Abercrombie & Kent, the leading operator of premium tours, has announced a journey that is sure to represent the trip of a lifetime for even the most well-traveled adventurers.
The company has crafted the "Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse Cruise," a 15-day epic voyage beginning November 28, 2021. Yes, it's a couple years away, but space is limited on the 199-passenger Le Lyrial expedition ship, and I'm sure the spots will get snapped up quickly.
This ultimate adventure to Antarctica offers the backdrop of towering icebergs and massive glaciers during a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon: a total solar eclipse. Abercrombie & Kent is enhancing the astronomical spectacle by bringing onboard experts such as former astronaut Kathy Sullivan, award-winning astronomer Massimo Tarenghi and rocket scientist David J. Crain.
During a welcome event at Observatorio Astronmico Andino, in Santiago, Chile, Dr. David Crain will set the stage for the adventure. Additionally, Kathy Sullivan will conduct onboard lectures and be available for informal conversations throughout the cruise, sharing what it's like to live in space, including the view from the Space Shuttle -- 140 miles above the earth. Dr. Massimo Terenghi, who spent his career working with state-of-the-art telescopes in Chile's Atacama Desert, will provide tips on photographing the eclipse.
Dr. Kathy Sullivan, Astronaut, Geologist and Scientist
One of the first women to join NASA in 1978, Dr. Sullivan's tenure also includes the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. She is the former Administrator of NOAA and currently serves as an Ambassador at Large for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. She travels the globe as a scientific expert and holds a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University.
Dr. Massimo Terenghi, Scientist and Photographer
A former professor of astrophysics at the University of Milan, Dr. Terenghi has worked in leadership roles with the European Southern Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. In addition to serving as the director of the ALMA telescope, he spent 17 years building the Paranal Observatory in Atacama. He's won multiple awards, including the Bernado O'Higgins Grand Cross by the Chilean government and the Tycho Brahe Award by the Institute of Navigation, and now spends his time on astronomical photography.
Dr. David Crain, Scientist and NewSpace Entrepreneur
With a Ph.D. in atmospheric and space physics, Dr. Crain has founded and co-founded several commercial space startups with an emphasis on weather observations. He has also been on several observational expeditions for past Solar Eclipses and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Utah State University and Sam Houston State University.
These experts join members of the award-winning A&K Expedition Team, many who have been traveling to Antarctica for decades. These accomplished explorers range from pioneering scientists and recipients of the prestigious Polar Medal, to seasoned academics, photographers and field naturalists. Count on in-depth insight and hands-on guidance from at least 18 A&K Expedition Team members, with a staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.2.
These expert and friendly guides quickly help create a fun and immersive experience as if you are traveling as one large and curious family. They offer fascinating lectures and kid-friendly activities at sea, lead shore excursions and share captivating stories about their adventures over meals.
"We're bringing together some of the foremost experts in astronomy and polar expeditions for the ultimate polar adventure cruise," says Bob Simpson, A&K vice president of Expedition Cruising. "The next total solar eclipse in this part of the world isn't until 2061, which makes this a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
For even more astral adventures, A&K is offering a six-day pre-cruise extension to explore the Atacama Desert and the lunar landscapes of the Moon Valley. Visit the Paranal Observatory -- alongside its founder, Dr. Tarenghi -- for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, including a look at the world's most advanced optical instrument, the VLT, or Very Large Telescope.
By chartering the luxurious mega-yacht Le Lyrial in Antarctica, A&K limits capacity to 199 passengers, which not only allows unrestricted access to landing sites prohibited to larger vessels but also affords personalized attention onboard the ship, as well as a private balcony in every stateroom. Pricing is all-inclusive, featuring arrival and departure transfers, gratuities and bar drinks, in addition to complimentary Wi-Fi and laundry service -- exclusive A&K amenities. You also have a choice of included excursions in Santiago, such as a bicycle tour of the city, a visit to an artist studio, a stroll through the city's famed graffiti street art district or a wine tasting in the Maipo Valley.
Onboard a fresh menu inspired by French culinary heritage encompasses everything from lavish multi-course dinners and international buffets to carefully selected cheeses and freshly baked pastries that rival those found in Paris. With a choice of two restaurants, no formal evenings and 24-hour room service, guests have the flexibility to dine when and where they wish.
To ensure travelers have all the gear they need for their polar voyage (and not use up valuable luggage space), A&K provides an expedition parka, backpack and water bottle. You also get complimentary use of boots, waterproof pants and trekking poles. These are placed in your stateroom for use throughout the trip.
Have you traveled to see an eclipse? Where did you go? Any tips to share? Comment below, please.
Thanks so much for reading, and always travel happy!