CRUISE Alaska on the tall ship Maple Leaf.
The 11-night trips, which leave May 30 or June 12, focus on Alaska's natural and cultural history.
The 92-foot-long, 14-passenger Maple Leaf stops at Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka and visits estuaries popular with grizzly bears and dolphins, Harlequin ducks, ancient murrelets and seals. Participants go ashore on undeveloped beaches and venture into pristine forests.
The trip focuses on highlights of southeastern Alaska, said Maureen Gordon of Maple Leaf Adventures. The group goes by inflatable boat into Tracy Arm fiord, where participants may see bald eagles, seals and sea lions and humpback whales. In and among the glaciers, the seals are having pups.
Cost: $3,800 per person, including accommodations, meals and shore excursions. Airfare to Prince Rupert, British Columbia (for the May 30 departure), or Juneau (the June 12 departure), is not included.
Contact: Maple Leaf Adventures, Victoria, Canada; (888) 599-5323, www.mapleleafadventures.com.
Wright's art appreciation
STUDY the influence of Japanese aesthetics on the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright on a 10-night tour of Japan.
The trip, which begins March 22, is sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Wright credited Japanese art, particularly Japanese prints, as a strong influence on his architectural work.
Participants will tour three structures that Wright designed in Japan: the Jiyu Gakuen (Freedom) School in Tokyo, the Imperial Hotel near Nagoya and the Yamamura House in Hyogo. The group also will visit museums, including the Miho Museum, designed by I.M. Pei, in Shigaraki, Shiga.
Travelers will visit gardens and spend a night in a traditional ryokan.
Cost: $5,695 per person, double occupancy for nonmembers; $5,195 for members. Single surcharge is $1,250. Included are hotels, most meals, internal transportation, transfers and baggage handling. International airfare is not included.
Contact: Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, Oak Park, Ill.; (708) 848-1976, Ext. 234, www.wrightplus.org.
CZECH REPUBLIC & HUNGARY
Discuss Kafka and Kundera-- or not
TAKE a literary tour of Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, Hungary.
The seven-night trip, which begins May 6, includes heritage tours of both cities, tickets to concerts and a visit to a 19th century spa in Budapest.
Participation in discussions of Eastern European literature, including the works of Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera, is optional.
Cost: $1,899 per person, double occupancy ($795 single surcharge), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, internal air, hotels and breakfast, city tours and discussions. Airport taxes are not included.
Contact: Literary Affairs, Beverly Hills; (310) 553-4265, www.literaryaffairs.net.
Hiking from rim to river
CHALLENGE yourself to hike to the Colorado River from the South Rim on Grand Canyon National Park's unfrequented Hermit Trail during a seven-day backpacking trip for women.
Participants on the excursion, which begins May 8, will hike the unfrequented Hermit Trail, spending two nights at Hermit Creek Campground and two nights at Monument Creek Camp.
Cost: $1,195 per person, including two nights' lodging, four nights' camping, most meals and community camping equipment. Transportation from Los Angeles is not included.
Contact: Call of the Wild, Berkeley; (510) 849-9292, www.callwild.com.
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 or write via e-mail to travel@ latimes.com.