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Eclipse Tour #53 “Total Solar Eclipse”- Mexico (Cruise)

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Join Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society on what will be his 84th trip to see an eclipse of the Sun!
Dr. Michael Shara of the American Museum of Natural History, a veteran of 4 total solar eclipses and an outstanding scientific speaker will be the highlighted lecturer on this trip.

If the weather in the above zone cooperates, the Sun will be blacked out for approximately 4 minutes 25 seconds from our vantage point southeast of Baja, Mexico.

We at RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS have exclusively chartered a new ship introduced in 2023 by Swan Hellenic Cruises—the SH DIANA. This cruise ship will carry a maximum of 196 passengers in 96 staterooms to the Pacific Ocean for our solar eclipse. Here are some clear advantages of cruising to the solar eclipse:

  • Unpack just once on the ship and repack 9 days later

  • You do not need to bring formal or semi-formal clothes. Years ago Paul Maley established a cruise dress code for solar eclipse cruising called “eclipse casual”. Since you are on vacation and since most eclipse destination requires packing suitcases, dropping what is typically a cruise requirement on most ships for semi-formal or formal evenings makes it much easier to pack lightly for an overseas trip and in some cases, passengers have been able to carry on their luggage onto an airplane rather than check bags. Eclipse casual has proven itself to be the most relaxed and minimally restrictive dress code for such trips. No coats, no ties, no evening gowns unless you choose to do so. 
  • You don’t have to drive to the eclipse location and fight the traffic

  • You don’t have to prepare any meals

  • The observing location at sea experiences a long total eclipse, more than over most of the US

  • You don’t have to worry about overbooked hotels or crowds!

  • You do not have to be concerned about security issues such as those going into Mexico proper

  • You have free access to wi-fi onboard so if you want to maintain contact with friends you can do so without extra charge

  • You get to sleep at night while your cruise ship takes you to your destinations

  • Access to free food and drinks, all day long including evenings and night bars

  • Cruise takes away the burden of planning your vacation. All is set out for you to relax and enjoy the trip.

  • No need to tip anyone onboard as gratuities are included

  • Although the cruise is mostly all-inclusive, if you have to pay for an optional service such as laundry or spa, you don’t need to deal with cash or credit cards since you will be given a cruise card which permits charging purchases on the ship

  • Cruise ships are inherently safe environments

  • More than 80% of cruisers return for a second voyage – far higher than the percentage of people who choose to revisit a land-based resort or attraction

If you are new to eclipse-watching and are not sure which company has the most experience, Ring of Fire Expeditions has the longest track record of eclipse expeditions in the US–almost 50 years. See past trips here

Onboard our Solar Eclipse cruise will also be certain naturalists assigned by Swan Hellenic Cruises to be named at a later date.

 

FUEL ADJUSTMENT

IMPORTANT NOTICEAs is typical for every cruise charter in advance, Swan Hellenic Cruises has also provided a caveat to the cost.  Should fuel prices increase beyond a specific index value by more than 5% up to 30 days prior to the start of the cruise, Swan Hellenic Cruises will increase prices to Direct Travel (and to you). Such a last minute increase could be caused by such things as a huge spike in oil futures or an event such as closing of the Strait of Hormuz.   We do not anticipate this will happen, but Swan Hellenic Cruises is protecting themselves in case it does.  Direct Travel will be forced to notify all passengers of a cost increase should this happen.  

THE SEA LIFE ADVANTAGES DURING OUR CRUISE

The Sea of Cortez was dubbed the “world’s aquarium” by underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau. He coined this term because the Sea of Cortez boasts over 900 species of fish and almost 35 species of marine mammals—all located in the zone between Baja California and the Mexican mainland. 

One of the most impressive sights of all is to see a whale tail in full view. Photo by Paul Maley.

 

Baja cruises in the Sea of Cortez mainly operate in the months of November to and including April, taking advantage of pleasant weather and sailing conditions. The advantages of sailing in the sea in April are as follows:

  • Humpback, minke, sperm, Bryde’s and pilot whales can be spotted
  • Whale watching lagoons are less crowded with people
  • April is a great time to see huge clusters of mobula rays which are known for leaping out of the water
  • A great time to view blue and fin whales with the season running through October
  • Chances to view sea turtles
  • Birders may enjoy opportunities to view blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants, terns, great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets 
  • Water temperatures are in the upper 70s with air temperatures in the high 80s getting hotter as spring progresses.   
  • The night sky is embedded with billions of stars that you can see unhindered by city light pollution
  • You avoid the hottest months and hurricane season
Mobula rays jumping out of the sea. Courtesy BBC.

