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O.A.R.S. Adventure Travel Company Operates Rafting, Hiking, Multi-Sport Trips into October

August 12, 2014
Whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. O.A.R.S. adventure travel company is operating rafting trips into October.

Whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. O.A.R.S. adventure travel company is operating rafting trips into October.

Veteran river outfitter and nature-based adventure travel company O.A.R.S. (www.oars.com/) is operating rafting, hiking and multi-sport vacations into October that promise cooler temperatures along with great fishing, uncrowded wilderness and brilliant night skies.

“It’s our favorite season for hiking and exploring in the national parks,” adds Steve Markle, O.A.R.S.’ spokesperson. “And then there’s the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which not only has spectacular alpine scenery, but also world-class trout fishing – especially in September when high water has receded, the river is crystal clear, and angling conditions are prime.”

Markle suggests some of the company’s most popular fall adventures for anyone looking for domestic travel from September through October:

Through mid-September O.A.R.S.’ six-day Yellowstone & Grand Teton Explorer takes guests off the beaten track at a time when seasonal visits to the two parks are slowing down. This multi-sport program in wild Wyoming includes two nights of lodging and three nights of catered camping on Jackson Lake with days spent touring Yellowstone and kayaking and hiking in Grand Teton. Through special access granted by the National Park Service, O.A.R.S. has been given permission to camp on an island in the lake, a privilege unique to this company. This trip transports guests into a world of mountain peaks and meadows, trout streams, waterfalls, bear, moose and bison. The rate is $1,589/person based on double occupancy for six days (five-day camping trips also available from $1399/person).

The company’s four-day, lodge-based Grand Canyon Rim to River Hiker in September and October brings guests into one of the deepest parts of the Grand Canyon with an overnight stay at historic Phantom Ranch. The adventure begins in Walnut Canyon, en route to the South Rim, with a close-up view of 25 unique cliff dwellings. Hiking in Wupatki National Monument, features multi-story ruins of red sandstone blocks and mortar.  After gazing into the canyon’s depths from the Desert View Watchtower, a night at the South Rim is the perfect spot to rest before an invigorating hike into the canyon the following day. The South Kaibab Trail, a seven-mile hike into the canyon, reveals panoramic vistas that overwhelm the senses as guests take in the canyon’s grandeur.  The Bright Angel Trail offers a nine-mile hike out of the canyon, followed by a short stroll along the Rim Trail to Hermit’s Rest before returning to Flagstaff on the final day of this hiking adventure. The rate is $1,599/person based on double occupancy.

In September, six-day fishing trips on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River combine crystal clear water, abundant wildlife, amazing scenery, hot springs and Blue Ribbon trout fishing. This Idaho adventure brings guests into the largest federally protected wilderness in the continental U.S., a rugged and varied terrain of pine-clad mountains, rolling grasslands and narrow gorges. The catch-and-release policy along with limited access to the river and little angling pressure has resulted in a river loaded with fish. Twelve- to fourteen-inchers are common, with an occasional trophy sixteen- to eighteen-inch lunker. From $2082/person.

The Colorado River through Cataract Canyon serves up ideal conditions for hiking to scenic viewpoints and pre-Puebloan sites, stand up paddleboarding in the flat water and Class III whitewater through the heart of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. By September the scorching heat of the summer has faded, and with the sun a little lower in the sky, the shade created by canyon walls produces mesmerizing oblique lighting and wonderful opportunities for photography. Guests can marvel at million-year-old rock formations as well as ancient pictographs & petroglyphs while hiking side canyon trails. Four- and six-day trips through October start at $1529/person.

On a special September 14 “Stars with Lars” astronomy trip, veteran O.A.R.S.’ guide Lars Haarr will help interpret the night sky that offers some of the best conditions for stargazing due to the remote location and absence of city lights.

The per person, double occupancy rates for autumn 2014 programs include nights of lodge accommodations and/or comfortable catered camping, all river equipment, dry bags for gear, meals from departure day through the end of the trip and professional guide services.

For more information, availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit www.oars.com.

 

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TourCrafters Offers Air-Inclusive Deals for Fall Travel to Spain, Italy, Booked by Aug 28

August 9, 2014
TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive deals to Spain and Italy for September and October, booked and paid for by August 28.

This is the ideal time to travel to Europe: the weather is pleasant, the sidewalk cafés are open, but the summertime crowds have gone home.

