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TOURS & CRUISES

Studying Ancient History, Current Affairs in Rome

March 19, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Roman Republic and the Vatican will be featured in a tour of Rome Sept. 22 to 30. Led by a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Frank Shakespeare, and organized by California's Claremont Institute, the trip will feature special briefings by experts on Roman and Vatican history. Current foreign affairs issues will also be covered, with former Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Martino, for example, briefing the group on the euro, Europe's new currency. Visits to St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Catacombs, the Roman Forum, the Appian Way and the village of Orvieto are included. The final reception and dinner will take place at the Doria Pamphilj Gallery and Palace in Rome.

Cost: $5,575 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles or other gateways, hotel in Rome, all dinners and breakfasts, five lunches, two receptions, tips and entrance fees.

Contact: Michael Warder, Claremont Institute; telephone (909) 621-6825.

South Seas: Cruise

Zegrahm Expeditions is offering a cruise to Melanesia, an island chain that includes Papua New Guinea, Trobriand Islands and Utupua and Ambrim islands. Throughout the Oct. 13 to 30 voyage, passengers will meet the inhabitants of these remote islands. The natural beauty can be seen up close while snorkeling, diving, hiking, birding and exploring tide pools. A marine biologist and naturalist will be on hand to help identify species, and a historian will lecture on wartime events in the South Pacific. Guests will visit Iron Bottom Sound off Guadalcanal Island, the site of intense naval battles during World War II. It is named for the large numbers of Japanese and American vessels and aircraft sunk there.

Cost: from $7,990 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, cabins, all meals and ground transportation. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Zegrahm Expeditions, 192 Nickerson St., No. 200, Seattle, WA 98109; tel. (206) 285-4000 or (800) 628-8747 Internet http://www.zeco.com.

Germany: World's Fair

Explore Germany's Romantic Road and EXPO 2000, the World's Fair in Hanover, with its theme "Humankind, Nature and Technology," on 12-day tours departing June 30, Aug. 31, Sept. 14 and Oct. 3. Included in the itinerary are city tours of Berlin, Goslar, Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Augsburg, Wiesbaden and Munich; two days at the World's Fair; a Rhine River cruise to the winemaking center of Rudesheim; a drive up Germany's Romantic Road to Neuschwanstein Castle; and a tour of baroque Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. A three-course dinner followed by the "Night Watchman's Walking Tour" in medieval Rothenburg is planned.

Cost: from $3,348 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, deluxe motor-coach transportation, 10 nights in first-class hotels, group arrival and departure transfers, luggage handling, buffet breakfast daily and five dinners, and a farewell dinner with a Bavarian folklore show.

Contact: AAA Cruise and Tours Center; tel. (888) 874-7222.

Scotland: Theater Festival

The University of Colorado's Theatreworks is hosting an "Edinburgh Festival Tour" Aug. 11 to 19. The Scotland tour features the International Festival; a film, jazz and book festival; and the Edinburgh Tattoo, a pageant that takes place on the Castle Esplanade. In addition is the Fringe festival, which includes theatrical performances, art and comedy. Time will be set aside for personal touring.

Cost: $2,879 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, first-class hotel accommodations, daily breakfasts, entrance fees, professional lectures and performances at the International Festival and the Tattoo (including fireworks).

Contact: Drew Martorella, University of Colorado; tel. (719) 262-3275.

Morocco: Cooking

Casablanca-born Kitty Morse, author of eight cookbooks, will lead a tour to Morocco to learn about its culture and cuisine. The tour runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 7. Between cooking demonstrations in private homes and by chefs at restaurants, guests will visit the mosque of Hassan II; the Oudayas Casbah, Chellah Roman ruins and royal mausoleum in Rabat; the Roman ruins at Volubilis; the holy city of Moulay Idriss; and Fez, Morocco's cultural and culinary capital, spending two nights at the Hotel Palais Jamai. They will also share a traditional meal with a Berber family and follow the Casbah Trail through El Kalaa, Boumalne and Ouarzazate.

Also on the itinerary is Marrakech to see museums, art galleries and Djemaa el Fna Square, where snake charmers, fire eaters and acrobats entertain. Along the Atlantic coast, the tour visits the ancient Portuguese town of El Jadida.

Cost: $4,295 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York to Casablanca, accommodations in first-class or deluxe hotels, ground travel in Morocco, culinary events in private homes, most meals, entrance fees, guides and porters.

Contact: Natalie Tuomi at Carlsbad Travel, 2727 Roosevelt St., Carlsbad, CA 92008; tel. (800) 533-2779.

Hawaii: Sacred Sites

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