“The journey not the arrival matters,” says the famous quote from British poet, T.S. Eliot. In today’s context, that “journey” couldn’t be more relevant when traveling on board a private jet with Crystal AirCruises, which promises to elevate luxury jet experience to another level when it takes off this year.
Crystal AirCruises is the newest baby from US-based Crystal Cruises, purveyor of premium sea odysseys, taking passengers to the sky in unparalleled luxury with its carefully crafted 15 to 29-day itineraries to exotic destinations. “Crystal AirCruises will push the boundaries of what luxury travelers have traditionally thought possible within one vacation experience, as our guests will be able to span the globe in the course of a few weeks without sacrificing the ease and stylish comfort they expect from a Crystal vacation,” says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.
The pièce de résistance is the carrier, a Boeing 777-200LR commercial aircraft fully customized to deliver that exclusive private jet experience on a much larger scale. Engineered for long-haul trans-oceanic journeys, it holds the record for the longest distance flown non-stop by a commercial aircraft.
Contemporary design in earthy tones brings elegance to the separate dining area, stand-up bar and lounge.
While generally configured to transport up to 314 to 451 passengers, this privately-owned carrier will cater for only 84 guests, and it goes without saying, they will be pampered like royalty by an expert crew and dedicated Crystal Skye Butlers. Contemporary design in earthy tones brings elegance to the separate dining area, stand-up bar, lounge where guests can mingle over cocktails, and premium Champagnes and vintages from the Skye Cellar collection, while the chef and his team prepare Michelin-inspired gourmet meals in the state-of-the-art galley.
Catch up on sleep in the comfort of a Crystal Exclusive Class™ handcrafted Welsh fully reclining seat, along with a topper, plump pillows, blanket, and duvet. Insomniacs can indulge in an extensive entertainment program on a 24” HD screen using Bose® Noise Canceling headphones, and even tune into a live cockpit-to-ground listening channel if they wish. A personal Apple iPad® is allocated for each guest, and only the best amenities will do–Italian brand Etro toiletries.
The world is your oyster
After getting spoiled rotten on the journey, guests are whisked off to wonderful destinations for even more indulgence. AirCruise itineraries cater to every whim, themed around “Exhilarating Adventures,” “Personal Connections,” “Cultural Discoveries,” and “Tantalizing Gastronomy.” It’s a tough choice. No need to worry, however–guests can mix and match or fully customize their itinerary with Crystal’s “Designed by You” concierge service and destination specialists, headed by the Crystal AirCruises Director, who hosts the entire AirCruise and land experience.
Six enticing around-the-world escapades are scheduled, commencing in autumn 2017, followed by departures in spring and autumn 2018. Kicking off the first of these once-in-a-lifetime adventures is “The Peninsula Grand Inaugural Crystal AirCruise” on Aug 31, 2017, taking city slickers on a 27-day jaunt to the world’s most exhilarating cities–New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, and Paris. A special feature of this package is a luxurious sojourn at a Peninsula Hotel in each destination.
The possibilities are endless with Crystal AirCruises.
Highlights of the inaugural trip include a visit to China’s Forbidden City and private access to Chonghua Palace, normally closed to the public. Stretch your legs and balance your Chi during a Master-led Tai Chi class at the Temple of Heaven. Peruse the mesmeric granite peaks of Huangshan’s Yellow Mountains range, its cloud-shrouded pinnacles reminiscent of Chinese watercolor paintings. At the foot of the mountain is the ancient merchant village of Xidi, with its well-preserved Anhui houses built during the Ming and Qing periods. A short flight from Beijing, marvel at the Yungang’s ancient rock-cut Buddhist grottoes in the province of Shanxi, one of China’s three ancient Buddhist sculptural sites. Get closer to wildlife in Chiang Mai by feeding and bathing elephants, and learn about Japan’s powerful shoguns in the ancient city of Kamakura. Feed the soul and savor local and international culinary delights at world-class restaurants, including Michelin and Gault et Millau-rated establishments.
Escape the cold and celebrate an unforgettable Christmas and New Year in style with a Crystal AirCruises “Holidays Around the World” 16-day journey departing from Los Angeles on December 22, 2017. Head for the dreamy lagoons of Bora Bora in French Polynesia and explore the island’s vertiginous verdant peaks on board a helicopter. Drink the freshest juice out of a freshly cut coconut. Get a dose of authentic tradition and culture─ladies, learn to sway and wiggle your hips with native Tahitian dancers to drumbeat rhythms, while the men display their prowess with warrior moves and chants.
Release your inner adventurer in Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island and peruse the breathtaking vistas at Fiordland National Park by helicopter. Go horseback riding at Doonholme Farm, then head for the Central Otago region, renowned for its pinot noir. Take your time with varietal tastings at boutique Chard Farm Vineyards, and sharpen your culinary skills during a master culinary class.
Your next stop, Sydney, will be one to remember with a VIP viewing of the New Year’s fireworks extravaganza over Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. In Jaipur, India, live like Maharajas at Oberoi Rajvilas and explore the majestic Taj Mahal. Join locals as they practice Aarti, a religious ritual, and limber up with a sunrise yoga exercise. In Abu Dhabi, marvel at the magnificent architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and witness authentic Emirati traditions while dining in a Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert.
Other equally tempting trips include: Around the World: Iconic Sites & Legendary Locals (29 days, October 21, 2017); Savouring the Winelands (16 days, June 1, 2018); Sacred Sites, Seashells & Safaris (22 days, June 24, 2018); Exotic Adventures (22 days, 8 September 2018); and South Pacific Explorer (15 days, October 13, 2018).
The possibilities are endless with Crystal AirCruises, and they are ideal for those with little time to spare, but perfect for those with plenty of time on their hands. Let your imagination lead you to far-away lands and make those dreams come true.
Photo credits: Crystal AirCruises