Anticipation is already building for the next total solar eclipse, which will be visible from parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8, 2024. Hotels in the so-called “path of totality”—where the moon will appear to completely block out the sun’s light—are already booking up as umbraphiles make plans to see the dramatic event.
In addition to plunging parts of North America into darkness, the path of this celestial spectacle will also cross over the Pacific Ocean. As such, several cruise lines are offering special solar eclipse itineraries. “What makes cruising a particularly good option for solar eclipse viewing is that the ship can easily reposition if clouds get in the way,” writes Travel + Leisure’s Stefanie Waldek.
Holland America Line, for instance, will have an astronomy expert onboard the MS Koningsdam as the cruise ship makes its way from San Diego to Vancouver over 22 days. Adam Burgasser, an astrophysicist at the University of California San Diego, will give lectures and help guests safely view the eclipse from the ship, which will strategically position itself off of Mexico within the path of totality.
Are you lucky enough to live in one of these cities? The most beautiful sight you will ever see in the sky comes next April 8th! pic.twitter.com/LZ7041Y8Mj— Great American Eclipse (@AmericanEclipse) May 2, 2023
“This first total solar eclipse in North America in seven years is something astronomers—amateur and professional—are all excited to observe, and there’s no better or unique place to observe it than at sea off the coast of Mexico,” says Burgasser in a statement.
Sky & Telescope, the magazine of the American Astronomical Society, is also hosting a special sailing for eclipse enthusiasts. The 15-day journey aboard Holland America Line’s MS Zaandam departs from and returns to San Diego, with a stop off the coast of Mazatlán, Mexico, on the day of the eclipse. The magazine has lined up seven guest lecturers for the sailing, including Rick Fienberg, a senior contributing editor for the publication who also leads the society’s solar eclipse task force. Other experts include Natalie Batalha, an astrophysicist at the University of California Santa Cruz; Jeffrey Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut; and Natasha Batalha, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Yet another eclipse itinerary comes from Ring of Fire Expeditions, which is organizing a nine-night voyage starting in Acapulco. Astronomer Paul D. Maley, who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for more than 50 years, will be on board, as well as Michael Shara, a curator and astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History. The dress code is what the company calls “eclipse casual.”
Princess Cruises is offering two itineraries within the path of totality: a 10-day Mexican Riviera trip aboard Discovery Princess (which is already sold out) and a 15-day Panama Canal sailing aboard Emerald Princess. This second sailing will leave from Los Angeles and make several stops at ports in Mexico and Central America before passing through the historic canal. From there, it will head north to the Cayman Islands and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Travelers will be able to watch the eclipse from the top decks while sailing from Cabo San Lucas to Huatulco, Mexico, under the guidance of Fred Cink, an “astronomy and space exploration enthusiast,” reports Gwen Pratesi for the Points Guy.
Astronomy aficionados who are looking for a more intimate experience may want to consider UnCruise Adventures’ seven-night sailing on the Safari Voyager, which departs from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and can accommodate only 66 guests. The crew will position the vessel in the waters northwest of Mazatlan on the day of the eclipse.