What better way to kiss 2021 goodbye than by witnessing a rare total solar eclipse at the edge of the earth? By Meena Thiruvengadam
Well, since it isn’t exactly easy to get to the South Orkney Islands — situated about 400 miles northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula — expedition cruise company Hurtigruten is here to help.
Known for its epic voyages all around the world, the company is planning two end-of-year cruises to coincide with the December 4 total solar eclipse, giving adventurers more than one chance to experience this rare phenomenon on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the world’s most remote places.
And if you miss it, you’ll have to wait about 400 years for the next total solar eclipse in this region.
The 23-day itinerary is set to depart from Buenos Aires on November 22, while a second, 18-day itinerary will depart from Santiago, Chile, on November 24. Under clear skies, the company expects passengers on both ships will be able to experience the entire two-minute event, and astronomers will be on board to help them better understand the rare phenomenon and the unique backdrop surrounding them.
The itineraries include stops at the Antarctic Peninsula and sailing through the Drake Passage. The 23-day itinerary also stops at the Falkland and South Georgia islands, as well as in Ushuaia, the Argentinian town that’s considered the end of the world.
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The South Orkney Islands are made up mostly of glaciers, something that makes them an ideal playground for penguins and seals. December is the region’s summer, a time when the sun barely sets and hangs low on the horizon early in the morning.
And if you’re still not quite ready for a giant cruise ship experience, you’re in luck. Hurtigruten’s ships have a maximum passenger capacity of 500, so don’t be surprised if you get a hot tub, infinity pool, or sauna with the most epic view all to yourself.
Prices start at around $18,000 (INR 13,34,853).
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.