TourCrafters’ six-night Madrid and Barcelona deal, for example, costs only $1,919 including round-trip air fare from New York, daily breakfast, three nights’ accommodation in a 3-star Madrid hotel, a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour, high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona, three nights in a 3-star Barcelona hotel and a half-day Artistic Tour of Barcelona.

You’ll have a chance to see such Madrid highlights as the Royal Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Gran Via, and then take in some of the capital’s great museums and fine shops on your own. TourCrafters even offers an optional excursion to Toledo. In Barcelona the tour covers Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces—the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and buildings on the Paseo de Gracia—but you’ll also have time to see the Gothic Quarter and the fascinating life (cafés, market, canaries, flower stalls) along Las Ramblas, as well as to dine in some of its celebrated restaurants.

TourCrafters is also offering the following September/October air and land deals: Rome and Florence, from $1,919; Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona, from $3,079; Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona, from $2,559; and Italy by Train, from $2,379.

In addition, for a limited time only, TourCrafters is having an Airfare Sale from New York (JFK) to several European destinations including London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Athens.

All prices are per person, double occupancy. Air fare add-ons are available from many other cities than New York. Fuel charges are included but are subject to change by the airlines. Airport taxes ($109 per person) are not included and hotel taxes in Italy must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.

For more information on these last-minute fall deals, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers,” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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Pacific Delight Celebrates ‘Wave Award’ with Air-Inclusive Departures to China from LAX, SFO for $2499

July 16, 2014
Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours

Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours

Pacific Delight Tours is celebrating winning the 2014 TravelAge West WAVE Award Editors’ Pick for Best Tour Operator in Asia by offering an air-inclusive option for its eight-night China Impressions Silver Experience program from $2,499 per person, double occupancy, based on departures from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Departures are guaranteed with a minimum of two passengers.

Travelers begin their journey in Beijing, China’s capital and cultural center, where the requisite stops at the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City will be supplemented by additional sightseeing at the elegant Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting the world’s largest imperial garden.

In Xi’an, guests will be treated to an awe-inspiring view of the Terra Cotta Warriors, an impressive army of more than 8,000 life-sized statues buried for over 2,200 years guarding the city-sized mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

The program culminates in Shanghai, where highlights include Yu Garden and Old Town, the city’s colonial European past at The Bund, and a renowned silk carpet factory.

Pacific Delight’s China Impressions itinerary features deluxe accommodations from the Grand New World Hotel in Xi’an to conveniently located Marriott properties in Beijing and Shanghai.

The air-inclusive China Impressions Silver Experience program starts at $2,499 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes transpacific air from Los Angeles or San Francisco via Air China or China Eastern Airlines; intra-China flights; fuel surcharges; taxes and fees; meals; and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

Contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179 or visit www.pacificdelighttours.com for more information or to book.

Award Winning Tour Company

The TravelAge West WAVE Award Editors’ Pick for Best Tour Operator in Asia honor is given each year to America’s leading luxury tour operators servicing China and Asia.  Pacific Delight Tours, which has been a leading tour operator to China and Asia for 43 years, has won the award for the last seven consecutive years.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized with this prestigious award for the past seven years.  It is our customer service and product development teams who deserve the credit for all of their hard work behind the scenes to ensure a memorable vacation experience that keeps clients returning for more,” said Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours.

In addition to winning the TravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008-2014, Pacific Delight Tours has received the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, and the 2008, 2009 and 2012 travAlliancemedia Leisure Travel Leadersreaders’ choice awards for Best Tour Operator in Asia.  The company is also a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).

Reservations, brochures and information can be obtained from travel agents and Pacific Delight Tours, telephone: (800) 221-7179 or (212) 818-1781; website: www.PacificDelightTours.com.

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Bicycle Adventures offers 14 New Fall Tour Dates; $200 Off Bookings by July 31

July 16, 2014
Bicycle Adventures is extending summer with 14 new fall tour dates.

Bicycle Adventures is extending summer with 14 new fall tour dates.

Bicycle Adventures, a leader in North America bike tours, is extending summer with 14 new fall tour dates to make up for a wet and cool spring when folks couldn’t get on their bikes.

If booked by July 31, 2014, you can receive $200 off listed rates on newly scheduled fall adventures that are scattered around six states from late August into November.

Leavenworth Mountain Biking in Washington offers four days of back country fat tire riding and rafting. The per person rate is $1,365. The trip departs from Issaquah or Leavenworth departing Aug. 24 and Sept. 21.

