Tours and cruises in the U.S., Canada and Italy

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


Luxury in the desert

Hop in a limo and hunt for Jimmy Choos during a “Sex and the City"-style, three-hour luxury shopping excursion in Scottsdale. Scout out French lingerie, jewelry, clothing and more at boutiques in the Arizona city.

Info: Spree! The Art of Shopping, Scottsdale; (480) 661-1080,

Dates: Morning or afternoon as arranged by the group.

Price: $495 for up to four people in a limousine; $295 for up to three people in a luxury sedan.


The colors of fall

Peep at the bright leaves of eastern Canada on a fall trip that includes an overnighter aboard VIA Rail’s Ocean. As you roll past the foliage, you’ll see sights including Halifax’s Old Town Clock and Pier 21 National Historic Site, and St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. But “the greatest highlight of this trip is the time of year,” says Shannon Wilkinson, marketing vice president for Exclusively Canada Ltd. “From Pennsylvania up through the Maritime Provinces, it’s all reds and yellows.” Visitors will tour the old city of Quebec, a rare North American walled city. Stops in a Montreal city tour include Notre Dame Basilica, Old Montreal and the French Quarter. Visitors will board the Ocean for an overnight trip to Halifax, journeying through eastern Quebec, northern New Brunswick and central Nova Scotia. In Halifax, they’ll have the chance to see Titanic memorabilia and the Pier 21 site, Canada’s last remaining ocean immigration entry facility; 1.5 million people passed through its doors from 1928 to 1971.

Info: Exclusively Canada Ltd., Vancouver; (888) 730-9500,

Dates: Departures daily except Sundays from Sept. 1 through Oct. 25.

Itinerary: Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax.

Price: From about $1,449 per person, double occupancy (single rate from about $2,283), includes accommodations, including one night aboard VIA Rail’s the Ocean from Montreal to Halifax, train trip, cruise and guided tours, Citadel Hill and Pier 21 admissions, transfers in Toronto and Halifax, including tips.


Iceberg safari

Greet the musk oxen of Kangerlussuaq and the icebergs of Ilulissat during a trip to Greenland that focuses on climate change. Visitors will take part in a Musk Oxen Photo Safari, snapping photos of the thousands of these animals that live near Kangerlussuaq’s airport. Excursions by boat take visitors for glacier-viewing and on get-acquainted visits to local settlements. David Hatch, environmentalist and longtime tour leader, will guide the trip and lecture on climate change.

Info: Great Canadian Travel Co., Chicago; (800) 661-3830,

Date: Aug. 15 to 22.

Itinerary: Copenhagen; in Greenland, Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Eqi glacier, Rodebay, Ilimanaq.

Price: About $5,555 per person, double occupancy (single about $6,180), includes airfare from Copenhagen and internal flights in Greenland, activities, excursions, some meals, guide. Does not include round-trip airfare to Copenhagen.


The path of history

Amble around Tuscany on a self- guided walking tour that follows in Machiavelli’s footsteps. The fall tour takes participants through country that oozes Italian atmosphere -- past abandoned stone farmhouses, across blooming meadows, into a medieval farmhouse and on the Traders’ Trail, said to have been hiked by Machiavelli and Giuseppe Garibaldi. The hills and valleys of Alto Mugello are the locus of the tour, which is described as moderately difficult. Participants stay at Locanda Senio in Palazzuolo. They’ll pause for a cooking demo and tasting of Tuscan fare and a separate tasting of local wines and olive oils.

Info: Breakaway Adventures, Mount Pleasant, S.C.; (800) 567-6286,

Date: Sept. 20 and 27, Oct. 4 and 11.

Price: $2,057 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $189) includes accommodations, continental breakfasts and evening meals.


Sailing and sipping

Listen to the white sails of the 1924 Schooner Zodiac snap in the breeze on a cruise among Washington’s San Juan Islands. Days are spent sailing, but the boat docks every afternoon so sailors can go ashore for tours and tastings at local wineries. The itinerary includes San Juan Vineyards, Lopez Island Vineyards, Camaraderie Cellars, Olympic Cellars and Mount Baker Vineyards. While on board, you bunk in the ship’s quarters. The Zodiac fits about 24 passengers and has three bathrooms and two hot showers; private cabins are available at an extra charge.

Info: Starsail Cruises, Redmond, Wash.; (877) 831-7427,

Dates: July 31 to Aug. 3.

Price: $700 per person, includes all meals aboard ship, transportation to wineries, tours and tastings. Does not include round-trip transportation to the departure point, Bellingham.

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