Whale watching and a nod to Steinbeck
The itinerary of the eight-day "Baja California: Among the Great Whales" cruise is inspired by the 70th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck's "The Log from the Sea of Cortez." A Steinbeck expert accompanies the trip and provides insight alongside a seasoned staff of biologists, chemists and adventurers.
Itinerary: La Paz to San Carlos, Bahia Magdalena, Los Cabos, Gorda Banks, Islas Los Islotes, Espiritu Santo and back to La Paz.
Dates: Departures between Jan. 22 and Feb. 19
Price: Starting at $4,990, double occupancy (single supplement $2,650), including accommodations, taxes, port charges, excursions, transfers and all meals. The price does not include airfare, gratuities or alcoholic beverages.
Info: Lindblad Expeditions, New York, N.Y.; (800) 397-3348, http://www.expeditions.com
A mixed brew
The "Belgian Beer Binge" tour hops between regal Brussels and medieval Gent. Walking tours take participants to many monuments for culture and breweries for tastings. Scheduled highlights include the Nacht van Grote Dorst event (Night of the Great Thirst) and the Zythos Bier Festival.
Itinerary: Brussels to Gent
Dates: March 2 to 8
Price: From $1,495, double occupancy (single supplement $295), including accommodations and taxes, professional guidance, most meals with alcoholic beverages, and most entrance fees and gratuities. The price excludes airfare, transfers and some sampling fees.
Info: BeerTrips.com, Missoula, Mont.; (406) 531-9109, http://www.beertrips.com
Walking on the wild side
Down Under Answers' "Cradle Mountain Huts" lets travelers see the Tasmanian countryside at their own pace. The six-day walking adventure along the Overland Track winds into the Tasmanian Wilderness, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each night is spent in huts along the way, and after the 36-mile trek, walkers take a cruise across Lake St. Clair.
Itinerary: Launceston to Cradle Valley, Waterfall Valley, Lemonthyme Forests, Pelion Plains, Mt. Ossa, Mersey River, Lake St. Clair and back to Launceston
Dates: Departures through May
Price: From $2,923, double occupancy (single supplement, $233), including accommodations with private facilities, transfers, the Lake St. Clair ferry trip, use of equipment (backpacks, rain jackets and sleeping bags), professional guidance, taxes, entrance fees and all meals. The rate does not include gratuities or airfare and related taxes.
Info: Down Under Answers, Bellevue, Wash.; (800) 889-1464, http://www.duatravel.com/tasmaniawalks
A Far East cultural feast
The 12-day "China Delights" tour promises to immerse travelers in the country's urban pillars — Beijing and Shanghai — as well as in its artistic capitals of Suzhou and Hangzhou. Evening shows feature acrobatics, and meals feature authentic fare, especially during a Peking duck dinner and a Mongolian barbecue lunch.
Itinerary: Beijing to Suzhou, Tongli, Hangzhou and Shanghai
Dates: Departures from Jan. 2 through Dec. 25
Price: Starting at $1,298, double occupancy (single supplement $420), including upscale accommodations, international airfare from San Francisco with fuel surcharges and taxes, most meals, internal transportation (both air and ground), professional guidance, entrance fees and porterage. The price excludes visa fees ($170), alcoholic beverages and gratuities.
Info: China Spree, Blaine, Wash.; (866) 652-5656, http://www.chinaspree.com
BELIZE AND GUATEMALA
Resort life via the godfather
On the 10-day "Lights, Camera, Adventure" package, participants visit director Francis Ford Coppola's three Central American resorts — Belize's Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, and Guatemala's La Lancha. Guided excursions head into Mayan ruins and jungle reserves.
Dates: Saturday departures through 2011, excluding certain holiday blackout dates
Price: Starting at $2,830, double occupancy (single supplement $500, plus taxes of $95), including accommodations, internal transportation, entrance fees and most meals, but not international airfare, taxes ($451) or tips.
Info: Francis Ford Coppola Presents, Napa, Calif.; (800) 746-3743, http://www.coppolaresorts.com
— Avital Binshtock