What does ISAC do?
Acts as the middleman for a week’s educational cruising in the October half term, providing assistance and advice to parties and their leaders from any independent school. The cruise, which is organised and run by the cruise company Voyages of Discovery, is specifically geared towards the interests of students aged 10 to 16.
But why should I book with ISAC rather than direct with Voyages of Discovery?
First, because it’s cheaper - ISAC subsidises the fares of all students who travel with us.
In 2013, the cruise company is charging £1,650 for a week’s cruise. This includes most shore excursions.
For the same cruise, ISAC charges £1,320 including excursions – a saving of £330!
That still sounds expensive for a one week holiday?
Look at the price of a week’s cruise at that time of year in any brochure – and then don’t forget to include the (often hidden) cost of excursions and insurance: you will find that the ISAC price is extremely favourable.
What happens if a student from my school would like to come but his or her parents can’t afford it?
ISAC always offers a number of scholarships (worth up to or more than half the cost of the cruise) each year. Students are asked to complete a project in advance for this, which is then judged by one of the trustees.
We also always offer Bursaries in cases of financial need.
In 2011 for instance the trustees gave out £9,000 in Scholarships and Bursaries to 6 students.
Fine – but are there other good reasons to book with ISAC?
Certainly! Because the ISAC party has anything between 100 and 200 students in it each year, it means that we have considerable ‘clout’ with the cruise company, Voyages of Discovery. For instance, we are insistent on very high standards of health and safety regulations aboard.
In addition, there is always a number of ISAC trustees aboard who have had very considerable experience of cruising with school parties and who are always happy to help party leaders and students.
Tell me more about being a party leader.
Before the cruise, ISAC will provide you with plenty of support and information and a Party Leader’s Guide. We can, for instance, organise someone who has cruised recently with ISAC to come and talk to you, your students and your parents before you make any bookings. We can put you in touch with other party leaders to share ideas – and if your parents would like to talk to other parents whose children have cruised with ISAC, we can arrange that too.
Read more about Party Leaders. - And don’t forget, if you have a party of twelve or more, you come for free! Your family will also receive generous discounts.
O.K. – that all sounds fine. So describe a typical day’s cruising.
Difficult, because they are all different! However, a day might start with a short well-illustrated lecture (pitched at the right level for students) about the next port of call. Disembarkation is direct into coaches by school groups and each coach has an expert local guide aboard. Party leaders do not have to be concerned with details such as entry tickets as these things are all pre-arranged.
Some excursions are half day, leaving free time ashore for shopping, exploring, etc.; others last all day.
In the evening, students usually eat at 6pm (the adults later) and evening entertainment ranges from an X Factor competition, inter-house quizzes, table tennis, photography and art classes free to pupils as on board entertainment. – all organised by the excellent ship’s crew. It’s good, too, that all children on board can be equally involved in these activities.
However, the highlight of the cruise (which is on every itinerary) is the trip to Cairo!
View the itineraries for the next cruise.
What’s the food like?
Usually buffet style, with a huge choice. This means that all the students always find something they like and eat well. The same goes for the adults, whose evening meal is usually served at the table.
And the cabins?
Always of a good size, two or three bedded and always with en suite shower and W.C. Mostly outside.
The parents of some of the students in my school would like to come too – is this possible?
Certainly – we are very pleased when parents join us and would certainly encourage them to do so. They pay a little more than the students (in 2013, the adult fare is £1,850) but are free to join in everything as they wish. As long as they don’t expect five star luxury, they are assured of a very good time – you only have to see the past testimonials of the parents who have traveled with us before to find out this is true!
So why should parents from my school look at an ISAC cruise for their children?
The experience of a good cruise is without doubt second to none. Children visit a range of wonderful places that they might well otherwise never see, they enjoy the experience of life on board ship, the friendships they form – the list is endless.
The week is unforgettable for different people for different reasons, whether it is walking down a street in Ephesus in St Paul’s footsteps, seeing the stunning views from the acropolis in Athens or riding a camel in the shadow of the Great Pyramid at Giza.
What do I do now?
Contact David Burston, the Secretary. He will send you lots more information, including a free brochure, produced by Voyages of Discovery, which gives information on every aspect of our cruises.