HONG KONG - We've all heard of cruise ships and the activities they offer while out at sea. But what about taking a cruise in the sky in a private jet, replete with bespoke air and land services at your destination?
Leisure company Genting Hong Kong, which operates Star Cruises in Asia and Zouk in Singapore, announced on Wednesday (July 19) a new luxury land and air experience that takes travellers onto a chartered air journey to Nairobi in Kenya and Tahiti in French Polynesia.
Departing on September 30 from Hong Kong or Macau, the private chartered jet Crystal Skye allows passengers to travel in the comforts of a private Boeing 777-200LR jet that accommodates up to 86 guests, feast on Michelin-inspired cuisine, and be tended to by personal butlers, who are aptly called "Crystal Skye Butlers".
According to Genting Hong Kong, Crystal Skye is the world's most spacious private aircraft, with flatbeds, stand-up bars, and even has the largest wine cellar in the air.
But the experience doesn't stop here - it extends to an eight-day holiday in Nairobi, complete with a butler-serviced itinerary where guests will stay at the finest hotels, resort, eco-villages, and safari lodges.
There, guests will visit the Maasai Mara Safari to catch a glimpse of lions, zebras, wildebeests and elephants, among other wildlife. According to the president of Dream Cruises Mr Thatcher Brown, the Crystal Skye journey has been perfectly timed to catch the great widlife migration in October, so guests can look forward to an eye-opening experience there.
After a three-night stay at Nairobi, guests will then be whisked away to Tahiti for some scuba diving, snorkelling and other water activities in the crystalline waters of the French Polynesia to experience underwater wildlife this time round. Guests will stay overnight at Bora Bora.
Sounds like a journey of a lifetime? It is, but only if you have a cool US$45,000 (S$61,370) to spend - and that's per person, by the way.
If Nairobi or Tahiti isn't somewhere that you're keen on visiting, Crystal Skye allows guests to fully customise their itineraries to almost any part of the world, as the jet is capable of flying non-stop for 19 hours - surpassing the current longest route of 16 hours from Singapore to New York.
Customised journeys from one to 28 days can be made from locations such as New York and London, to Rio de Janeiro, Uzbekistan, and a host of other destinations.
President of Genting Cruise Lines Mr Kent Zhu said that they are anticipating an overwhelming response from the region's "most sophisticated and discerning globetrotters", and that they will be offering a quantity of seats from four Asian markets.
"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," he said.
He also told AsiaOne that Crystal Skye may potentially fly from Singapore as well if someone decides to charter the plane. The price may also be lower than US$45,000, depending on the duration, destination, and hotel accommodation.
Chan Brothers Travel is one of the travel agents in Singapore that is looking to offer bookings and travel packages on board Crystal Skye, said executive director Madam Chan Guat Cheng. Crystal Skye itineraries and bookings may launch in about a month's time, added Madam Chan.
So if you're the sort who prefers your holidays and plane journeys to be ultra-exclusive and hassle free - in other words, you want to travel like a king - Crystal Skye might be one of the only travel service available for such desires at the moment.
But for common folk like some of us who can't afford to spend our flat's downpayment on a holiday, there's always economy class on commercial jets.