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Tours & Cruises

Alaska at Its Wintery Best

October 23, 1994|KARIN DOMINELLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When it's cold, where do your thoughts turn? A warm beach in Mexico? That's too easy. Stare winter in the face on a seven-day adventure in Alaska Feb. 18. Participants will get to see racers at the first checkpoint and (if the timing is right) the finish line of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Dog Sled Race and get a chance to try some dog sledding themselves. Also scheduled is a train trip through raw wilderness and past Denali National Park. Accommodations are at a hot spring resort deep in moose and northern lights country. Cost: $899 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, some meals, transportation within Alaska and activities. Not included: air fare to Anchorage. Contact: Adventure Outdoors, P.O. Box 4461, Rolling Bay, Wash. 98061; tel. (206) 842-3189.

Ski Switzerland

An eight-day ski package, available through March 30, combines skiing and a first-class unlimited Swiss Rail Pass, so participants can ski in several areas or do some sightseeing. One night is spent in Zurich and six nights are spent at the Romantik Hotel Stern in Chur. Trains can take guests to the Davos, Klosters, Flims and St. Moritz ski areas. Cost: $846, per person, including lodging, breakfast daily and an eight-day rail pass. Not included: air fare to Switzerland. Contact: Europa Hotels and Tours, P.O. Box 1278, Woodinville, Wash. 98072; tel. (800) 826-0015.

World on a Jet

Celebrate the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo's epic voyage on an around-the-world adventure on a private jet. For those heavy of wallet, this is a luxury tour with first-class air transportation to exotic lands on MGM Grand Air, the best hotels, gourmet banquets, and plenty of pampering and coddling. Guests leave Los Angeles April 28 and begin their 24-day journey in Beijing to visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and take a cocktail cruise on Kunming Lake. In Ho Chi Minh City, participants stay two nights and take a city tour before heading to Singapore to see the Empress Museum and board the Eastern and Oriental Express train to Bangkok. In Pagan, Myanmar, a few of the 5,000 Buddhist temples and shrines are explored. In Katmandu, a flight-seeing tour of the Himalayas is taken and in Istanbul the Church of St. Saviour in Chora, the Sunken Palace, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Place are some of the sites seen. The last stop is Venice, Italy, for the requisite gondola ride through the Grand Canal and attendance at a masked ball. Cost: (you have to ask?) $29,500 per person, double occupancy, including limousine transfer from your home to the airport, air and ground transportation, hotels, meals, professional guides and entrance fees. Contact: Abercrombie & Kent, 1520 Kensington Road, Oak Brook, Ill. 60521; tel. (800) 323-7308.

Irish Eyes

The fourth annual Clancy Brothers Irish Festival Cruise sets sail for the Caribbean from Miami on Jan. 21, 1995, for a weeklong trip with ports of call in St. Martin, St. Thomas and Great Stirrup Cay. More than 30 Irish entertainers will present 40 hours of concerts and workshops aboard ship, among them the Irish Rovers ("The Unicorn" and "Wasn't That a Party?"), Paddy Reilly (Ireland's foremost balladeer) comedian Brendan Grace (host of a weekly TV show) and Cherish the Ladies (an all-female Irish music ensemble). Besides the festival activities, passengers on the Norway will dine on the gourmet tastes of Ireland as well as have the run of the ship's casino, health and fitness center, spa, pools, skeet shooting and golf at sea.

Cost: from $1,399-$2,699 per person, double occupancy, depending on cabin choice, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations and meals. Contact: Irish Festival Cruises Ltd.; tel. (800) 441-4277.

South America

Visit the lands of ancient civilizations and dramatic scenery on a 24-day tour to Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The tour leaves Los Angeles April 27 and begins in Quito, Ecuador, which is 9,400 feet in the Andes. Participants will take a city tour and a bus tour to Panecillo Hill for a view of the city and mountains. Guests get a chance to shop for handmade ponchos, wall hangings, blankets and leather goods. In Santiago, Chile, stops are made at Santa Lucia Hill, a pre-Columbian museum, and the beaches and gardens of nearby Vina del Mar. In Puerto Montt in the southernmost part of Chile is the lake region with waterfalls and quaint villages to explore. Guests then fly to Lima, Peru, for tours of a pre-Inca museum and Incan ruins. In Cuzco, guests visit the city before boarding the train to see the legendary "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu. Cost: $3,894 per person, double occupancy, including all international flights, hotels, breakfast daily, some meals, guide and entrance fees. Contact: Eva's Tours, 27485 Paseo Mimosa, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. 92675; tel. (714) 489-0488.

London Holiday

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