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Las Vegas, Cancun predicted to be top spots for spring break

Haven't decided where you're going for spring break? Some online travel retailers think it's likely you'll end up in Las Vegas or Cancun, Mexico.

It's not a perfect science, but the two cities ranked high on 2015 spring break destination lists compiled by TrivagoAmerican Express Travel and Orbitz.

The companies tabulated which destinations users were searching for and/or where they made reservations for the college break that usually takes place in March and April.

Trivago picked Las Vegas; New York City; Orlando, Fla.; New Orleans and Miami Beach, Fla., as the top five domestic destinations. San Francisco placed No. 7, and San Diego No. 9. (No mention of Los Angeles or Southern California in the top 10).

For international destinations, Trivago found London to be the most-searched city, followed by Cancun, Paris, Rome and Playa Bavaro (Punta Cana) in the Dominican Republic.

The company looked at data for what destinations Americans were searching for on its website from March through...

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Seabourn opens sales for newest ship Encore's 2016 and 2017 cruises

Small-ship luxury cruise line Seabourn on Tuesday revealed itineraries and opened sales on cabins for one of its newest ships, the Encore.

The ship, still under construction, will have a splashy gala and naming ceremony Jan. 7, 2017, in Singapore, according to a statement. Seabourn has scheduled two "pre-inaugural" cruises to sail before then.

The first cruise from Athens to Dubai leaves Dec. 4, 2016, and lasts 16 days. It will stop in Crete (Greece) as well as Haifa and Jerusalem in Israel before entering the Suez Canal. Stops also are planned in Jordan for passengers who want to tour the ancient city of Petra and Oman before ending in Dubai.

The second cruise from Dubai to Singapore takes 18 days and stops in Oman, cities in India and Malaysia. It sails Dec. 20, 2016.

The Encore then sets sail from Singapore to Bali on Jan. 7. Prices for the 10-day cruise start at $7,499 per person, double occupancy. 

Australia and New Zealand itineraries are part of the ship's 2017 cruises, along...

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It's a powder party at ski resorts from Mammoth to North Lake Tahoe

The bad news: The snowpack survey in the Sierra Nevada on Tuesday measured far below normal, leaving California facing a fourth year of severe drought, the Associated Press reports.

The better news: in the short term, storms brought serious powder to California ski resorts from Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and north to North Lake Tahoe. The three-day storm that started Friday dumped more than 2 feet of snow at many resorts.

Squaw Valley, Mt. Rose Ski Resort, Northstar California and others welcomed boarders and skiers who at places were knee-deep in newly fallen snow. There was enough of the white stuff to open the Royal Gorge cross-country skiing resort in Soda Springs, Calif.

Here's what the North Lake Tahoe Visitors' Bureau reported Tuesday on local ski resorts:

--Alpine Meadows in Tahoe City, Calif., gained 28 inches; six lifts and 43 runs are open

--Boreal Mountain Resort in Soda Springs, Calif., gained 22 inches; seven lifts and 30 runs are open

--Diamond Peak Ski...

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The People Behind the Places: A budding traveler and photographer

Amber Larks, a West Hills resident who attends college in Washington, describes a recent trip to the Gulf of California and Mexico with her grandparents as one of her most memorable trips. The islands she saw on her two-week sailing adventure were unlike anything she had seen before, she said.

Larks lists traveling and photography among her passions, so of course she took a camera on her trip. At Agua Verde in coastal Mexico, she photographed the Gulf of California at sunset. It became one of her favorite images from her travels last summer. We liked it, too, featuring it online as part of our fall reader photo issue.

We enjoyed many of her other travel images as well, but we couldn't share them all in our online reader gallery. So we decided to share them here, along with some of her thoughts on travel and photography.

Why do you travel?

I travel because it excites me, and I’m able to spend time with the people I love. I travel for the adventure. It’s easy to get caught up in our...

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Round-trip L.A.-New Zealand airfare, two nights in Hawaii for $1,075

If you've never been to New Zealand (or even if you have), Goway Travel has a deal that's reason enough to go.

In fall and spring, L.A. travelers can fly to Auckland — with a stay in Hawaii too — starting at $1,075 per person.

The deal: Goway Travel makes an offer that's good on Hawaiian Airlines flights. It comes with the low round-trip price — starting at $1,075 per person — plus two nights at the Luana Waikiki Hotel and Suites in Honolulu. (The Hawaii stop comes on the return flight.)

The offer also is good from San Diego starting at $1,099; Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas or Phoenix starting at $1,122; and from New York City starting at $1,459.

It's based on two adults traveling together.

When: The offer is good until April 15, but seats are selling fast. Prices are based on availability, and blackout dates apply.

For this deal, travelers must fly between April 27 and June 16, and Oct. 12 and Nov. 5.

Tested: You can't book this deal directly online; you have to call or e-chat on the...

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Spain: Culinary tour samples Basque region's food and wine

Food and wine lovers will savor this nine-night culinary tour, with the city of San Sebastián as its starting point. Participants will have two opportunities here to learn about Basque cuisine: The first is a tour of San Sebastián’s Central Market followed by a cooking class in a private gastronomy club; the second cooking class will be held at a Basque restaurant specializing in seafood.

Other highlights will include a tapas tour; visits to regional producers of local cheeses and wines; a full-day tour to Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum; and a visit to Pamplona. The tour concludes with two nights in the Navarre and La Rioja regions, and visits with red wine producers.

Dates: Sept. 5-15

Price: $4,155 per person, double occupancy. Includes accommodations in San Sebastián and Logroño, daily buffet breakfast, private guides and transportation. International airfare and transfers not included.

Info: International Culinary Tours, (800) 341-8687

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