Barging Through France--But Slowly


Five luxury eight-to-18 passenger barges of the French Country Waterways fleet will be navigating seven canal routes in the Burgundy, Upper Loire, Champagne, Alsace-Lorraine and Moselle regions. Guests make frequent stops for land excursions. Sunday departures for the weekly six-night cruises begin March 29 and conclude Oct. 25.

Cost: from $2,795 per person, double occupancy, including all meals (with a dinner or lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant), open bar, daily sightseeing, bicycle rentals and transfers from the meeting-point cities of Paris; Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Wiesbaden, Germany; and Strasbourg, France. Air fare to France is not included.

Contact: French Country Waterways; telephone (800) 222-1236.

Hanukkah Cruise

Yiddish actor, singer and cantor Hale Porter will perform on a seven-day Mexican Riviera Hanukkah cruise aboard Carnival's Elation. The cruise leaves Dec. 13. Passengers will visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Cost: $778.50 per person, double occupancy, including port charges.

Contact: Regency Travel, 10330 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92120; tel. (800) 362-6221.

Incan History

Visit the land of the Incas on a weeklong tour to Peru offered year-round by South American Fiesta. The itinerary includes an overnight excursion to Machu Picchu, a tour of the Chincheros Indian Market and a visit to a Quechua village. Guests stay overnight at the Hotel Machu Picchu Ruinas, near the entrance to the archeological site. Travelers will have time to walk to the Sun Gate at the end of the Inca Trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu; to hike Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shape mountain above Machu Picchu; and to see the Inca Bridge, a secret entrance to Machu Picchu that was used by the Incan army.

Other points of interest are a tour of colonial and modern Lima, a gold museum, a tour of Cuzco and the nearby ruins of Qenko, Puca Pucara, Tamboma Machay and Sacsayhuaman, Pisac market, Ollantaytambo fortress, the agricultural experimental center of Moray and the salt pools of Maras.

Cost: $1,989 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Miami, lodging, most meals and ground transportation.

Contact: South American Fiesta, 4936 Chalden Lane, Marietta, GA 30066; tel. (800) 334-3782.

Tulips and Zebras

Spring is the time when tulips emerge in the Netherlands and when lion cubs and zebra foals are born in Africa. See both on a tour to Amsterdam and Kenya May 6 through 19.

Participants will fly to Amsterdam and tour the city's old canals lined with gabled houses, museums and tulips in bloom. Then participants fly on to Nairobi, Kenya, to see the Karen Blixen Museum and the Samburu National Reserve, where they may encounter large baboon troops, crocodiles and an occasional leopard.

Participants will view a flamingo sanctuary, which is also home to the endangered black rhino and the Rothchild giraffe. After two days of game drives in the Masai Mara Reserve to view herds of wildebeests and zebras, the group will end with dinner in Nairobi.

Cost: $3,999 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, most meals and sightseeing.

Contact: Adventures With Alice Travel, 1082 S. Seaward Ave., Ventura, CA 93001; tel. (800) 549-9071.

Kenya for Kids

Dayton's Travel Service is offering a Kenya safari developed for families with children. The three tour departures coincide with most school vacation schedules: March 29, June 14 and Dec. 20. The 12-day tour includes wildlife viewing in the private Sweetwaters Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru, Lake Elmenteita and Masai Mara Reserve.

Two days are spent in Nairobi exploring the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Manor, an ostrich farm and Daphne Sheldrick's Animal Orphanage. Special features include: visits to schools in Nairobi and the Masai Mara, seeing a tame black rhino, a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary organized by Jane Goodall, night game drives and ethnic dance performances. Naturalists will give lectures.

Cost: $3,900 for children under 12, $4,140 for children 12 to 17, and $4,740 for adults, per person, double occupancy, including air fare from New York, lodging, most meals and tours.

Contact: Dayton's Group Holidays, 700 On the Mall, Mail Stop 750, Minneapolis, MN 55402; tel. (800) 533-0324.

Writing and Rafting

Alaska Wilderness Journeys World Wide Adventures is offering a six-day rafting adventure on the Copper River with an emphasis on nature writing in the wilderness. Trip departs from Anchorage June 7. The Copper River is a high-volume glacier-fed river located along the border of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. Participants ride on inflatable rafts and see brown bears and bald eagles. No experience is necessary.

Cost: $1,175 per person, including all camping equipment, transfers, meals, rafting instruction and return air fare from Cordova to Anchorage. Air fare to Alaska is not included.

Contact: Alaska Wilderness Journeys; tel. (800) 349-0064.

Golf in Provence

Ridgewater Golf of Santa Barbara is hosting a trip to Provence Sept. 9 to 21, which includes four rounds of golf, two Burgundy wine-tastings and a river cruise.

The trip begins in Fontainebleau, on the outskirts of Paris, with two nights at the Ho^tel l'Aigle Noir. Then they go to Lyons, where they embark for seven nights on the Rho^ne. Shore excursions, a day trip to the medieval village of Les Baux and a two-night stay in Cannes are included.

Cost: from $4,099 per person, double occupancy, including hotels and cabins, golf, tours and all meals. Air fare is extra.

Contact: June Breton Fisher, Ridgewater Partners Travel, 2091 Stratford Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93108; tel. (805) 969-5962.

Planning for Peru

Magical Journeys is offering three tours to the Peruvian Andes, two of which focus on culture, spirituality and lifestyles of the area's Quechua people.

All three tours also visit the Incan sites of Cuzco in Peru and Machu Picchu with time for shopping in local craft shops.

The 10-day Sacred Valley Sojourn starts with two days in Cuzco and then visits small communities where people still live and dress in traditional ways. The tour ends in Lima. Cost: $1,850. Tours run May 21 to 31 and Sept. 17 to 27.

The 14-day Apukuna, Andes and Amazon Journey starts with three days sightseeing and shopping in Cuzco, then a flight to Puerto Maldonado to stay in a jungle lodge in the Peruvian Amazon basin. Guests take two days to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas and two days at Machu Picchu before returning to Lima. Cost: $2,550 (including return air to the Amazon). Tours run March 16 to 31, Aug. 13 to 29 and Oct. 1 to 17.

The heart of the 17-day Salkkantay Wilderness Adventure Tour is a five-day Andean trail through a range of ecosystems from mountain tundra, glaciers and lakes, and jungle. Also included are tours of Cuzco, three nights in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, one night at Aguas Calientes hot springs, two nights at Machu Picchu. Cost: $2,650. Departures are May 29 to June 14.

All trip costs are per person, double occupancy, including all transportation within Peru, transfers, accommodations and most meals. Air fare not included.

Contact: Magical Journey, 915 Cole St., Suite 236, San Francisco, CA 94117; tel. (888) PERU-070.

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

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