RAA Worldwide Travel Program Join your fellow alumni/ae as we travel to exciting destinations around the world. Whether your interests run to the exotic (like an African safari), or destinations steeped in history (such as a trip exploring ancient Roman history), or an Asian adventure to China and beyond, we have something for you. We are always looking for new ideas and suggestions for future trips. If you have an idea that you’d like to share with us, please click here. These are the 2017 Programs... The Sparkling South Pacific, a magical cruise in French Polynesia (Tahiti round-trip) aboard Oceania cruise lines newest ship Sirena, (January 25 – February 4, 2017): It is not often that I can – with complete honesty – invite you to join your fellow alums in Paradise. But, trust me, this is one such time. Join us as we cruise the balmy South Seas and discover the wonders of French Polynesia: swaying palm trees, luxurious white-sand beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. This is as close to paradise as most of us will get. We’ll begin with a stay in Papeete, Tahiti, the capital of French Polynesia before sailing to Moorea, touted by well-known travel writer Arthur Frommer as the most beautiful island in the world. Next we’re off to Fakarava, Island of Dreams, an untouched world where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water. Its rich ecosystem is home to rare birds, plants, and crustaceans while the dive sites are virtually undiscovered. Life along the shores is equally unique with quaint villages, old coral churches, and welcoming people. It was one of the first population centers and once served as the ancient capital of the Tuamotu region. Next we cruise to Rangiroa, one of the world's greatest dive destinations, a string of coral encircling a luminous turquoise and jade-green lagoon. The atoll - the second largest in the world - seems to be a giant pearl necklace laid upon the water. Here is a world where 240 tiny islets, or motu, each no more than three feet in elevation, lay upon the ocean for more than 110 miles completely encircling an infinitely deep lagoon. From here we sail to sun-kissed Bora Bora, a vision of paradise with its dramatic volcanic peaks and postcard-perfect blue lagoon. Then it’s off to savor the vanilla-scented air on Raiatea—known as the “Sacred Island”—renowned for its pineapple and vanilla plantations, archaeological sites and black-pearl farms. Then, before we head back to Pepeete, we’ll visit the island of Huahine, an immense tropical jungle thriving with coconut plantations, vanilla orchids, banana groves, breadfruit trees and watermelon fields. Beyond its lush landscapes and bright blooms, Huahine is also a culturally preserved sanctuary with sacred temples hidden throughout dense vegetation. Undoubtedly, this island will leave you spellbound. Prices for this wonderful cruise in paradise begin at just $4,299 per person, including round-trip air travel from virtually any U.S. city. Click here for more details and booking information. Costa Rica’s Natural Heritage – A wonderful small group (no more than 18 guests) tour to this nature’s paradise (February 4 – 15, 2017): In this small Central American democracy, kissed by nature, our small group discovers a nation’s wealth in four distinct regions, from cloud forest to rain forest; Central Valley to Pacific Coast. As Costa Rica presents its staggering display of biodiversity – pristine landscapes, unique microclimates, exotic flora and fauna – we enjoy a relaxed yet comprehensive exploration that celebrates Costa Rica’s wide-ranging natural resources. Highlights of this trip include an excursion to the Poas Volcano, the world’s largest crater, followed by a visit to the Doka Coffee Estate, where we learn about coffee-making and Costa Rica’s coffee industry, one of its largest exports. Next is a tour of the Carizal’s family-run Botanical Orchid Garden follows, with tropical trails, exhibits, nurseries, and gardens all dedicated to the wondrous orchid plant. After time to explore here, we travel on to Arenal and our hotel, which offers magnificent views of Arenal Volcano. Then we visit with children at a Costa Rican elementary school, and learn about Costa Rica’s vaunted educational ¬system – the country boasts a literacy rate of more than 95%. We continue on to Ecocentro Danaus, a biological reserve focused on conservation, environmental education, and sustainability; highlights include a butterfly farm with 30 different species and a natural water spring that attracts waterfowl, alligators, and iguana. We’ll enjoy a special outing to the Ecocentro Danaus Biological Reserve, learning about the amazing bio-diversity in this relatively small area. Next we tour the Hummingbird Gallery, where feeders attract several different species of the delicate hummingbird. After lunch together we visit the Monteverde