Exploring the world is something that many of us do as young adults – backpacking from country to country on a shoestring budget during a gap year after university. But did you know, that there’s also a growing trend for ‘gap-year retirees’? These are wealthy couples, or sometimes solo travellers, who want the same life-changing experiences, albeit on a very different budget.
Travelling the world in luxury
So, what are the options for newly-retired people who want to head off on a voyage of discovery? Well one thing’s for sure, it doesn’t involve sharing a bedroom with twenty other people or drinking cheap wine from a box!
With money no object, lucky millionaire retirees are free to travel in comfort, taking first-class flights, staying in five-star hotels and island hopping via helicopter.
First world problems
Whilst first-class flights and luxury hotels are great for escapes visiting just one or two destinations, once you add multiple destinations in to the mix, the idea of repeatedly packing, unpacking, checking in and checking out can become tiresome.
Then there’s the organisation which comes with planning such a long voyage. Whilst young backpackers might be happy to hop on a long-distance bus and settle into the whichever cheap hostel they stumble across, travelling in style takes much more planning and preparation.
For the super-rich who like to have everything arranged for them, some of these issues can take the shine off their dream round-the-world getaway.
Seeing the world by sea
An alternative to flights and hotel stays, which is rapidly growing in popularity amongst wealthy retirees, is the luxury cruise. Cruises have always had a reputation for being luxurious, but ultra-luxury cruise lines such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, have taken things to the next level.
On-board the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, guests can enjoy the services of a private butler who will cater to their every whim. With a new port of call to explore each day, the top cruise tickets come with a private car and driver which will be ready and waiting to take guests wherever they wish to go. And of course, they won’t have to plan a thing, as everything will be planned for them.
With a choice of visits to the most famous attractions, or the option to head off the beaten path and interact with locals to explore their cultures and sample their cuisine, luxury cruises offer gap-year experiences, with no hassle.
Life on-board a luxury cruise ship is completely stress free. Butlers will unpack luggage, suggest places to enjoy lunch ashore and make reservations. Poolside assistants will ensure that sunglasses are always polished and glasses never become empty. And for dinner, guests can enjoy anything they wish. If their favourite dish isn’t on the menu, chefs will source ingredients ashore and prepare it for the following evening.
The top suite on-board ultra-luxury cruise ship Seven Seas Splendor is over three times the size of the average home and features a wraparound balcony, private spa and a bed which cost $200,000.
A unique way to explore Europe
Whilst luxury cruises enable holidaymakers to explore much of the world, they are of course limited in that not every place on earth has a cruise port, or even a coast. Much of Europe is land-locked, yet holds a wealth of history and culture which is of great interest to many American tourists. The solution to this? A luxury river cruise.
Following the waterways of Europe
From Germany’s River Rhine and France’s Seine to the mighty Danube, which flows through ten countries, Europe is criss-crossed with rivers. The history of Europe has dictated that many of Europe’s ancient cities including Paris, Budapest, Venice and Cologne are located right on the river banks.
There’s no more convenient way to explore the cities of Europe in succession than by taking a river cruise. Sailing right into the heart of each city, passengers can explore somewhere new every day, and spend the time in between relaxing on the sun deck as they watch the world go by.
River cruise ships
The service on the most luxurious river cruise ships is akin to what you be expected on ultra-luxury ocean ships. Private butlers, Michelin-starred dining and a choice of included shore excursions in each port are the norm. Although smaller than ocean ships by quite some way, river boats still have space for swimming pools, spas and fitness centres on-board.
So, whether it be by ocean or by river, cruising offers a luxurious and, importantly, stress-free way to see the world.