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The Best Antarctica Cruise To See The Total Solar Eclipse This Year

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The Best Antarctica Cruise To See The Total Solar Eclipse This Year

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This year, the skies over Antarctica are set to darken with a rare total solar eclipse.

This eco-friendly cruise is the best way to see this incredible moment for yourself.

Francesca Brooking

Fri 16 Apr 2021

This article is sponsored by Hurtigruten
hurtigruten logo

Book your eco-friendly cruise to Antarctica to see this year's solar eclipse

As the world starts to open up again after the pandemic, many of us are craving epic once in a lifetime adventures. The bucket list kind that will stay with you forever.

One such trip is Antarctica and this year the seventh continent is set to be even more captivating.

On 4 December 2021, Antarctica’s glacier-laden waters will play host to a spectacular total solar eclipse. The likes of which will not be seen in that spot for another 400 years.

If travelling to the ends of the Earth is on your list, here’s the best cruise to see the total solar eclipse in Antarctica this year.

Cruise and the solar eclipse

Seeing the total solar eclipse in Antarctica is a once in a lifetime experience

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is a fleeting celestial event that occurs when the moon completely covers the sun for a few minutes. In those moments, the day is as dark as night.

The temperature drops and birds fall eerily silent. It’s like the world is holding its breath as the moon appears to swallow the sun. If the sky is clear, stars and planets are visible.

Witnessing a total solar eclipse is a truly unforgettable and awe-inspiring experience. It’s no wonder tourists travel all over the world to see it despite it only lasting for such a short time.

Another big reason is that it’s also incredibly rare. Although total solar eclipses take place every 18 months or so on earth, it’s estimated that they occur at any given place once every 360 to 410 years.

This year, the total solar eclipse is in Antarctica.

Solar eclipse in the sky

The next solar eclipse in that spot won't be seen again for the next 400 years

Why you should see the total solar eclipse in Antarctica

On 4 December 2021, a low-hanging total solar eclipse will be passing over the Southern Ocean, just eight degrees from the southeast horizon.

The path of totality, the narrow track where the moon completely covers the sun, falls just north of the South Orkney Islands, along the Weddell Sea and close to the Antarctic Peninsula.

It’s also a little more unusual because it will be moving from east to west rather than following the west to east path non-polar eclipses tend to take.

This means the best place to witness this rare celestial event in all its glory isn’t on land but in the icy waters surrounding Antarctica.

Observers will be able to view the eclipse against a formidable frozen backdrop of icebergs and frosty sea ice. It couldn’t get more otherworldly than that.

So, how can you see it with your own eyes?

On the deck of a ship is your best bet.

One eco-friendly expedition cruise, Hurtigruten is here to make sure you get the most out of this once in a lifetime phenomenon. They have also introduced a Book With Confidence, meaning you can rescedule your cruise or get a refund if you have to move it.

Eclipse in a dark sky

See the solar eclipse against a formidable backdrop of snowy peaks and icebergs

Best Antarctica cruise experience

Journeying to Antarctica by cruise ship is one of the most intrepid adventures you can do.

On top of that, the promise of a rare astronomical event coupled with incredible scenery and wildlife makes it a one of a kind trip that will stay with you forever. After all, an event like this won’t happen for the next 400 years in that spot. Where better than to celebrate it than at the ends of the Earth?

Hurtigruten have two voyages planned, both arriving in the Scotia Sea close to the South Orkney Islands. From there, early in the morning (weather permitting), passengers will get the opportunity to see the total eclipse from beginning to end.

To ensure your experience is an unforgettable one, you’ll be given sunglasses designed to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

A professional astronomer will be there to prepare you for the celestial event and guide you through it when the moment arrives.

They will be pointing key highlights to look out for, including the red halo of light when the moon covers the sun (known as the chromosphere) and the coronal flare at the top of the sun.

No magical moment is complete without a memento of the occasion, so you will also get top tips on capturing the event on camera from a team of professional photographers.

There might even be a drone involved if the weather is calm enough. Their footage will be accessible afterwards so you can sit back and relax during the event too.

