When it comes to astronomical events, North America is in an ideal location right now. Over the next few months, the area will experience two solar eclipses. The first occurs on Saturday, October 14, 2023. The second happens on Monday, April 8, 2024.
The path of the two eclipses will create an “X” over North America, with the center point being in central and west Texas. The October event will trace a path from northwest to southeast, going from Oregon through Texas, and across the Gulf of Mexico and Central America. April’s eclipse path will take it from northeastern Canada through the Midwest, Texas, and then the Pacific side of Mexico.
But it’s the October path that will provide the best opportunities for some cruise passengers as it passes over a busy area for cruise ships. This includes the Gulf of Mexico and the southwestern part of the Caribbean.
That means barring any cloud cover, there are literally thousands of passengers who will get a chance to experience the phenomenon while at sea or in port in areas that should have perfect views.
To be sure, the path of partial eclipse is wide, with practically all of North America being able to see at least some coverage of the sun. It’s a much more narrow band, however, that will be able to see the full impact. This includes being able to see the the “ring of fire” when the sun should be completely covered except for a thin ring of light around the moon.
Cruise Ships Near the Center Path of the Eclipse
So which lucky ships are perfectly positioned to see the most of the eclipse? All the following look to be in prime spots. (Schedule data from CruiseMapper.com.)
Viking Mars (Belize City)
Viking Mars is on a 10-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Panama City. On October 14, it is scheduled to visit Belize City, which sits in the middle of the eclipse’s path, providing what should be the best view of any ship. At this point, during the peak time viewers should see only the moon with a ring of sunlight around its edge for about five minutes.
Radiance of the Seas (Costa Rica)
On a repositioning cruise from San Diego to Tampa, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas happens to be in a prime spot as it travels from west to east. During the eclipse the ship will be docked in Costa Rica, which is near the path of the event’s peak.
Voyager of the Seas (Cozumel)
Cozumel is one of the most visited cruise ports in the world and also is within the path of the eclipse. During that day, Voyager of the Seas will be docked at the port, providing visitors on the ship a great spot to view the event. At this point the entire sun won’t be covered, but most of it will be.
Carnival Valor (Cozumel)
Joining Voyager of the Seas will be Carnival Valor. The ship is sailing from New Orleans on a four-day cruise and has Cozumel as its only port of call. There, it will be in an ideal position to witness the eclipse during the middle of the day while docked.
Carnival Vista & Carnival Breeze (Galveston)
Weekends are known as “turnaround” days as many ships schedule to be at their homeport during Saturdays and Sundays, dropping off one shipload of passengers and taking on new ones. Unfortunately, most departure ports aren’t in the prime path of the event except for Galveston, Texas.
Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze are both scheduled to be in Galveston on Saturday during a turnaround day. Any passengers heading to the ship will be in a great spot to catch the eclipse overhead.
Allure of the Seas (Gulf of Mexico)
The center path of the eclipse takes a path from the Coastal Bend of Texas (near Corpus Christi) to the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula. That means a ship leaving Mexico and heading back to Galveston will be in a great spot to watch.
That’s the route of Allure of the Seas, which will be in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico during the peak of the event as it sails back to Texas. Expect the pool deck to be full as people crowd to get a look.
Carnival Dream (Gulf of Mexico)
There’s one more major cruise ship that should be in an ideal spot during the day’s events, and that’s Carnival Dream. The ship is on an 8-day cruise from Galveston to The Bahamas and will be on its last sea day heading back home before docking in Texas on Sunday morning.
That means come the middle of Saturday, it should be a solid spot to see a major portion of the sun covered.