The Gap Year Guide

Posted on 24 April 2018 @ 4:31pm

The Gap Year Guide

As spring arrives, we know that many students are in the midst of making final decisions regarding where to go and what to do next year. For graduating students, this can mean accepting a position at a university or college or taking some time-off to figure out what exactly the future has in store.

Gap Year Guide, Class Afloat

Around this time, we like to share some Gap Year FAQs available to students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors. This year specifically, we're encouraging students to change their point of view by taking a giant step outside their comfort zone to discover the world - and discover themselves.

During a Gap Year at sea with Class Afloat, students will earn academic credits, participate in voluntary service projects and forge lifelong friendships with students from around the world. More importantly, students are afforded the time to pause, reflect and set meaningful academic, personal and professional goals. 

Click here to read more about Gap Year programs on board the ship or browse through the FAQs below.

Gap Year FAQ

  • How many students participate in the program each year?

We invite 60 students to join us each year on board the Gulden Leeuw. This includes senor high school, 1st-year university and Gap Year students.

  • Can prospective students apply to join for just one semester?

Yes! Students can apply for one semester (4 months) or a full year (9 months) at sea. Many Gap Year students will join for one semester and return home to work for the remainder of the year. As a student, you are free to choose which semester works best for you.

  • Can Gap Year students take academic courses while sailing?

Yes! Gap Year students have the opportunity to re-take grade 12 courses or enrol in up to 3 full-time 1st-year university courses per semester. University courses are accredited by our partners at Acadia University.

  • I've already accepted a spot at university in the fall. If I defer my acceptance, can I take university-level courses on board?

Many university and colleges will allow you to defer but will not allow you take academic courses during your Gap Year. Check with your institution of choice before signing up for university courses with Class Afloat.

  • Do Gap year students have to take courses for credit?

No. As a Gap Year student, if you choose not to re-take grade 12 courses or enrol in 1st-year university classes, you still have to take a minimum of two courses in order to keep up with the routine on board the ship. However, unlike students taking courses for credit, Gap Year students have the flexibility to choose courses based on interest. Politics? History? Drama? Whatever floats your boat (pardon the pun). Here is a complete list of courses to choose from.

  • How many stops will students make during their semester or year at sea?

Each school year is different. During the 2018-2019 voyage, our students will be visiting 22+ ports on 3 continents. Here is a link to next year's itinerary.

  • Do students spend more time on land or at sea?

We generally say that you can expect to spend 2/3 of your year at sea and 1/3 on land exploring different ports.

  • How old must students be to join the program?

Our students are generally between the ages of 16-19. 

  • How much does it cost for students to spend a Gap Year at sea?

Canadian students: $36,000 for one semester and $52,000 for the entire school year. International students: $39,500 for one semester and $57,500 for the entire school year. All fees are listed in Canadian dollars.

  • What is the amount of sail training that happens on board?

Students participate in two hours of day watch and two hours of night watch while at sea alongside a professional mariner crew. If students have a desire to get more involved in the sailing component of the program, they are welcomed to do so.

  • Do most students have a background in sailing?

No. Contrary to popular belief, 80% of our students do not have any type of background in sailing.

  • Is the crew comprised of mainly Canadian students?

No. Our student crew is made up of approximately 55% Canadian students and 45% international students from countries like Spain, Mexico, USA, France, Italy, South Africa, Bermuda, Japan etc.

  • How do you apply?

In order to apply, students must send their application package and supporting documents to Once we receive the completed package + documents + $200 CAD application fee, students will be contacted for an interview with our Head of School. Following the interview, students will/will not receive a letter offering them a place on board the ship. More info can be found here.

  • When is the deadline to apply?

Class Afloat operates on rolling admissions which means that we will accept applications until the ship is full. 

Questions about the program? Send an email to our Director of Admissions, Arden Jobling-Hey, at