Seeing a solar eclipse is a cool experience – totality is awe-inspiring no matter where in the world you see it. As the 2019 solar eclipse approaches, it’s time to start finalizing your plans if you want to see the shadow of the moon pass over the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina on July 2nd.
There are a variety of ways to plan your solar eclipse trip this year. You could opt for a tour where a company will arrange your hotel, transport, and guide. Or, you could plan your trip independently, booking everything exactly as you want to experience it. Looking for something different, a little bit more off-the-beaten-path – or just to make this year’s solar eclipse completely unforgettable? Consider planning to see the eclipse in a new way: on a cruise or eclipse flight! Here’s a list of the available solar eclipse cruises and flights you can book… but don’t wait too long, as these are selling fast despite the high costs for each!
2019 Solar Eclipse Cruises
The solar eclipse in 2019 is unique in that the majority of the eclipse passes over the South Pacific. This includes parts of French Polynesia, which is a once-in-a-lifetime paradise destination for most people on a normal day. In July, several companies are setting out from various Polynesian islands to offer multi-day solar eclipse cruises. Here are the four we’ve found:
1. TravelQuest or Wilderness Travel: South Pacific Cruise to Totality
- Length: 15 Days
- Dates: June 26 – July 10, 2019
- Departure/Disembark: Tahiti
- Highlights: Totality on Day 7, Pitcairn Island, Bora Bora
- Cost: sold out
The cruise itinerary offered by TravelQuest or Wilderness Travel for the 2019 solar eclipse is eye-catching: a 15-day cruise through the South Pacific aboard the M/S Paul Gauguin, stopping at some of French Polynesia’s most famed paradisical islands like Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Pitcairn Island. Oh, and you’ll experience totality on Day 7 to mark the halfway point in this amazing journey.
2. Pitcairn Islands Tourism: Solar Eclipse Tour
- Length: 11 Days
- Dates: June 26 – July 6, 2019
- Departure/Disembark: Mangareva
- Highlights: air transfers to Mangareva from Tahiti, viewing the eclipse from Oeno Island, stargazing in a prospective Dark Sky Sanctuary
- Cost: from NZD 8,250 per person (roughly $5,500)
Pitcairn Islands Tourism, the destination marketing organization for the Pitcairn Islands, has put together an 11-day solar eclipse tour itinerary including a 7-day cruise to experience the eclipse in the heart of their archipelago. The highlight by far is for totality: the M/V Bravo Supporter will arrive at Oeno Island, the tiny atoll which is the only landmass totality will pass before it strikes the western coast of South America. You’ll also have a chance to go stargazing on Pitcairn Island, a prospective Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Starting at roughly $5,500 per person, this is the most affordable solar eclipse cruise option, but also the most spartan.
3. Eclipse Tours: 2019 Tahiti Solar Eclipse Cruise
- Length: 11 Days
- Dates: June 27 – July 7, 2019
- Departure/Disembark: Tahiti
- Highlights: seven blissful days at sea, totality on Day 6
- Cost: sold out
Unfortunately, the solar eclipse cruise offered by Eclipse Tours is also sold out – and has been since 2017! However, you’re here for inspiration, so here’s what guests will be lucky enough to experience (and maybe this will motivate you to finally book your solar eclipse trip!): six days aboard the luxurious Windstar Cruises Wind Spirit, punctuated by totality in case seven days at sea starts getting dull.
The next eclipse over a major body of water will be in 2021 when Eclipse Tours is offering an Antarctica cruise aboard Ponant Cruise Lines Le Boreal. Some classes of cabins are already sold out!
2019 Solar Eclipse Flights
Don’t have two weeks to spend abroad a cruise just to see the solar eclipse? Or maybe you’re a bit sensitive sea sickness and don’t relish the idea of fighting nausea during totality? Consider booking a solar eclipse flight! These flights will break the bank for a single day experience, but have two benefits: they are an insanely cool way to see the eclipse and you’ll experience totality for longer than anyone on earth.
Photo credit: G. Schneider and G. Simms
1. University of Arizona: Total Solar Eclipse Flight
The solar eclipse flight that made headlines recently is offered by scientists at the University of Arizona. This flight itinerary is unique in three important ways: the flight will be aboard a Boeing Dreamliner which has the largest airplane windows of any aircraft, it sets out from Easter Island off the coast of Chile, and the flight plan is designed to maximize totality – passengers can expect to experience between eight and nine minutes of totality aboard this flight!
Seats start from $6,750 per person for this 4.5-hour flight, so you’d better save up! This flight is arguably the best way to see the eclipse in the world, with over three times more totality than anywhere else!
2. Sky & Telescope: 2019 Flight into Totality
Sky & Telescope has partnered with airline LATAM to offer a solar eclipse flight which departs from Santiago, Chile on the morning of July 2nd. The A320 plane will climb to 37,000 feet and navigate into the path of totality. Once there, you’ll experience 3 minutes and 15 seconds of totality – almost a minute more than anyone on the ground in Chile!
To book a seat, you’ll pay for an entire row – which starts at $5,500 for one person or $6,000 for two in a single row. This 2.5-hour flight comes at a steep price, but you’ll have an unreal view of the solar eclipse from the air, and a unique vantage point on the umbra on the ground below.
Photo credit: ivva via Flickr
3. The Planetary Society: Tahiti Eclipse 2019
The Planetary Society has put together a 9-day itinerary to experience the solar eclipse from Tahiti, including a chartered flight on the day of the eclipse itself. In addition to experiencing over three minutes of totality during the eclipse flight, the itinerary includes opportunities to learn Polynesian history and meet some of the amazing marine wildlife that inhabits the waters around Tahiti. It’s the perfect chance to ask researchers and guides how sea creatures change their behavior during an eclipse!
The whole itinerary starts from $5,995 per person plus $1,995 per person for the eclipse flight. Not bad for nine days in paradise with a solar eclipse flight included!
Okay, so these are all big-ticket options for the solar eclipse… But it’s not too late to finish planning your trip at whatever budget you have! Don’t forget to check out our whole solar eclipse guide with more info on tours and travel to see the solar eclipse in 2019.
Featured photo credit: Gregory Slobirdr Smith via Flickr