THE WEATHER ADVANTAGE OF OUR CRUISE*

To choose the area with the lowest chance of cloud AND the most maneuverability in the 24 hours prior to the eclipse, we have selected the Pacific Ocean area located in the ITINERARY section following this graphic.  However, you can clearly see from this image that data over the past years taken on April 8 (eclipse day) reveals the likelihood that US land locations from Texas to Newfoundland will be more than twice as likely to have clouds than we will on the ocean between Baja California and the southwest Mexican coast!!

Cloud cover over the US, Mexico and Pacific Ocean southwest of Mexico. Highest chances of cloud cover are in the USA. Courtesy Jay Anderson.

 

*IMPORTANT NOTE: we, nor anyone else, can guarantee the weather will be clear for this or any other solar eclipse; however, we use weather models and our past expertise to make every reasonable effort to get everyone into the best sky possible.

Itinerary

As of May 31, 2023 subject to change. The operator reserves the right to modify itinerary details for navigational and operational reasons. Please wait for specifics on excursions until the cruise company is able to define them.

For more information on the ship, stateroom photos, and more information: Baja Cruise May 2023

For Paul’s personal review on our ship, DIANA built for the Swan Hellenic cruise line: Paul’s review on the ship, DIANA. Baja Cruise May 2023

Day 1APRIL 1 (MONDAY) - Arrival in Acapulco

As the first stop on our Eclipse Cruise, Acapulco offers a vibrant mix of natural beauty and cultural charm. From the stunning beaches and crystalline waters of Acapulco Bay to the lush tropical forests that surround the city, here’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery to take in. Wildlife enthusiasts will also love the opportunity to spot exotic birds and marine life in the bay, while history buffs can explore the fascinating colonial‐era architecture and monuments scattered throughout the city.

To start your journey in style, we’ve arranged for you to stay at the luxurious 5‐star Dreams Resort Acapulco for one night upon your arrival. This stunning resort offers breathtaking ocean views, world‐class dining, and a wide range of amenities to help you relax and unwind before setting sail.

Day 2APRIL 2 (TUESDAY) - Board MS SWAN HELLENIC DIANA

 

The next day, you’ll be transferred to the SH DIANA to begin your unforgettable journey through the Sea of Cortez.

 

PACIFIC COAST AT SEA: We will board the ship at approximately noon and will set sail at 18:00. There will be a safety briefing before we set sail followed by dinner.

Day 3APRIL 3 (WEDNESDAY) - Day at Sea

Experience pure bliss on a serene sea day as you sail from the vibrant city of Acapulco. Bask in the warm embrace of the sun as gentle ocean breezes caress your skin. Lounge on the spacious deck, immersing yourself in panoramic views of endless azure waters, while savoring refreshing cocktails and indulging in delectable culinary delights. Unwind and rejuvenate with soothing spa treatments, or simply find solace in the peaceful ambiance, allowing your worries to melt away. As the ship glides through the calm waters, a sense of tranquility washes over you, promising a day of pure relaxation and unforgettable moments of serenity.

Day 4APRIL 4 (THURSDAY) - Maria Madre Island, Puerto Balleto

As we sail towards the Sea of Cortez, we’ll make a stop at the remote and pristine Maria Madre Island. Here, you can discover a unique ecosystem teeming with rare wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery. From the lush green forests and towering cliffs to the stunning beaches and crystal‐clear waters, Maria Madre Island offers a wealth of opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, snorkeling, and more. In 2010 the Islas Marías was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, a specially protected biodiverse region.

