As speculation grows over who might be cast as the next James Bond, fans of the renowned spy franchise can live their own 007 adventure on a new luxury 12-night escapade across Europe.
Travel operator Black Tomato has launched The Assignment — a Bond-inspired journey encompassing London, Italy, Monaco and other European destinations that features stunts, sailing, private seaplanes and meet-and-greets with former cast and crew from the films.
To coincide with 60 years of Bond films, the company is running 60 trips only, and bookings are open for a deposit of £10,000 ($12,300. The exact price of each trip depends on personalisation options and there are plenty to choose from.
Try a high-speed cruise along the River Thames or water-ski across Lake Como, travellers can also learn some moves with Bond's former stunt double and hear behind-the-scenes stories from former cast members. To create the trips, Black Tomato worked closely with Eon Productions — the production company behind the Bond films — to bring fans closer to Bond, taking inspiration and ideas from the franchise's 27 films.
From London to Venice
Starting in London, travellers will embark on their own high-speed cruise down the River Thames, sailing on the original Superhawk 34 boat from The World Is Not Enough, which starred Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Those seeking high-octane energy can take part in a simulated chase scene — with the option of a film crew to capture the action by drone. There will also be the chance for adventurers to put their fitness skills to the test, in a training with stunt coordinator Lee Morrison, who has worked on the last five 007 films, and drive an Aston Martin.
In France, guests will check in at Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, before enjoying a private tour of the Bollinger Chateau and Estate by vintage Land Rover. There's also a river cruise along the Seine aboard a Venetian-style boat, passing the same scenes Bond did in his pursuit of May Day in A View to Kill.
Monaco's Cote d’Azur follows, with a private yacht expedition accompanied by actress Carole Ashby, who starred in Octopussy and A View to Kill. She will entertain travellers with insider tales from her time as Dominique.
Onwards to Italy and Lake Como where water-skiing, a private seaplane trip and a visit to Villa del Balbianello from Casino Royale are on the cards, ahead of a stay at Villa Passalacqua, which overlooks the famed lake.
Austria's Otztal Valley is also part of the itinerary. With alpine sequences a mainstay of Bond films since On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, Spectre upped the ante via its choreographed aerial mountain chase. Shot over five weeks around the Austrian resort of Solden, it was one of the film’s centrepieces and the basis for 007 Elements, a high-altitude Bond exhibition at the top of the Gaislachkogl mountain.
Travellers will have a private tour of the space, accompanied by both the curator of the works and Chris Corbould, who was nominated for an Oscar for the visual effects on No Time to Die in 2021. Window-side seating is reserved for a private dinner at the nearby glass-encased Q Restaurant, the same building that portrayed the Hoffler Clinic in Spectre.
In Venice, after checking in at Hotel Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel — one of the city's most celebrated hotels — travellers will be taken to the Murano glass factory where Roger Moore battled with Chang (Toshiro Suga) in the 1979 Moonraker.
“The narratives of so many Bond films are enhanced by the distinct feel of iconic destinations, so recreating these stories for a first-person travel experience has been a true delight and honour,” said Tom Marchant, co-founder of Black Tomato. "We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of creating something bespoke that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, so clients can experience real immersion into Bond’s world on their terms."
Travellers can also tailor their Bond-inspired holidays as there are 35 experiences on offer across six European destinations. Personalised trips, which run for a minimum of five nights, are priced from £15,000 per person.
“It’s been a labour of love not only working with Black Tomato to determine the locations and refine the experiences and locations, but also involving many of Eon’s iconic partners, and myriad people that have worked on the films — from producers to location scouts and front of screen talent," said Ali James, location manager for Eon Productions. "This creative collaboration allows us to get travellers into Bond’s world and offering truly extraordinary experiences, some of which are only accessible with these trips."
Based on the works of the late Ian Fleming, the Bond franchise is set to enter a new era in either 2025 or 2026, when the next film is due for release. With Daniel Craig having hung up his briefcase and pen gun in 2021's No Time To Die, who will replace him as the eighth James Bond continues to be a subject of much debate, with speculation surrounding several stars including Idris Elba and Tom Hardy.