After observing this spectacular astronomical event, the cruise will explore more of the South Orkney Islands (a group of four islands about 600km northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula). There you will come across a land of striking glaciers as well as local residents in the form of penguins and seals.

The cruise will make an attempt to navigate a route through the icebergs, sea ice and occasional mist so you can get the opportunity to continue part of your Antarctic expedition on land (fully guided, of course).

Person hiking in the snow

Hurtigruten offer an intrepid cruise experiece in Antarctica

An eco-friendly cruise you can trust

Hurtigruten has been a leader in sustainable exploration travel to the Polar regions since 1893.

Operating in some of the most remote and challenging seas in the world, Hurtigruten combines innovation and technology to ensure that every trip is safe and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The company have avoided using heavy fuel oil for over 10 years to drastically cut down on toxic air pollution. They’re also in the middle of building the first ever hybrid-electric powered expedition cruise ships.

Some are already in operation. In fact, the MS Roald Amundsen is one of the ships lined up to take passengers to Antarctica for the total solar eclipse this December.

These ships are expected to be the greenest expedition ships in history and will contribute to Hurtigruten’s goals to operate completely emissions-free and transform ocean exploration for the better.

Hurtigruten are proud to be the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from all their restaurants, ships and hotels.

They’re constantly working towards improving how they handle their waste and they share everything they learn along the way. What’s more, their expert crew are trained in conservation and participate in beach cleanups every year.

A huge part of Hurtigruten’s manifesto is raising awareness of the real effects of pollution. Much of it is supported by the Hurtigruten Foundation which works to conserve marine life, fight plastic pollution and contribute to projects in the areas the expeditions venture.

Guests onboard a Hurtigruten ship can expect an authentic, meaningful and knowledgeable experience with a chance to explore some of the most remote corners of the world.

Each ship has a dedicated Expedition Team on board who will be your hosts throughout the journey and provide lectures on geography, history, wildlife, astronomy, culture and more so you can get a deeper understanding of the places you visit.

Penguins on the beach

Hurtigruten is building hybrid electric-powered cruise ships

Antarctica total solar eclipse cruise itineraries

There are two ways to see the total solar eclipse in Antarctica with Hurtigruten this year.

One via MS Fram, a 23-day cruise beginning in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The other an 18-day cruise on the MS Roald Amundsen starting in Santiago de Chile.

Here are some key itinerary highlights of each below:

boat and icebergs

Choose between two expedition cruises to Antarctica

The ultimate expedition and solar eclipse

Highlights include wildlife spotting, visiting the Falkland Islands and a chance to see South Georgia, the ‘Galápagos of the Poles’.

Day 1 - Buenos Aires

Days 2-3 - Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

Day 3 - Across the open sea

Days 4-5 - The Falkland Islands

Days 6-7 - Across the South Atlantic

Days 8-10 - Visit South Georgia

Days 11-12 - Lectures and scanning for wildlife on deck

Day 13 - South Orkney Islands for the total solar eclipse

Days 14-15 - Heading towards Antarctica

Days 16-20 - Exploring Antarctica by sea and on land

Days 21-22 - The Drake Passage

Day 23 - Ushuaia to Buenos Aires

Penguins on ice

South Georgia is the ‘Galápagos of the Poles’

Great explorers and solar eclipse

Featuring Patagonia, the Falklands, wildlife and the frontiers of Antarctica.

Day 1 - Santiago de Chile

Day 2 - Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas

Days 3-4 - The Drake Passage

Days 5-6 - Visit Antarctica

Day 10 - Relax on board MS Roald Amundsen

Day 11 - South Orkney Islands for the total solar eclipse

Days 12-13 - Lectures and scanning for wildlife on deck

Days 14-16 - The Falkland Islands

Day 17 - The Magellan Strait

Day 18 - Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile

Kayaking through icebergs

Hurtigruten offers opportunities to see the wonders of Antarctica up close

Book your once in a lifetime cruise to Antarctica or find out more about Hurtigruten cruises here.

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This article is sponsored by Hurtigruten
hurtigruten logo

Book your eco-friendly cruise to Antarctica to see this year's solar eclipse

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