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Tours & Cruises

Restaurants and Retail Await in New York City


The Tasting Spoon of Los Angeles and Pleasanton, Calif., will lead a culinary and shopping tour to New York City from Nov. 6 to 10. Participants will spend five days and four nights exploring some of New York's sights and eating at restaurants in multiethnic neighborhoods. They will also tour museums, markets and small shops and see the hit Broadway show "The Producers" from orchestra seats.

Cost: $1,300 per person, double occupancy, including daily continental breakfast, two dinners, tours, Broadway show and airport transfers. Air fare is additional.

Contact: the Tasting Spoon; (310) 306-8851, www.tasting

Italy: Art and Music

Endless Beginnings Tours has planned a trip that will visit some of the cities and towns of Italy's Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna provinces. The trip, from Oct. 5 to 19, will be led by art historian Victoria Goyet. Cities on the itinerary include Parma, Mantua, Verona, Ferrara and Bologna. Besides visiting museums, participants will tour the home of composer Giuseppe Verdi, watch violin makers in Cremona and taste wines at vineyards.

Cost: $5,275 per person, double occupancy, including hotel accommodations, two meals daily, minivan transportation and guides. Air fare is extra.

Call: Endless Beginnings Tours; (800) 822-7855.

Africa: Botswana Safari

The Santa Ana Zoo is offering a 12-day safari to Botswana, departing Nov. 15. Participants will journey to the Okavango Delta, an oasis in the Kalahari Desert, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls. Guests will glide on the delta in a dugout canoe and search the savanna in Land Rovers for wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo and elephants on day and night game runs. Accommodations will be in luxury tented camps in Botswana and at the Sun International resort in Zambia. The trip is limited to 16.

Cost: $5,895 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from LAX, ground transportation, accommodations, most meals and a donation to the Santa Ana Zoo.

Contact: Ron Glazier, Santa Ana Zoo; (714) 647-6598.

Southern Italy: Youth

Contiki's 13-day tours to Sicily and southern Italy will depart July 1 and 15. The tours, geared for travelers between 18 and 35, will visit the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri; Mt. Etna, a volcano; Palermo, capital of Sicily; the chic resort of Taormina; and Marsala, renowned for its sweet wine. The itinerary features a guided walking tour of Rome, a boat ride off the Amalfi Coast, a visit to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, wine tasting and a tour of Naples.

Cost: from $917 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, most meals, guided sightseeing, land transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach and guides. Air fare is extra.

Contact: (888) CONTIKI (266-8484),

Finland: Warmer Months

A nine-day excursion to Finland is available throughout the summer from Nordique Tours/Norvista of Los Angeles. The trip will focus on the countryside and smaller cities and towns. The first stop will be Porvoo, which provides a look back to 19th century Finland (when it was part of Russia) through a visit to the Valamo Monastery. A visit to a farmhouse near Joensuu will show participants the culture of the Karelians, a group of ethnic Finns.

At Vuonislahti there will be a stop at the studio of Eva Ryynanen, who sculpts in wood. Near the Russian border, at Ruunaa, participants can ride the rapids in a wood riverboat.

The tour will head north to the fringes of the Arctic, stopping at a coffee cup museum and meeting with Santa Claus at Rovaniemi, the regional capital.

There are several departures through Aug. 15.

Cost: $2,199 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from New York, six nights in hotels, many meals and guides. Air fare to New York is extra.

Contact: Nordique Tours/Norvista; (310) 645-7527,

Scotland: Historic Spots

Get to know Scotland up close on a trip with Scotland scholar Fran Park and his wife, Sue, of Sun City, Ariz. They will lead a tour from Aug. 14 to 27 in and around Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oban and Pitlochry.

Tourgoers will attend the annual Edinburgh festival and visit St. Andrews, the Scottish Lowlands, Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey, Blair Castle, the Glenfiddich Distillery, the Isles of Mull and Iona, and Loch Lomond.

Cost: $3,654 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, transfers, accommodations, full breakfast and dinner daily, admissions and taxes.

Call: Hager Travel Group; (800) 227-7606.

England: Beatles Sites

Trafalgar Tours' "In the Footsteps of the Beatles" will take Fab Four fans to the sites that provided the inspiration for some of the Beatles' lyrics. Departures are from London on Aug. 24 and Sept. 14.

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