When: TBD
What: Sightseeing
Who: Participating students (unless they wish to do a different excursion with their parents or stay on the ship)


When: Day 1 – July 12, 5:30pm-7:00pm (When The Sky Fell by Michael Deibert). Day  – July 16, 11:00am-1:00pm (The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen)
What: Book Discussion Groups
Who: Open to all students, and participating parents, family members, friends, and coaches

All participants (including staff and family members, friends, and coaches) are encouraged to read the two official 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships Book Club selections: When the Sky Fell, an account of Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico by Michael Deibert, and The Song of the Dodo, by David Quammen, an introduction to island biogeography and conservation biology as applied to island environments. These two selections deal with issues of environmental geography, weather and climate, and land use patterns and show how geographic and spatial reasons has important ramifications for policy makers, scientists, geographers, and engaged citizens around the world. Both books can be found on Amazon or other online book sellers, or occasionally at booksellers around the world. While not required reading per se, there may well be questions in competitions over the week that draw directly or indirectly on the topics in both books, and thus reading them is good preparation for success at IGB Worlds.

When: Day 7 – July 18, 1:30pm-3:00pm
What: Closing Ceremonies
Who: All student participants (required) and all parents, family, friends, and coaches

The Closing Ceremonies of the 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships will take place on the afternoon of Day 7, the last full day of IGB Worlds. All participants in IGB Worlds, including family members, friends, and coaches are encouraged to attend. Like the Opening Ceremonies, the Closing Ceremonies will take place in the Theatre on board the ship. The Closing Ceremonies will feature the medals ceremonies for the International Geography Quiz and International Geography Bowl, and the overall IGB Worlds champions will be crowned here as well. We will also reveal the final Medals Standings to see which team finishes the week on top. Note that there will still be plenty of activities on Saturday evening, but all medal events will finish before the Closing Ceremonies take place.

When: Day 3 – July 14, 5:30pm-7:30pm
What: Dinner discussion group
Who: Open to all participants, including parents, family, friends, and coaches

At the 2020 IGB World Championships, we’ll feature a World Politics discussion, which will take place during dinner on Day 3. How is the US presidential election shaping up? Whither Brexit? Will there still be turmoil in Hong Kong and Kashmir, as in summer 2019? How is world politics evolving in 2020? Many IGB Worlds students and staff members have a keen interest in politics and international relations. This is a chance to hear and offer predictions, commentary, and analysis from many different perspectives. All are welcome!

When: Day 2 – July 13, 11:30am-1:00pm
What: Lunch discussion group
Who: Open to all participants, including parents, family, friends, and coaches

International Academic Competitions Executive Director David Madden was an exchange student for 6 months in Vienna, Austria in 1998-1999.* IGB Worlds Staff Member Susan Madden was an exchange student in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1968. Not only are David and Susan still fluent respectively in German and Portuguese from their experiences, but they both credit their time abroad as high school exchange students with AFS Intercultural Programs as helping them get into university, gain confidence as travelers and world citizens, and forge lifelong friendships. If you are at all curious as to opportunities as an exchange student, please come and hear a bit more about what it’s like to set off for life in a new country with a new family and a new school. Be careful, though – your life might never be the same again – ours sure weren’t!

* – IGB Worlds trivia note! When David was an exchange student in Vienna, he enjoyed watching Jeder Gegen Jeden (translation: Each Against Everyone) – a German language quiz show that eighteen years later provided the idea for the popular IGB Worlds event Knockout. You never know when your exchange student experiences can provide inspiration later in life! If you’re interested in seeing an episode of Jeder Gegen Jeden, click here. Even if you don’t speak German, you can probably get the gist of the show – and if you listen carefully, you may even be able to figure out a few of the questions and answers!

When: At various times throughout the week, usually in the late evening, also, some will be awarded during Closing Ceremonies. Please see the IGB Worlds Schedule for specific medals ceremony times for each event.
What: Medals Ceremonies
Who: Open to all participants, including parents, family, friends, and coaches

Students who win a medal at the IGB World Championships will receive their award during our nightly medals ceremonies. Medals will also be awarded during the Closing Ceremonies, and potentially at other times as well. Flags, our medals podiums, and national anthems / state songs will help us celebrate the achievements of the top students in each event! Medals are awarded in each event for each of the three age divisions.
Medals ceremonies will be held in the Diamonds Are Forever lounge, although if weather cooperates, they may be held on the top deck next to the miniature golf course. Please follow official IGB Worlds communications on board the ship to receive updates on medals ceremony locations and other details.

