More than 200 students from Maine Maritime Academy left Castine today on a 60 day training cruise that will take them across the atlantic ocean. Family and friends were on hand to see them off.For the freshmen and juniors on board, this is a chance to put into practice what they’ve been learning in the classroom. This ship will be their home for the next two months. Dr. Bill Brennan is the new President at MMA and he says today is the pinnacle of the academic year here. “Students will be assuming the responsibilities of the day-to-day management of all aspects of the ship under the guidance and with the help and support of the ships officers, crew, and training staff,” says Dr. Brennan.For the parents on-hand to say goodbye to their kids, it was a bittersweet moment. They all say they’ll miss them, but they know this is a wonderful opportunity. Laura Labbe is here to say goodbye to her son Benjamin, a junior here at MMA. “This is the culmination of his dream in life,” says Labbe, “he has always loved the water and we’re really hoping that he gets the experience he needs and he will enjoy it and be safe. that’s our hope.”Betsy Bass said goodbye to her daughter Katherine, who’s a freshman at MMA. “Oh I’m extremely proud of my daughter,” Bass says, “she’s very excited about this cruise and learning a lot and experiencing. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to go to Europe and learn more about her sea time and the engineering as well as traveling the world.”The ship will make several stops on it’s journey. It’s first port will be Marseille in France. The last stop will be Portsmouth, England. Lisa Mccausland is here to see her son Shane off for the second time. “It’s so exciting,” says Mccausland, “I was here for his freshman cruise which was so exciting. It was the first time letting him go on this huge ship, it was exciting. It’s still an exciting thing to watch, very cool. i’m very proud of him.”The ship is expected back in Castine on June 26th.