Tours and cruises: Asia, Africa, horseback riding in Northern California and more


Natural and man-made landmarks

On Friendly Planet Travel’s “A Taste of Thailand,” travelers journey along Bangkok’s waterways and visit many of the country’s highlights, including the Bridge at the River Kwai, ornate palaces, massive Buddhas and UNESCO World Heritage sites. The itinerary provides ample leisure time for independent exploration and to partake in optional add-on experiences that include bathing elephants or sunbathing in Phuket.

Itinerary: Bangkok to Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, the River Kwai and back to Bangkok


Dates: Multiple nine-day departures offered between Nov. 22 and April 25

Price: Starting at $1,499, double occupancy (single supplement $199), including international airfare from L.A., fuel surcharges, transfers, motorcoach transportation throughout, tours as per itinerary, professional guidance, entrance fees, nightly hotel accommodations and taxes, daily buffet breakfast and one dinner. The price excludes taxes and fees (about $100), tips and some meals.

Info: Friendly Planet Travel, Jenkintown, Pa.; (800) 555-5765,



Movies on the high seas

Review some of 2010’s top movies with film critic Leonard Maltin aboard Princess Cruises’ ” Panama Canal —15 days Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Los Angeles” journey. You’ll traverse much of the Caribbean and Central America, with stops in Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico. Each night, passengers will be treated to a selection of Maltin’s favorite recent flicks on either an outdoor or indoor screen, with introductions and discussions led by the cinematic historian himself.

Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale to Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; Panama Canal; Fuerte Amador, Panama; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Los Angeles.

Dates: Dec. 15-30


Price: Starting at $1,299, double occupancy (single supplement $1,299), including accommodations and all meals. The price does not include airfare, transfers ($38), government fees and taxes ($232), a conditional fuel supplement, gratuities ($10.50 a day), alcoholic beverages or optional excursions.

Info: Princess Cruises, Santa Clarita, Calif.; (800) 774-6237,


Safari with retired zoo director


Santa Ana Zoo’s retired director Ron Glazier leads safaris on Classic Escapes’ ” Botswana and Victoria Falls” tour. Daily outings by foot, canoe and vehicle aim to see exotic game, including elephant, cheetah and lion. The package also includes a Victoria Falls visit and leisure time in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Itinerary: Los Angeles to Johannesburg; Okavango Delta, Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Kasane, Botwsana; Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia; and Maun, Botswana; and back to L.A.

Dates: March 3-15

Price: From $6,995, double occupancy (single supplement $1,995), including upscale accommodations with baggage-handling gratuities, flights between Botswana camps, all meals and beverages, wildlife viewing from private vehicles, professional guidance by Glazier, park-entry fees, transfers, and applicable taxes and fees. The rate does not include airfare from L.A. to Johannesburg (about $2,200), departure taxes (about $500), airfare between Johannesburg and Maun or gratuities to drivers and guides.


Info: Classic Escapes, Woodside, N.Y.; (800) 627-1244,


Jewish history in Italy

Travelers curious about Italy’s rich Jewish history may appreciate Terme di Saturnia’s “Heritage Tour.” A guide walks travelers through Pitigliano, often called “Little Jerusalem,” acquainting them with the centuries-old ghetto, as well as an equally antiquated temple and the Jewish Museum of Culture. The overnight accommodations are at an upscale spa-and-golf resort.


Dates: Available through 2011

Price: From about $2,790, double occupancy (single-person pricing starts around $1,920), including three nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast and dinner, a guided tour, a massage, taxes and fees, as well as use of the resort’s thermal pools, gym and Roman baths. The price excludes airfare, transfers and gratuities. Note that the package becomes significantly more expensive between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6.

Info: Terme di Saturnia, Santurnia, Italy;



At home on horseback

Travelers can refine their horseback-riding skills by booking Stonepine Estate Resort’s “Equestrian Immersion Package.” Three days of practice give guests the time to develop their talents at English and Western riding styles. After dismount, enjoy a picnic lunch along the Carmel River, dinner for two in Chateau Noel (the Crocker family’s onetime home), full European breakfasts and on-property trail hikes.

Dates: ongoing but subject to availability.

Price: Starting at $1,150, maximum double occupancy, including two nights’ accommodations, breakfasts, a picnic lunch, dinner for two, taxes, tips, amenities upon arrival and up to two daily equestrian regimens for three days. Info: Stonepine Estate, Carmel, Calif.; (831) 659-2245,


—Avital Binshtock