Departing Sept. 14, 21 and 28 Bicycle Adventures’ San Juan Islands 6 Day Classic begins in Seattle for six days of cycling through lavender fields, exploring Friday Harbor, a shark reef sanctuary and more. The per person rate is $2,995.

Tucked between Oregon’s Blue Mountains and the Snake River is an astonishingly beautiful region, the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness.Wallowas & Hells Canyon tour departs Sept. 15 for four scenic days at $2,195 per person.

Cyclists can explore eastern Oregon and the eye-popping terrain of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders, on a four-day tour departing Sept. 20.  The John Day and Painted Hills tour runs $1,984 per person.

With temperatures getting crisper in the Pacific Northwest, the focus moves south toSanta Fe & Taos when a Sept. 28 six-day tour departs Santa Fe for $2,995 per person.  Arts and crafts, pueblos, southwestern cuisine and Spanish-style towns await discovery.

On Oct. 5 aMoab & Arches Classic tour departure focuses on six days in Utah’s natural playground graced by two national parks followed by Arizona’s Cactus Classicleaving Oct. 12.  The rate for the Moab trip runs $2,695 per person. The Cactus Classic spends six days in the land of Geronimo, Cochise and 250-year-old saguaro cactus. The rate is $2,895 for the trip that begins in Tucson.

The fall season wraps up in sunny California with four departures Oct. 27, Nov. 1, 6 and 11 inDeath Valley National Park. This four-day trip departs Las Vegas for the discovery of a stunning diversity of terrain: 200 miles of eerie salt flats, deceptively velvety sand dunes, crazy-stripe badlands, valleys, canyons, mountains and more. The per person rate is $1,984.

There are still a number of additional tours ideal for first time cyclists with good space remaining in the 2014 season. For more information, availability and reservations contact Bicycle Adventures by phone: 800.443.6060, email: office@bicycleadventures.com or visit online at: http://bicycleadventures.com/.

Scenic byways, four and five-star accommodations and local dining and visits to National Parks are trademarks of Bicycle Adventures, founded in 1984.  Types of tours include Classic (25-50 miles a day), Classic Plus (50-60 miles a day) and Epic (70+ miles a day with the most demanding terrain). Value-driven Casual category trips offer budget-conscious lodging and meals, with the same full van support.

Pre-set and custom tours embrace the Pacific Northwest into Canada, California and the Southwest, as well as Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, New York, Hawaii and New Zealand. Excelling in its own backyard the Issaquah, WA-based company also conducts tours into Washington State’s wine country.

Follow Bicycle Adventures:
Website: http://bicycleadventures.com/
Facebook: Bicycle Adventures
Twitter: @BikeAdventures

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Bestway Tours Announces New Expedition to Bouvet Island, ‘Most Remote Island in the World’

May 10, 2014

Vancouver-based tour operator Bestway Tours & Safaris has put together an expedition to visit Bouvet Island, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, on Mar. 24, 2015 on board the M/V Ortelius, an ice-strengthened UL1 class expedition boat with 47 cabins accommodating up to 104 passengers.

Recorded as the most remote island in the world, Bouvet is located in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the South Shetland Islands, Bouvet is a dependency of Norway, which is 13,000 km away. Bouvet is only 49 square km in size, of which 93 per cent is covered by a glacier. The center of the island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano and is also the site of a Norwegian weather station.

The expedition takes participants from Ushuaia, Argentina through the Beagle Channel and the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands to visit Antarctic research stations and encounter Gentoo Penguins, Weddell Seals, Leopard Seals and Orcas. The expedition continues through the Weddell Sea for a possible landing in the South Orkney Islands and the rarely visited South Sandwich Islands. The highlight of the expedition is Bouvet Island. Due to the unpredictability of landings, Bestway has allocated two full days for landings on the island. The journey continues to unique Gough Island, the Tristan da Cunha Archipelago and St. Helena, the island where Napoleon died in exile. The expedition concludes on April 22, 2015 in Ascension Island.

The expedition is limited to a maximum of 104 participants, with costs starting at US$ 10,490 and includes 35 nights on a full-board basis on the M/V Ortelius, tea/coffee, landing fees, shore excursions, zodiacs and guest lecturers on board. Guests also have the option to continue from Ascension Island to Cape Verde.

