Holland America Line Adds Astronomy Experts to Eclipse Cruises

Special guest experts will be aboard two Holland America Line ships for the April 2024 total solar eclipse.

Holland America Line’s special 2024 Solar Eclipse cruises aboard Koningsdam and Zaandam will offer travelers more than just a unique viewing opportunity for the total eclipse.

The cruise line will now include insightful guidance and immersive programming from astronomy experts onboard. This will make the cruises truly unforgettable for everyone, with deeply enriching lectures and activities for all guests.

Experts Added to Eclipse Cruises

Aboard Koningsdam and Zaandam, both of which have special voyages planned to bring cruise guests right into the best possible viewing locations for the April 8 eclipse, astronomy experts will add even more enrichment to the sailings with special lectures, activities, and insights.

University of California San Diego Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Adam Burgasser will be aboard the Pinnacle-class Koningsdam, offering detailed lectures prior to the eclipse and helping guests make their own eclipse viewers for optical safety.

During the event – which should last approximately 4 minutes and 28 seconds at its peak – Burgasser will provide commentary and viewing assistance.

UCSD's Professor Adam Burgasser
UCSD’s Professor Adam Burgasser (Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line)

“We’re positioning our ships in the perfect location for guests to see the eclipse,” said Bill Prince, vice president of entertainment for Holland America Line. “For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so being able to receive the guidance of a renowned physicist like Dr. Burgasser is an exciting opportunity for our guests. We’re known for creating immersive programming, and this will be an unforgettable live event.”

Koningsdam will be sailing a 22-night “Solar Eclipse Cruise” that will depart San Diego on April 5. The ship will call on Cabo San Lucas the day before the eclipse, and will be positioned offshore for unimpeded viewing on April 8.

Other ports of call include Puerto Vallarta and several top Hawaiian destinations, before the ship reaches Vancouver, Canada on April 27, in preparation for the Alaska sailing season.

“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,” said Burgasser.

“I look forward to joining Holland America Line guests aboard Koningsdam to witness this phenomenon and help them better understand the science and history behind it.”

Holland America Line Ship
Holland America Line Ship (Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line)

Zaandam will be sailing a 14-night “Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera” cruise for the event, departing from San Diego on March 30 and calling on several Mexican ports of call along the way before being in Puerto Vallarta on the day of the eclipse. After the stunning astronomical event, the cruise will continue to Loreto, La Paz, and Cabo San Lucas before returning to San Diego on April 18.

On board, guest presenter Jim McParland will lend his expertise to the eclipse experience, offering lectures and demonstrations as Zaandam is positioned for total viewing.

About the Eclipse

The total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, is a highly anticipated astronomical event. Because of its location, cruise lines can make the most of the eclipse by offering spectacular viewing opportunities in the “path of totality” – a thin region where the visual eclipse will be most spectacular and most prolonged. Totality is when the moon completely obscures the sun and the brilliant solar corona is visible.

The maximum width of the totality band will be 123 miles (198 kilometers) wide, covering just one-fortieth of a percent of the earth’s surface.

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse

Because ships can remain at sea and away from any obstructing features like skylines, mountain ranges, and pollution, eclipse viewing from the deck of a cruise ship promises to be spectacular.

Furthermore, depending on local conditions, cruise ships may even be able to reposition themselves in case of poor weather or cloud cover so guests onboard don’t miss prime viewing opportunities.

This particular total eclipse will be the first to have totality visible in Canada since 1979, the first in Mexico since 1991, and the first in the US since 2017. The next eclipse will occur on October 2, 2024, but that event will be entirely over the Pacific Ocean and well away from established cruise travel regions.

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