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2020 Events You Can Cruise To
Floats from the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans (Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock)

2020 Events You Can Cruise To

2020 Events You Can Cruise To
Floats from the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans (Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock)
Sarah Staples
Contributor
Elissa Garay
Contributor
By Sarah Staples and Elissa Garay
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Editor's note: Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic events may be cancelled at short notice.

Maybe you've dreamed of taking part in Rio de Janeiro's annual Carnival -- or maybe you're a sports fan and want to attend the Monaco Grand Prix in person. No matter which 2020 events and festivals you hope to attend, you might be surprised to find out you can cruise there.
Cruising to major world events -- from elite sporting competitions and races to cultural festivals and street parties -- marks a popular segment of theme cruising. Lines like Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, for instance, have designated portions of their cruising portfolio to itineraries focused on big-name 2020 events.
Even better, cruising to marquee events can often save you money over putting together a land-based visit on your own. For example, there's potentially huge savings in cruising to the Monaco Grand Prix, since the markup on a cruise fare is likely far less than that of a hotel stay combined with restaurant meals during race weekend in Monte Carlo (not to mention inflated rates on flights).
Adding to the value -- and convenience -- of these types of trips, event tickets are often included in the cruise fares or sold by the excursion team. Packages might include transfers, as well as cool extras tied to the event theme, such as cocktail parties, events-related experts onboard or meet-and-greets with pro athletes and celebrities.
Here's a look at some of the big-name 2020 events that you can attend via a cruise.

Event

Month

Sail Amsterdam

August 2020

Melbourne Cup

November 2020

Total Solar Eclipse

December 2020

Sail Amsterdam

Sail Amsterdam (Photo: Elisabeth Aardema/Shutterstock)

The Event

Occurring just once every five years, Sail Amsterdam (Aug. 12 to 16, 2020) brings together a flotilla of sailboats, tall ships, naval vessels and historic boats for a stunning maritime spectacle. The five-day-long festival marks one of the largest nautical event on the planet and kicks off with a huge parade of hundreds of ships, followed by navy shows and waterfront activities.

The Cruise

Windstar's Wind Surf is one of the world's largest sailing yacht and will accordingly be one of the festival's main attractions. Sail aboard the line's eight-night "Sail Amsterdam Celebration" voyage from Edinburgh to Tilbury, England (embarking Aug. 9), with stops in England, Belgium and Holland. The trip includes three full days at the Amsterdam event, where cruisers will enjoy a prime position from deck for ogling the hundreds of ships and fireworks display in the harbor.

Melbourne Cup

(Melbourne Cup) Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria (Photo: Neale Cousland/Shutterstock)

The Event

The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia's major thoroughbred horse races, called "the race that stops a nation." Cup Day (Nov. 3, 2020) is a public holiday in the state of Victoria, where the race is held, and it's celebrated by many Australians nationwide. Racing fans looking for a more social experience can book special dining packages or participate in a "fashions on the field" contest in which the best-dressed participants on the racecourse can win prizes.

The Cruise

Two ships in P&O Australia's fleet will offer Melbourne Cup cruises in 2020. The brand-new Pacific Adventure sails from Sydney on a six-night voyage and Pacific Explorer embarks from Brisbane on a seven-night voyage; both depart on Oct. 31. The ships will dock in Melbourne during the race and include transfers and tickets to the event at the Flemington Racecourse; ticket upgrades can be purchased, including access to the exclusive P&O Enclosure. Back onboard, expect race-themed entertainment and the company of racing personalities; details are to be announced.
Or, Carnival's Carnival Splendor departs Sydney for a six-night round trip sailing on Nov. 1, three days of which it will dock in Melbourne, including the main race day on Nov. 3. Bonus: General admission to the Lexus Melbourne Cup and Kennedy Oaks Day is included in Carnival's fare, while onboard racing-themed events will feature tips from to-be-announced racing legends, as well as a "fashion on the fields" fashion show.

Total Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse (Photo: IgorZh/Shutterstock)

The Event

Witnessing a total solar eclipse is breathtaking spectacle, a phenomenon that occurs roughly every 18 months, when the moon passes between the sun and earth, blocking the sun's rays and casting a shadow on our planet. In order to see the total eclipse, you must be in the path of the moon's shadow. Oftentimes, the best viewing platform for any sort of eclipse or solar event is from the deck of a cruise ship at sea, since it can maneuver into the best spot for viewing. The next opportunity for a total eclipse comes up on Dec. 14, 2020, with optimum viewing this time around in Chile and parts of Argentina.

The Cruise

There are a handful of voyages that will get you optimised viewing of the 2020 event. Holland America's Westerdam embarks on a lengthy 22-night "South America, Antarctica and Solar Eclipse" voyage from Santiago, Chile (at San Antonio), to Buenos Aires, with an at-sea day planned off the coast of Argentina on Dec. 14, offering prime eclipse viewing from the ship's decks. Onboard, special guest speakers, including an editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, astronomer and even a former astronaut, will lend context to the event.
Princess is offering the chance to witness the total solar eclipse on a similar route (from San Antonio to Buenos Aires), minus the Antarctic visit, on its 15-night "Cape Horn and Strait of Magellan Itinerary" aboard Coral Princess. Passengers can witness the event from the ship's deck while sailing off the coast of Argentina on the 14th.
Finally, California-based tour operator Wilderness Travel is offering an eclipse-themed program with a tropical slant aboard Paul Gauguin (of Paul Gauguin Cruises). On this 14-night French Polynesian voyage, sailing round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti, on Dec. 5, you'll be joined by guest expert, explorer/educator Jean-Michel Cousteau; eclipse day viewing will be from aboard the ship, maneuvered to a prime position in the Pacific to allow for optimised day-of event viewing.

Updated April 24, 2020

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