For details view: bestway.com/tours/pvt/bouvet_expedition, call 1-800-663-0844 or email: bestway@bestway.com

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Victoria Cruises, Ritz Tours Join on 12-Day Tour Featuring Yangtze River Cruise, Visits to Major Cities

February 19, 2014

victoria cruises

Victoria Cruises (www.VictoriaCruises.com) and Ritz Tours (www.RitzTours.com) are offering a comprehensive 12-day Yangtze Essence program, giving travelers the opportunity to explore the rich history of China.  For further incentive, travelers that book by Feb. 28, 2014 can save up to $300 per couple.

The 12-day adventure features a luxurious four-day Yangtze River cruise in a private-balcony superior stateroom with stunning views of the mist-shrouded Three Gorges aboard the recently renovated five-star Victoria Anna. Passengers will discover cultural and scenic gems, including an excursion to the “Ghost City” of Fengdu, an educational tour of the Three Gorges Dam site, and a small boat experience through one of the Yangtze’s tranquil tributaries (Goddess Stream, Daning River, or Shennong Stream, based on river conditions).

The comprehensive 12-day program also encompasses the major highlights of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai.

While in Beijing travelers will visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall, while the highlight of the Xi’an experience is arguably the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit.  Travelers will also explore the Ming Dynasty City Wall, the most intact city wall in China, and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an.

The experience culminates in Shanghai where guests will discover the elegant waterfront of the Bund, City God Temple Bazaar and the peaceful halls of Yu Garden before returning home.

The 12-day program starts at $2,199 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes: all accommodations; 24 meals; comprehensive sightseeing tours; all shore excursions; experienced escorting hosts for groups of 10 or more; expert local city guides and river guides to enhance tour experiences; domestic air transportation in China; and air-conditioned tour coach buses with the service of professional drivers.  A single room supplement starts at $700.  China visa fees are not included.  An early booking discount of $150 per person will be shown during booking.

Travelers seeking a more in-depth tour to China have the option of the 15-day Majestic China & Yangtze River Cruise program from $4,499 per person, based on double occupancy.  With this program passengers will enjoy Victoria Cruises’ Executive Amenities Program, featuring private balcony Executive Suite accommodations and a host of VIP additions including “white glove” service, access to exclusive ship areas, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, enhanced dining privileges, shoe shine service and reserved seating for evening entertainment (must be reserved in advance).

This tour comprises all the highlights of the 12-day program with an added stop in Guilin, allowing visitors to take in the scenery that has inspired countless Chinese artists at honored landmarks such as the illuminated rock formations of Reed Flute Cave and the Elephant Trunk Hill.  The 15-day tour also gives travelers an extra day in Shanghai for exploring. For further incentive, travelers that book by Feb. 28, 2014 can save up to $400 per couple.

All Ritz Tours programs feature five-star hotel accommodations and Ritz Tours now offers TRAVEL GUARD® traveler’s insurance which covers guests at no additional charge.

For more information or to book a Ritz Tours program, visit www.RitzTours.com.

Victoria Cruises

 

New York-based Victoria Cruises established new standards of excellence for sailing China’s Yangtze River when its first ship edged out of port in 1994.  Victoria Cruises remains the service leader on the Yangtze River with each ship earning the coveted five-star rating from the China National Tourism Administration.  Victoria Cruises has earned numerous awards and recognitions over the years including the 2011 TravelAge West WAVE Award Editor’s Pick for Best River Cruise Line as well as Best New River Cruise Ship in 2010 with the launch of the luxurious Victoria Jenna. Travel Weekly also recently selected the Victoria Jenna as a Silver Award Winner for the Magellan Awards’ River Cruise Ship category. The cruise line operates a variety of itineraries on the Yangtze ranging from four to nine days.

For more information and a free color brochure or promotional DVD, contact Victoria Cruises at 136-18 39th Avenue, 12th Floor, Flushing, NY 11354; phone (800) 348-8084, (212) 818-1680; fax (212) 818-9889.  E-mail contact@victoriacruises.com or visit http://www.victoriacruises.com.

 

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Pacific Delight Introduces Air-Inclusive Yangtze China Program Highlighting Lesser Traveled Eastern Bend

February 19, 2014
Highlights of the onboard Victoria Cruises experience include cultural entertainment.

Highlights of the onboard Victoria Cruises experience include cultural entertainment.

Pacific Delight Tours (www.PacificDelightTours.com) is offering a new air-inclusive 14-day Grand Yangtze River Silver Experience which includes a relaxing nine-day Yangtze River cruise through China’s scenic heartland on the five-star Victoria Sophia from Victoria Cruises, along with roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco (other gateways available including JFK for an additional $200).

