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TOURS & CRUISES

October 05, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

Looking for Dracula on a fantasy tour of Transylvania

Scare the living daylights out of yourself on a weeklong Halloween trip to Transylvania, fabled home of Count Dracula.

The escorted tour, Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, explores the castles and legends of Romania, focusing on the northwestern region of Transylvania. Visits to Bucharest and the Carpathian Mountains are included.

"The ultimate Halloween experience is spending that night in Dracula's castle, and that's what we're going to do," said Charles F. Rosenay, tour director.

The trip will be based on Bram Stoker's Gothic horror fantasy novel "Dracula." Although the book was published more than a century ago, the classic vampire legend persists, thanks in part to film and TV versions. The tour includes visits to graveyards and castles and the Masquerade Monsters' Ball on Halloween, which participants will attend in costume.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 15, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Astronomy tour -- In the Oct. 5 Travel section, an incorrect phone number was given for a Twilight Tours trip to Zambia to observe Venus as it transits the sun June 8. The correct number is (818) 575-9580.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 19, 2003 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 3 Features Desk 1 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Astronomy tour -- In the Tours and Cruises column in the Oct. 5 Travel section, an incorrect phone number was given for a Twilight Tours trip to Zambia to observe Venus as it transits in sun June 8 ("Sky Watchers, Heads Up for a Rare Celestial Event"). The correct number is (818) 575-9580.

Cost: $1,999 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $474), including round-trip airfare from LAX to Bucharest, accommodations, transfers, bus transportation, sightseeing and admissions.

Contact: International Tours and Events, Orange, Conn.; (866) TERRORTOUR (837-7678), www.toursandevents.com.

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BRITAIN

Castle hopping in search of ghosts and spirits

Roam haunted halls in England, search for spirits in Scotland or investigate ghostly sightings in Ireland on weeklong trips designed to appeal to ghostbusters.

The self-guided car-and-hotel packages, available through Dec. 15, include concierge service and suggested itineraries. In England, guests will stay in Dover, Sussex, Dorchester, Devon, Bradford-on-Avon and West Wycombe. Along the route are sites such as Battle Abbey and Pevensey Castle and the mystical stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge.

The Scotland package includes four nights in Airth Castle in Stirlingshire and two nights in Tulloch Castle in Dingwall. The itinerary includes Stirling Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Glamis Castle and Edinburgh Castle, with time to visit the Highlands and look for the Loch Ness monster.

In Ireland, participants will spend four nights at Kinnitty Castle in County Offaly and two nights at Glin Castle in County Limerick. Nearby haunted castles include Charleville Forest, Killua and Leap, considered one of Ireland's most haunted.

Cost: For England, rates start at $895 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $395), with airfare from LAX an additional $799 round trip; the airfare decreases Nov. 1 to $689. For Scotland, rates start at $1,049 per person, double (single surcharge $395); airfare from LAX is $759, decreasing to $649 Nov. 1. For Ireland, rates start at $1,449 per person, double (single surcharge $395); airfare from LAX is $649, decreasing to $529 Nov. 1. All packages include accommodations, car, daily breakfast, concierge service and personalized itinerary.

Contact: Destinations Ireland and Great Britain of New York City; (800) 832-1848, www.destinations-ireland.com.

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LOUISIANA

Civil War sites with a 1950s pop soundtrack

SING "Yakety Yak" with the Coasters and "Sea Cruise" with Frankie Ford on a seven-night '50s cruise on the Mississippi River. The Jan. 24 steamboat trip also will feature baseball legend Bob Feller.

The American Queen, flagship of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., will sail round trip from New Orleans, with stops at Vacherie, Baton Rouge and St. Francisville, La., and Vicksburg and Natchez, Miss. Passengers will be able to see antebellum homes, plantations and Civil War battlefields -- and dance to music from the '50s.

Cost: From $1,400 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $1,050), including round-trip airfare from LAX, transfers and cruise.

Contact: Historic Tours and Cruises Inc. of Huntington Beach; (714) 536-3434.

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CHINA

Value-priced tours of Beijing landmarks

SCALE the Great Wall of China on a low-cost escorted seven-day trip to Beijing.

The trips, organized by China Travel Service, the government travel office, are scheduled to depart Oct. 26, Nov. 9 and 29 and Dec. 7. The itinerary includes tours of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Ming Tombs, the Summer Palace and the Great Wall.

Cost: $888 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $150), including round-trip airfare from LAX, lodgings, some meals, transfers, sightseeing and an English-speaking guide.

Contact: China Travel Service, San Francisco; (800) 890-8818, www.chinatravelservice.com.

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SOUTHERN AFRICA

Sky watchers, heads up for a rare celestial event

Join astronomers and star-watching buffs on an expedition to Zambia to observe the planet Venus, which will be transiting the sun for the first time in 121 years. Astronomers say the rare event takes place when the planet is in exact alignment between Earth and the sun. Watchers will be able to see the small black disk of Venus cross the fiery surface of the sun on June 8.

The May 29-June 9 trip will be led by Edwin C. Krupp, director of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and Joel Harris of the Orange County Astronomers Assn. Besides watching the transit, the group will visit Namibia's Skeleton Coast, Kalahari Desert and Etosha National Park, and South Africa's Cape of Good Hope. The transit will be viewed north of Lusaka, Zambia.

Cost: $5,500 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $750), including airfare from Atlanta to Africa, all intra-Africa flights, accommodations, transfers and most meals.

Contact: Twilight Tours Inc. of Westlake Village; (818) 575-9589, www.sciencecenter.net/twilighttours.

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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