In the last 12 years, researchers have found 21 species of sharks, 10 different rays, three species of sea turtles and healthy coral reefs. Whale sharks visit the waters off the Marías, and other species such as sardines, tuna, and red snapper, are thriving. The reserve is also an important nesting and feeding site for large colonies of sea birds. First discovered by European seafarer Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (who gave the group of 4 islands the name Islas Magdalenas), the islands saw use as a penal colony (Islas Marías Madre Federal Prison) from 1905 until 2019 when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that the prison was to be closed and would be replaced with a cultural center that will be named after José Revueltas, the famous inmate. Before it was closed the prison colony was mainly engaged in agriculture,some farming, and fishing. Far from the harsh reputation of places like Devil’s Island, in more recent times the Islas Marias had harbored mostly low‐risk prisoners for whom the “prison without walls” was viewed as a step toward reintegration into society. Some prisoners were even allowed to live with their families.

 

The main prison complex on Isla Maria Madre is now in the process of being converted into an environmental education center, named after the prison’s, most famous inmate, José Revueltas ‐ the Muros de Agua‐Jose Revueltas Environmental and Cultural Education Center. Visitors will be able to tour the remote island jail, specifically the area known as Puerto Balleto where boats will be required to anchor to take guests ashore by tenders. The island is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including the Tres Marías Raccoon and the endemic Tres Marías Cottontail Rabbit. The landscape is composed of grasslands, scrub, deciduous and sub‐deciduous tropical forest.

 

Day 5APRIL 5 (FRIDAY) - Cruising Cabo Pulmo

Cabo Pulmo National Park is a national marine park on the east coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, spanning the distance between Pulmo Point and Los Frailes Cap

e, approximately 100 kilometers (62 mi) north of Cabo San Lucas in the Gulf of California. Bahía Pulmo is home to the oldest of only three coral reefs on the west coast of North America. Cabo Pulmo is estim

ated to be 20,000 years old. After organizing by local community groups, the area was designated a national park in 1995, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2008 as this 27 square mile national park is inhabited by 11 different species of coral. Not only is it the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but it also features unique colonies of hard coral atop rock outcroppings that run parallel to the coast,[6] occurring in progressively deeper water offshore. The conservation of the park has been important for a local ecosystem recovery from overfishing as well as an improvement to the local economic wellbeing in the form of eco‐t

ourism consistent of diving and whale watching. This area of the coast, due to its deep upswell with the reef along the coast is an ideal training ground for mother whales to teach their calves.

 

Bahia Agua Verde

This morning the SH DIANA will stop at Bahia Agua Verde on the Baja Peninsula where we will do some birdwatching on shore and then some snorkeling to see a whole host of fish and maybe even species such as green sea turtles before stepping back on board. The rest of the day is dedicated to watching the wonderful and abundant cetacean species found in the Sea of Cortez at this time of year.

Whale Shark Encounter

The whale shark is the largest fish on Earth and Today we hopefully have a chance to observe these marvelous denizens of the ocean. Snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts can explore vibrant coral reefs, encounter tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, and possibly even whale sharks during their visit. Details about the opportunities and costs for snorkeling /scuba diving excursions will be provided closer to departure. Direct Travel will send out an email when we have that information available and can make reservations.

Return to Islas del Golfo Biosphere Reserve & Visit Isla Cerralvo

We make our back to the Islas del Golfo Biosphere Reserve, but this time the SH DIANA will anchor off the coast of the scenic Isla Cerralvo. We start with a walk on the island to see its flora and fauna. The island’s rugged terrain presents opportunities for rock climbing and hiking adventures. The cliffs and hills offer challenging routes for climbers, while hikers can enjoy scenic trails with panoramic views of the surrounding sea and landscapes. The island’s natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor activities make it a captivating destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. After stretching our legs, we can enjoy a spot of snorkeling, our last chance to get in the water and see the life that lives beneath the waves. The island is renowned for its crystal‐clear waters and diverse marine life. Besides marine life, Isla Cerralvo is also home to various land‐ based wildlife species. You might spot desert iguanas, coyotes, jackrabbits, and a variety of bird species while exploring the island’s arid landscapes.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortez is famed for its wealth of marine wildlife, a place that Jacques Cousteau called ‘the world’s aquarium’.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sea of Cortez is one of the most diverse seas on the planet with the widest variety of whales and dolphins, and home to nearly 900 species of fish. Separating the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, this narrow sea (also known as The Gulf of California) is home to a unique and rich ecosystem and sustains a large number of marine mammals, many of which are rare and endangered. It hosts many migratory species including the blue whale. Furthermore, its more than 900 islands are nesting sites for thousands of seabirds, and its waters are primary breeding, feeding, and nursing grounds for a myriad of migratory and resident species.