The program begins in Shanghai, China’s fastest growing metropolis, where passengers will have an opportunity to relax after the transpacific flight.  Sightseeing in Shanghai includes a leisurely stroll around Old Town, picturesque Yu Garden and the Bund, Shanghai’s colonial riverside promenade, where visitors will receive an insightful glimpse into the city’s profound history.

Along the way to meet their cruise ship, guests will stop at the picturesque water town of Zhujiajiao known for its tranquil canals, cobblestone streets and ancient charm.  Travelers will then depart on a blissful voyage along the mist-shrouded Yangtze River.

The first stop on the cruise itinerary is Nanjing, capital of the Jiangsu Province, where travelers will experience the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and a Qing Dynasty-style Bazaar surrounding a Confucian Temple.  This is followed by spectacular Jiuhashan Mountain

(also known as Mountain of the Nine Lotuses), a UNESCO World Heritage site revered for its exceptional beauty.  Travelers will experience the feeling of walking into a living Chinese ink painting, as the sheer peaks and their breathtaking vistas unfold before them (Huangshan, also known as Yellow Mountain, may be substituted based on weather and road conditions).

Continuing upstream, travelers will observe the stunning natural scenery of the areas surrounding Guichi on their way to Wuhan, where they will spend time visiting the Hubei Provincial Museum.  The museum houses artifacts from the first century BC, as well as mementos of the province’s revolutionary history.

Next, passengers will receive a fascinating tour of the Three Gorges Dam, an extraordinary feat of engineering and the largest hydro-electric dam project in the world.  Upon returning to the ship, they will pass the ship locks and sail through the first of the famed Three Gorges – Xiling Gorge.

One of the most talked about excursions is an incredible sailing experience on a traditional sampan, through Goddess Stream – one of the Yangtze’s scenic tributaries.  Here, guests will board smaller craft to experience the quiet beauty of its narrow gorges.

After sailing through Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge, the cruise arrives at Fengdu, where passengers will have an opportunity to observe local culture and everyday life in one of the new resettlement towns on the Yangtze’s south bank – a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of life in Shanghai.

The cruise disembarks in Chongqing, where travelers will catch their flight to Beijing for the last leg of the trip highlighted by the Great Wall of China.  Guests will also visit Tiananmen Square, the largest public area in the world, followed by a tour of the impressive 15th century  Imperial Palace at Beijing’s Forbidden City.  An excursion to the elegant Summer Palace will showcase the largest imperial garden in the world, including over 3,000 structures with a variety of pavilions, towers and arched bridges surrounding Lake Kunming, where participants will enjoy a boat ride (weather permitting).

The air-inclusive World of Difference® Silver Experience program starts at $2,999 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes transpacific air from Los Angeles or San Francisco via Air China or China Eastern Airlines (departures from JFK are an additional $200); intra-China flights; fuel surcharges, port charges, taxes and fees; on-board lectures, cultural entertainment, Tai Chi and Chinese language lessons, Captain’s Cocktail Party and farewell banquet on the Yangtze River cruise; meals; and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

Travelers can maximize their enjoyment by upgrading to the World of Difference® Gold Experience, featuring Victoria Cruises’ Executive Amenities Program, which includes enhanced ship placement and a host of VIP additions including “white glove” service, access to exclusive ship areas, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, enhanced dining privileges, shoe shine service and reserved seating for evening entertainment (must be reserved in advance). The Gold Experience starts at $4,199 and travels in the opposite direction of the Silver Experience, starting in Beijing and ending in Shanghai.

For more information or to book, contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179 or visit www.PacificDelightTours.com.

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Lindblad-National Geographic Celebrates Centennial of Shackleton’s Expedition with Special Events

February 11, 2014
 Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is bringing to life one of the most storied expeditions in modern history with special activities, amenities and events celebrating the Centennial of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition.


Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is bringing to life one of the most storied expeditions in modern history with special activities, amenities and events celebrating the Centennial of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is bringing to life one of the most storied expeditions in modern history with special activities, amenities and events celebrating the Centennial of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition.

Guests aboard National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion on the 2014-2015 voyages to Antarctica will be led by a remarkable expedition team, who will shed new light on the storied exploits of Shackleton and his men on their ill-fated attempt to traverse the continent by foot, and the examples of leadership and survival that continue to be taught throughout the world today.  And, since expedition photography is an integral part of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic DNA, the season will be dedicated to Shackleton’s expedition photographer, Frank Hurley, whose remarkable images have helped everyone from amateurs to experts in the effort to piece together the ultimate expedition adventure.

