Witnessing a total solar eclipse is truly awesome experience, and 2021 gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine it with an expedition cruise to Antarctica. The eclipse will occur in the Southern Ocean during the early hours of December 4, 2021 and will be visible from a selection of specially designed cruise itineraries to be perfectly positioned for this stellar event.
I recommend to experience it with the best expedition cruise company – Quark Expeditions.
In November 2003, Quark Expeditions®, the leader in polar adventures, became the first and only operator to successfully lead a Total Solar Eclipse voyage in Antarctica.
To commemorate that achievement, they are reuniting experts from the original voyage to lead their Antarctic Eclipse voyages for the December 2021 Total Solar Eclipse.
The distinguished eclipse experts joining the upcoming Antarctic eclipse departure on 26th November 2021 on-board World Explorer will include award-winning National Geographic night-sky photographer Babak Tafreshi (who participated in the original 2003 voyage), as well as American Eclipse author David Baron, whose TED Talk, “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse,” has registered more than 2,000,000 views.
With this powerful event, 2021 is a year many astronomers, umbraphiles and Antarctica fans have been preparing for for years. December 4th, 2021, will be an impressive moment only a few will witness.
WHY GO TO ANTARCTICA FOR ECLIPSE VIEWING
Antarctica is a majestic continent all on her own, playing colors and angles of light off of bright, reflective snow and ice. As the continent comes out of her dark winter slumber, her white coat bleached with fresh snow and reformed icebergs, the days become longer and longer reaching up to 24 hours of sunlight at the polar circle in December.
This influx of sunlight creates new ice sculptures, hastens wildlife cycles and offers long days for exploration. Add to this the unique light changes of a full solar eclipse, and guests aboard this special cruise will get to watch the shadows, reflections and eerie light drastically change over icebergs and snowy mountains.
While Antarctica is the ultimate grand stage for eclipse viewing, note that the biggest factor in viewing an eclipse is weather—even more important than latitude! Although crystal-clear skies are often experienced on this enchanted continent (the world’s driest), overcast nights are just as common. The ships’ crews will utilize their in-depth technology aboard to find the best possible viewing area, hoping to ensure an unobscured sun.
This is why it is important to travel with the experts and the experienced.
On Quark Expedition’s World Explorer departure, you also get to experience South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. It is scheduled for Nov 26-Dec 12, 2021 (17 days) – aboard one of their newest 176-guest World Explorer cruise ship.
I must also mention that if you miss the opportunity to travel to experience solar eclipse in 2021, then you need to wait for a few years before the next opportunity arises, as listed below:
2024 Solar Eclipse – USA and Mexico
8th April 2024
2026 Solar Eclipse – The Arctic, Iceland & Greenland
12th August 2026
2027 Solar Eclipse – Egypt
2nd August 2027
Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia
Nov 26-Dec 12, 2021 (17 Days) – aboard 176-guest World Explorer
This voyage will be the perfect opportunity to be rendered awestruck by the overwhelming enormity of Antarctica: towering icebergs, mammoth glaciers and ice-covered mountains. You’ll hike pristine glaciers, relax on a Zodiac cruise or enjoy comedic encounters with inquisitive penguins.
Also, you’ll learn about wildlife and polar history during onboard presentations by expedition team members, as well as two widely-respected eclipse experts who will prepare you for your total eclipse experience: award-winning National Geographic night-sky photographer Babak Tafreshi, who participated in the 2003 voyage, and American Eclipse author David Baron, who is featured in the popular TED Talk, “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.”
From Antarctica, you’ll sail north, and on December 4th you’ll become part of a select few to experience a Total Solar Eclipse in Antarctica. To enhance your eclipse experience, you will receive a pair of eclipse glasses, an invitation to a special evening celebration to commemorate your Total Solar Eclipse voyage. You will then complete your voyage by departing for South Georgia, known as the “Galapagos of the South Seas,” where you’ll explore a region rich in wildlife and polar history.
