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TOURS & CRUISES | NORWAY

Watch the bears, and just chill

May 21, 2006|Maggie Barnett | Times Staff Writer

GLIDE through Arctic waters, where polar bears and other wildlife live, on 11-night expeditions to Spitzbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago of Norway.

The trips, which start July 5 and 14, feature two nights in Oslo and nine nights aboard the 385-foot Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

Zodiac landing craft, staffed by polar bear experts, naturalists and guides, will take passengers ashore for a closer look at the wildlife.

"The Arctic islands of Norway, within the Arctic Circle, are home to two national parks, 15 bird sanctuaries and two plant reserves," said Karen O'Neill of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

"These islands are a spectacular wildlife destination -- and because of this, the Spitzbergen cruise has been our most popular educational tour," she said.

Cost: From $3,995 per person, triple occupancy, to $8,395 per person, double occupancy, including cabin accommodations, hotels, meals, lectures and slide presentations, and transfers to Longyearbyen Airport, Spitzbergen.

International airfare and airfare from Oslo to Spitzbergen are not included.

Contact: Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln, Mass.; (800) 289-9504, www.massaudubon.org.

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MID-ATLANTIC

Trace history, north to south

EXPLORE U.S. history on nine-day tours from New York to Washington, D.C. The bus tours, scheduled June 3 and every Saturday from Sept. 2 through Oct. 21, include stops in Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pa., and the Shenandoah Valley, Charlottesville and Williamsburg, Va.

Participants will tour the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pa., and Manassas, Va., George Washington's home at Mount Vernon, Va., and the Smithsonian museums in Washington.

Cost: $1,349 to $1,719 per person, double occupancy ($500 single surcharge), including hotels, ground transportation, some meals and admission fees. Transportation from Los Angeles to New York is not included.

Contact: GeoPassage of Austin, Texas; (800) 246-3429; www.geopassage.com.

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FRANCE

Photo shoot in postwar Paris

GRAB a camera and head for Paris on an eight-night trip for photo buffs.

The trip, which begins Sept. 11, will seek unspoiled vistas off the beaten path to re-create vignettes of historic Paris.

Photographer and tour leader Barbara van Zanten will demonstrate the use of sepia filters, black-and-white film and other techniques to mimic the look of postwar Paris made famous in the photographs of Eugene Atget and Robert Doisneau.

Cost: $2,870 per person, double occupancy ($320 single surcharge), including hotels, some meals, entrance fees and subway tickets. International airfare is not included.

Contact: Europa Photogenica, Torrance; (310) 378-2821, www.europaphotogenica.com.

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YELLOWSTONE

Follow those paw prints

TAKE the kids to Yellowstone National Park for a naturalist-guided vacation.

The four-day tours are offered June 9 through Aug. 28 for families with children 8 to 12 years old.

From a base at either Grant Village or Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, families will take a guided tour of the park's canyons, geyser basins and waterfalls. Activities include animal tracking, wildlife viewing, photography and hiking.

Cost: $595 per adult, double occupancy, $395 per child ($244 single surcharge), including lodging, most meals, ground transportation in the park and instruction.

Contact: The Yellowstone National Park Lodges; (307) 344-5566, www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

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CALIFORNIA, MEXICO

Both sides of immigration

GET the inside story on immigration on a tour of the border region between California and Mexico.

The four-day tours, which start June 16 and Sept. 1, are sponsored by Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based human rights organization.

Participants will meet with Border Patrol agents and members of the American Friends Service Committee in Chula Vista, Calif., and the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego.

They also will visit a migrant shelter, a foreign-owned factory and will meet with labor leaders and women's rights groups in Tijuana.

Cost: $750 per person, double occupancy ($125 single surcharge), including hotels, most meals, ground transportation, interpreters and guides. Transportation to San Diego is not included.

Contact: Global Exchange, San Francisco; (800) 497-1994, Ext. 221; www.globalexchange.org.

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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 or write via e-mail to travel@latimes.com.

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