One of the premier experts in this field is National Geographic photographer and writer Kim Heacox, the author of Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge.  Lindblad Expeditions and Heacox have created an entertaining and inspirational multi-media presentation that uniquely captures the spirit of Shackleton and the crew that set sail with him on the Endurance in 1914, and that brings Hurley’s artistry into focus like never before.

With the inspiration still fresh in their minds and hearts, guests will have the chance to take to the ice themselves, led by a National Geographic photographer and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, influenced by some of Hurley’s most iconic images. Those looking to trace Shackleton’s and Hurley’s journey will have plenty of opportunities to do so, hiking in the spacious beauty of the Antarctic alongside naturalists and historians who will recount the stirring saga on the beautiful and challenging terrain.

Such excursions will be enjoyed in both style and comfort thanks to the commemorative Centennial edition parka. The custom-designed parka, combines vintage- style expedition wear with high-tech fabrication for maximum comfort, and comes with a Centennial badge designed just for the occasion that will commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Since special occasions deserve special treatment, Lindblad-National Geographic guests will have the chance to toast Shackleton, Hurley and their fellow explorers with the same whisky favored on the original voyage. In February, 2007, the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust made a stunning discovery, uncovering two crates of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, remnants of the 25 cases Ernest Shackleton ordered to provision his 1907 Nimrod expedition. Whyte and Mackay have issued a limited release of the whisky, and the ships have been provisioned with the legendary malt.  It will be  poured with complements on both the National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion to toast the enduring spirit of the heroic age of exploration that first inspired Lars-Eric Lindblad to bring the first citizen explorers to experience the remarkable beauty of the region a half-century ago.

Travelers will start their own learning adventure long before boarding their voyage thanks to Alfred Lansing’s acclaimed book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” which will be given to guests prior to departure.

Voyages throughout the season will also feature an array of Global Perspectives Guest Speakers who will add relevant insight and personal experience to the expedition community.  They include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Larson, whose latest book is “An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackelton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science;”  Jared Diamond, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; Kendrick Taylor, Chief Scientist for a project investigating climate change and the Antarctic ice sheet; Joe McConnell, environmental scientist; Fen Montaigne, journalist and author of “Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica,” and Peter Hillary, of mountaineering royalty, who has summitted the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and established a new overland route to the South Pole.

Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent:  14 days/11 nights aboard National Geographic Explorer. Rates begin at $12,350 per person in a category 1 cabin based on double occupancy. Departures are Nov. 28; Dec. 8, 18, 28, 2014; Jan. 7, 17, 27; Feb. 6, 2015.

Antarctica, South Georgia and The Falklands:  24 days/21 nights aboard National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion. Rates begin at $21,360 per person in a category 1 cabin based on double occupancy. Departures on the National Geographic Explorer:  Nov. 8, 2014; Feb. 16, 2015; on the  National Geographic Orion Dec. 26, 2014; Jan. 25 & Feb. 14, 2014.

For more information or to book your Antarctica experience today, visit http://www.expeditions.com/destinations/antarctica/celebrating-the-centennial/, call 1-800-EXPEDITION or your travel agent.

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Pacific Delight Tours Introduces Air-Inclusive Japan & China Program; 10-Day ‘Highlights’ from $3599

February 6, 2014
Meiji Shrine, a Shinto monument to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, in Tokyo, one of the highlights on the 10-day air-inclusive Pacific Delight Tours © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Meiji Shrine, a Shinto monument to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, in Tokyo, one of the highlights on the 10-day air-inclusive Pacific Delight Tours © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Pacific Delight Tours (www.PacificDelightTours.com), is launching new air-inclusive itineraries, such as the 10day Highlights of Japan & China program, starting at $3,599 per person, based on double occupancy, which features some of the most recognizable and iconic sights in Asia.

The tour begins at Tokyo Tower, where guests will enjoy a stunning panoramic vista of the city, followed by a visit to Meiji Shrine, a Shinto monument to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.  Next, the program moves to Tokyo’s Imperial Palace located at the former site of Edo Castle, which was demolished after the Tokugawa shogun was overthrown in 1867.  The Imperial Palace now serves as the royal residence of Japanese Emperor.  Guests will pass the Akasaka Guest House as well as the meeting place of the Japanese House of Representatives and the House of Councilors on their way to the Ginza, Tokyo’s upscale shopping district.

