Trips around the world by air and sea

Israeli citizens should always check that the cruise they’ve booked doesn’t disembark in countries that are not welcoming to Israelis.

A hot-air balloon hovers over Tanzania. ( (photo credit: REVITAL HORESH)
A hot-air balloon hovers over Tanzania. (
(photo credit: REVITAL HORESH)
Quite a few years have passed since Jules Verne’s fictional characters took an unforgettable journey around the world in 80 days, and yet this incredible fantasy continues to excite many who dream of abandoning their daily routine and setting out to discover wonders around the globe.
In recent years, this fantasy has become a reality for more and more people who are engaging in a new trend in the world of tourism: flying in a private jet around the world. Organized trips for the world’s richest tourists are proving that the sky is not actually the limit.
If you have a spare $135,000 in your bank account, you can also jump on a private flight that was recently launched by the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel chain, which will take you on a 24-day journey across continents and oceans to visit exciting places like Hawaii, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Northern Thailand, New York, Tokyo, Marrakech, Mumbai and Istanbul, where you will see quite a few wonders of the world.
You can spend your morning in a hot-air balloon hovering above a nature reserve in Tanzania, where you can watch wild animals roaming freely, then be whisked over to the Maldives, where you can swim in crystal clear water. Next, you can have a private tour of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, enjoy a gourmet dinner on the Great Wall of China, and then sail through the Bosporus Strait.
In between stops, you can relax on designer leather seats that turn into beds at the push of a button. Underneath cashmere blankets, you can rest as you sip Dom Perignon champagne and nibble on caviar while the chef prepares your meal. Every night you’ll sleep in a luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and enjoy all the amenities that come with this, such as seamless transfers and border crossings, with absolutely no need to personally deal with any paperwork or bureaucracy.
National Geographic also offers a trip around the world on a private jet. Guests start their journey with a gourmet meal in Washington, DC, and from there fly to Peru, where they’ll explore the wonders of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Machu Picchu. The next stops are Easter Island, Samoa and the Amazon rain forest, culminating with a scuba dive on Australia’s famous coral reefs.
After that, you’ll fly to Cambodia to visit the Angkor Wat Temple complex and floating villages, and then off to the foot of the Himalayas in Tibet, where you’ll watch traditional folkloric performances. These trips begin at $79,950, with a number of itinerary options available.
But you don’t need an unlimited bank account to fulfill your fantasy of traveling around the world. In recent years, these trips are becoming much more accessible and affordable, and one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is by purchasing a RTW (round-the-world) plane ticket, which starts at around $1,700 – usually less than buying separate tickets for two or three destinations.
While you won’t be flying on a private jet, and the journey will take longer, you will experience many more locations and can build your itiner- ary according to your desire. This type of ticket is usually valid for one year and lets you fly from one destination to another around the world as long as you continue traveling in the same direction. These tickets are usually pretty flexible, but do have certain restrictions, such as ending in the same country where you began your trip.
Two helpful websites you can use to purchase tickets are and Airtreks offers the largest selection of destinations, including round-trip flights from Israel. If you’re using roundtheworldflights, on the other hand, you’ll need to add the cost of a flight from Israel.
These sites allow you to choose from a long list of prepared itineraries at reasonable prices. For example, one roundtheworldflights itinerary that begins in London will take you to Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, one stop in the US and then back to London, with prices starting at $1,900, including taxes. This is the same amount you’d pay to go to just one or two of these destinations on a standard flight.
Other travel agencies that are useful are STA Travel and BootsnAll, both of which offer a wide range of destinations, good prices and include flights to and from Israel. It’s best to compare prices between the various agencies and check which one has the most flexibility regarding changes, conditions and limitations.
Another fun way to embark on a journey around the world is on a cruise. Prices can range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the length of the cruise, how fancy the ship is, and popularity. Often you can find a deal that is reasonably priced. A 50-day journey on the Cunard Queen Victoria luxury liner offers discounted inside rooms for $7,569, or $12,000 for a cabin with a balcony.
One Princess Cruise which starts in London and circumnavigates the world for 70 days costs $14,000 for inside cabins and $22,000 for cabins with balconies. During the cruise, guests will visit Norway, Iceland, Canada, New York, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia.
While guests remain on the ship between destinations, they can enjoy gourmet meals around the clock, live shows, Jacuzzis, swimming pools and a host of other delights that are all included in the price of the cruise. Tours of cities require a separate fee.
If you are not short of cash or time, MSC Cruises will take you around the world for 130 days at a cost of $20,000. You’ll visit Europe, the Maldives, Thailand, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Virgin Islands, to name just a few of the stops.
Of course, Israeli citizens should always check that the cruise they’ve booked doesn’t disembark in countries that are not welcoming to Israelis. During cruises, shore excursions usually range from a few hours up to two days, which is just enough time to give you a taste and see a few highlights of each of these wonderful locations across the globe.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.