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TOURS & CRUISES

Something's Blooming in Spain's Andalusia

November 15, 1998|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mediterranean gardens make up the theme for a tour of Andalusia, in southern Spain, scheduled to start in Seville on April 12 and end in Malaga on the 23rd. It includes the gardens of the Alcazar palaces in Seville and Cordoba (originally made by the Moors who invaded Spain in the 8th century), and the Alhambra and Generalife gardens in Granada. There will be visits to Jerez, Ronda and Santa Fe, where in 1492 Columbus signed the agreement with the Spanish monarchs who sponsored his voyage.

Cost: $3,850 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, transfers, touring, entrances and most meals. Not included: international air fare.

Contact: INGATOURS, 5 The Dell, Pinner, Middlesex, England, HA5 3EW; telephone (800) 581- 0911. (Note: England is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. It's best to call from the U.S. in the morning.)

Mediterranean: Cruise

Combine Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and France on a cruise that begins May 6 in Barcelona, Spain. Passengers will tour the city before boarding the Marco Polo. The itinerary also includes Cannes, France; Rome, Florence, Sorrento and Portofino, Italy; Santorini, Mykonos and Delos, Greece; and Ephesus and Istanbul, Turkey.

Cost: $2,325 per person, double occupancy, including airport transfers, hotels in Istanbul and Barcelona, sightseeing tours, most meals, baggage handling and lectures. Air fare from Los Angeles is additional.

Contact: Professor Benzi's Cultural Tours; tel. (619) 454-1434.

Virginia: Plantations

Explore 150 years of plantation life on a tour to Virginia March 26 to April 2. Two interior design instructors will lead the tour and share their knowledge of historic furnishings and the history and architecture of the area. Visits will be made to selected Virginia plantations and Colonial Williamsburg.

Cost: $1,550 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from L.A., accommodations, sightseeing and some meals.

Contact: Marilyn Litvak, The Travel Arrangers of Pasadena; tel. (626) 793-1466.

Scandinavia: Churches

A 14-day "Christian Heritage Tour" will be led by two Lutheran ministers to Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The tour leaves Los Angeles June 24.

Participants will visit Copenhagen; Goteborg, Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden; and Lillehammer, Oslo and Bergen, Norway. In each city the focus will be on historic Christian churches, but other tourist sites are visited.

The tour is being operated by NAWAS International Travel.

Cost: $2,998 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, ground transportation by motor coach, first-class hotels, daily breakfasts, nine dinners and all sightseeing and admission fees. Airport taxes are extra.

Contact: Harvey Wehrmeister, tour director; tel. (323) 874-7206.

Turkey: Istanbul

Megatrails is offering one-week winter tours of Istanbul on various departure dates through March. Popular sites such as the Blue Mosque and a shopping bazaar will be seen.

Extensions are available to Ephesus, starting at $290, and Cappadocia, from $325. These extensions include all transfers, accommodations, transportation and English-speaking guides. The Cappadocia tour also includes all meals; the Ephesus extension includes breakfast and lunch. The three-day Cappadocia extension explores the region's landscape and the cave churches of the Goreme Valley.

Cost: from $935 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, six nights' accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, tax and service charges and airport transfers.

Contact: Megatrails, 1828 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10128; tel. (800) 547-1211 or (212) 996-9677.

Amazon River: Cruise

Cruise the Eastern Caribbean and 1,000 miles of the Amazon River Jan. 17 to 30. Passengers will cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Royal Olympic's Stella Solaris. The cruise has two themes: opera and gardens. Guest speakers include gardening experts and botanists who will discuss the ecosystem and rain forests of the Amazon. Also scheduled on board are opera concerts and workshops with singer Martina Arroyo. Music lectures will be given by Robert Sherman, producer of the New York Times Classical Music Station.

Port stops include Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, the Virgin Islands and several ports in Brazil.

Cost: from $2,392 per person, double occupancy, including international return air from Manaus, Brazil, to Fort Lauderdale. Air fare to Florida is not included.

Contact: Celia's Getaways: tel. (714) 901-3510.

Asia: 6 Nations

Mark 20 days off your calendar for a trip to Southeast Asia led by an Asian art dealer. The tour runs Feb. 21 to March 13 and visits Myanmar; Bangkok, Thailand; Cambodia; Laos; Vietnam; and Taipei, Taiwan.

The tour begins in Yangon, Myanmar, to see its 326-foot pagoda encrusted with thousands of jewels. Participants travel along the Irawaddy River to Pagan with its 5,000 temples. In Laos guests visit Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and in Cambodia they will visit Angkor Wat.

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