Bat Jungle to learn about Costa Rica’s diverse – and important – bat population. At the Monteverde Cloud Forest, with its Hanging Bridges Sky Walk, where we have the opportunity to experience this natural preserve from the canopy level, high above the rain forest floor. Our naturalist guide will point out some of the 100 ¬species of mammals, 400 species of birds (including 30 kinds of hummingbirds), and 2,500 species of plants (including 420 kinds of orchids) that thrive in this unique setting. Later on, we visit Monteverde’s delightful Butterfly Garden, with a variety of species including the stunning Blue Morpho and the virtually transparent Greta oro, or glass-winged butterfly. And one of the highlights for sure will be a unique floating safari on the Tempisque River, in the Palo Verde region, which is both an extraordinary wetland and also one of the world’s last tropical dry forests. In this unique ecosystem, we should see abundant bird- and wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. And on the last day in country we’ll have time to enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, and diving or visiting the lively town of Tamarindo. Prices begin at just $3,181 per person, air and land inclusive. Click here for more details and booking information. Cuba – Circumnavigate an Island Of Wonder (March 13-27, 2017): Join us aboard the M/V Victory I, a superbly designed boutique vessel that captures the unparalleled intimacy, tranquility, and grace of small-ship cruising. Featuring a beautifully appointed interior with only 105 staterooms, she radiates modern sophistication as she glides along Cuba’s unspoiled coastline. Experience one of the most alluring cruise destinations, the Caribbean’s largest island—a country of majestic colonial architecture and eclectic cities, of rolling green hills and centuries-old tobacco farms. From the plush comfort and refined elegance of our ship, we’ll watch Cuba’s ever-changing landscapes unfold on this epic 14-night voyage. Explore the artist studios and historic plazas of Havana, a bustling capital where jewel-tone vintage cars roll past grand churches. Delve into the Afro-Cuban heritage of Santiago de Cuba, with its thriving musical tradition. Stroll cobbled streets framed by pastel mansions in Trinidad, Cuba’s Spanish colonial showpiece. Admire the surreal scenery of the lush Viñales valley, renowned for its dramatic limestone hills, and discover the small-town flavor of Caibarién and Matanzas, Cuba’s lesser-known coastal gems. Highlighting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, pristine national parks, atmospheric towns, and magnetic cities, this remarkable itinerary celebrates the cultural and natural treasures of a long-forbidden nation. Prices start at $8,999 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. Another opportunity to transit the Panama Canal is our 16-night Ancient Legends cruise, from Lima (Peru) to Miami, aboard Oceania Cruises Regatta (March 30 – April 16, 2017): "SPECIAL BONUS: For a limited time all travelers on this cruise will receive: - a $1,000 per stateroom price reduction - a $500 per person shipboard credit (to be used for any onboard services) - 5 free shore excursions per person - free pre-paid gratuities - and a free beverage package per person We’ll begin our journey in wonderful Lima, Peru, where we board Oceania Cruise Lines perfectly sized (only 684 passengers) ship Regatta, with superb cuisine, an award-winning Canyon Ranch Spa, gourmet open-seating restaurants (at no additional charge), unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, cappuccino, espresso and more. And no need for suits and ties: there are no formal dress-up nights! This wonderful ship will take is from Lima, Peru’s capital city, to the port town of Salaverry, with a fascinating museum and wonderful artwork. From here we spend one day at sea, before we call at Guayaquil, Ecuador, one of the main South American ports on the Pacific Ocean, and home to many cultural attractions. Next stop is the city of Manta (Ecuador), the largest city in the province (and the fifth-largest in Ecuador), and a bustling and prosperous port town, graced with high-rises, and lovely beaches. It is an important center for the fishing and tuna-processing industries, whose quirkiest sight is a huge statue of a tuna. Then we sail to Fuerte Amador (Balboa), in Panama, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. It is from here that we begin our full transit through the Canal, truly one of the engineering marvels in the world, as we make our way to Puerto Limon, in Costa Rica, perhaps the “greenest” countries in all of Central America. From here we head to the city of Roatan (Honduras), then to Santo Tomas (Guatemala), Belize City (Belize), and Costa Maya (Mexico), before cruising to Key West (one of the most interesting cities in the U.S.), before