Allentown School District (ASD) Planetarium: '98 eclipse expedition
Local Eclipse Cruise to Set Sail
in February 1998
---40 happy eclipse chasers signed on---|
About the Trip
Ports of Call
NASA Report on the 1998 Eclipse
About the Eclipse Trip
- The Lehigh Valley Motor Club, working in concert with Gary A. Becker of the Allentown
School District Planetarium, has successfully negotiated with Princess Cruises to secure
group space on the new Dawn Princess for the February 26, 1998 total solar eclipse.
The ship will sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 21st and return on Saturday,
February 28th. The ship will be positioned on the eclipse’s centerline off the coast of
Aruba on the 26th. This location cannot be beat from a meteorological standpoint. The
westerly positioning of the ship will also give participants an extra 15 seconds of totality,
over a more easterly location, bringing the entire time within the moon’s shadow to about 3
minutes, 45 seconds.
- The February 26th eclipse begins in the central Pacific and moves rapidly eastward
across equatorial waters, making its first landfall in the Galapagos Islands. The
moon’s shadow then traverses the border between Panama and Colombia before exiting
into the Caribbean from northwestern Venezuela. The moon’s shadow passes over the
islands of Aruba and Curacao about 2:12 p.m. The track then continues eastward across
the Caribbean Sea, overtaking the Leeward Islands of Montserrat, Antigua, and Guadeloupe
just 20 minutes later.
- For many individuals the prospects of viewing a total solar eclipse is a once in a
lifetime experience. Preparation for the successful observation and photography of a
total solar eclipse make seeing the eclipse the overriding priority in arranging for
travel plans. Because the weather can never be predicted with total accuracy, the
ability to maneuver oneself into a clear observing location takes precedence over
any other consideration. The solution is the maneuverability of a ship. You are
virtually guaranteed a front row seat to one of nature’s most awesome displays of
Left: Passengers on the Constitution view the total solar eclipse of July 11, 1991
off the coast of Hawaii.
Right: The Independence, sister ship of the Constitution, seen under the eclipsed sun.
- The eclipse cruise package, , will range in cost from
$1435 for an inside cabin (category I) to $1885 for an outside cabin with a balcony
(category BB). This cost is per person, based upon double occupancy. Other
intermediate categories include II, $1455 (inside), E, $1615 (outside), and D, $1665
(outside). Port taxes are currently $114 per person, additional. Remember that in
cruising, your ship serves as your hotel and that all meals are included while on
- Other planned ports-of-call on the 1998 Princess eclipse expedition include St. Thomas
(F/22), Dominica (F/23), Grenada (F/24), and Caracas, Venezuela (F/25). If you are
currently interested in becoming a participant in this locally organized trip to view
the ’98 total solar eclipse, please contact the AAA Lehigh Valley Group Department at
610-778-3418 or 1-800-552-6679 at your earliest convenience. Ask for Laurianne Daugherty or
Ann Marie Meckes. Group space includes 16 cabins for our local contingency. Updated
eclipse information can be found at this site or by calling Gary A. Becker at 610-820-2204 (W).
- Guaranteed, your voyage into darkness will be an unforgettable experience.
Caribbean Ports of Call
Map of cruise route drawn by Jerry Levy
Sir Arnold Wolfendale, President of the Royal Astronomical Society... Buzz Aldrin
(Apollo 11) is also rumored to be a passenger aboard this sailing, but traveling with another
private tour. Arrangements are still in the making according to Princess.
SAN JUAN--Saturday, February 21
Depart San Juan at midnight after flying from Lehigh Valley International Airport.
Connect directly with the Dawn Princess.
ST THOMAS--Sunday, February 22
This is the place to go shopping. Some crazy duty-free prices even
make a Rolex watch look a bargain... and if you have time left to explore, try to visit
Magen's Bay and snorkel. Or enjoy the ornate Danish warehouses where Captain Kidd once
hid his treasure.
DOMINICA--Monday, February 23
When Columbus discovered the island it was populated by Carib
Indians, as were all the islands. The difference here is that around 3,000 Caribs survive,
living a traditional life on a special reserve. At Trafalgar Falls you can inspect the
second largest mud lake in the world as it hisses and bubbles. At More Trois Pitons,
watch the waterfall shimmer and foam.
GRENADA--Tuesday, February 24
The Caribbean's only Spice Island is also the kind of island that
provides picture-postcard views at seemingly every turn. Even its capital features
pastel warehouses and gabled buildings set around a scenic deep blue lagoon.
CARACAS (LA GUAIRA)--Wednesday, February 25
Cosmopolitan Caracas is a melting pot of architectural styles,
where glittering skyscrapers share space with elegant neoclassical buildings. It also
boasts an unusual combination of attractions - from bargains in gold, gems and pearls
to an array of tempting beaches.
