On my recent vacation on the Regal Princess, I did one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done on a cruise ship. I went Stargazing at Sea. This is an activity that Princess Cruises does on most of their itineraries and is included in your cruise fare, so there is no extra charge involved. I say most itineraries because, obviously this activity is contingent upon weather and light conditions. So, Alaska itineraries are excluded due to the midnight sun.
From Princess Cruises’ website: “Science Channel™ and Princess Cruises will take you on a cosmic voyage as you look to the skies from our top deck. On this interactive guided tour, a Princess Stargazing Specialist will teach you how to find your bearings and identify the major constellations, hear the secrets of the stars and the folklore around them. Great for explorers of all ages.”
And, that’s exactly what they did…I felt as if I had been on a cosmic voyage! The event that I went to took place at about 10:15PM one night while at sea. A group of about 35 adults (along with several children) met up on the Sports deck. A headset was given out, along with a few safety instructions. After the safety spiel, we went to the topmost deck to begin learning about the constellations. The ship’s assistant cruise director, Maddie, hosted the event, and via our headsets, we were able to listen to our virtual co-host, Hakeem Oluseyi who gave very informative “mini-lectures” about each constellation that was overhead and how to locate them. I especially loved Maddie’s enthusiasm. She said that this was her absolute favorite thing to do each cruise, and you could certainly tell. She was truly experienced, but the wonder on her face and in her voice was like she was seeing the stars for the first time.
Discovery at Sea’s Science Channel Ambassador, Hakeem Oluseyi, is an astrophysicist, inventor, educator, amateur voice-actor, and self-described “regular guy” from Mississippi. After a PhD at Stanford, a stint working in Silicon Valley and a position at Lawrence Berkley he’s been a Professor at Florida Institute of Technology and a visiting Professor of Physics as MIT specializing in astrophysics, cosmology, and big data analytics. He is currently stationed at NASA HQ where he is the Space Sciences Education Manager.
Hakeem also has a passion for communicating science to the public. He is a frequent contributor to the Science Channel, where he hosts Science Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science TV show. He was a TED fellow in 2013 and is regularly invited to speak at science forums all around the world.
Hakeem cruised the Mediterranean on Island Princess while filming a series of lectures: Celestial Events; Are We Alone?; How the Universe is Made. These lectures are available on stateroom programming across the entire Princess Cruises fleet.
After the Captain turned off most of the ship’s lights in the area where we were gathered, Maddie pointed out the constellations to us with a laser pointer, while Hakeem Oluseyi told about each constellation. Maddie would then pause his commentary, while everyone was able to get a good look at each constellation.
This was the first time that I’ve ever been able to locate any constellation in the night sky with the exception of the Big & Little Dipper. They even explained how to find the North Star by using our fists & the location of the Big Dipper. Thanks to some great explanations and the help of Maddie’s laser pointer, I was able to find Sirius, Canis Major & Canis Minor, Orion, Orion’s Belt, Gemini, Leo & Taurus, among others. It was amazing, and despite the few clouds that we sailed through, was just a perfect night to stargaze.
I didn’t take any pictures of the constellations, because I’m sure that my iPhone would have just captured a black sky, but I did take a few pictures of the event:
This truly was one of the most memorable nights on a cruise I’ve ever experienced. I will plan to do this on every Princess cruise that I take…I really hate that I missed Stargazing at Sea on my other Princess Cruises. This is one of the things that sets Princess Cruises apart from others. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, I learned so much. I’m so glad I chose to sail Princess Cruises!
So, if you would like to “Come Back New” and enjoy all that Princess Cruises has to offer, send me a message…I’d love to help you plan your next wonder-filled vacation! firstname.lastname@example.org