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Tours & Cruises

Setting the Stage for London Theater


British Theatre Backstage with Barbara Isenberg leaves Los Angeles for London on Dec. 28. The 10-day tour, now in its 14th year, offers seven London theater performances, plus backstage visits and meetings with leading British theater artists and critics. This year's tour offers a talk on the royal family and John Major's government, lunchtime concert and talk at St. James Church, and hosted visits backstage at the Haymarket Theatre and Hayward Gallery. A full-day excursion to Wiltshire will include a stop at Stonehenge, tour of the Salisbury Cathedral and gourmet lunch at Howard's House, a converted Tudor stone farmhouse. A New Year's Eve performance will be followed by dinner at Orso's restaurant. Plays and musicals are expected to include Cameron Mackintosh's West End production of "Martin Guerre," from the team that created "Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon"; Richard Eyre's production of Henrik Ibsen's "John Gabriel Borkman," starring Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Scofield and Eileen Atkins; and Jonathan Miller's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Cost: $3,875 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, room at the Washington Hotel in Mayfair, full English breakfast daily, seven performances, two dinners, gourmet lunch, celebrity tea, all excursions and group transfers. Contact: Susan Holden, Gilner International Travels, 437 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; telephone (310) 273-6161.

New York on Parade

Spend Thanksgiving in the Big Apple, Nov. 26 to 30, and see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This five-day escorted tour begins with nonstop flights from LAX to JFK. Guests stay in the heart of New York's theater district. The package includes a full day of touring in the city, including Wall Street, Times Square, the Empire State Building, World Trade Center, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. In addition to the famous parade on Broadway, travelers will see the "Christmas Spectacular," starring Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes, and a performance of "Beauty and the Beast" at the Palace Theatre. Guests will eat three dinners in the city, including a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner at the Tavern on the Green Restaurant. There is free time for shopping along Fifth Avenue.

Cost: $1,295 per person, double occupancy, including air fare and accommodations. Contact: Main Street Tours, 1751 W. Torrance Blvd., Suite N., Torrance, CA 90501; tel. (800) 300-6246.

Falling in Love

A six-night trip for singles to the Irish Matchmaking Festival in Lisdoonvarna, Ireland, departs New York Sept. 26 and returns Oct. 3. September in Lisdoonvarna is unique for its matchmaking season and has been a custom here for generations. Hundreds of single men and women of all ages flock here to meet a partner.

Two days are spent in Lisdoonvarna for the festival, which includes two nights of dining and dancing "till the wee hours." Then the group will travel to other sites, including the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Kilarney, Ring of Kerry, Blarney (to kiss the Blarney Stone) and on to Dublin before returning home.

Cost: $1,695 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York, lodging, transportation, full Irish breakfast daily and four dinners, taxes and service charges.

Contact: Frances Reps, Presidential Worldwide Travel, 28197 Manchuca, Mission Viejo, CA 92692; tel. (714) 380-0849.

Yellowstone Country

"In the Saddle on the Nez Perce Trail," Aug. 11-17, will take guests through Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming's Absaroka Wilderness on horseback. En route to the tour operator's ranch, located on the banks of the Clarks Fork River, guests will drive over Montana's scenic Beartooth Highway. At the ranch, guests will stay in cabins or in the lodge for six days, and spend time fishing, hiking and riding the trail on horseback. An interpretive program the first night introduces guests to Nez Perce history during the 1800s and to western settlement. The next day, guests begin field activities with a vehicle caravan ride through the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone River area, the Pelican Creek area, the Hayden Valley and the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.

The group visits historic Cooke City, Mont., before returning to the ranch. Participants follow a horse trail through the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone to the Absaroka Divide and through Wyoming's Sunlight Basin. Lectures will focus on the military strategies of the Army and Nez Perce chiefs during the turbulent War of 1877.

After each day's ride, guests return to the ranch for a family-style dinner in the rustic dining room. Guests can then go fly fishing, visit nearby Cody, Wyo., or spend time by Clarks Fork River.

Cost: $2,100 for two people, including trail rides, meals, lodging. Bunk suites are $1,190. Not included: transportation to Billings, Mont. Contact: Stan or Suzie Hoggatt, Western Treasures, 4533 Palisades Park Drive, Billings, MT 59106; tel. (406) 652-8955.

Galloping Galapagos

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