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Solar Eclipse Cruises

One of the most enjoyable ways to see the world and a total eclipse of the Sun is via ship with a travel group. Once you’re on board, you unpack in your cabin, and your floating hotel does all the moving for you—no constant packing and unpacking as you travel from place to place. Getting there, wherever ‘there’ is, is more than half the fun on a cruise ship. Numerous dining options are available. You can relax or participate in on board activities as much (or as little) as suits you. In most ports of call you can either explore on your own, join one of the cruise ship’s excursions, or book your own excursion with an in-port tour company. While all of these benefits apply to every cruise, an eclipse cruise embraces an extra feature.

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Explore this and other types of eclipse travel

What is an Eclipse Cruise?

An eclipse cruise is really just a normal cruise, but with a special purpose. Pretty much everything you’d expect to find on a regular cruise, you’ll find on a solar eclipse cruise: shore excursions, shipboard activities, dining options, and more. Most cruises not only provide entertainment and an opportunity to relax and unwind, they also have a good educational element. You can participate in a variety of classes and learn about the various ports of call. In addition, there are often experts on board who are knowledgeable about the regions through which the ship is sailing.

On a solar eclipse cruise, there is an additional commitment. At some point during the cruise, the ship will sail to a predetermined spot in the ocean where you can witness one of the most awe-inspiring sights in nature—a total eclipse of the Sun. To see totality, you need to be in the right place at the right time. With 70 percent of Earth’s surface covered by water, taking a solar eclipse cruise is often the only way to reach the path of totality—where you can watch as the Moon hides the face of the Sun.

Rendering of a standard suite on the Endurance. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)
Rendering of the Bistro Observation Lounge on the Endurance. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)

What to Expect

On a TravelQuest eclipse cruise, an astronomy component is added to the normal cruise activities. Our on-board astronomers discuss the latest discoveries in astronomy, explain the science of eclipses, and describe what to expect on eclipse day. This is particularly important if you have never seen a solar eclipse. Our astronomers have witnessed numerous totalities, and they will help you get the best images of this mind-bending event. Since they’re present during the entire cruise, you can pick their brains about the eclipse at meals, or after talks, or any time during our days at sea.

As a company specializing in solar eclipse travel, we voyage to specific locations where we can watch the Moon completely cover the Sun for a few exhilarating moments. As a result, our ship often sails through waters, and docks at ports, that are sometimes off the beaten path. During a few of our South Pacific eclipse cruises, we have even reached a few islands that have never before been visited by a cruise ship.

At sea, the night sky is incredibly dark. Having so many astronomers on board—many of our clients are, themselves, amateur astronomers—means that stargazing is an evening activity not usually pursued on a regular cruise. From the decks of our eclipse cruise ship, TQ’s astronomers lead observing sessions of the spectacular night sky, weather permitting, of course. Away from city lights, we see the unspoiled splendor of our Milky Way galaxy, the amazing celestial dome of stars, and many remarkable sky sights that are too dim to be seen in light-polluted city skies.

Floating among the icebergs at Booth Island, Antarctica. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)
Photographing King Penguins. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)
Coming ashore in a Zodiac at South Georgia Island. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)

A 2021 Solar Eclipse Cruise

On December 4, 2021, the path of totality touches one of the most challenging places on Earth to reach: Antarctica. Our solar eclipse cruise to totality not only gives us access to Antarctica, but it also provides a reasonable chance at seeing the eclipse.

For TravelQuest’s Antarctica, Antartica, South Georgia & Falklands Total Solar Eclipse Expedition Cruise, we chartered the 126-passenger National Geographic Endurance, a next-generation expedition ship purpose-built for polar navigation. As a fully stabilized, highly strengthened, ice-class Polar vessel, she is designed to navigate polar passages year-round. Most of the 69 outside-facing cabins feature small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that bring in the spectacular views and ample natural light. A fleet of expedition landing craft is used to reach places that would otherwise be inaccessible. An open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit, enjoy the view, drink your coffee, and chat with the officers.

For this 20-night cruise, Lindblad Expeditions takes care of all the cruise logistics and expedition programming. After sailing from the tip of South America, the islands and mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula soon come into view. For six days we explore glacier-lined bays by Zodiac, in kayaks, and on foot. Thanks to the long hours of daylight (it’s late spring in the region), you can make the most of your time on the White Continent. The day-by-day shipboard itinerary is flexible, so we can take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or perfect conditions for a late-day kayaking excursion.

Next, we sail to breathtaking South Georgia Island, the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the renowned Antarctic explorer. The island teems with Antarctic wildlife including a vast penguin colony, home to tens of thousands of king penguins. After the eclipse, we stop in the Falklands, islands that boast a wide array of seabirds, including albatross and king cormorants, along with large colonies of rockhopper and Magellanic penguins.

Planning and executing such an expedition calls for a world-class team. The Endurance is a remarkable ship sailed by a highly experienced crew who are skilled at navigating Antarctic waters. A prominent polar photographer joins us and shares tips on capturing the perfect Antarctic image. Also onboard is TravelQuest’s astronomer-meteorologist, who’ll stay in close contact with the ship’s captain as we pinpoint the best possible location for viewing the December 4th total solar eclipse at sea.

Our preferred eclipse-viewing position is near the start of the eclipse track. This places us outside the gloomiest parts of the Southern Ocean, at a location where the cloud cover is not as obstinate. We’ll keep our sailing plans flexible, and take advantage of real-time satellite images as well as hour-by-hour numerical models of the atmosphere. Working with the ship’s captain, our astronomer-meteorologist can use the ship’s mobility to nearly double our chances of seeing the eclipse.

Rendering of the National Geographic’s Endurance. (Photo by Lindblad Expeditions)

Join Us for Totality in Antarctica

If you’ve never been on a cruise, this unusual journey to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands, topped off by a total solar eclipse at sea, is an extraordinary way to start. If you have sailed previously, this amazing voyage will surely rank as one of the best you’ve ever experienced. And for those who have previously journeyed far and wide to stand in the Moon’s shadow, this is a rare opportunity to combine totality, a cruise, and a visit to Antarctica.

Extraordinary adventure is a guarantee every day of this Antarctic solar eclipse cruise. If this journey appeals, contact TravelQuest to learn more.

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Header image by Lindblad Expeditions