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On this river cruise ship, solo travelers get their own rooms

Good news for single travelers who like to cruise but don't like to pay a single supplement. The MS Birdsong, a river cruise ship set to debut March 2016, is to feature 18 cabins for solo passengers at no extra cost.

MS Birdsong staterooms for singles are on the middle and upper decks and have French balconies, according to a news release from Tom Harper River Journeys. Cabins cover 132 square feet and have pullout sofa beds.

The company's new ship is to offer eight- to 13-day tours along Europe's main rivers.

Other features include an expanded fitness and wellness center, a sauna, a wine bar, a two-story atrium lobby and free Wi-Fi on board.

Land excursions, walking tours, a cocktail reception, gratuities, port charges, wine and beer with meals and other extras are included on Tom Harper trips. (Note that prices for extensions before or after cruises do charge a single supplement.)

The company emphasizes small-group travel, with land tours limited to 24 passengers.

Cabins are now on...

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Ski resorts offering deals on next-season passes

The 2015-16 “Cali4nia” Pass, which provides unlimited access to Mammoth Mountain, Bear Mountain, June Mountain and Snow Summit, is now on sale for $689. If purchased by April 6, skiers and snowboarders will get a $100 resort credit for use on lessons, equipment, lodging, dining and shopping. Pass holders also will receive discounted lift tickets for friends and family. For more information and to purchase the pass, go to Mammoth Mountain's website or call (800) 626-6684.

Skiers and riders also can take advantage of the Epic Local Pass to resorts at Park City, Utah; Lake Tahoe and Colorado for $579. The pass, which has some restrictions, provides access to the Park City Mountain Resort, which is being combined with the neighboring Canyons Resort to create the largest ski-and-snowboard area in the nation, at 7,300 acres.

The pass also give holders access on the lifts at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado (including 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek) and Heavenly,...

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L.A.-area airports add new service to Mexico City and Osaka, Japan

Fliers at LA/Ontario International Airport will have new service to Mexico City starting April 6. Aeromexico announced Wednesday it would begin four round-trip flights a week from the Ontario airport.

Outbound flights will leave ONT at 1:05 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Return flights are planned for 9:10 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Aeromexico will fly 737s with 12 seats for first-class passengers and 120 coach seats. Aeromexico already operates service from the airport to Guadalajara four times a week.

Also, Japan Airlines last week started flights on 787 Dreamliners from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka, Japan, a route it had suspended eight years ago.

The daily nonstop service to Osaka leaves Los Angeles at 11:30 a.m.; a return flight from Osaka leaves at 3:30 p.m.

The Dreamliner has 186 seats, including 42 in business class.

Info: Aeromexico, Japan Airlines

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Maui snorkelers, want to be BFFs with an octopus? It just could happen

Here’s something that can turn a Maui snorkeling trip into an adventure to remember: holding an octopus or sea urchin.

The Snorkel Store's Snorkel Safari can’t guarantee such an encounter during each swim, but the guides do promise an interactive, personalized experience.

Bobby Twitchell, a Lahaina native and the lead guide, said the two-hour snorkel trips were created to offer an alternative to the short swims offered by various boat tour operators.

“It’s wildly different in terms of the experience,” Twitchell said. “The difference is the fact that it’s a group of eight or less as opposed to a group of 140.”

Tours depart Kaanapali at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily. A customized van takes guests to one of about 10 west Maui snorkeling sites.

Twitchell said the guides’ goal is to identify the places with the best opportunity to view marine life, which varies depending on weather.

The guides provide expert narration and often will “free dive” to the ocean floor to retrieve...

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Food trucks, stars, more at San Diego, Palm Desert, Santa Barbara fests

There are a bunch of California food festivals happening in spring, whether you want to see TV chef demonstrations or hop from food truck to food truck. Here are four festivals worth checking out.

San Diego: Love the food trucks? The Great American Foodie Fest for the first time comes to Qualcomm Stadium from Friday through Sunday. You can sample more than 50 specialty food items, from White Castle's Crave Mobile for burger sliders to the Maine Lobster Lady to Tornado Potato and Frach's Fried Ice Cream.

Cost: $8 a day or $13 for a weekend pass if purchased in advance ($10 and $15 respectively at the door).

Info: Great American Foodie Fest

Palm Desert: Before the Coachella music fans come to town in April, the Food

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TSA's PreCheck enrolls 1 million travelers; here's how you can apply

Still disgruntled with long wait times at airport security checkpoints? Apparently thousands of you have done something about it.

The Transportation Security Administration reports that more than 1 million travelers have enrolled in PreCheck, which allows faster screening at the airport. The agency rolled out the program in 2011.

TSA also says 4.6 million people have enrolled in some form of a trusted traveler program that exempts them from having to remove their shoes, belt and jacket and allows them to keep laptops and liquids in their carry-on bag.

Travelers can receive PreCheck screening at 133 airports in the U.S., including those in Southern California, according to the TSA.

Here's how to apply: Go online and download the PreCheck application. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have a valid ID, and pay an $85 nonrefundable fee.

Once you apply, you'll receive an email to make an appointment at an enrollment center to be fingerprinted.

There are PreCheck enrollment...

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