The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


May 1–12, 2025

A Voyage from West Africa to Lisbon, Exploring the Canary & Madeira Islands

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to invite you to join a ten night voyage along the Atlantic shores of West Africa, May 1–12, 2025. This program, designed to attend to both the natural and cultural history of West Africa and the Canary & Madeira islands offers an opportunity to explore a fascinating part of the world that has been shaped both by the natural forces of geology and climate and by the human forces of conquest and colonialism.

map of the route

map of the route

We begin in the cosmopolitan city of Dakar, where museums and markets teem with African arts and crafts, and where the somber legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is memorialized on the UNESCO Heritage Site of Gorée Island. A day at sea brings us to the seldom-visited Western Saharan port of Dakhla, where the desert meets the ocean, producing stunningly beautiful beaches, and where we tour the charming city that was once capital of the Spanish Rio de Oro. Leaving the mainland, we set sail for the Canaries and the Madeira Archipelago. On the Canary Island of Tenerife, visit La Laguna, the colonial capital and now a UNESCO Heritage Site, and drive through a stunning volcanic landscape to Teide National Park to visit the observatory. La Palma provides the chance to visit the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, site of the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope. Then, during two days in the Madeira Archipelago, tour the capital, Funchal, its museums, and its magnificent Botanical Garden; spend a day on Porto Santo, where Christopher Columbus resided for a time; and enjoy a tasting of the eponymous wine for which the archipelago is famous.

Alex Filippenko

Alex Filippenko
Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley

Joining us throughout the voyage will be Alex Filippenko, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley. Professor Filippenko looks forward to sharing his experience and expertise in a series of lectures, including a discussion of the role of the Canary Islands Observatories in modern astronomical research.

Our vessel for this extraordinary journey, the Swan Hellenic Diana, is a state-of-the art, new-generation expedition cruise ship, launched in early 2023. Accommodating only 192 guests in beautifully appointed staterooms and balcony suites, Diana features several lounges, a restaurant, outdoor café, spa, and library and is equipped with the latest safety and environmentally-friendly technology.

We hope you will be able to join us as we travel to Islands of the Atlantic: From West Africa to Lisbon Exploring the Canary & Madeira Islands.

Warm regards,
Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

8% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Swan Hellenic’s Luxurious Expedition Ship Diana

Built in Finland, and launched in April 2023, Swan Hellenic’s Diana is a new generation expedition cruise ship. Although at 12,100 tons the ship is large enough to accommodate more than 350 passengers, Diana will accommodate a maximum of 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and balcony suites. The low guest density results in one of the most generous indoor and outdoor spaceto- guest ratios among cruise ships.

Featuring the latest advances in technology and engineering, Diana is among the world’s first environmentally responsible ships. Equipped with hybrid engines and a unique water filtration system, Diana leaves a minimal footprint. For cruising in Polar regions, the ship meets the stringent requirements of the new Polar Code with its high PC5 Category A ice strengthened hull and other advanced features. A computer-controlled Dynamic Positioning System allows the ship to maintain position without anchoring. Operated by a complement of 135 experienced European officers and international crew members, Diana will carry a fleet of Zodiacs, versatile landing boats, and kayaks. Powerful stabilizers provide a smooth ride.

Diana’s interior spaces exude sophisticated elegance, with most rooms opening to panoramic views of the sea. All staterooms and suites face outside and are equipped with private facilities, climate control, TV, Wi-Fi and USB connections and other amenities. Of the ship’s 96 staterooms, 76 have balconies. Public areas include a spacious observation lounge equipped with state-of- the-art facilities for lectures and presentations; a club lounge; a restaurant that accommodates all guests at one seating; an outdoor café/bar that surrounds the heated swimming pool; a wellness area with gym, spa, and sauna with an adjoining outdoor jacuzzi; library; beauty salon; and an infirmary that is attended by a fulltime doctor and nurse. The ship also features expansive open-deck areas. Two elevators connect all decks. Attentive service is provided on a 24-hour basis. The outstanding cuisine is complemented by fine wines at lunch and dinner.

Itinerary, Cabin Rates, Inclusions

For a detailed, day-to-day itinerary, cabin rates, and inclusions, please download and share with family and friends the complete 8-page Expedition Brochure (PDF):

Download the complete Expedition Brochure




IMPORTANT! This expedition must be booked through Thalassa Journeys. Please do not book through your own travel agent.

Optional Lisbon Extension
May 12–14, 2025

An optional two-day extension to Lisbon will be offered. Included are accommodations at a deluxe hotel, pier/hotel/airport transfers and handling of luggage, guided visits to some of Lisbon’s most interesting sites, and an excursion to historic Sintra.

Loyalty Reward Program

Travel on this cruise program and enjoy savings of $400 to $900 per person on your next voyage with The Skeptics Society and Thalassa Journeys aboard a Swan Hellenic ship. Savings are determined by the stateroom category booked and is applicable when you reserve your trip within 30 days of the completion date of Islands of the Atlantic. This saving cannot be combined with other offers and is subject to change.

Savings for Solo Travellers

Cabins for single occupancy are available at the following lower than normal supplements: For Categories E & D 20% of the per person double occupancy rate. For Categories C, B & A 50% of the per person double occupancy rate.

Reservation with Colin Church:
406–8815 Conroy-Windermere Rd.
Orlando, FL, 32835

Skeptic Magazine App on iPhone


Whether at home or on the go, the SKEPTIC App is the easiest way to read your favorite articles. Within the app, users can purchase the current issue and back issues. Download the app today and get a 30-day free trial subscription.

Download the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, available on the App Store
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for Android, available on Google Play
SKEPTIC • 3938 State St., Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 • 1-805-576-9396 • Copyright © 1992–2024. All rights reserved • Privacy Policy