When: Day 1 – July 12, 8:30am-11:30am
What: Sightseeing
Who: Organized tours will be conducted for participating students only, though Old San Juan is easily visited by families and other participants.

The cruise will both depart from and return to the harbor in Old San Juan. Within a 5-10 minute walk of the port is one of the most well-preserved and scenic colonial-era cityscapes anywhere in the Americas or the Caribbean. Participants will have an opportunity to tour Old San Juan, including Castillo San Cristóbal (the largest Spanish fort in the Americas) on the morning of Sunday, July 12 before boarding the ship. Those who make the final round of the Symposium will also have a chance to have lunch at a Puerto Rican restaurant while everyone else will have lunch on board the ship. Participants who are attending with their families are certainly encouraged to arrive a bit earlier than July 12, or stay a bit longer than July 19 in order to see more of San Juan and Puerto Rico.

When: Day 2 – July 13, 5:30-6:30pm (tentatively scheduled time)
What: Reception
Who: Participating parents, family, friends, and coaches only (most participating students will be taking the Written Exam at this time)

All parents, coaches, and family members are invited to a reception with International Academic Competitions staff, which is currently planned for the second evening on board the Carnival Fascination. Come learn more about IGB Worlds and IAC as well as the opportunities to make the most of your week both at sea and on land! Complimentary drinks and refreshments will be provided.

When: From Day 2 – Day 6
What: Sightseeing
Who: Participating students only for IGB Worlds chaperoned events, though all other passengers are welcome to book excursions via Carnival.

Carnival offers an extensive program of onshore excursions on each island that we will visit. On Saint Lucia and Saint Martin / Sint Maarten, several excursions will be open to participating students as IGB Worlds staff will be able to accompany them. This includes students who are taking part without an accompanying parent or guardian. These shore excursions will cost extra, however (note that the tours of Old San Juan and of St. Kitts on the morning we are there are included for participating students, as are the two sightseeing options for Saint Thomas as listed below). The specific excursions which will be on offer will be determined in September or October 2019 – none of them will involve swimming or beach visits for liability reasons.

Note that on Puerto Rico, we will not take part in Carnival excursions, as that is where we are boarding and disembarking. Participants will get a chance to sightsee in San Juan though). On Saint Kitts, no competing students will be able to do official Carnival shore excursions, though students will get a chance to visit Basseterre during the Scavenger Hunt.

Participating students who are coming with a parent or legal guardian are welcome to take part in non-IAC chaperoned shore excursions on Barbados (including in the morning if you wish to forego the IAC-chaperoned island tour), Saint Lucia, and Saint Martin, though you must notify IAC staff in advance that you are doing these. In these cases, students’ parents or guardians would pay Carnival directly for the cost of the excursions.

For family members and other participants who are not competing students (i.e. family friends, coaches, etc.), you are certainly welcome to take part in whatever shore excursions you wish on any island, though you must book these on your own through Carnival. Likewise, when competing students take part in IAC-chaperoned shore excursions, you may be able to accompany them, but we cannot guarantee that (that depends on how Carnival organizes the excursions in question).

For details on the excursions that Carnival offers on each island, please click on the links below:

Shore excursions on Saint Lucia
Shore excursions on Saint Kitts
Shore excursions on Saint Martin / Sint Maarten (students are required to stay on board in order to compete in the Hexathlon in the morning)
Shore excursions on Saint Thomas (students are required to take part in the Opening Ceremonies in the morning; in the afternoon, there will be sufficient time to visit the Pirates Treasure Museum and take the Skyride to Paradise Point if interested)
Shore excursions on Barbados

When: Day 2 – July 13, 9:00pm-11:00am
What: Opening Ceremonies
Who: All student participants (required) and all participating parents, family, friends, and coaches

The Opening Ceremonies of the 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships will take place on the morning of Day 2, the first full day on the ship. All participants in IGB Worlds, including family members and coaches are encouraged to attend (participating students are required to do so). Like the Closing Ceremonies, the Opening Ceremonies will take place in the Theatre on board the ship. The Opening Ceremonies will feature the Parade of Players, general information on the week, and the first medals ceremonies for the Symposium and the Caribbean Geography Exam, which will have concluded by then. After the Opening Ceremonies conclude, competing students will proceed directly to competition rooms for the preliminary round of the Scramble.


When: Ongoing throughout the week
What: Practice tossup questions on a buzzer system
Who: Participating students during free time

At least one buzzer system will be provided for students to practice on past questions from IAC events and other pyramidal (i.e. questions of decreasing difficulty in paragraph form) geography quiz tournaments. During times when students are not otherwise competing or involved in other events, they may use the buzzers for practice to help prepare for upcoming competitions, or just for fun to play against new friends on all sorts of quiz questions.

