semester studies.
“The trip has been really great, Semester at sea is really a great programme. We are taking university classes while going around the whole world. We just visited Europe and now we are in Kenya…I love Kenya because of the diverse culture and all the people are super nice, the nature is beautiful. I will spend my time with my dad who lives in Samburu East, Kenya,” Eva Gerald, a Marine Biology student from Flanders, Belgium stated.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penninah Malonza stated that the arrival of the cruise ship in Mombasa is a clear indicator that the industry is opening up post effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think the last time we received a cruise ship here was in 2018. So this is a positive sign for tourism because the visitors will be here for five days,” the CS said after welcoming the tourists.
Malonza stated that the government has laid out elaborate measures to market itself to the outside world in a bid to attract more tourists.
“We are just settling after transition and then here we are receiving a cruise ship. This is a great start. We are confident because we have seen tourism picking. Already most hotels in Mombasa have received holiday bookings ahead of December festivities,” CS Malonza said.
Kenya Port Authority acting Managing Director John Mwangemi stated that the arrival of World Odyssey to the Kenyan coast is a positive for the country’s tourism sector, noting that it depicts Kenya’s appeal to the rest of the world.
“World Odyssey will remain in Mombasa for the next five days during which the passengers will get an opportunity to tour and sample some of our tourist sites like Fort Jesus, Haller Park, and the Tsavo National Park. The Port of Mombasa is also expecting to receive more cruise vessels early next year as the industry slowly recovers,” said Mwangemi.