The solar eclipse on April 20, 2023, will only appear as a total solar eclipse to observers in a narrow band stretching from the Indian Ocean, across outer northwest Australia, and up to southeast Asia.
If you love stargazing and luxury cruises, you need to know about a 16-day cruise timed to coincide with the total solar eclipse.
“Solar Eclipse 2023: Indonesia to Australia’s Kimberley,” a collaboration between tour operator Smithsonian Journeys and French luxury cruise ship operator Ponant, will depart from Bali on April 9, 2023, and arrive in Broome, Australia, on April 24. On April 20, however, the ship Le Lapérouse will be positioned at sea so passengers can watch the total solar eclipse from the ship’s deck.
“Set sail from Bali to the Komodo Islands and Australia’s Kimberley coast on a voyage that showcases some of nature’s most unusual feats — including the total solar eclipse of 2023,” Smithsonian Journeys explains. “Encounter unique species like the Komodo dragon, and snorkel amid rich marine life on the reefs of Banta Island and Timor-Leste. Then turn south to Australia’s rugged Kimberley coast to discover ancient rock art, dramatic geology, horizontal waterfalls, and more. On the way, enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience a solar eclipse at sea.”
Rates for the cruise aboard the 184-passenger Le Lapérouse start at $20,480.
What The Cruise Entails
Also aboard the cruise to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and the Kimberley in northwestern Australia will be two Smithsonian Journeys Experts — Alex Young, associate director of science at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and Craig Benjamin, an Australian-American historian — as well as a team of experienced naturalist guides. Topics to be covered over the course of the cruise in lectures and information sessions include the solar eclipse and the geology, history, culture, and flora and fauna of the region.
While one of the highlights of the cruise is sure to be watching the total solar eclipse aboard a luxury ship, the itinerary also includes several excursions that may well be bucket-list entries.
For instance, one leg of the cruise includes a stop at Komodo National Park so passengers can disembark, explore the park, and see the Komodo dragons — the world’s largest and heaviest lizards.
Then, at Timor-Leste, which is also known as East Timor, passengers will tour the sites of Dili and learn about colonization by Portugal and Indonesia and how the islanders later fought for independence. There also will be opportunities to swim and snorkel among the world-class reefs offshore.
Passengers will also be able to “discover the wonderfully rugged coast of Australia’s Kimberley region,” exploring the King George River and the 260-foot-high King George Twin Falls before setting out on excursions such as a wildlife cruise on the Ord River or a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles, a colorful range of striated and beehive-shaped rock formations. Passengers will also be able to learn about the indigenous cultures that have lived in the area for millennia as well as visit Montgomery Reef and Horizontal Falls, where tidal movements create a waterfall effect between narrow gorges.
Another excursion is to the Lacepede Islands.
“These four wispy, flat cays off the Kimberley coast are a birder’s paradise, harboring tens of thousands of seabirds, including one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of seabirds,” according to Smithsonian Journeys. “Glide around the uninhabited isles in a Zodiac, watching for abundant green sea turtles in the water and for crested terns, oystercatchers, pelicans, and lesser frigate birds.”
Know Before You Book
“Solar Eclipse 2023: Indonesia to Australia’s Kimberley” is an “expedition” program geared for “healthy, able-bodied participants” who are “physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion,” Smithsonian Journeys explains.
“When embarking and disembarking the ship itself, passengers need to be able to walk up/down the gangway. Zodiacs are used for shore excursions and travelers need to be able to get in and out of the Zodiacs unassisted, which requires a large step over the side of the Zodiac. This typically takes flexibility, agility, and balance,” Smithsonian Journeys continues. “On land, passengers may encounter uneven surfaces during walking and nature tours, and some excursions may require extensive standing.”
You can learn more about the itinerary and make a reservation here.
You can also learn more about the ship Le Lapérouse, compare staterooms and see more pictures of the ship, see a detailed itinerary, and also book a reservation here.
For more about cruises, be sure to visit our cruises and sailing content, as well as