we end our trip in the booming, architecturally and culturally rich city of Miami. This is certainly a fascinating cruise whose memories will stay with you forever. Prices begin at just $3,499 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Sacred Sanctuaries, a twelve-day cruise from Istanbul, Turkey, to Athens, Greece, featuring three days in Haifa, Israel, (April 18 – 29, 2017): There is perhaps no more historically interesting place in the western world than Ancient Greece and Turkey – quite literally at the crossroads of East and West. And, of course, the ancient city of Jerusalem, home to three of the world’s great religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, should be on everyone’s list of places to see. It is, arguably, the most significant historic city that you will ever see. Join our fellow alums as we cruise aboard Oceania Cruise Lines elegant mid-sized (just 1,250 passengers) ship Riviera, with loads of deluxe features, including a Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Our journey begins in Istanbul, home to one of the busiest waterways in the world, so many historic sights (Hagia Sophia,The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and on and on) that you should plan on a arriving a few days before the cruise begins; you’ll be glad you did. Once the ship leaves Istanbul, we’ll spend a delightful day on the Greek island of Patmos, before we sail to the Israeli port of Haifa, to spend three days in Jerusalem. No matter what your background is, I guarantee that you’ll be awed and overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and experiences of Israel. From Haifa our ship heads to Cyprus, and the port of Limassol, then to the Greek island of Rhodes, and on to Kusadasi in Turkey, gateway to Ephesus home of the most spectacular ancient Roman ruins in the world. (Note: my wife and I just returned from a similar trip; we were simply amazed and overwhelmed by the sights at every turn.) Finally, before we conclude in the Greek capital of Athens, we’ll make one more stop on the wonderful Greek island of Mykonos. If you have not been to Greece, or Turkey, or Israel or the Greek islands, this is one trip that you don’t want to miss. Prices begin at just $3,999 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room, and include round-trip airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Palms in Paradise – A deluxe cruise from Miami to San Francisco, including a full transit of the Panama Canal (April 24 – May 10, 2017): Calling all Engineers for a fabulous opportunity to cruise through the Panama Canal – truly one of the great engineering marvels of all time! Our adventure begins in the thriving city of Miami – booming as never before. From there we’ll sail to palm-studded Key West, once home to author Ernest Hemingway, and a place like no other in the United States. You cannot fail to be entertained by the characters who inhabit this unique spot, which is filled with history on almost every corner. Then from Key West we’ll head south to Colombia, to see the grand churches and flower-draped balconies of Cartagena, the “Venice of Colombia.” (Personal note: I was there recently and it really is a great spot to spend time.) Cartagena’s beautiful old city, where cobbled streets twist past brightly colored mansions is well worth seeing. Then the highlight of our cruise: a full daylight transit of the Panama Canal, as we head to the port of Puntarenas, gateway to the unspoiled country of Costa Rica, a peace-loving ecological paradise, and a country that has actually disbanded its military. We’ll admire the idyllic mangroves and butterfly gardens, a virtual paradise on earth. Then we visit Nicaragua and Guatemala before cruising to Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, before the final leg of our journey to San Francisco, California. Our cruise to these celebrated, exotic ports will be aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized (684 passengers) deluxe ship Regatta, a masterpiece of sophistication and grace. Featuring world-class cuisine and elegant designer details, this ship promises an unforgettable voyage. And the opportunity to travel with our fellow alum is a wonderful plus. Prices for this wonderful trip begin at just $3,699 per person, and include round-trip airfare from most major US cities. Click here for full details. European Coastal Civilizations – A voyage from Lisbon to London (April 28 – May 7, 2017): Lisbon • Oporto • Santiago de Compostela • Bilbao • Brittany • Normandy Beaches • River Thames to London – Featuring Guest Speaker: Dwight David Eisenhower II Join us aboard the exclusively chartered small ship Five-Star M.S. LE BORÉAL, as we cruise from the old-world sophistication of Portugal and the artistic riches of Spain’s Basque country to the Celtic heritage of Brittany and the timeless, stately