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Tours & Cruises

A Fab Four Pilgrimage in England and Amsterdam


Beatles fans can spend 11 nights immersed in Fab Four lore in August during a Magical History Tour of Liverpool, London and other landmark Beatles sites.

The tour, from Aug. 17 to 28, will take participants to the homes of the Beatles, as well as to their schools, clubs, early hangouts and such well-known locations as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Tour members will attend a session in Abbey Road Studios in London, where the singing stars recorded most of their classics.

Other highlights will be participation in Beatles Week in Liverpool, featuring the International Beatles Convention, the Mersey Street Music Festival and the annual Liverpool Beatles Auction. Tour participants will be invited to a party at the Casbah Club in Liverpool hosted by Pete Best, the Beatles' lead drummer before Ringo joined the group.

Beatles landmarks in Amsterdam also will be on the itinerary.

Cost: $2,799, including air fare from LAX, accommodations, transfers, breakfasts, admissions and activities.

Contact: International Tours and Events; (866) LIVERPOOL (548-7665),


Canada: The Rockies

A rail-and-drive plan that makes it easy to see Canada's spectacular Rocky Mountains at a leisurely pace is available this summer from Rocky Mountaineer Railtours.

The 10-day program combines a two-day trip by rail from Vancouver, Canada, to Jasper, Banff or Calgary. From there, travelers pick up a rental car for seven days of independent exploration. They can choose between a visit to Whistler resort area or Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, which is known for its vineyards, golf courses and lakes. Hotel stays are arranged in advance.

Departures are available three times a week through September.

Cost: from $959, double occupancy, including nine nights of hotel accommodations, a full-size rental car for seven days, two days of rail transportation, and breakfasts and lunches aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. Transportation to Vancouver is not included.

Contact: Rocky Mountaineer Railtours; (800) 665-7245,


Italy: Study Abroad

Community college students can attend courses in Florence this fall with a study-abroad program sponsored by Riverside Community College.

The 12-week program, which begins Sept. 12, features courses in art, language, Italian politics and math. Students will live in furnished apartments in Florence and will take part in excursions to Venice and Rome. College units are transferable.

Although overseas study programs are common at four-year colleges, Riverside is one of only a few community colleges offering such a program, said coordinator Jan Schall, an art history professor at the college. Most students are 18 to 25, "but we've had participants up to age 74," she said.

The program is in conjunction with the Centers for Academic Programs Abroad, a nonprofit organization that coordinates foreign study programs.

Cost: $5,899, including round-trip air fare from LAX, pre-departure and on-site orientations, accommodations, walking tour of Florence, insurance and farewell dinner. Financial aid is available.

Contact: Jan Schall at (909) 222-8340 or CAPA student services; (800) 793-0334,


Japan: Dolphin Watch

This fall, dolphin lovers can participate in a conservation program co-founded by actor Ted Danson and wildlife cinematographer Hardy Jones.

The program, Blue Voice, focuses on the dolphin fisheries industry in Japan. An upcoming seven-night tour, co-sponsored by Blue Voice and Oceanic Society Expeditions, involves a dolphin watch in Futo, a town once known for its dolphin fishery, where the capture, slaughter and processing of dolphins was an important part of the economy.

Because of dolphin conservation efforts, the village is trying to convert to educational dolphin-watching as a tourist industry.

The Oceanic Society Expeditions tour, scheduled Sept. 21, will include daily boat trips to view dolphins and other marine life. Tour participants will learn about Japanese culture through visits to historic sites, museums and gardens, and in meetings with community members.

Cost: from $2,090 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations at a village inn, travel within Japan, excursions and most meals. International air fare is not included.

Contact: Oceanic Society Expeditions; (800) 326-7491,


Mexico: Copper Canyon

Mexico's ruggedly beautiful Copper Canyon will be the highlight of a 12-day bus and train tour sponsored by San Diego State University's Continuing Education Center.

The tour, which departs Oct. 16 from Ontario, Calif., will focus on northwestern Mexico, visiting Hermosillo on the Gulf of California and the colonial town of Alamos on the way to the Sierra Madre and Copper Canyon, often compared with the Grand Canyon.

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