Extravagant Bucket List Trips to Take If You've Already Done It All
2019 brings the longest around-the-world cruise, a private train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the chance to see Lin Manuel-Miranda reprise his role in 'Hamilton'.
Photo By: Viking
Photo By: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Photo By: David Sinclair
Photo By: Jean Michel Cousteau Resort
Photo By: Peru Eurocamp
Photo By: TDA Global Cycling
Photo By: Shutterstock/JONATHAN PLEDGER
Photo By: Abercrombie and Kent
Photo By: Anaïs Jourden
Photo By: Coco Privé
Photo By: Mikolajn
Photo By: Shutterstock/Joseph M. Arseneau
Sail Viking’s Ultimate World Cruise
If you’re a seasoned cruiser who’s wondering what could top that last epic sail you took, enter what’s being called the world’s longest continuous around-the-world cruise. New from Viking, the Ultimate World Cruise will last almost a year (245 days to be exact) and hits six continents, 53 countries and 112 ports. The cruise sails round-trip from London, making stops in the Faroe Islands, Puerto Rico, Chile, Tahiti, Australia, China, India, Egypt and many more. The eight-month adventure takes off on August 31 and starts at about $90,000 — but this includes a shore excursion in each port, all tips and fees and business class airfare to and from London. Oh, and unlimited Wi-Fi so you can update your ultimate Instagram feed in real time.
Stay at Six Senses, Bhutan
The tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is a perennial bucket list favorite, but there’s an added incentive to visit in 2019 — five new Six Senses lodges in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. This is a big deal in a country that practices sustainable tourism, and limiting new hotels is part of that strategy. (The number of tourists who can enter is no longer limited, but there is a minimum daily fee that visitors must now pay.) In keeping with the sustainable mindset, each luxury hotel, starting at about $1,000 a night, has been designed to blend into its environs and provides a different experience (both decor- and activity-wise) that’s meant to reflect the region. And since each is strategically located around the country, staying at all five is a ready-made itinerary to experience the best of Bhutan. Just note that the Thimphu, Paro and Punakha locations are set to open in March 2019, while Gangtey and Bumthang are slated to open that summer.
Spend Christmas in Antarctica
If cruising to Antarctica is on your bucket list, take it to the next level by celebrating Christmas there on the new Ultimate Christmas in Antarctica cruise from One Ocean Expeditions. Known for expedition cruises with a scientific or educational bent, this particular 12-day cruise sails to the Falkland Islands for penguin spotting, stops at Deception Island for its volcanic caldera and deploys small Zodiac boats for seal and whale watching. For about $12,000, this trip also covers onshore hiking and camping, plus most outerwear and equipment, from waterproof boots and coats to hiking poles and binoculars. And though it’s technically summer this time of year, you’re still guaranteed a frigid Christmas — but Santa’s appearance is unconfirmed.
Dive with Jean-Michel Cousteau in Fiji
As the son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel continues his father's legacy. In between that, producing films and running his non-profit Ocean Futures Society, he visits his dive school at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji. Every so often, guests have the rare opportunity to dive or snorkel with him around the private island, including Savusavu Bay, considered the best dive spot in Fiji. The next chance isn’t happening until September 2020, but deposits must be made by March 2019. This can only be booked through ThirdHome, a travel club for second homeowners, which will be renting out the entire resort during this time. Budget $6,395 for the dive and accommodations, but this price covers hanging out with Jean-Michel for the week, and also allows access to the resort’s uninhabited sister island for private yoga or sunset cocktails.
Glamp Near Machu Picchu
The only lodging option for those hiking the four-day Inca Trail are basic tents along the way. But for those who have already crossed that particular trip off their bucket list, or who prefer more creature comforts while hiking, Peru Ecocamp provides that alternative for $3,281. In October 2018, the company established the first glamp offering in the Machu Picchu area, with five eco-friendly domes, or ecocamps, situated along the Salkantay Trek. (This hike is a less traversed alternative to the Inca Trail.) Each private dome is equipped with a hotel-worthy toilet, sink and shower, a wooden stove and a king-sized bed. There’s even a separate bar dome for decompressing after a full day of hiking. Other glamp expectations are met with chef-prepared meals and massages, much needed after hiking for eight hours at a high altitude. The first camp is found outside of Cusco, from which hikers make their way from camp to camp before finishing outside of Aguas Calientes. The group catches a train from the last camp to Aguas Calientes, and then a bus to Machu Picchu — making this hike a great compromise.
Bike from the Arctic to Panama
Like cycling? Then consider the North American Epic tour, kicking off July 4, with TDA Global Cycling, a company that specializes in long-distance rides. And by long distance, this means the chance to pedal all the way from Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Coast down to the Panama Canal. This new section of the Arctic route is thanks to the recent opening of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, the first road to connect the isolated outpost of Tuktoyaktuk. From there, the 9,000-mile journey takes almost six months to complete as riders go at their own pace through the Rocky Mountains, across desert landscapes and along the Pacific Coast, helped by a support team that includes a tour leader, medic, bike mechanic, and perhaps most importantly, luggage transport. Hotels and campsites are also bundled into the $24,900 price tag, along with many chef-prepared meals. The trip can be completed in shorter stages, but then it wouldn’t be epic.
