For centuries, sailors have navigated the seas using constellations. They rise above the horizon at certain times of night, setting below it at other times.
Ferry boats are getting better but they still cost a lot to run and finding schedules months in advance can be a pain. Look for Blue Star and the large conventional ferries operated by Sea Jets (avoid Champion Jet 2 and Superjet).
You can book deck tickets directly with the ferry companies, and cabins can be booked through travel agencies.
If you are looking to experience a Greek island-hopping adventure, taking the ferry is a convenient way to get around. Ferry tickets are cheaper than a discounted airline ticket and allow you to see more islands in less time. There are dozens of ferries that run daily on Greek island routes. Each route has different seating and cabin options, so you should be sure to choose the right one for you.
Economy deck seats and salon seats are the cheapest options. These are great for short trips, and you can sit outside on the deck if you want to enjoy the sea breeze. For longer trips, you should consider booking an air seat. Air seats are a little more expensive but they are much more comfortable and provide a view of the ocean as you sail. On many of the larger ferries, you can also book a cabin for an overnight trip. These come in several sizes including 4-bunk, internal, and lux cabins for 2 people.
Children under five years of age travel free of charge deck class on most normal ferries. Children 5-10 pay half price for a berth in a cabin. Students with a valid student ID card receive a 50% discount for cabins, business seats and salon seats. On many high-speed ferries, children under 10 do not have to buy a ticket at all.
It is best to book your ferry tickets in advance. Ferries can get very busy during the peak season of June – September and on public holidays. You can book a ferry ticket online, or at the ferry company’s ticket office in the port. It is usually more affordable to book online. Buying a ferry ticket online will save you the hassle of having to collect them on board.
Stargazing from a boat is relaxing, entertaining and awe-inspiring. It also is useful, since the positions of stars and constellations were once used by sailors to navigate unfamiliar waters. The stargazing experience at Vavau offers all of this and more, as guests sail from a mainland harbor to a remote motu (island) for dinner under the stars.
For a truly exceptional stargazing getaway, consider booking a private luxury catamaran for a night-time voyage that combines astronomy with a five-star plant-based culinary journey. Guests are treated to a three-hour adventure that begins at sunset and concludes with a five-course meal on the water’s edge, all under the twinkling stars. The experience is led by a Polynesian navigator who explains how her ancestors relied on the stars to guide them across the ocean, and guests learn how to use the constellations as a wayfinder.
The pristine beaches of the Golden Isles of Georgia are ideal for stargazing because they’re far enough away from cities to avoid interruptive light pollution. The barrier islands are surrounded by marshland, so they’re also a great place to spot the Milky Way during its peak visibility in spring and fall.
You don’t need to travel far and wide for a spectacular skyscape, as many cruise lines offer astronomy programming onboard. For example, Viking Ocean Cruises brings onboard an astronomer who leads discussions about the planets and galaxies, while Royal Caribbean offers a program where guests can explore the stars through a telescope. If you’re cruising on an international ship, look for a special viewing area forward that is kept dark for stargazing.
If you’re on your own, download a stargazing app to help identify constellations, as well as satellites and other celestial bodies. For example, a popular free-roam app called Star Walk 2 is available in both adult and kid-friendly versions and allows users to observe the stars of two hemispheres at once.
The night sky’s beauty is elusive for city dwellers. The best way to experience the twinkling cosmos is by venturing away from civilization, to a dark-sky destination with minimal light pollution. A night of stargazing at the beach, in a desert, on a mountain, or on a lake offers an unparalleled look into our galaxy. The key to effective stargazing is proper preparation and planning. Check out these tips and suggestions to maximize your stargazing adventure:
For a perfect night of viewing, choose the right time. The stars will be most visible during a new moon or an hour before or after moonrise and moonset. Also, try to go stargazing when the weather is clear and the skies are not too windy.
If you’re traveling to a destination known for stellar astronomy, plan accordingly and book your stay at an appropriate hotel. Many of the hotels on our list host stargazing events that include the opportunity to view a celestial show, as well as other astronomical highlights.
A remote North Carolina island is a prime spot to see the night sky in all its twinkling glory, especially during the late fall. During this season, Block Island’s beaches transform into a cinematic canvas of glowing stars and the glimmering sea, as the island’s southern coastline takes on a luminous quality. Stay at the opulent Ocean House for a deluxe beach-side escape, where decadent amenities such as a hot stone massage are sure to complement your evening of gazing.
California’s picturesque coast is a stargazing paradise, and one of the best spots for a weekend getaway is Great Basin National Park, a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park. Here, visitors can peer into thousands of stars, planets, satellites, and the Milky Way galaxy. You can camp at the park, or visit the historic Overland Hotel & Saloon in Pioche, or the Pine Tree Inn & Bakery near Cathedral Gorge State Park.