Adventure Options: (Included)
Hiking in the polar regions differs from your typical trail experience. Here, in a tree-less terrain, you are the tallest figure on the landscape as you walk over spongy tundra, crusty snow or sandy beaches in remotes parts of the Arctic and Antarctica. Stepping ashore anywhere in the polar regions means you’re not a distant observer.
These organized hikes range from short jaunts to the top of lookouts or visits to see wildlife or longer walks of several kilometers over ice and rock and snow. Hiking excursions may last from two to three hours with plenty of time for photographs of wildlife, learning moments from your experienced guides, or just time to stand back and admire the incredible polar surroundings.
No experience is necessary but participants should be able to get in and out of a Zodiac and walk on uneven terrain. Hiking options are tailored to all interests and abilities, from those who want to contemplate the landscape in silence to photographers who want that perfect image to energetic travelers who want to summit a peak in the hopes of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions in order to choose the optimal time and location.
The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore or, in many cases, from the gangway or Zodiac. All participants wear a tethered harness and plunge into the polar waters from the side of Zodiac or safety of the gangplank cheered on, of course, by fellow passengers and Expedition Team.
Safety is paramount—the onboard physician always attends the Polar Plunge. Guides in survival gear circle the area in Zodiacs as guests take their turn jumping or cannon-balling into the polar waters.
Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac.
These large, heavy-duty inflatable vessels are extremely safe and were specially designed for expedition work. Zodiacs are the workhorses of Polar expeditions. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if these sturdy boats are damaged. Their flat bottom design permits the craft to land directly onto the cobble and ice-strewn beaches that you will encounter on your Polar expedition.
The Paddle Excursion Program provides sit-on-top, two-person, inflatable kayaks that provide guests with an intimate, water-level experience in unforgettable locations in Antarctica. These stable, rugged and comfortable crafts are an ideal way to see the polar regions from a different perspective.
On-ship, you’ll be provided with instruction and equipment including dry suits, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and waterproof gloves. Experienced guides will lead you safely throughout the paddling excursion. Your group will always be escorted by a safety driver in another kayak who will stay close by to provide additional support.
Excursions last a minimum of one hour and are offered to participants once per voyage. Each group includes 10 paddlers, 1 guide and 1 one safety Zodiac driver. The wind, weather and water conditions determine the timing and location of Paddling Excursions.
The Sea Kayak Program enables a small group of like-minded individuals to forge bonds as they explore fjords, glacial faces or mazes of sea ice.
Quark Expeditions Sea Kayak Program is a voyage-length program available in Antarctica, in which kayakers (those who have minimal experience as well as seasoned paddlers) will enjoy the polar regions from a unique perspective.
Conditions and logistics permitting, your kayak guide(s) will endeavor to have you paddling as often as possible throughout the voyage. Typically, sea kayakers are shuttled by Zodiac from the ship to an ideal starting point, where the kayak excursion begins. Guests return to the ship by Zodiac at the end of their paddling experience. Some kayak excursions are designed so guests can go ashore and explore.
In addition to the kayak guides, a safety driver in a Zodiac will always stay nearby to offer assistance if required. Excursions typically last one and a half to three hours.
Stand-up Paddle Boating:
Stand-up Paddleboarding, popularly known as SUPing, originated in Hawaii. Quark Expeditions is the first company to bring this watersport all the way to Antarctica.
SUPing combines the immersive experience of kayaking but in a standing position. Participants, if they prefer, can kneel, sit or even lie down and stare up at the azure Antarctic sky. Because of their wide base and tail fins, SUP boards are quite stable, enabling participants – after a bit of practice – to stop staring at their feet and admire the surrounding scenery. Imagine seeing Gentoo penguins gliding below you, or making eye contact with a Weddell seal lying on a piece of ice as you paddle by.
Guests receive on-ship and on-water instruction from a qualified SUP guide. In addition, a safety driver (in a Zodiac) stays within range to offer assistance.
