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Tours & Cruises

June 22, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

FRANCE

Princess Di coach offers makeovers on the Riviera

Unwind on the French Riviera this summer with a makeover by Princess Diana's personal health coach, who will spend a day with guests staying at luxury villas staffed and rented by travel company Abercrombie & Kent.

The villas, most of which are on the Cote d'Azur, range from homes that accommodate about eight to large estates that can hold 22. Full concierge service is included, with a staff consisting of a cook-housekeeper, a maid and a maintenance person.

The service doesn't come cheap. Mirabella, a five-bedroom villa overlooking the Mediterranean between Nice and Monte Carlo, rents for $35,950 for a week in August. But there are amenities -- such as the makeover with Stephen Twigg, author of "The Kensington Way" (E.P. Dutton, 1999) and health coach for Diana from 1988 to 1995. Twigg has a high-profile client list; his eight-hour villa makeovers, which usually cost $800 to $1,000, include an exercise session, 45-minute massage for up to six guests and individual health and diet advice.

"What can a person expect from a day with me?" asks Twigg. "Improvements, insights and inspiration. The body is affected by diet, lifestyle and personality. I've developed the ability to pinpoint during a massage session what aspects of these are adversely affecting a person's shape, size, general health or well-being."

Contact: Illinois-based Abercrombie & Kent; (800) 323-7308, www.abercrombiekent.com.

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WORLDWIDE

Volunteers sought to heed the siren call of the sea

Swim with a dolphin; get up close and personal with a manatee; introduce yourself to a giant otter. Each is possible on a working vacation with the Oceanic Society, which is seeking volunteers for field expeditions worldwide.

The society, a nonprofit marine conservation organization, needs volunteers to help with several projects. In the Bahamas, the group is doing underwater research on Atlantic spotted dolphins; in Belize, scientists are studying manatees; in Suriname, they are collecting information on leatherback turtles; in Guyana, they are studying giant otters.

Expeditions run year-round and are one to three weeks. Volunteers need no special skills.

Cost: Trips range from $1,400 to $2,390 and include training, meals and transportation. Accommodations vary, from marine wilderness lodges to live-aboard vessels. Some projects include air packages from Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Contact: San Francisco-based Oceanic Society; (800) 326-7491, www.oceanic-society.org.

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CANADA, NEW ENGLAND

Visually impaired traveler organizes fall foliage cruise

Cruise New England and the coast of Canada during the height of the fall foliage season on a special Carnival voyage that has been designed to accommodate visually impaired travelers and their friends and relatives.

The trip, organized by Sue Slater, a St. Louis travel agent who is blind, will be Sept. 13 to 20. The Victory will sail round trip from New York City, visiting Boston; Portland, Maine; and Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia, Canada.

The group will receive amenities that include early check-in, safety meetings, Braille and large-print signage throughout the ship, reserved front-row seating at shows, audio tours and appropriate access on and off the ship at port stops. Six travel agents will be on board to assist travelers.

Cost: From $796 per person, double occupancy (single occupancy $979.56), including cruise, accommodations, entertainment and meals. Transportation to New York City is not included.

Contact: Sue Slater, Damar Travel and Cruise; (314) 726-6893, e-mail cruiseaway2001@ yahoo.com.

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SPAIN, FRANCE

Cave art comes into focus along with local culture

STUDY prehistoric cave art in Spain and France during a fall tour sponsored by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The Sept. 6-21 tour features a mix of academic presentations by scholars and visits to caves and digs where ancient drawings can be seen. Participants will stay in medieval villages along the route, learning about local customs and foods.

In Spain, the group will visit the village of Santillana del Mar and the Guggenheim-Bilbao Museum, besides exploring the caves of Altamira II, El Pindal, El Castillo and Las Monedas.

In France, the tour will visit Cathar castles, Sarlat, the village of Les Eyzies and the caves of Font-de-Gaume, Les Combarelles, Niaux and Lascaux II.

The chief muralist of the Natural History Museum, Robert Reid, will accompany the group.

Cost: $4,465 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $600), including accommodations, most meals, and ground and air transportation within France and Spain. Round-trip airfare from LAX is not included.

Contact: Christine Robison, travel program coordinator; (213) 763-3350, www.nhm.org/travel.

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MEDITERRANEAN

'Roadshow' to

set sail for a seven-day cruise

Sail -- and shop -- with the cast of the BBC's "Antiques Roadshow" on a seven-night luxury Mediterranean cruise that departs Oct. 17.

The cruise, aboard Radisson Seven Seas' Diamond, will visit Nice and Marseilles, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona, Spain; and Rome, Portofino and Livorno, Italy.

Antiques lovers will join Paul Atterbury and John Bly of "Antiques Roadshow" on excursions and will receive briefings that steer them toward good buys. There will also be lectures and informal discussions.

Cost: Prices start at $2,965 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $665), including airfare from LAX, cruise, meals with wine, entertainment and shipboard gratuities.

Contact: Caren Erickson at Riverside-based Maxima Travel-Unique Vacations; (800) 333-9420 or (909) 776-2950.

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

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