“Isla Cerralvo” to “Isla Jacques Cousteau”

Isla Cerralvo is an island that is 18 miles (29 km) long with a land area of 136.498 square kilometers (52.702 sq mi) and is the ninth‐largest island in Mexico. The island is adjacent to the towns of El Sargent and La Ventana and is part of the Municipality of La Paz. The island peak comes to 2,100 ft (640 m) and the ridge line runs north– south with many small streams draining east to Gulf of California and west to Cupalo Canal. There are many steep bluffs on the eastern side and many sandy beaches and points on the west side. On November 17, 2009, Mexican government changed the island name from historical name “Isla Cerralvo” to “Isla Jacques Cousteau” in honor of French oceanographer Jacques‐Yves Cousteau (1910–1997) who had led many expeditions in this area as there is abundant marine life surrounding this island. Due to the unique underwater topography and ocean currents, this island has become the traditional fishing grounds of the local Ejidos peoples and the island is dotted with temporary fish camps. Virtually all local marine life must migrate past the island and water visibility goes up to 30 meters making it a prime location for big game fishing. There are abundant yellowtail, golden grouper, marlin, sailfish, swordfish or broadbill, other game and bait fish in Cerralvo Canal waters.

 

Day 6APRIL 6 (SATURDAY) - Bay of Loreto National Marine Park

Today we explore the Bay of Loreto National Marine Park and Isla Santa Catalina. Botany is one of the main focuses for our morning walk on Isla Santa Catalina, along with any reptiles or birds that we come across as we pass through the island’s canyon. Some of the birds that we might encounter include Gila woodpeckers, verdin and cardinals. However, a wonderful highlight that we could have this morning is spotting the rare and endemic Santa Catalina rattleless rattlesnake.

 

Once again, we spend the rest of the day back on board the SH DIANA and out on deck trying to spot any whales or dolphins in the area.

Just like most of our afternoons in the Sea of Cortez, we spend our time looking for whales, dolphins and other marine life. Possible species that we may encounter include blue, fin, humpback and sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, Guadeloupe fur seal, leaping mobula rays and a plethora of seabirds.

 

Day 7APRIL 7 (SUNDAY) - Isla San Jose & Islas del Golfo Biosphere Reserve

 

Next on our itinerary is Isla San Jose, a picturesque island oasis located in the heart of the Sea of Cortez. Known for its rugged terrain, scenic bays, and turquoise waters, this idyllic island is a haven for outdoor adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Here, you can explore the island’s many hidden coves and beaches, go snorkeling or diving to discover the diverse marine life, or simply relax and soak up the sun on the pristine sands.

This morning the SH DIANA will arrive at Islas San Jose in the Islas del Golfo Biosphere Reserve, where we take a walk through the island’s arroyo (or gully) to admire the desert‐adapted flora and birdlife that we come.

 

Day 8APRIL 8 (MONDAY) - Eclipse Day

The highlight of our cruise is the highly anticipated total solar eclipse that will take place at our precise location in the Sea of Cortez on April 8, 2024. This extraordinary celestial event offers a rare opportunity to witness the awe‐inspiring beauty and power of the universe as the moon gracefully passesin front of the sun, casting an ethereal glow across the sky. As we gather together on this momentous occasion, surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the sea and sky, we’ll be reminded of the boundless wonders that exist beyond our everyday lives, igniting a profound sense of awe and wonder within us.

 

 

*Note that we cannot guarantee the weather will be clear for this or any other solar eclipse.

 

Day 9APRIL 9 (TUESDAY) - Isla Partida and wildlife viewing

We’ll continue our journey to the stunning Isla Partida, located just off the coast of La Paz. This tranquil island paradise is renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal‐ clear waters, and stunning coral reefs, making it the perfect destination for snorkeling, diving, and other water‐based activities. You can also explore the island’s rugged interior, which is teeming with rare wildlife and fascinating geological formations.

