The scope of this itinerary is staggering: seven destinations across four continents in three weeks. The inaugural Constellations Journeys Around the World trip departing in April 2018 is a bit like a cruise – the transport is chartered, travel arrangements are organised and activities are expertly curated – only by air. No ship could land you in locales as diverse as these in 21 days.
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An entire Qantas 747 is dedicated to shepherding travellers around the globe on a three-week journey of truly epic proportions. The trip crosses continents and cultures – arrive in northern India with the buzz of Hanoi’s motor scooters still in your ears, touch down in Kilimanjaro before abandoning your safari hat for a flowing scarf to explore the souks of Marrakech, then take a last sip of sweet mint tea and lungful of fragrant rose petals before you’re propelled into the non-stop assault on the senses that is New York City.
Vietnam's dramatic Halong Bay. Image via iStock.
Here is the full Constellations itinerary – be warned, it’s extensive. The Qantas 747 departs from Sydney for Hanoi on 22 April before heading to Agra, Delhi, the Serengeti, Marrakech, New York, Havana and Tahiti then returning to Sydney.
One of Marrakech's famous souks. Image via iStock.
Expect a distillation of the best of each destination: floating among the splendid limestone monoliths of Halong Bay and cycling amid rice paddies in Hanoi; exploring the flower-strewn temples, markets and the Taj Mahal in Agra; spending the night in a luxurious lodge among lions and migrating wildebeest on the Serengeti Plains; shopping in the spice-scented souks of Marrakech; spending the evening at a Broadway show after a Central Park picnic; wandering the vividly-hued streets of Old Havana before some rum-soaked salsa; breathing deep, hibiscus-fragranced air on white-sand beaches with nothing more to do than plunge into the clear waters in the South Pacific jewel of Tahiti.
A herd of zebras on the Serengeti Plain. Image via iStock.
This is the trip for travellers who want to be intrepid but also don’t have time to mess around with finding the best hotels, organising umpteen flights and trying to figure out how to see the best of a destination in just a couple of days. In addition to having everything – and we mean everything – organised for you, each flight on the chartered 747 is like a return to home base with 18 cabin crew and seven support staff on hand to welcome travellers back on board, settling you in with a glass of champagne.
Cuba's capital Havana. Image via iStock.
And as each traveller seeks something different from exploration abroad, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all itinerary. Some people can spend hours poring over trinkets at markets; others would rather take in a museum or join a city walking tour. You’ll be able to pick and choose between activities as well as participating in Constellations’ “core” experiences such as open-air dining in one of Havana’s grandest plazas and cocktails and canapés upon arrival in New York.
SoHo, downtown NYC. Image via iStock.
Oh, and if you are one of those aforementioned shoppers who loves bringing home tangible memories? There’s no luggage allowance on your return journey – pack as much as you like and pick up anything you fancy along the way, whether it’s a Moroccan carpet or a new wardrobe from Saks Fifth Avenue. The question of who is hauling this booty is also answered: upon arrival at each destination your luggage will magically appear outside your room. And the hotels? They include New York’s Le Parker Meridien, the elegant Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in Havana and the luxe InterContinental Tahiti.
The InterContinental, Tahiti. Image supplied.
Of course, this kind of once-in-a-lifetime trip doesn’t come cheap: two spots on the inaugural journey in Superior Class are worth $59,000. The good news? You could win them. To enter the draw, register, then light up a new icon on your Qantas Frequent Flyer account by earning Qantas Points in a new category before 31 December 2017. The winner will be drawn on 15 January 2018.