River of Classical Sites--the Danube

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 12-day cruise on the Danube, which flows through Germany, Hungary and Austria, leaves March 28. The first night is spent in Munich, and time is set aside for sightseeing and a beer-hall banquet. Passengers then take a train to Passau, Germany, to board the Danube Princess for a seven-day cruise. The itinerary calls for stops in Budapest, Hungary, which is called "Queen of the Danube," and Vienna, the city of Mozart. Returning to Passau, participants will take another train to Salzburg and spend two nights there. A "Sound of Music" tour also is scheduled, to see film sites of the classic musical.

Cost: $2,885 per person, double occupancy including air fare from Los Angeles, cruise, transfers, hotels and first-class train fare. All meals are included. Contact: Claudette Crowther, Romancing the Rivers of Europe Tours, 1005 Casitas Pass Road, Carpinteria, CA 90013; telephone (805) 684-6685.

Twain's America

St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., is hosting a learning-cum-leisure cruise down the Mississippi March 1-7. The program, "Discover Mark Twain's America," will offer lectures on the works of Mark Twain and seminars on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Twain fans will travel from Memphis to New Orleans aboard the American Queen, a replica of America's steam-powered paddlewheelers. The journey will include ports of call to Francisville's Rosedown Plantation; Natchez; Vicksburg and Magnolia Mound, a working plantation in Baton Rouge.

Cost: from $1,251 per person, double occupancy, including all meals and programs on board. Not included: air fare to Memphis. Contact: Pamela McKee, St. John's College Advancement Office, P.O. Box 2800, Annapolis, MD 21404; tel. (410) 626-2506.

Colorful Guatemala

An 11-day exploration of the indigenous culture and rituals of Guatemala leaves Dec. 21. Participants will visit Chichicastenango on market day; Lake Atitlan, a weaving village in Solola; the colonial city of Antigua, and the Mayan temples and pyramids at Tikal and Guatemala City.

Cost: $1,799 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, all sightseeing, transfers and guides. Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 626 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92667; tel. (800) 243-7227.

Broadway Bound

The El Camino College Theater Department will host a New York theater tour from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, which will include orchestra seats to three Broadway shows, one off-Broadway show, and after-show seminars with actors, directors, producers and other artists in New York theater. Scheduled shows include "Moon Over Buffalo" with Carol Burnett and "The Master Class" with Zoe Caldwell.

Cost: $1,270 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, tour guides to accompany small groups through New York, an acting workshop, and all taxes, transfers, tips, a porterage service and personal health and accident insurance.

Contact: Ron Scarlata, El Camino College Theater Department, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA 90506-0001; tel. (310) 660-3704.

African Safaris

Several 19-day safaris to the game parks of Kenya and Tanzania are available on various dates in January, June, July and August. Led by Leonard Moite, a native of Kenya and a professor of economics at Cal State Dominguez Hills, the itineraries focus on the national parks and game reserves. Participants will visit Kenya's Masai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli and Lake Nakuru national parks; Treetops Lodge, and the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. The Tanzania tour program includes the game reserves of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge and the Serengeti Plain. A three-night stay in Nairobi at the Serena Hotel will provide participants with the opportunity to meet Kenyans, visit the National Museum of Kenya, Giraffe Manor and kazuri (beads) shops. The group also will visit schools, African villages and markets, and coffee and tea plantations. Moite will give informal lectures on contemporary social issues in Kenya and Tanzania. Optional extensions are available to Mombasa, Zanzibar, Seychelles, Victoria Falls and South Africa.

Cost: from $4,850 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare to Nairobi, ground transportation, hotels, most meals, museum and park entrance fees. Contact: Kenya Study Safaris, 30037 Via Borica, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; tel. (310) 377-6790.

Holidays Abroad

A 13-day tour to celebrate Christmas in England and New Year's in Scotland will leave Dec. 21. Travelers will spend Christmas in a country hotel in the Cotswolds with all the Christmas trimmings. On Christmas Eve guests will gather around a crackling fire with entertainment provided by a local choir, a champagne candlelight dinner will follow with music provided by a Gaelic harp. Christmas Day will include a traditional dinner, party games and a reading of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales." On Boxing Day, Dec. 26, the group will attend a sending-off of the hounds of Beaufort Hunt at Badminton House and attend a pantomine in the afternoon. New Year's Eve will be spent in Edinburgh, Scotland, complete with bagpipes, dancing and "Auld Lang Syne."

Also scheduled are two-night stays in London and in Stratford with a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, an overnight in half-timbered Chester with its famous rows of well-preserved shops and houses, side trips to Oxford and Cotswold villages and Warwick Castle.

Cost: $3,450 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, most meals, city sightseeing tours and holiday programs. The tour is limited to 25 people. Contact: Saddleback College Community Education, European Experience, P.O. Box 6691, Laguna Nigel, CA 92607; tel. (714) 495-2905.

Swiss Fasnacht

An eight-day tour to Basel, Switzerland, for the annual medieval carnival Fasnacht departs Feb. 23 from Los Angeles. About 15,000 costumed musicians and villagers of all ages participate in the picturesque and traditional celebration.

Insider's walking-tours of the colorful events, parades, skits and music performances are led by a European-American tour director and local English-speaking guide. Tour members have access to all festivities, enjoy local cuisine prepared just for the carnival and take a day-trip to go wine tasting in Colmar, France.

Cost: $2,525 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air from LAX, hotel accommodation, entrance fees, museum passes, two meals daily, gratuities and welcome and farewell dinners. Group limit is 20. Contact: Corliss Tours, 436 W. Foothill Blvd., Monrovia, CA 91016; tel. (800) 456-5717.

Grand Christmas

Travelers can visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon on a Christmas tour offered Dec. 23-26. Participants will take an overnight train ride on Amtrak's Southwest Chief to Flagstaff, Ariz., then take a motor coach 80 miles through Arizona's high country to the south rim of the Grand Canyon in time for lunch.

A narrated tour of the Grand Canyon follows lunch. Christmas Eve will be celebrated with a holiday dinner party and gift exchange. Christmas Day is free for sightseeing and gift and souvenir shopping. In the afternoon, tour members will meet at a restaurantto eat a traditional feast.

Cost: $339 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip rail and motor-coach fares, hotel, sightseeing, holiday party and Christmas dinner. Contact: Pierce College Extension, 6201 Winnetka, Woodland Hills, CA 91371; tel. (818) 719-6425.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

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