Visitors will drive through Japan’s picturesque Kanagawa Prefecture to Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest, stopping halfway up the mountain for remarkable views.  They’ll view the volcanic terrain of Hakone from the vantage point of a double-wired gondola lift on their way to Owakudani Boiling Valley, referred to locally as the “Valley of Hell” due to the steam escaping from its rugged mountains.  Their experience of Tokyo’s countryside culminates with a tranquil cruise along Lake Ashi revered for its views of Mt. Fuji.

In Kyoto, guests will see Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the Tokugawa Shogunate era in the 17th century, before continuing to Kinkakuji Temple, a Zen temple and garden complex dating back to the late 14th century.  They will also visit Kyoto Imperial Palace, the former residence of Japan’s emperors until 1869.

The program concludes in Beijing, where travelers will observe Tiananmen Square and the extravagant Ming-era Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City.  They’ll also visit the renowned Great Wall as well as the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the last night of the tour, visitors will have the chance to attend an optional Legend of Kung Fu performance.

This World of Difference® Escapade experience provides travelers with three nights in Tokyo’s New Otani Garden Tower hotel, two nights at the New Miyako hotel in Kyoto and three nights at the Marriott City Wall in Beijing.  The tour also includes transpacific air (LAX/SFO, add $200 for JFK), intra-Japan transportation, an intra-Asia flight, guaranteed land transportation with two passengers, initial arrival and departure transfers, English-speaking guides, eight breakfasts, three lunches and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.  The program starts at $3,599 per person, based on double occupancy.  Transpacific airfares include all government taxes, fees and airline surcharges.  There is a single supplement available starting at $899.

Travelers seeking a longer tour may opt for Pacific Delight’s air-inclusive 15-Day In-Depth Japan & China program, extending the highlights experience to Xi’an, Shanghai and Wuzhen from $4,199 per person, based on double occupancy.

For more information or to book, consult your local travel agent, contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179, 212-818-1781, or visit www.PacificDelightTours.com.

See also:

TOKYO: TURNING A STOPOVER INTO A SOJOURN-Part 2

TOKYO: TURNING A STOPOVER INTO A SOJOURN

HANGZHOU: CHINA’S CITY OF ROMANCE

HANGZHOU: ANCIENT & MODERN COME TOGETHER IN CHINA’S RESORT CITY

ZHEJIANG PROVINCE PRESENTS MICROCOSM OF CHINA, OLD & NEW

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Honors 70th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy

January 9, 2014
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is offering the opportunity to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy with an all-inclusive “Paris & Normandy” cruise.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is offering the opportunity to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy with an all-inclusive “Paris & Normandy” cruise.

Nearly 70 years ago, a mighty armada embarked on an invasion that forever changed world history. The Nazi grip on western Europe was cracked on June 6, 1944, as brave soldiers crossed a slender ribbon of sea from England into Normandy and initiated one of the most influential battles of WWII. D-Day has been recalled by the veterans who fought it, the newsreels that depicted it, and thousands of dedicated historians – yet few have actually set foot on the infamous beaches.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is offering the opportunity to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy with an all-inclusive “Paris & Normandy” cruise. Guests explore the D-Day museum in Mulberry Harbor and venture to the Juno and Omaha Beach landing sites. The American Cemetery serves as a haunting reminder of the Allied forces’ hard-won fight for freedom, and Uniworld guests attend a wreath-laying ceremony and moment of silence to honor the fallen American soldiers.

This itinerary deftly combines history with culture, cuisine and the brilliant landscapes of northern France. Watch the evening lights dance along the Seine River in Paris, marvel at Notre Dame’s sneering gargoyles, and behold the scenery that inspired some of the world’s greatest artists. Breathe in the fragrance of Monet’s garden in Giverny and walk in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise.

“Paris & Normandy” is an 8-day river cruise from Paris to Paris. Prices start at $3,199 per person, land only.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is part of a joint initiative with The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation established by The Travel Corporation to encourage sustainable tourism within its family of brands and in the places we visit. To date, TreadRight has donated more than $2 million to sustainable tourism projects around the world (www.TreadRight.org).

For more details about the cruise, visit uniworld.com or connect with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises at facebook.com/uniworldrivercruises or twitter.com/uniworldcruises.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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