Islas Los Islotes & Espiritu Santo

After breakfast, we begin the day’s excursion to Islas Los Islotes and Espiritu Santo. Los Islotes comprises of underwater rocky reefs and two islets that are regularly used by colonies of California sea lions as haul ‐out sites. Skiff rides along the coastlines of the islets will provide excellent views of not only the sea lions, but also nesting brown and blue‐footed boobies. In the afternoon, we visit the stunning island of Espiritu Santo. We head ashore for a short walk to enjoy the island’s plants, reptiles, and scenic vistas. Later, there is an opportunity to get in the sea and do some snorkeling to round off an exciting day.

 

We arrive in La Paz in the evening.

This is our final stop on this unforgettable charter cruise is the charming seaside town of Pichilingue, located just south of La Paz.

Day 10APRIL 10 (WEDNESDAY) - Disembarkation in La Paz

We will disembark the ship and briefly we will have time to explore the town’s charming streets and colonial‐era architecture, sample the delicious local cuisine, or simply relax and soak up the warm Mexican sun on the stunning beaches. With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Pichilingue is the perfect destination to end our unforgettable adventure in the Sea of Cortez.

For those that are flying home from Cabo group transportation will be provided in the morning with arrival in Cabo by 11 AM you should not plan for a flight departure before 13:00.

Enjoy a scenic drive from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas airport. The road unfolds before us, revealing a picturesque landscape of rugged coastlines, golden sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs that plunge into the azure waters. This beautiful drive is a chance to reflect on what an amazing trip it has been.

 

Price Includes

  • One pre-night at Dreams Acapulco All-inclusive Resort & SPA
  • Arrival transfer from Acapulco airport to Dreams Acapulco Resort & SPA *
  • Transfer from the Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa to the cruise ship pier
  • Transfer from the cruise ship pier in La Paz Baja California to the San Jose Del Cabo airport at end of cruise *
  • Welcome dinner at the hotel the first night and breakfast/lunch the next day
  • All meals + Open bar
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • All excursions, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.
  • Gratuities included
  • * Airport transfer included when flights purchased with Eclipse Tours/Direct Travel. For guests booking their own air, transfers will be offered at cost.

Price Excludes

  • Airfare of any kind
  • Pre or post hotel expenses including any hotel services, meals not included, incidental expenses, etc. for which payment is required prior to checkout.
  • Pre or post cruise packages (unless specified)
  • Additional onboard services such as spa, etc.
  • Washing and ironing service for laundry
  • Cost of passports and any visas (if required)
  • Medical services and fees
  • use of jet skis on the ship at extra cost
  • tours in Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan (if offered)
  • SCUBA diving equipment
  • passports/visas
  • Anything else not mentioned in the SOLAR ECLIPSE PRICE INCLUDES section above
  • trip cancellation and delay, medical evacuation insurance which is mandatory (passengers are required to secure this from Direct Travel or Direct Travel must approve your own insurance (or international insurance if you are a foreign national)
Cabin Availability
CABIN TYPEPRICE PER PERSONCABINS AVAILABLE FOR SALE*
Deck 4 - Oceanview$7150.000
Deck 5 - Balcony$8750.000
Deck 6 - Balcony$12,999.000
Jr Suite$17,000.000

 

Cost, Registration, & Payment

Pricing Information

PRICE

See CABIN AVAILABILITY above.

 

Payment Information

DEPOSIT SCHEDULE

From time of booking before April 1, 2022:  $2,500 per person

April 1, 2022: 35% of cruise price

November 1, 2022: 50% of cruise price

June 30, 2023: 100% of the total cruise price

CANCELLATION PENALTIES

25% penalty of total paid if cancelled by April 1, 2022

50% penalty of total paid if cancelled between April 1 and November 1, 2022

75% penalty of total paid if cancelled between November 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023

After June 1, 2023: 100% penalty

 

PAYMENT METHODS

IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES you may pay by one of these methods: 1) credit cards, or 2) wire transfer. A USD$75 fee is charged if a wire transfer is used for each payment.  No checks or money orders can be accepted! Please contact Direct Travel Groups Team reservations@directtravelgroups.com  to make arrangements.

Registering for the Tour

REGISTRATION

  1. Scroll up above and look at the CABIN AVAILABILITY TABLE. Choose any cabin that is designated “AVAILABLE
  2. Click HERE to complete one registration form AND submit payment for each person in your party.

We cannot confirm you unless the registration form [one for each person] and payment are all received.

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