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Tours & Cruises

Rollin' on Columbia to Pendleton Roundup


Cruise the great Columbia on board American West steamboat company's paddle-wheel riverboat Queen of the West. This Pendleton Roundup theme cruise will sail round trip from Portland, Ore. Sept. 6 for seven nights. The Queen of the West, a 163-passenger ship built in 1995, is informal with turn-of-the-century decor. From Portland the ship sails the Willamette River to the Columbia River through the Columbia River Gorge.

Also featured is a visit to Multnomah Falls and The Dalles. There will be a country and western day in Pendleton, which includes a barbecue and a pioneer and Native American show. On the Snake River guests take a jet boat ride into Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border. The staterooms all have river views.

Cost: from $2,795 per person, double occupancy, including meals, entertainment, all shore excursions, wine tasting and historical lectures. Contact: Malibu Lake Travel, 29251 Circle Drive, Malibu Lake, CA 91301; telephone (818) 991-3324.

Yosemite After Rain

The aftermath of flooding this past January in Yosemite will be the focus of a photo tour to the national park May 1 to 4. Participants will photograph the changed course of the Merced River, several of the park's famous waterfalls, and many of the park's points of interest, including Half Dome and El Capitan.

Cost: $270 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations in rental homes in the park, guided field sessions and a Sunday brunch at the historic Wawona Hotel. Not included: transportation to Yosemite. Contact: Image Quest Photography Tours, 1164 Alvira St., Los Angeles, CA 90035; tel. (213) 939-2819.

Finland Sampler

Norvista's nine-day Scenic Finland tour allows vacationers the opportunity to sample the sights. Beginning in Helsinki, passengers journey on a private coach to the village of Porvoo, the Langinkoski Rapids, Imatra, Punkaharju, Joensuu, Kuhmo, Kalevala (Russia), Lentiira, Kuusamo, Lake Kitka and, finally, Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. Tours are available from May 26 through Aug. 16.

Cost: $3,179 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York, air fare from Rovaniemi back to Helsinki, seven nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, some meals, motor-coach transportation, sightseeing, excursions, entrance fees and service charges. Contact: Norvista Travel Services; tel. (800) 526-4927.

Hudson Homes

Hudson Valley in the full bloom of summer is a good time to view sites along the river in upstate New York. The Hudson River Homes and Gardens tour departs June 22 from Albany, N.Y. This seven-day excursion visits Olana, Clermont State Historic Site, Montgomery Place, Wethersfield Farm, Vassar College, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home, the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, Callendar House, Wilderstein, Boscobel, Manitoga, Lyndhurst, Kykuit and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills.

Cost: $1,430 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, sightseeing, transportation while touring, admissions, gratuities and most meals. Transportation to Albany is not included. Contact: Smithsonian Study Tours; tel. (202) 357-4700.

At Home in France

Stay two weeks with a French family in Aix-en-Provence April 26 to May 10. Participants will have a chance to immerse themselves in French culture. There will be five hands-on cooking classes in a mansion of the Provencal style. Tours will be taken around the area, including Avignon, Martigues, Aubagne, Ni^mes and Toulon. Guests also visit the wine cellars of Coteaux d'Aix, a city known for its beautiful fountains, mansions and gardens. Also included is a mini-cruise to Cha^teau d'If on an island at the entrance to Marseille's port.

Cost: $2,895 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from West Coast, emergency medical insurance, cooking classes, excursions, full room and board and an experienced group leader. Contact: Cultural Homestay International, 2455 Bennett Valley Road, Suite 210B, Santa Rosa, CA 95405; tel. (800) 395-2726.

Let Them Eat Turkey

A culinary tour of Istanbul, Turkey, is available on three dates, June 5 to 7, Sept. 11 to 13 and Oct. 16 to 18. These three-day tours are meant to give the participant a taste of the area before they travel independently in Turkey.

The dining experiences will include an Ottoman restaurant and a traditional dinner in the old Beyoglu district, offering an array of appetizers. Participants will also sample foods at markets. Guests will tour the city to see the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.

Cost: $725 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations in a four-star hotel, all meals, guide fees, entrance fees to museums and sites, and local transportation. Not included: international air fare. Contact: Culinary Expeditions in Turkey, P.O. Box 1913, Sausalito, CA 94966; tel. (415) 437-5700.

Irish Film Fest

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