Your Ship for this Expedition: World Explorer
The World Explorer is a 5-star luxury expedition ship purpose-built for exploring the Polar regions in refined style and comfort. All the suites have balconies, so you will have perfect uninterrupted views of the stunning landscapes and wildlife.
The World Explorer with a cruising speed of 16 knots, in open water is amongst the fastest expedition ships in the Polar waters, it is also the finest, it features six tiers of outstanding accommodation these are triple, infinity suite, veranda suite, superior suite, deluxe suite and owner’s suite.
The cabin space is exceptional. Every suite has either a private walk-out or Juliet balcony for direct ocean views. The World Explorer also delivers plenty of public areas to unwind in after a day outdoors, including the glass-domed Observation Lounge for quiet contemplation and full skyline views, the Explorer Lounge for a drink and a chat, and the library for more intimate relaxing and reading. Presentations and discussions are facilitated in a dedicated lecture theatre.
Health and wellness facilities feature an outdoor running track, a small gym and a sauna, plus a spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. For the active adventurers, add-ons include kayaking, camping and stand-up paddleboarding.
Blending high design with total functionality, The World Explorer is your home away from home on the seas.
Features & Amenities:
The Mudroom on Deck 3 enables you to comfortably prepare for, and disembark from, Zodiac excursions and shore landings and is conveniently located adjacent to zodiac embarkation points.
If you forgot any essentials or need a little souvenir from your voyage, the Polar Boutique on Deck 4 is our onboard gift shop. Opening hours will vary based on the daily expedition activities. Gifts and souvenirs are great to bring home as mementos of your polar expedition. In addition to small souvenirs, our Polar Boutique offers a selection of expedition gear, including base layer clothing, waterproof pants, gloves and more
Our theater-style auditorium on Deck 4 can easily accommodate everyone on board, so it serves as our main hall where presentations and videos are provided for your education and enjoyment.
On Deck 4, the Explorer Lounge is used for special functions and events, and where you can grab a cup of complimentary coffee or tea. The Observation Lounge on Deck 7 is a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy panoramic polar views.
There is one dining room located on Deck 4. If there is one constant at sea, it is that you’ll enjoy delicious meals on a daily basis.
The glass-domed Observation Lounge on Deck 7 is a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy panoramic polar views.
The spa is located on Deck 7 and offers massages, facials, and hand and foot treatments using L’Occitane products.
Indulge in Health & Wellness amenities like the Sauna located on Deck 7 which also has a corresponding change room and shower
Deck 7 features a large heated outdoor pool, surrounded by deck space, and flanked by two hot tubs.
Located on Deck 7, fitness center hours are posted at the door, with facilities available on a first come, first served basis.
Located in the Observation Lounge on Deck 7, the library includes a selection of field guides, picture books and reference books.
2 Rolls Royce Engines
World Explorer features two state-of-the-art Rolls Royce hybrid-electric engines, significantly reducing its environmental impact on the Polar Regions.
Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) is the industry-leading system that converts waste into energy at the site that it’s generated. MAGs eliminates the environmental impact of waste transportation, offering an innovative sustainability feature that exceed all industry standards.
The Outdoor Track on Deck 8 offers a great way to stay active while aboard World Explorer; get your steps in while also enjoying the stunning landscapes and wildlife viewing opportunities the Polar Regions have to offer.
Deck 8 offers a wraparound deck to take in panaromic views of the Polar Regions; various areas also feature heated seating, allowing for optimal comfort while out on deck.
How to book:
You can book with their partner agent in India, Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd., based out of Delhi. They are a Boutique Travel Design company specialising in off-beat, once in a lifetime journeys around the world, including the polar regions. They can also assist in your pre and post cruise extension journeys in South America, all customised to your preferences, expectations and budget.
Photo Credits: Acacia Johnson, David Merron, Nicky Souness, Michelle Sole, Cindy Miller Hopkins and Quark Expeditions