Sailing Off Away From the Phone

Two of the largest packagers of travel for the mature market are Grand Circle Travel (GCT) and SAGA Holidays. Grand Circle Travel has issued a special catalog titled “Sail Away 1997,” devoted exclusively to cruises. Many of GCT’s cruise offerings are 2-for-1 packages, providing free passage for a second person in the same stateroom.

Cruises range from seven to 23 days with one exception--a combination of two 23-day cruises for 46 days of cruising to South Africa, Asia and Israel. The first 23-day leg begins in Singapore Feb. 20 and ends in Capetown, South Africa. The second phase continues from Capetown to Athens, Greece. The cruise price begins at $3,400 for each leg; the combined trip starts at $5,800, a savings of $1,000.

Cruise prices are per person based on double occupancy. Prices quoted are lowest available for each cruise and are determined by choice of cabin accommodations.

* Southern Caribbean aboard the Meridian: 11 days. Stops include Puerto Rico, Aruba, Grenada, Barbados, Martinique, St. Maartens and St. Thomas. Cost: from $1,049.


* Panama Canal aboard the Galaxy: 16 days from Fort Lauderdale. The ports include Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego and Los Angeles. Cost: from $1,799.

* Transatlantic and London aboard the QE2: 14 days--seven nights in London and seven aboard the QE2 from London to New York. There is a choice of seven departure dates in 1997. Cost: from $2,095, including air fare from New York.

For a catalog of these and more than 20 cruises, call Grand Circle Travel, telephone (800) 995-5689.

Saga Holidays has published a “Spring Into 1997" travel planner with tours to Europe and North and Latin America, and cruises. Some tours include air fare. Price ranges vary with the season. Samples of Saga tours:


* The Splendor of Ireland and the British Isles is a 15-night motor-coach tour that visits Edinburgh, London and Ireland. It includes 14 breakfasts and 11 dinners. Cost is from $2,849 to $3,149.

* European Panorama is a 32-night excursion via air and rail that begins in Paris. Participants visit cities such as Zaragoza and Barcelona, Spain; Paris, Nimes and Nice, France; Florence, Rome and Venice, Italy; Vienna and Salzburg, Austria; Lucerne, Switzerland; Munich, Berlin and Cologne, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Prague, Czech Republic; and London, England. It includes 31 breakfasts and 10 dinners. The price from Los Angeles including air fare is $5,199.

For a catalog that lists more than 75 tour options in cities and countries around the world, call SAGA Holidays at (800) 343-0273.