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Tours & Cruises | VIETNAM

A coastal trip with real depth

July 02, 2006|Maggie Barnett | Times Staff Writer

SEE Vietnam by sea on a cruise from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City this September.

The 11-night cruises, aboard the 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey, are offered Sept. 1, 9 and 27. The first two focus on the culture and antiquities of Vietnam. The Sept. 27 sailing revisits the United States' presence in the region during the Vietnam War and the experience of Americans who served there.

"Unlike most cruises, which only call at Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, these cruises call at a number of ports along the coast of Vietnam," said Ann Bonar of Joan Irvine Travel.

Participants spend one night in Hanoi before embarking at Haiphong. Then the ship travels to Halong Bay, the Gulf of Tonkin, the South China Sea and up the Saigon River.

They visit Cat Ba Island and the ports of Vinh, Hue, Da Nang, Qui Nhon and Nha Trang, disembarking in Ho Chi Minh City.

Cost: $4,339 per person, double occupancy ($500 single surcharge) for Sept. 1 and 9 sailings; from $2,891 per person, double occupancy ($500 single surcharge) for the Sept. 27 veterans' cruise, including hotel and ship accommodations, meals, shore excursions, port charges and tips. International airfare is not included.

Contact: Joan Irvine Travel, Newport Beach; (949) 548-3481.

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SCANDINAVIA

From Iceland to Sweden

CRUISE from the glaciers of Iceland to the fiords of Sweden aboard Orient Lines Marco Polo.

The 13-day trip begins Aug. 1 with two days of touring Reykjavik, Iceland. Then the 826-passenger ship sails to the ports of Akureyri and Seysdisfjordur in Iceland. The ship visits Torshavn on the Faroe Islands; Bergen and Kristiansand in Norway; Aalborg, Denmark; and Stockholm.

Cost: $2,599 to $5,899 per person, double occupancy, including hotel and ship accommodations, meals and some excursions. International airfare is not included.

Contact: Maupintour, Las Vegas; (800) 572-1709, www.orientlines.com.

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CALIFORNIA

Spa time in wine country

EAT, drink and relax with spa treatments in Napa and Sonoma counties on a three-day trip designed for women, although men are allowed too.

Participants on the trip, which starts Aug. 3, will attend wine tastings and cooking demonstrations held by local vintners and chefs, attend receptions, take walks with a personal trainer and dine with food and wine experts.

Spa treatments, such as massage, reflexology and foot rub and facials, are available for $115 each.

Cost: $2,500 per person, double occupancy ($1,000 single surcharge), including accommodations, most meals, tastings, a $100 credit toward spa treatments and transportation from Oakland or San Francisco to Sonoma. Transportation from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: Women & Wine, Los Angeles; (888) 721-9463, www.womenwine.com.

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HAWAII

Mind-body ministrations

GET a hands-on experience in the traditional healing arts of the islands during a women's retreat on Oahu.

The five-night seminars, designed to balance mind, body and spirit, are offered Sept. 16, Oct. 8 and Nov. 5 at a North Shore resort near Haleiwa.

Local masters of indigenous traditions lead six days of classes.

Spa treatments, massages, ocean sports and other activities designed to promote well-being are available.

Cost: $2,995 per person, double occupancy ($700 single surcharge), including accommodations, meals, spa treatments, classes and airport transfers. Airfare from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: Martin's Travel & Tours, Los Angeles; (800) 999-7124 or (310) 390-7685, www.martinstravel.com.

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NEW YORK

Upstate route to Erie Canal

TRAVERSE the Erie Canal on a tour of upstate New York that begins Sept. 3.

The 12-night sailing aboard the ferry boat Emita II travels the Hudson River from Albany to Buffalo.

Along the way the ship's captain will explain the lock system, navigation and the history of the canal.

Excursions to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts and the Adirondack Mountains are included.

In the Berkshires, participants will visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., the Hancock Shaker Village, and the Mount, Edith Wharton's estate and gardens in Lenox, Mass.

They will take a train through the Adirondacks to see Oriskany Battlefield in New York's Mohawk Valley, site of a 1777 battle that was one of the Revolutionary War's bloodiest.

Cost: $2,795 per person, double occupancy ($480 single surcharge), including cruise, hotels, most meals, ground transportation and excursions. Transportation from Los Angeles to Albany, N.Y., is not included.

Contact: Mountain Outin' Tours, East Irvine; (800) 844-3985, www.mountainoutin.com.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; e-mail to travel@latimes.com.

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