The Times' favorite summer vacation photos from readers in 2014

Tours & cruises

TravelTourism and LeisureNational ParksInternational TravelWestern AfricaBangkok (Thailand)Mexico

MEXICO Rockin' on water

Sixthman's "VH1 Best Cruise Ever" aboard the Carnival Inspiration will feature a lineup that includes headliners Colbie Caillat, Train and Lifehouse. The itinerary also includes an eight-hour port call in Cozumel.

Itinerary: Tampa, Fla., to Cozumel, Mexico, and back to Tampa

Dates: April 28-May 2

Price: Starting at $799 double occupancy, including accommodations, meals and some beverages. The rate does not include airfare, ground transportation, taxes, fees ($199) or mandatory gratuities ($10 per day).

Info: Sixthman, Atlanta; (877) 379-9180,

WESTERN U.S. AND CANADA National parks tour

Vacations by Rail's "National Parks of the West" trip showcases six national parks, plus much of the areas between Illinois and Utah.

Itinerary: From Chicago, on the Empire Builder, to Glacier National Park, Mont.; Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada; Virginia City, Mont.; Yellowstone National Park, Jackson and Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.; National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, Ore.; Salt Lake City, Moab, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Utah; and back to Chicago via the California Zephyr

Dates: June 28-July 11 or Aug. 10-23

Price: Starting at $2,995, double occupancy ($4,045 for a solo traveler), including overnight rail travel from Chicago to Glacier National Park and overnight return to Chicago via rail from Utah, motor coach transportation, 11 nights' lodging, all breakfasts, some other meals, tour-director services, entrance fees, maps, taxes and service charges. The price excludes airfare, transfers and gratuities.

Info: Vacations by Rail, Chicago, (877) 929-7245,

MALI West African adventure

Abercrombie & Kent's "Mali: The Jackal's Road" journey is an offering from its "Extreme Adventures" arm. Travelers will get acquainted with Bamako's people, architecture and artifacts and attend a Dogon mask dance. During a half-day excursion down the Niger River by flat-bottom fishing boat, participants are apt to see hippos while en route to Mopti's port and market.

Itinerary: Bamako to Mopti, Djenne, Songho, Tirelli, Amani, Yaye, Irelli, Youganah, Mopti and back to Bamako

Dates: Oct. 20-28 or Dec.1-9

Price: From $4,185, double occupancy (single supplement $460), including lodging, meals, all transportation (including transfers), guides, taxes and fees but not international airfare, internal airfare ($360), gratuities or visa fees.

Info: Abercrombie & Kent, Downers Grove, Ill; (866) 259-6753,

THAILAND AND LAOS Animal encounters

Wild Planet Adventures' "Thailand & Laos: The Ultimate Wildlife Ecotour" visits national parks and wildlife preserves, including a visit to a tiger sanctuary, elephant camp and gibbon conservation project. The 15-day itinerary also takes in cultural highlights in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Itinerary: Bangkok to Kaeng Krachan National Park, Koh Talu Island, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chiang Khong, Bokeo Nature Preserve and back to Bangkok

Dates: Multiple departures through 2011

Price: Starting at $3,898 a person, double occupancy (single supplement about $500), including lodging, meals, all transportation (including transfers), guidance, entrance fees and taxes. The rate excludes international airfare, domestic airfare ($235), visa fees and gratuities.

Info: Wild Planet Adventures, Sausalito, Calif.; (800) 990-4376,

—Avital Binshtock

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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