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TOURS & CRUISES

A Wee Bit o' the Irish Takes to the Caribbean

September 03, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The 10th annual Irish Festival Cruise doesn't even get close to Ireland; the destination is the Caribbean. But the cruise is all Irish in spirit as entertainers provide nightly concerts and cultural workshops aboard the Westerdam, departing Jan. 19 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Guests can try Irish dancing, hear Celtic myths and learn to play the tin whistle.

The eight-night Holland American Line cruise sails to six tropical ports of call: St. Martin; St. Thomas; St. John; the private island of Half Moon Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cost: from $1,299 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, ship accommodations, meals and entertainment.

Contact: Irish Festival Cruises; telephone (800) 441-HARP (4277), Internet http://www.irishtours.com.

Worldwide: Motorcycles

A Ducati motorcycle is the mode of transportation on several trips from April through November 2001. Staged by Ducati World Tours and Lotus Tours of Chicago, the lineup features weekend and longer runs for 16 riders. Itineraries include northern Italy, with the opportunity to buy a Ducati at the Bologna factory; the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont; Nova Scotia; Northern California's Sierra Nevada and wine country; New England foliage; and the motorcycle races at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Louden and Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey County.

Cost: from $1,500 to $5,245 per person, including motorcycle rental, lodging, all breakfasts, most dinners, support van, guides and trip garb. Air fare, lunch and fuel are extra.

Contact: Ducati World Tours; tel. (312) 649-9007.

South Africa: Highlights

Learn about South Africa's history, architecture, music, art, culture, wine, food, music and tribal stories from Nov. 2 to 13. Stops include Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Sun City. In Cape Town, there will be tours of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with 8,500 plant species, the Winelands, Table Mountain, a penguin colony and Cape Point. While on safari at Kruger National Park, participants will see some of the 30 large mammal species and more than 350 bird species. Guests will stay at Sun City Resort, which has an artificial sea, waves and beaches, plus casinos, shops and restaurants. There will be a nighttime tour of the adjoining Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Cost: $2,995 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air from Los Angeles, internal air, hotels, all breakfasts, some other meals, guides and transfers.

Contact: Doreen Adams of Lido Travel in Newport Beach; tel. (800) 843-6679.

Kenya: More Safaris

A two-week tour to Kenya departs Jan. 9 from Los Angeles and takes participants to six wildlife sanctuaries. Park visits include the dry scrub forests of Samburu and the grasslands of Masai Mara Reserve. The tour will also visit the Mt. Kenya Safari Club, Sweetwaters tented camp, Mountain Lodge and Lake Nakuru. On daily safaris, guests may see lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, ostriches and hornbills. A seven-day extension to Amboseli in Kenya and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is available.

Cost: $3,995 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles via Amsterdam, most meals, superior accommodations, entry fees and local guides. Extension cost is $1,595. The tour is escorted by Orange Coast College ecology professor Norm Cole and Santa Ana Zoo manager Ron Glazier.

Contact: Norm Cole, tel. (949) 497-1818, or Park East Tours, tel. (800) 223-6078, Ext. 321.

India: Culture

Unique Journeys of Reno is offering a "Splendors of South India" tour departing Oct. 30.

The 17-day tour begins in Madras and continues on to Bangalore, Mysore, Cochin, Kumarakom, Periyar National Park, Madurai, Thanjavur and Mahabalipuram.

Complete sightseeing is offered in all the cities. Added features include an elephant festival, an opportunity to learn about ayurvedic medicine and yoga, a backwater cruise in Kumarakom, a boat ride to view elephants in Periyar and a Kathakali dance performance. In Thanjavur, a dinner will be held with the Prince of Thanjavur along with a Bharata Natyam dance and a demonstration of the method of making metal statues. (The ride to the palace is on bullock carts in a procession.)

Cost: $4,290 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from San Francisco, deluxe hotel accommodations, most meals, all sightseeing and most of the tips. The tour is limited to 18 guests.

Contact: Suraj Zutshi at Unique Journeys; tel. (800) 421-1981, Internet http://www.uniquejourney.com.

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

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