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TOURS & CRUISES

A River Cruise Through Springtime in Iberia

October 22, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

From its source in the Spanish province of Soria, the Douro River flows about 560 miles through Spain and Portugal to the ocean. Uniworld of Encino is offering seven-night cruises on the Douro Princess beginning March 16. Passengers will begin the cruise in Porto, Portugal, and make excursions to, among other places, Regua, Lamego and Pinhao in Portugal, and Salamanca and Vega de Terron in Spain. Gardens, historical sites and village squares are explored at each stop. A four-night pre-cruise extension in Lisbon is available for an extra cost.

Cost: from $1,498 (the March 16 cruise is $1,398) per person, double occupancy, including ground transportation, all meals and five shore excursions. International air fare is extra.

Contact: Uniworld, 17323 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91316; telephone (800) 733-7820.

Egypt: Mummy Dearest

Explore Egypt from March 1 to 15 with Charles Frazee, history professor emeritus at Cal State Fullerton. Through lectures and discussions, Frazee will provide a historical and cultural perspective throughout the tour.

The trip starts in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum, which includes the Royal Mummy Room containing 11 mummified pharaohs, and stops at the Ezra Synagogue; Sultan Hassan Mosque; the Citadel; the Mohammed Ali Mosque; the Coptic Museum; and the Khan al Khalili Bazaars. Then it's on to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

The group will continue to Memphis, then Alexandria. Guests will fly to Abu Simbel and from Luxor, they will embark on a four-night cruise on the Nile.

Cost: $4,290 per person, including air fare from Los Angeles, ground transportation, first-class and deluxe accommodations, most meals, all sightseeing tours and entrance fees, transfers, portage and taxes.

Contact: East-West International Tours; tel. (800) 359-6719, Internet http://www.eastwest-tours.com.

Turkey: Women's Studies

The International Women's Studies Institute in Palo Alto is sponsoring a trip to Turkey June 9 to 22 that focuses on sites sacred to women in the context of Christianity, Islam and goddess devotion.

Program leaders include author Mehlika Seval, a native of Turkey, and Mara Keller, a professor of philosophy and religion.

Lodgings are in small tourist hotels. In Turkey, modes of travel include an air-conditioned bus, one overnight train trip and two boat trips--an afternoon cruise on the Bosporus and a full-day cruise along Turkey's southern coast.

Optional excursions will be available at additional cost to Cappadocia, Pergamum, Assos and Troy. The tour is limited to 24.

Cost: $2,500 before Jan. 1 and $2,700 after that, per person, double occupancy, including hotels and daily breakfasts, most meals, guides and entrance fees. Air fare to Turkey is not included.

Contact: International Women's Studies Institute, P.O. Box 1067, Palo Alto, CA 94302; tel. (510) 654-6345, Internet http://www.iwsi.org.

Sicily: Archeology

A 17-day trip to Sicily and southern Italy begins in Palermo on Jan. 6. Guests will visit the Cappella Palatina and the Cathedral of Monreale and the Norman/Moorish palace of the Zisa. After a visit to Cefalu, with its Norman cathedral and mosaics, the tour continues to see ancient Greek monuments at Segesta, Selinunte, Agrigento and Siracusa.

Along the way, the group will stop at the medieval mountaintop town of Erice, the Baroque city of Noto, and the site of the Roman imperial villa near Piazza Armerina, with its ensemble of floor mosaics. From Messina the tour will cross to the mainland and, after exploring the great Doric temples at Paestum, will use Sorrento as a base for visits to Amalfi and Ravello. Then it's on to the excavated Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the preserved Roman villa of Oplontis.

The tour will stop at the palace of Caserta on the way to Rome, where the main tour ends. A three-day Rome extension is available.

Cost: $2,980 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, ground transportation, first-class hotels, daily breakfast, nine dinners and all sightseeing and admission fees. The Rome extension will cost $346 extra.

Contact: University Educational Travel; tel. (800) 525-0525, Internet http://www.uet.com.

Hawaii: Geology

Learn geology and geography in Hawaii with two earth science instructors from Jan. 2 to 11.

Participants will see active volcanoes; swim with coral reef fish; hike tropical trails with waterfalls; discover endangered Hawaiian flora and fauna; and stroll on exotic beaches on Hawaii's largest islands, Hawaii and Maui.

Cost: $1,550 per person, double occupancy, including air fare, lodging and a snorkeling trip.

This basic cost does not include meals or other expenses, including each participant's share of gasoline ($40, payable in cash in Maui), entrance fees ($40), an optional helicopter tour ($200) and Palomar College enrollment fees ($24).

Contact: Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., tel. (760) 744-1150; ask for Steve Spear at Ext. 2513 or Doug Key at Ext. 2515.

New Mexico: Holidays

"Eggnog in Santa Fe," Dec. 21 to 27, highlights Pueblo Indian feast days, Spanish/Mexican Christmas traditions and European holiday customs. An elegant dinner at one of Santa Fe's finest restaurants follows a Christmas performance at the Loretto Chapel.

On Christmas Eve, participants will join Acoma families for celebrations at their 1,000-year-old village, known as Sky City. Christmas afternoon includes observing feast day dances and enjoying a catered dinner at a private Santa Fe casita. Guests stay in Santa Fe, with day trips scheduled to other locales, including Taos.

Cost: $1,100 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, land transport, most meals, lectures, concerts and entrance fees. Transportation to New Mexico is extra.

Contact: Christy Foster at Aventura Artistica; tel. (800) 808-7352.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

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