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Anyone ever done a S&T chartered trip? (Iceland)

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#1 Seanem44

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 03:09 PM

I was considering a Sky and Telescope trip to Iceland.

Has anyone ever done one of these types of sponsored trips before? Are they worth it? Fun?

#2 Alex McConahay

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:31 PM

I did one with them when they worked with Travel Quest. I have also done a Spears Travel, and a Melita trip (of the astronomically themed trips I have been on). They are all very good. They are also fun. Of course, you have to decide for yourself. Curiously, not all the people are amateur astornomers, but many are. They are generally experienced travellers. The "astronomers" they send along as guides and lecturers can impart a great deal of kowledge, but by nature of the audience, the presentations are not much more than you would get out of a few hours researching the topic on the internet. (Not that these people don't have a lot more in their heads that they share in more informal conversations.)

You could probably get a similar guided tour of wherever you are going for less money. They generally stay in pretty nice (expensive) places. And all is taken care of.

What they do offer is some flexibilty and prior research. They know where you can observe the eclipse, or the aurora. (Of course, with a little homework, you could find this out yourself.) And they have the transportation to move you from one site to another.

Take a few of the trips and see how you like them.

Alex

#3 Seanem44

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:59 AM

I think we might use what the tour provides as a starting point and create our own vacation, making it similar.

I believe we can make it more cost effective this way, while adding some freedom to it.

#4 Alex McConahay

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:30 AM

One does pay for the convenience of not having to think or plan things. And for having somebody worry about all the details of luggage, etc. What these things are worth to you makes a big difference.

Alex

#5 Alex McConahay

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:42 AM

Let me add something to my last comment......Many of these astro trips focus on a specific event (eclipse, transit, etc.) YOu can often go on a non-astro tour, and then just add the astro event yourself.

For instance, in our trip to Egypt, the big astro trips were selling for $3995. They included transportation, five star hotels, special site at the eclipse, cruise on the Nile. Twelve days or something. I googled "Egypt travel" and found several trips with exactly the same itinerary (except the eclipse site) for half that price. (And I mean exact except that we took a different boat on the Nile cruise (there are hundreds of very similar boats) and they were at the Cairo Hilton while we were at the Cairo Marriott (or something.....)) But all our hotels were fives, just as their's were.

I called one of the providers, and asked him what it would cost to do that itinerary with me and six or eight of my friends WITH THE ADDITION of the eclipse site. It was $1795.

We were in a group of a dozen eventually, in a small bus/big van. The astro-tour had four busses of 52 people each. THey had a special dinner and astro-talks at various points. We did not. We had belly dancers on the dinner cruise. They did too. Several nights, and on eclipse day itself, we were in the same locations. (I have pictures of my buddies from our group and from the astro-trip group taken as we waited for the eclipse.)

So, it can be done in a variety of ways.

Alex

#6 JimMo

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:53 PM

Never done an astro trip, but my son was in Iceland two years ago and he said it's one place we have to put on our bucket list. I've read the ads and they seem very expensive but convenient. What Alex says makes a whole lot of sense.

#7 Solar Ken

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 03:49 PM

We went on the S&T total solar eclipse trip to Australia in November 2012, put on by Insight Cruises. Despite their name this was a land based trip, and it was indeed the trip of a lifetime. Virtually everything was included in the price, all airfare from US to and from Australia, all flights within Australia, all hotels, transportation, most all the meals, a snorkel trip to the Great Barrier Reef, viewing the solar eclipse from a hot air balloon. It was absolutely amazing!

My wife and I had never been on any type of tour like this and were a little bit apprehensive, but we were so pleased with this one. Everything was handled to perfection! Everything was delivered as promised. Insight Cruises focus is usually educational based tours and trips. If they ever sponsor a trip we're interested in we would not hesitate to sign up.

There were about 15 of us on the trip and by the end of the week, we all felt like we were longtime friends.

Neil Bauman the CEO of Insight Cruises was on the entire trip with us making sure all arrangements were as planned. Greg Bryant, editor of Sky & Telescope Australia joined us as we visited the Parkes Radio Dish, Siding Spring Observatory and the total solar eclipse.

The entire trip was so perfect, once we got home we asked ourselves if it had all been a dream. More than a year later I think about it almost every day.

The website link is still active. Check it out at:
http://www.insightcr...g/st04_top.html

Ken






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