When: Ongoing throughout the week
What: Journalism opportunities
Who: Participating students; participating adults may assist

If you have an interest in journalism, here’s your chance to cover IGB Worlds! Whether on our website, Youtube channel, newsletter, or other social media sites; in media outlets in the Caribbean, or back in your hometown; or for the international press, we’re looking to spread the word about all of the great accomplishments of the competing students at IGB Worlds! Our staff will advise based on journalism guidelines, and then you’ll have a chance to be part of the story as you cover it. Students in the Press Corps will each have a specific responsibility based on their interests and skills (e.g. photography, social media, copy writer, public relations, etc.). We will also have dedicated press conferences with students and staff that will be streamed on Facebook Live, along with certain matches. That will allow friends and family to follow your accomplishments in real time!

When: Day 0 – July 11, 8:00pm-9:00pm
What: Reception, games
Who: Competing students staying at IAC provided accommodations in San Juan on the first night

For students who have arrived by 8:00pm on the evening of Day 0 (i.e. July 11), we’ll organize a few events at the official accommodations that evening, including an opening reception and some icebreaker games with geographical content. If students are tired and wish to sleep, or otherwise socialize with friends or family during this time, that’s certainly fine as well. By 9:30pm at the latest, we’ll want everyone to start heading to their rooms so that everyone can get some rest and so that we can get an early start on sightseeing in San Juan the next morning.

When: Day 2 – July 13, 6:00pm-6:30pm. Days 3 (July 14), 4 (July 15), and 6 (July 17) 5:00pm-5:30pm
What: Exercise opportunity
Who: Any interested student or adult participant

Feeling a need to burn off some steam? There’s a running track on board the Carnival Fascination which our Running Club will make full use of on a number of occasions. Students and family members are certainly welcome to use the track (or the treadmills in the gym) at other times as well, though for those who enjoy running in a group, we’ll have the above-listed 30 minute sessions to get a good jog in.

When: Day 2 – July 13, 1:00pm-4:00pm
What: Sightseeing
Who: Participating students (though anyone else is welcome to pay the standard admission fees and attend these attractions as well)

On Saint Thomas, the ship will dock next to a number of attractions, including the Pirates Treasure Museum and the Skyride to Paradise Point. While there won’t be time for extensive exploration of the island (we have the Opening Ceremonies that morning, which all students are required to attend), any interested participating student will be able to visit these two attractions if they wish with the admissions fees included.


When: Ongoing throughout the week
What: Various activities
Who: All passengers on the Carnival Fascination

On top of all the scheduled activities and competitions that constitute the International Geography Bee World Championships, the Carnival Fascination offers loads of activities and events of its own that students and their families can take part in! For a tour of the ship, please watch the video here. If you are looking for a rundown on all the different onboard activities, an overview can be found on Carnival’s website here while specifics can be found here. From the Comedy Club to the water slide park to the included buffet, burger joint, and Mexican cantina, to the miniature golf course and beyond, there’s never a lack of ways to have fun on board!

When: Day 0 – July 11, 7:00pm – Slot 1. Day 7 – July 18, 4:30pm – Slot 2. Day 7 – July 18, 6:00pm – Slot 3
What: Buzzer-based quiz competition (not an official medal event)
Who: Participating students

At past International History Olympiads, students have expressed an interest in writing their own event and we gave them a chance to do so with the U Pick-U Write event. In 2020, we’ll bring this possibility to IGB Worlds as well and will have three time slots available for students to do this. Note that due to question security concerns, this won’t be an official medal event, but we’ll help organize the event on your questions.
If you are interested in writing a set of questions on a topic of your choosing (a minimum of 70 questions [i.e. enough for one preliminary and one final round] are needed; sets of 100 or 110 questions [i.e. enough for two preliminary and one final round] are preferred), please contact suopeng@iacompetitions.com with your preferred topic. It is permitted, and indeed encouraged, to write these sets together with other question writers (at least one writer must attend IGB Worlds; it is okay if other writers do not). Please do not suggest specific topics that are already part of IGB Worlds (e.g., don’t propose a specific set on South Asian Geography, but if you want to write a set on mountains and include some questions on South Asian mountains, that’s certainly fine) or which are too obscure to write a playable set of questions about.
Once topics are approved, they will be posted here. Once three topics have been approved, no further topics will be approved unless writers do not meet IAC deadlines for writers to complete their question sets.