Saga Cruises has unveiled a new series of astronomy masterclasses, teaching guests how to use the stars to navigate, on board Saga Sapphire‘s Canary Island Constellations cruise in January 2018.
Before advanced technology, sailors’ navigation tools were telescopes, compasses and sextants but ‘the stars still matter’, said Saga Captain Julian Burgess, who will be at the helm of Saga Sapphire’s cruise dedicated to celestial wonders.
Captain Burgess added: “Ships use advanced technology to navigate but on long sea passages I always encourage my officers to dust off the sextant and ‘shoot’ the stars at dawn and dusk. When you train to work at sea, ‘astro-navigation’ is still a big part of the syllabus, so it’s good to keep that knowledge in use.”
The themed cruise is dedicated to stargazing, and guest speakers include top astronomer and space flight historian Howard Parkin.
A telescope is set up on deck for nightly sessions and guests also have the chance to use the ship’s sextant, an instrument which measures the angle between a celestial body and the horizon.
Shore excursions include the Sunset and Stars tour to Teide National Park, in Tenerife. Important astronomical observatories are based on Mount Teide to take advantage of the limited light pollution and clear night skies. Guests can enjoy watching the sunset, tuck into a cocktail dinner and join a stargazing session. Telescopes are set up for viewing constellations and planets such as Saturn.
The island of La Palma is home to the largest telescope in the world and a Saga tour to the Pilar viewpoint, about 3,300 feet above sea level, gives guests another chance to admire the stars and planets.
The Canary Island Constellations cruise is all-inclusive and features selected wines at lunch and dinner, house-branded spirits, cocktails, draught beer and lager, all mixers and soft drinks. Excursions are optional, at an additional cost, and subject to availability and change.
Further ports of call on the 14-night sailing include Funchal, Madeira; Puerto de la Estaca, El Hierro, Arrecife, Lanzarote and La Coruna, Spain.
For more details, visit saga.co.uk/cruises.