See the Last Northern White Rhinos
What differentiates the new Last Northern White Rhinos safari from Intrepid Travel isn’t the price tag or over-the-top lodging. Instead, this trip presents one of the last chances to view the two remaining northern white rhinos — on the planet. Sadly, the species is now extinct in the wild due to poaching and civil war. The last two reside at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where they’re protected non-stop by armed guards. (A third, named Sudan, made headlines when he passed away from old age in March 2018.) A last-ditch attempt is being made to fundraise for artificial insemination in order to preserve the species, but visitors should take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts. Tourists also learn about wildlife conservation, and part of the trip’s price, starting at $2,850, will be donated to the East Africa Wildlife Society.
Take a Worldwide Safari on a Private Jet
While we’re on the subject of safaris, taking a safari of any kind is the pinnacle of most bucket list trips. But if you want to see as many animals as possible in one go, then it’s hard to top an around-the-world safari via private jet. This new Around the World by Private Jet from Abercrombie & Kent isn’t happening until 2020, but booking is already open for the 25-day trip that flies to Japan, China, The Philippines, Malaysia, India, Rwanda, Madagascar and Kenya. Besides spotting the big five in Kenya and gorillas in Rwanda, the 50 guests on this safari will also have the chance to see Bengal tigers in India, giant pandas in China and snow monkeys in Japan. The reason why this trip is offered now is due to the increasing number of animals being added to the endangered list — guests will meet conservation experts as a result. Other trip differentiators are the ability to go behind the scenes at a panda nursery and meet a gorilla doctor. And since this trip starts at $139,950, one can also expect only the best accommodations (the Oberoi Vanyavilas in India), fine dining (a geisha-hosted kaiseki dinner in Japan) and even a designated doctor for the entire trip. Bookings can only be made by calling 888-785-5379 or contacting a travel agent.
Experience the Fashion Scene in Hong Kong and Paris
Once the sole domain of travel agents, hotels are now offering bucket list experiences that go far beyond the hotel. For the second year, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts have curated a 12 Days of Rosewood gift guide, with 12 of its hotels around the world providing special access packages that would be near impossible to recreate without stellar connections. The Hong Kong/Paris fashion package is one example, granting access to Hong Kong-based fashion designer Anaïs Jourden Mak, who regularly shows at Paris Fashion Week. Not only does the package include visiting Mak’s atelier, but working with her to create your own runway-worthy piece. This is capped off by jetting to Paris on Cathay Pacific for Mak’s fashion show and backstage access. Prices start at $94,000, including suites at the new Rosewood Hong Kong and the recently renovated Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.
Throw a Party on a Private Island
What could top renting a private island with friends? How about throwing a three-day party to end all parties on your private island? The island in question is Coco Privé, a five-star, $45,000-a-night resort in the Maldives (and yes, celebrities such as Joe Jonas have stayed here). While the price tag is eye popping, it actually becomes somewhat more reasonable if you divide that cost among nine of your closest friends or family, making it $4,500 a night. The party aspect, Coco Privé Soirée, is a new feature that costs an additional $50,000 for three days of hedonism. So on top of enjoying the services of 24/7 butlers, a private chef and unlimited spa treatments, the party element tacks on a yacht with flowing Champagne towers, followed by fireworks — and that’s just the first night. The party continues the next day with unlimited cocktails and a DJ, before eventually concluding with a sunset feast on the beach, bonfire and a traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru performance with singing and drumming — all guaranteed to earn you eternal party bragging rights. This isn't available online yet, so call +960 664 8887 or email email@example.com to book.
Ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Winter
Experiencing a Russian winter may not be high on anyone’s bucket list, but reconsider. A Tsar’s Gold Winter’s Tale is back after a 15-year hiatus, with the 13-day journey chugging out of Moscow and making stops in the Siberian city of Irkutsk and at Lake Baikal, a UNESCO site famed for being the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. The trip eventually wraps in Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital. (There’s also the option to continue on to Beijing since it’s so close.) Besides experiencing a non-touristy side of these stops, there are opportunities to sweat in a Russian banya, visit local families and stay in a Mongolian yurt. Oh, and did we mention that this trip takes place on a private train? When booked through Lernidee Trains and Cruises, prices start at $4,100 for a basic cabin and reach almost $13,000 for the Bolshoi platinum class.
Catch Hamilton in Puerto Rico Starring Lin Manuel-Miranda
If you missed the chance to watch Lin Manuel-Miranda in the original Hamilton cast on Broadway, you have another opportunity as he’ll once again play Alexander Hamilton in a special run at the University of Puerto Rico from January 8-27. Puerto Rican residents had the first chance to get tickets, but there are still a few ways to snag a seat. Tickets may still be available via tour packages from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. And the Flamboyan Arts Fund, founded in part by Miranda to support the local arts community, might have some tickets left as they’re selling for $5,000 a pop — but that includes a VIP post-show reception. True, these prices are far higher than what it initially cost to see Miranda in the role, but know that ticket sales are going toward rebuilding Puerto Rico’s art scene.