The Next Total Solar Eclipse Is Happening in 2023 — and This Incredible 16-day Cruise Will Take You to See It

Tour operator Smithsonian Journeys and luxury cruise line Ponant are partnering for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see a total solar eclipse while sailing on the Indian Ocean.

Le Laperouse by the Beach during sunset in Kimberley ,Australia
Photo: Laure Patricot/Courtesy of PONANT

Whether you're a bona fide astronomer or just a casual stargazer, a total solar eclipse is a must-see celestial phenomenon. The next one is one coming up on April 20, 2023, and the best way to see it is from the ocean.

The path of this solar eclipse runs through the Indian Ocean, up the coast of northwestern Australia, and across several Southeast Asian islands, which means that some of the best vantage points are actually from the ocean. That's why tour operator Smithsonian Journeys and luxury cruise line Ponant are partnering to offer a special 16-day solar eclipse itinerary, visiting some of the most remote areas in the world.

Zodiac boat sailing through King George River in Kimberley, Australia
Nathalie Michel/Courtesy of PONANT

The voyage begins in Indonesia: guests embark in Bali on April 9, then sail to Komodo National Park to see its famous reptilian inhabitants. The trip continues to the island nation of East Timor, before sailing to Western Australia's remote Kimberley region. The route will take the ship into the Indian Ocean to position itself perfectly for viewing the solar eclipse.

Guests will be treated to a three-hour show, including about a minute of totality (the dramatic part when the sun is completely obscured by the moon) with insights from associate director of science at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Alex Young and Australian American historian Craig Benjamin, who are joining the expedition as Smithsonian Journeys experts. The itinerary then continues back to the coast of Western Australia, and guests eventually disembark in Broome on April 24.

Guests on a zodiac boat from Le Laperouse
Nick Rains/Courtesy of PONANT

On the trip, guests are likely to experience dramatic wildlife sightings (Komodo dragons, humpback whales, and all types of seabirds inhabit these areas); vast, ancient landscapes, from sandy beaches to coral reefs to waterfall-lined gorges; and cultural immersion, particularly in Dili, the capital of East Timor, which has a vibrant arts-and-crafts scene.

Interior of a public space onboard the Le Laperouse
Christophe Dugied/Courtesy of PONANT
Interior of the Panoramic Restaurant on board Le Laperouse
Christophe Dugied/Courtesy of PONANT

As for shipboard accommodations, guests will be sailing on Ponant's luxurious Le Lapérouse, a 184-passenger, all-suite ship complete with a spa, two restaurants, and a spectacular underwater lounge.

For veteran eclipse chasers and first-time viewers alike, this sailing promises to be an incredible adventure.

Rates for the sailing start at $20,480, and you can book your spot here.

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