Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of an Enrichment Voyage? It involves multiple activities from deciding on the Keynote speakers who are chosen with care to enlighten our participants on different issues; to minute details like deciding on a design for the Sudoku/Crossword puzzles that so many of our participants enjoy. It is a very involved process that begins at the behest of our new Director of Enrichment Voyages, Kelli Palmer and the Associate Director of Operations Steven Abbott.
Organizing information for the voyage
Biographies must be written for those who are hired as Keynote speakers and lecturers. I am involved with that process. Those biographies can be found on the website when completed and approved by the staff editor. Our Director and Associate Director have worked miracles to prepare for our current voyage to the Panama Canal and Central America. When I say miracles I mean things like preparing daily briefings for each day of the voyage to keep the shipboard community informed and assuring that all materials needed for the voyage arrive at the ship and are accounted for before the ship sails. They also must ensure that every participant is in the system and is happy with his or her cabin once everyone's on the ship.
Differences between Semester at Sea voyages and Enrichment Voyages
One big thing that makes Enrichment Voyages different from Semester at Sea are the Enrichment Sessions and Pre-port briefings available to our participants. These present a series of high-quality educational opportunities, whereas Lifelong Learners on Semester voyages choose from full courses to audit.
Part of my job is to search through our passenger information forms and find participants who are interested in various workshops to take part in while on the ship. Those workshops are included in the Master Ship Schedule for the “Today’s Explorer”, a database that I manage.
A day in the life of an Enrichment Voyage
Maybe the most essential and important aspect in the process for preparing for future voyages is to have a system in place to schedule activities for the ship. From six am to 1 am the various classrooms and other large spaces on the ship, like the Union on deck 6 and the Aquamarine Restaurant on deck 5 and Glazer Lounge on Deck 7 are scheduled prior to departure for any shows or movies. I manage a database that will help our Director schedule these events in the future. Special details like dinner seating and preparation for the birthdays and anniversaries, of our guests need to be planned in advance of sailing. This is information that I pass along to Steve to assure that our participants are pleased with every detail of their voyage.
Whether it is Julian Carta creating powerful pre-port Powerpoint presentations or Sara Sparks creating exciting field program brochures and being our point person on the ship for communications, we all work together for the smooth sailing of the MV Explorer for our non-credit Enrichment Voyages.