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Tours & Cruises

November 15, 2009|Avital Binshtock


Get schooled in the history of Arizona and Frank Lloyd Wright by booking the "Arizona Biltmore History Package" at the resort where every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush has stayed, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned, and where Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas."

Dates: Through Dec. 31

Biltmore and history

Price: $327, including a night in a resort room, breakfast for two, a tour for two of the Arizona Biltmore with a certified historian, a tour for two of Taliesin West (the Scottsdale branch of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture), an Arizona Biltmore or Frank Lloyd Wright history book. The rate excludes taxes and a daily $28 resort charge.

Contact: Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix; (800) 950-0086,



Yoga retreat

Honor your New Year's resolutions by booking Royal Plantation Ocho Rios' four-day "New Year, New You Wellness Retreat." The deal includes private yoga instruction on the beach, guided meditation sessions, nutrition seminars and a personalized eating plan to follow on site and at home.

Dates: Jan. 7 to 11

Price: $1,499, including accommodations in an ocean-view suite, healthful meals, nutrition consultations, yoga and meditation instruction, a yoga starter pack, guided hikes and a $200 credit at the resort's Red Lane Spa.

Contact: Royal Plantation Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica; (888) 487-6925,



Island-hopping cruise

Chart a course for 17 days of adventure in the South Pacific aboard the luxurious 53-cabin MV Orion on the "Islands Magazine Melanesian Discovery" cruise. Your final destination is Papua New Guinea, with stops at Vanuatu and the Solomons. Highlights include watching cultural performances (including Papua New Guinea's elaborately costumed Baining Fire Dancers), hiking an active volcano, snorkeling along coral reefs, sea kayaking and mingling with indigenous tribes. Land excursions are led by a guide.

Itinerary: Auckland, New Zealand, to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand; Isle of Pines, New Caledonia; Tanna Island, Vanuatu; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Malakula, Vanuatu; Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Utupua Island, Solomons; Santa Ana Island, Solomons; Ngella, Florida Islands; Ghizo and Kennedy islands, Solomons to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

Dates: Departs March 1

Price: Starting at $9,655 (double occupancy at press-time exchange rates), including accommodations, all on-board meals, entertainment, educational presentations, excursions (including a guided walking tour of New Zealand's Bay of Islands), taxes and port charges. Inquire about booking early for a 15% discount.

Info: Orion Expedition Cruises, Sydney, Australia; (877) 674-6687,



Basque art and culture

Bask in Basque art and culture with TourCrafters' "Air and Land Package to Bilbao," a great deal that flies you to the northern Spain city of modern and historic architecture.

Dates: Through March 31

Price: Starting at $915 (double occupancy), including round-trip airfare from New York; four nights in the NH Deusto hotel; daily breakfast; an excursion to the Rioja wine region with a one-day car rental, maps and directions, guided visits to two wine cellars, a wine tasting and a three-course lunch; and taxes (except airport taxes) and service charges. The rate does not include airfare add-ons for other departure cities ($217 for Los Angeles and San Francisco; $112 for Miami, Chicago and Houston; $161 for Atlanta).

Info: TourCrafters, Libertyville, Ill.; (800) 482-5995,



Mekong River cruise

Step aboard the 27-room Jayavarman for this French Colonial-style river cruise. On its eight-day sail, it traverses

the Mekong River from

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to

the temples of Angkor, Cambodia; stopping or slowing to see the UNESCO-listed Can Gio mangrove biosphere reserve, fish farms, floating markets and villages and artisan towns.

Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Be, Vietnam; Chau Doc, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Kampong Cham, Cambodia; Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia, to Siem Reap and Angkor.

Dates: Departures between April 1 and Sept. 30

Price: From $1,385 (double occupancy), including seven nights in a superior-category cabin, round-trip transfers, all meals (including in local restaurants), sightseeing with local tour guides, tai chi lessons on the boat's sun deck and port taxes. Included excursions: city tours, biking the canals, a visit to the An Kiet house to have tea with descendants of former imperial residents, and a journey to see Cambodia's grim "killing fields," where the Khmer Rouge slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Cambodians; a local history professor will be on site to provide context.

Info: Brendan Vacations, Chatsworth, Calif.; (800) 421-8446,

-- Avital Binshtock


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