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Tours & Cruises

A Provencal Christmas and an Olive Harvest

September 08, 1996|KARIN DOMINELLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Take part in the olive harvest and watch oil being made in Provence, France, on an eight-night tour from Dec. 21 to 30. Participants will celebrate a traditional Christmas as as people do in the French countryside, with plenty of good food and music in the villages. The group will meet the locals, shop for seasonal specialties, and sample the wine and local cuisine.

Participants will attend a midnight Mass with Gregorian chant at the 11th century Abbaye Du Thoronet. Daily transportation will be by 15-passenger minivan.

Cost: $1,850 per person, double occupancy, including transfers from Nice, eight nights' lodging with continental breakfast, two lunches, four dinners and services of two American hosts who now live in Provence. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Ellien Landy, AlTour, 11661 San Vicente Blvd., No. 900, Los Angeles, CA 90049; tel. (310) 571-3151 or (800) 878-5847.

Cyber Cruise

Passengers who want a cruise while never leaving the cyber-world far behind can join any one or all segments of a 103-day Voyage of the Hemispheres world cruise, which departs in January and features computer classes for all levels of computer skill taught by David E. McFarland, a software expert who designed systems for IBM, Apple and Digital.

The tour features 18 courses, with a progressive program of training. Those passengers sailing on fewer than all five cruise segments (each range from 16 to 25 days), may also enroll in short, single-focus courses.

The world cruise departs Los Angeles on Jan. 17, making calls at ports in Australia, Asia, Africa, North America and South America before arriving in Fort Lauderdale on May 1. Passengers who do not take the full cruise may book one or more of its five segments.

Cost: from $7,995 per person, double occupancy, for each segment or $40,830 for the full cruise. Fares include round-trip air transportation where needed, transfers, all meals, excursions and on-board classes. Contact: Crystal Cruises; tel. (800) 446-6620.

Football Fever

Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering a 10-day Super Bowl Cruise, which includes a three-day port call in New Orleans, the site of Super Bowl XXXI. NCL's 750-passenger Royal Odyssey departs Miami on Jan. 21 and also will call at Cozumel and Key West.

Cost: cruise-only fares start at $1,349 per person, double occupancy. Tickets to the game are not included. Contact: Norwegian Cruise Lines; tel. (800) 327-7030.

Historic Las Vegas

The Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter, is hosting a tour of Las Vegas, Nov. 9 and 10, called "Modernism in the Desert Southwest."

Architecture Professor Jeff Chusid and SAH/SCC President Jeff Samudio will lead the weekend excursion, which gives guests a look at downtown and the remnants of the original Las Vegas clubs and casinos. Guests will visit the neon sign graveyard; tour the Moulin Rouge, which was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places; take a behind-the-scenes peek at one of Las Vegas' mega casino-hotels; stop in Boulder City, Nev., for a look at the architectural details of the Hoover Dam; and view the future of Las Vegas through the work of architects.

Cost: $310 per person, double occupancy, including transportation to Las Vegas, hotel accommodations in a 1950s motel, and tours. Contact: Society of Architectural Historians, P.O. Box 92224, Pasadena, CA 91109; tel. (800) 972-4722.

Spice Islands

Cruise the fabled Spice Islands of Indonesia aboard the Bali Sea Dancer on a three- or four-night tour that leaves from Bali. These tours can be booked year-round. Passengers will be met at their local hotel and transferred to the vessel at Bali's Benoa Harbor. The three-night itinerary includes a stop at Badas, capital of West Sumbawa, an island. The natural harbor has excellent diving and snorkeling locations. Guests then sail to Komodo National Park. An excursion to view the famed Komodo dragons is planned in the morning. Guests also may see sulfur-crested cockatoos, friar birds and the rare mound-building megapode birds.

The four-night program makes an additional stop after leaving Komodo, dropping anchor in the harbor of the island of Lembak. Tours are available ashore.

Cost: $495 to $1,129 for the three-night cruise and $679 to $1,549 for the four-night program per person, double occupancy, including cruise, meals on board and transfer to and from major hotels. Contact: Esplanade Tours, 581 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116; tel. (800) 426-5492.

Falling for Color

Explore Vermont with a camera on a fall foliage tour, Oct. 4 to Oct. 8. Guests will see the color from the forests of the Green Mountains. Participants will learn creative photographic techniques to capture flora, fauna and reflective ponds. Leisure activities include mountain biking, hiking, exploring quaint villages and visits to local artists and galleries. Guests stay at the Green Mountain Lodge, nestled in the woods.

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