ARUBA--Thursday, February 26--
Arrive Oranjestad at 7:00 a.m., Depart Midnight...
On E-Day, passengers will have the option to disembark at Oranjestad (extra charge) in the
morning or remain onboard the Dawn Princess which will then sail approximately
25 miles to the centerline of the eclipse. The ship will return to port in
the afternoon to pick up those passengers that opted to view the eclips on land. In the event
of bad weather, the decision to chase the eclipse will rest solely with the Captain. Our
group and others will meet with the Deputy Purser of the Dawn Princess the day before
the eclipse so that we can inform him about the needs of our clients. These needs will then be
conveyed to the Captain.
The "A" of the ABC islands (the others are Bonaire and Curacao)
has the reputation as the Caribbean's friendliest island. It also boasts some of its
finest beaches and clearest waters for snorkeling and diving. Visit the Balashi gold
mine that lured Europeans in the 17th Century, caves adorned with Arawak Indian wall
paintings or the unusual rock formation garden at Casibari. The idyllic Baby Beach at
the southern tip of the island has clean, warm and shallow waters - and no crowds.
AT SEA--Friday, February 27
Relax as the Dawn Princess returns to San Juan.
SAN JUAN--Saturday, February 28
Return from San Juan to the Lehigh Valley
1998 DAWN PRINCESS ECLIPSE CRUISE PRICE QUOTES
ABOVE: An ultra wide-angle image of the July 11, 1991 eclipse taken about 10 seconds after
totality. Inset, reveals the gossamer glow of the corona about three minutes into totality.
All photography courtesy of Gary A. Becker.
BELOW: The exuberant group from the Lehigh Valley Motor Club that beat the clouds and witnessed
one of the most spectacular solar eclipses of the 20th century...
1998 Dawn Princess Eclipse Cruise Price Quotes
The new Dawn Princess will have its inaugural sailing on May 10, 1997.
Table created by Mike Stump.
|Category||Description of Lodgings||No. of Cabins Available||AAA Rate|
|Savings||3rd/ 4th Person Rate|
|I||Inside Cabin, two lower beds, Baja or Caribe Decks||6||Sold Out!||$133.00||Sold Out!|
|II||Inside Cabin, two lower beds, Riviera or Aloha Decks||1||Sold Out!||$133.00||Sold Out!|
|FF||Inside Cabin, two lower beds, Plaza Deck||1||Sold Out!||$134.00||Sold Out!|
|E||Outside Cabin, two lower beds, Emerald Deck||3||Sold Out!||$103.00||Sold Out!|
|D||Outside Cabin, two lower beds, Dolphin Deck||1||Sold Out!||$113.00||Sold Out!|
|BB||Outside Cabin, two lower beds, private balcony, Aloha Deck||5||Sold Out!||$143.00||Sold Out!|
Priscilla Andrews: Baja-509
James and Judith Barsic: Emerald-315
Dr. Earl A. and Elsie M. Becker: Dolphin-341
Gary A. and Susan B. Becker: Aloha-515
Paul Becker: Baja-509
Jennifer Bolognese: Baja-425
Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss: Baja-505
Mrs. Sandra Conover
Christopher, Cheryl, and Jason Gaydos: Baja-510
Rod, Diane, Timothy, and Jonathan Hatcher: Plaza-349
Fred and Cheryl, Lore and Erika Herzer: Emerald-353
Harry and Saretta Hodge: Baja-427
Dr. James Hoffman: Baja-504
Mary Ann Jenkins and Kathleen Jenkins: Aloha-602
Marilyn and Casmir Michalski: Aloha-612
Janice Marie Morris: Baja-504
Vince and Laverne Scheetz: Aloha-505
Mrs. Fay Shaffer
Michael Stump: Baja-505
Mary Therese and Robert Yost: Aloha-601
Lee, Karen, and Elaine Zelley: Aloha-640
PORT TAXES: $114.00 per person-subject to change
DEPOSIT: $250.00 per person due at the time of booking
FINAL PAYMENT: Due approximately 75 days prior to sailing
PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP: Acceptable forms of proof of citizenship are a valid passport, an
official certified birth certificate and photo ID such as a driver’s license, or government
employee photo ID card
CANCELLATION PENALTIES: Cancellation penalties of up to 100% may apply. Once deposit is
received, a $25.00 per person AAA cancellation fee applies. AAA Travel Agency imposes a
12% cancellation penalty on all cancellations made after final payment has been received.
ADDITIONAL PENALTIES IMPOSED BY PRINCESS CRUSE LINE:
59 to 31 days prior to sailing: $250.00 per person
30 to 15 days prior to sailing: 50% of total charges
14 to 03 days prior to sailing: 75% of total charges
Less than 72 hours or no shows: NO REFUND!