If you love travelling by cruise, you’ll no doubt have heard of Crystal Cruises, often considered one of the most luxurious cruise lines on the planet. For the uninitiated, Crystal offers globetrotting guests all-inclusive luxuries on board, ranging from spa services to gaming tables; stunning accommodations to sumptuous food and wine programmes and more. But this summer, Crystal has just set the bar even higher with the launch of its most state-of-the-art travel concept to date: Crystal AirCruises.
Christening a brand new Boeing 777 — the Crystal Skye — on 12 August in Las Vegas, the private charter jet is set to embark on its maiden “cruise” at the end of September, taking a maximum of 86 guests from the Asia-Pacific to see the tail end of the Great Migration between Kenya and Tanzania, where zebras and wildebeest head north to graze every year. It’s one of the most astonishing wonders to be witnessed in the entire world.
If you’re wondering what an “air cruise” is exactly, allow us to explain. Imagine all the amenities found onboard Crystal’s luxury liners, but instead of risking cabin fever with the prolonged travel period on a ship, the Crystal AirCruise reaches exotic locations all over the globe in a much shorter span of time — taking guests on non-stop flights of up to 19 hours, from one corner of the globe to the other. (That surpasses the current longest route available, Singapore to New York, which takes 16–17 hours.) The Crystal Skye is only available for private charter, meaning you’ll be taken care of by Crystal’s brand of hospitality — the only thing left for you to do is pick your destination.
The Crystal Skye is the world’s first and only twin-aisle private plane, seating 86 guests in the lap of luxury. In a plane originally created for over 300 passengers, these lucky guests will get maximum personal space and privacy in 180-degree lie-flat beds, with seats positioned in pairs. At the front of the plane, the social lounge offers a stand-up bar for guests to stretch their legs during the flight, and to enjoy cocktails and cuisine prepared by an executive chef cooking in two state-of-the-art galleys. Crystal Skye will also feature the largest wine cellar found in any aircraft.
While not enjoying the cuisine, guests can enjoy top-of-the-line tech such as Bose headphones, iPads, complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi, interactive TVs, an extensive music library and more. There are top-notch features in the washrooms, as one would expect from an exclusive private jet of this calibre. On that note, services and amenities can be completely customised for your private charter, delivered via the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft, featuring Crystal’s expertly trained “Air Butlers”.
Crystal Skye is available for private charters from one to 28 nights, whether it’s for a celebratory occasion, themed group excursion or lavish corporate event. Itineraries are curated and customised, and always all-inclusive, taking you to diverse locations around the globe, including major cities such as London and New York City, scenic locales such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, or the more exotic, niche places such as Iguazu Falls in Argentina or Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Naturally, such opulence comes with a corresponding price tag, and it’s clear that Crystal AirCruises is targeted at the crème de la crème of travellers and companies with money to spend. At a recent media event, Kent Zhu, the president of Genting Cruise Lines, parent company of Crystal Cruises, confirmed this, saying, “Taking the art of travel to new heights — literally — Crystal Skye will cater to a clientele that can afford their own private jet but would prefer to travel with extended groups of friends and family in the most spacious aircraft in the world, and entrust their journey to the vast expertise and knowledge of the acclaimed Crystal brand for an all-inclusive yet ultra-exclusive, hassle-free experience.”
For Crystal Skye’s very first charter, you can now sign up for a dashing 8-night voyage to two stunning locations: First it’s Nairobi, Kenya, to stay at the exclusive Governor’s Camp within the Maasai Mara National Game Reserve, where you’ll be able to meet the continent’s “big five” on safari: lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and water buffalo, not to mention cheetahs and hippos. Fortunately, you’ll also be there in time to catch the the zebras and wildebeest on their northbound journey as part of the annual Great Migration.
After that, you’ll board Crystal Skye once again for a trip to Tahiti, in French Polynesia, for a spot of sunbathing on black-sand beaches at Point Venus, sailing and paddling across the different islands surrounding Bora Bora, and diving deep into the clear blue waters to see the vibrant marine life within the coral beds.
The trip is priced at a cool US$45,000 (approx. HK$351,803) per guest, but rest assured the price tag also covers all private transfers, the finest hotel stays in Kenya and Tahiti, unique cuisines on land and onboard the Crystal Skye, all beverages, entertainment, and stellar service. Without a doubt, it’s sure to be the trip of a lifetime.
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