A political theme
Talk politics with PBS stars while cruising to the Caribbean. The PTV at Sea cruise is a KCET-sponsored event that features post-primary political discussions with Gwen Ifill, host of PBS' "Washington Week," as well as Dan Balz of the Washington Post; Martha Raddatz of ABC News; Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times; and other journalists. Paul Kangas of PBS' "Nightly Business Report" and Standard & Poor's investment strategist Sam Stovall are among those who will lead a panel on the economy. Meanwhile, the Regent Seven Seas Navigator will dock in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on the way to Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Info: Artful Travelers, Seattle, (800) 645-8566, support.kcet.org (click on Special Events).
Dates: April 7 to 18.
Itinerary: Port Canaveral, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; Hamilton and St. George's, Bermuda; and Nassau, Bahamas.
Price: $4,295 per person, double occupancy (single supplement starts at $1,718), including meals and drinks, gratuities and transfers, presentations and panel discussions, and access to the special guests at receptions and private dinners.
Think green while spinning along Oregon's coast on a journey championed by organizers for its lack of greenhouse gases. The six-day cycling tour covers 292 miles and glides past such sights as the rocky outcropping where Yaquina Head Lighthouse stands, the Cape Foulweather promontory and the ocean-driven spouting horn of Cape Perpetua. The group dines nightly at local restaurants.
Info: Wild Heart Cycling, Bend, Ore.;(877) 846-9453, www.wildheartcycling.com.
Dates: May 26 to 31.
Itinerary: Oregon coast.
Price: $1,745 per person, double occupancy ($250 single supplement) includes all but one meal, lodging, guides, route maps and trailer (hitched to each bike to haul gear).
Vant to see a vampire?
Channel Bram Stoker on a visit to Romania that focuses on striking scenery but dips a toe into history to make the Dracula connection. Participants take in views of the Carpathian Mountains and the Painted Monasteries of Bukovina (among three UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited). They also stop off at the legendary home of the count, the medieval Bran Castle and the birthplace of the man who inspired Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, in Sighisoara. Robert Blackey, Cal State San Bernardino professor, will lecture along the way, providing insight into his specialty: European history.
Info: Travel Concepts International, Placerville, Calif.; (800) 762-4216, www.tci-travel.com.
Dates: June 17 to 29.
Itinerary: Bucharest, Curtea de Arges, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Moldovita, Sucevita, the Szekely area, Brasov, Bran and Sinaia.
Price: $5,350 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $640), includes round-trip airfare from New York to Bucharest; sightseeing program, guide and entrance fees, ground transportation, most meals, taxes and tips. It doesn't include airfare from LAX to New York or departure taxes.
On the trail of Darwin
Visit Quito and then go to the ocean and sail west about 600 miles to Charles Darwin's stamping grounds on a trip sponsored by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. Connie Morgan, the association's president, accompanies the trip. While in the capital city, visitors will take a walking tour and a tram to see the view from atop Pichincha Volcano. A four-day cruise to the Galápagos includes naturalist lectures and stops at such sites as the Punta Suárez wildlife area on Hood Island, with its sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and blue-footed boobies; the lava fields and lagoons of Isabela Island; Fernandina Island, known for its brilliantly colored marine iguanas; and Itabaca Channel at Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Info: Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn.; (323) 644-4792, www.lazoo.org /calendar/travel/index.html.
Dates: July 13 to 22.
Itinerary: Quito, Cotopaxi National Park, the Galápagos Islands. There is an optional seven-day extension to Peru.
Price: Rates start at $5,595 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $1,995), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Quito and returning from Guayaquil and flights within South America, accommodations, the four-day cruise of the Galápagos with a naturalist guide, some meals, hotel taxes and entrance fees except for a Galápagos Islands entrance fee of $100 per person.
GUATEMALA / HONDURAS
Realm of the Maya
Trim off a millennium on an 11-day trip to Guatemala that motors through the country's highlands before dipping over the border into Honduras for a look at the 1,000-year-old Copán ruins. The trip, organized and accompanied by Long Beach City College art historian Mary Drobny, takes in ancient art and architecture. In Antigua, Elizabeth Bell, author of the guidebook "Antigua, Guatemala: The City and Its Heritage," points out highlights of the city and its Baroque architecture. The itinerary also includes a stop in Quiriguá, site of intricately carved stone sculptures; the hopping market city of Chichicastenango; and Santiago Atitlán, where a Maya guide will take visitors into local homes.
Info: Mary Drobny, (562) 439-2828.
Dates: Aug. 1 to 11.
Itinerary: Antigua, Cobán, Santiago Atitlán and Quiriguá in Guatemala; Copán, Honduras.
Price: $1,525 per person, double occupancy ($350 single supplement), includes transfers and some meals. Does not include round-trip airfare to Guatemala City.
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