4 Stellar Cruises Where You Can Catch an Eclipse

Whether your bucket list includes a solar or lunar eclipse, these sailings deliver.

Kimberley Coast

Ponant’s Le Lapérouse will be the staging area for a solar eclipse party in the Timor Sea in 2023.

Courtesy of Ponant

People will often travel far to see the rare celestial occurrence of a solar or lunar eclipse. But sometimes, the areas within the line of totality—where the eclipses are visible from Earth—aren’t very accessible because they aren’t actually on dry land. They’re out in the middle of a body of water. Enter: cruise ships.

Regardless of whether you’re a full-blown astronomer or just a casual observer of the cosmos, seeing an eclipse from a ship is bound to make any sailing even more sublime. Thankfully, several cruise ship lines have seized on the opportunity to provide passengers with this stellar opportunity and have incorporated the chance to spot an eclipse into their itineraries. Added bonus: They all take place in gorgeous destinations.

These forthcoming cruises all coincide with an eclipse.

Holland America Line’s Western Caribbean cruise in November 2022

Passengers on Holland America Line’s 7-Day Western Caribbean cruise, sailing from and returning to Ft. Lauderdale in Florida aboard the 2,666-passenger Nieuw Statendam, will be able to catch a total lunar eclipse while sailing between the Bahamas and Jamaica on November 8.

Following a day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahama, and a day at sea, guests will have to get up early for the cosmic show.

The total lunar eclipse begins around 3 a.m. local time, with Earth’s shadow completely blocking the sun’s light at 5:59 a.m. local time.

From there, the ship will also visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, and Key West, Florida.

king George river Kimberly

A zodiac cruise on the King George River in Australia’s Kimberly region.

Courtesy of Ponant

Ponant’s Eastern Indonesia cruise in April 2023

During a 16-day sailing to eastern Indonesia, East Timor, and the Kimberley region of Australia, French line Ponant’s 188-passenger Le Lapérouse will catch a total solar eclipse on April 20, 2023.

It’s one of only five total solar eclipses remaining worldwide this decade. For this special voyage, two Smithsonian experts (associate director of science at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Alex Young and historian Craig Benjamin) will be on hand to help guide guests’ viewing experience.

The sailing starts in Bali before cruising over to Komodo National Park for two days of searching for the park’s eponymous dragons. The following two days are about diving into the cultural and natural wonders of East Timor, like soaking up the Portuguese art scene of the capital, Dili, and snorkeling in the reefs of the Coral Triangle. After crossing the Timor Sea, cruisers will arrive in Wyndham, the northernmost town in Western Australia. Part of the Kimberley region, this area of Australia is often referred to as the “Antarctica of the tropics” because it is a vast and remote region with myriad waterfalls, white-sand beaches, thick mangrove forests, and the largest population of migrating humpback whales on the planet.

From there, Le Lapérouse will sail back into the Timor Sea to stage herself in a prime position for viewing the eclipse, which will take place from late morning to early afternoon on April 20.

Following the eclipse, the sailing continues for three more days in the Kimberley region, exploring Collier Bay, where the highlight is the world’s only horizontal waterfall. Sir David Attenborough described it as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.” The trip concludes in Broome, on the far north coast of Western Australia.

UnCruise Adventures’ Belize sailing in October 2023

Typically, UnCruise Adventures Belize itineraries depart on Saturdays in October and November for a seven-night cruise. But to coincide with the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 13, 2023, UnCruise is offering an extended eight-night sailing so guests can catch the eclipse early on October 14.

The cruise embarks from Belize City aboard the 66-passenger Safari Voyager, bound for Laughing Bird Cave National Park. That’s where guests will be able to watch the eclipse. From there, the ship will sail to Guatemala for two days of hiking in rain-forest parks, kayaking in the Rio Dulce, and exploring Livingston. On the final three full days, guests will sail back to Belize to visit Mayan ruins, kayak in Payne’s Creek National Park, and listen for the calls of crested guans and Amazon kingfishers on a trek within the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The trip concludes in Belize City, although there is the option to extend with hotel nights and cultural land tours to further explore Belize.

King penguins on Falkland Islands

Second only to an eclipse, penguins are the highlight of this Aurora sailing.

Shutterstock

Aurora Expeditions’ Falklands and Antarctic cruise in October 2023

Antarctic sailings are incredible in their own right, but one of Aurora Expeditions’ Falklands~Malvinas and Antarctic Peninsula sailings in 2023 will coincide with a partial lunar eclipse.

The 16-day sailing aboard the 132-passenger Greg Mortimer technically starts in Santiago, Chile, with a welcome reception and prevoyage briefing, before a charter flight the following morning to Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. The itinerary for the next three days will involve looking for penguins and black-browed albatross colonies among the Falklands’ rugged coastline and rolling moorlands. Then two days will be at sea, crossing the infamous Drake Passage. It’s on the 28th that guests will have the opportunity to see the partial lunar eclipse.

Then it’s five days in Antarctica, where the landscape is almost lunar in its starkness, before turning around and heading to Ushuaia, Argentina, for debarkation.

Bailey Berg is the associate travel news editor at AFAR, where she covers breaking news, trends, tips, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. When not interviewing sources or writing articles, she can be found exploring art galleries, visiting craft breweries, hiking with her dogs, and planning her next adventure (at present, she’s been to 75+ countries and hopes to spend time in every one someday).