elegance of London, a riveting canvas of influential European seaports awaits you along the Atlantic’s shores. We are delighted to present this exclusive, five-star small ship itinerary featuring the captivating historical legacies and the enduring yet dynamic cultures of these European Coastal Civilizations. We’ll visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Oporto, the center of world-famous port wine production; Santiago de Compostela, where you will walk in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims to visit the tomb of St. James; and the magnificent Mont-St-Michel and its impressive abbey that appears to rise out of the sea. A highlight is sure to be our experience at the hallowed beaches of Normandy with special guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, where the course of world history was altered in 1944 with the historic D-Day landings. We’ll cruise Spain’s ruggedly beautiful Costa Verde, tour Bilbao’s Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum and, in a grand finale, sail past the White Cliffs of Dover and up the River Thames into the heart of London, where your ship will overnight beneath the illustrious Tower Bridge. This is an extraordinary and popular cruise, and is an excellent value with prices starting at just $4,995 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. An Odyssey of Ancient Civilizations – Cruising the Adriatic & Aegean Seas (May 8 – 16, 2017): Athens • Corinth Canal • Delphi • Corfu Albania • Bay of Kotor • Dalmatian Coast • Venice This seven night cruise aboard our exclusively chartered, five-star, small ship M/S Le Lyrial, is designed especially for our alums. We’ll sail from the ancient city of Athens (Greece) to Venice (Italy), with port calls at Itea, to see the site of the ancient Oracle of Delphi, the Greek island of Corfu, Sarande on the unspoiled and not-often-visited coast of Albania, medieval Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site located on the sublimely beautiful coast of Montenegro, and Dubrovnik, the island of Korcula and the spectacular city of Split, in Croatia. Because we’ll be on a small ship, we can enter ports, bays and inlets that are simply inaccessible to larger vessels. For example, we’ll cruise through the narrow Corinth Canal, the historic link between the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland. Excursions in each port are included, such as a walking tour of Corfu’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town; another UNESCO World Heritage Greco-Roman ruins in Butrint, Albania, off-limits to the West for so many decades; and the stunning city of Kotor. In Split, we’ll visit the thriving community living within the walls of the third-century palace of Diocletian, another World Heritage site. This is surely one trip you don’t want to miss. And aboard our ship we’ll be treated to luxurious personal service at every turn. All rooms have full ocean views; all meals are included, as are complimentary beverages (alcoholic and other) throughout your entire cruise. Prices for this amazing journey begin at just $4,295 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. The Italian Riviera & Chianti (May 21 - 30, 2017): The Italian Riviera is truly one of the most charming and wonderful areas in Italy in which to spend a week. (I know—I was there a few years ago and every day was just a total delight.) We’ll visit both Liguria and Tuscany, blessed with mild Mediterranean weather, incredible natural beauty, and – of course – the wonderfully warm and welcoming Italian people. We’ll visit beautiful seaside towns and fishing villages on the glamorous Italian Riviera. We’ll see the picturesque harbors that erupt into an elegant jumble of pastel-colored homes. Contrasting to this are the equally beautiful olive groves and verdant vineyards that blanket the Chianti region of Tuscany, where today’s agriculture continues to support a 3,000-year-old legacy of savory cuisine and extraordinary wines. We’ll embrace the differences and similarities that have created the Italian Riviera and Chianti’s distinctive personalities. On this wonderful journey we’ll spend four nights in Sestri Levante, on the coast, and four nights in Radda in the exquisite Tuscany region, between Florence and Siena. Along the way we’ll visit Santa Margherita, the magical five towns that make up the magic land known as Cinque Terre (not to be missed), the village of Chianti, known for its famous red wine , and Siena, center of a powerful republic during the Middle Ages. This is truly a spectacular trip, which I heartily recommend. Prices for this wonderful experience on the Italian Riviera and in Tuscany begin at just $2,995 per person (a real bargain). SPECIAL OFFER: Book by December 20, 2016, and save $500 per couple! Click here for more details and booking information. Croatia’s Adriatic Coast (May 22 - June 2, 2017): Experience the diverse, scenic landscapes and the vibrant cultural heritage of Croatia, a treasure trove of historic cities, pristine parkland, and a seemingly endless sun-drenched Adriatic coast line. On this ten-night journey we’ll explore the best of this country, the crossroads of central Europe and the Mediterranean. We’ll visit four cities: the inland capital of Zagreb; the strikingly beautiful towns of Split and Hvar (an Adriatic island); and the famed wall city of Dubrovnik. Here we will experience the breadth of Croatia’s fairy-tale panoramas, from the misty waterfalls and clear lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Centre flaunts sixteen crystal lakes that are laced together in a series of awe-inspiring waterfalls and cascades. The vibrant landscape is a vision of unsurpassed beauty where the waters shimmer and constantly change color, a result of the karst terrain. Wander planked walkways and trails amid a fragrant forest of beech and pine. The park is also home to nearly 160 species of birds as well as many rare, endemic species, including the endangered European brown bear. Then to the lovely vineyards and lavender fields of Hvar, where we’ll indulge in a wine tasting and discover the ancient ruins and landmarks of Croatia’s storied past. This wonderful trip is limited to no more than 28 guests, and includes elegant hotel accommodations, all excursions, ten breakfasts, three lunches and four dinners, and more. Croatia is a bit off-the-beaten path of the more typical European destinations, and thus affords us a wonderful opportunity to see this truly spectacular country with a bit less hustle and bustle and fewer crowds than might be found elsewhere. Prices for this wonderful experience in Croatia begin at just $3,695 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. Provence and the French Riviera (June 8-18, 2017): The South of France – Rarely does any other location evoke such romantic images of olive groves, sloping vineyards along the Rhone River, pristine beaches, and fields of lavender. Hilltop villages beckon travelers with their charm, and cities showcase their Roman ruins and splendid architecture dating back through the centuries. The South of France has long been the chosen destination of painters, writers, and other artists in search of inspiration. This is the perfect opportunity to discover for yourself the allure of this absolutely delightful region. We’ll learn about Avignon and its 14th-century transformation from a sleepy riverside community to the capital of Roman Catholicism as the residence of seven French popes. We’ll spend the morning at leisure in one of the most charming towns in Provence, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, encircled by the Sorgue river, and known as the “Venice of Provence.” Later, we’ll journey to the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where the famous Rhône wine is produced, and we will travel to the Pont du Gard, an ancient technical masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was constructed by the Romans in 19 B.C. as part of a 30-mile canal to supply water to the town of Nîmes. By the end of the second century B.C., the Romans had conquered this region, creating the first province outside of Italy, and called it “Provincia Romana,” from which the name Provence is derived. Our journey continues to Arles, a town filled with extraordinary monuments and important Roman ruins, which collectively are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and to Les Baux, a spectacular village perched precariously on a bare rock spur atop a hill in the Alpilles Mountains. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in France, its winding, cobbled streets, tiny squares and ancient fortress offer a glimpse of medieval life. And in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence we’ll visit the monastery hospital where Vincent van Gogh once lived and created some of his greatest work. fter breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart via deluxe motorcoach for Nice via Aix-en-Provence. Enjoy beautiful vistas of olive groves, lavender fields and vineyards as we make our way to Nice, a quintessential Provençal town, one of the most wonderfully preserved of all French cities. Our trip to the South of France would not be complete without a visit to Monaco. While tiny in size, the principality of Monaco is best known for its larger-than-life glamour and glitz. Pay a visit to the legendary Casino de Monte Carlo in its lavish belle epoque building and see the luxurious gaming rooms that attract an international clientèle, before enjoying lunch. Then drive along the spectacular coastline to St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and visit a jewel of the Riviera, the famous Villa Ephrussi. Owned by the Rothschild family, this elegant villa houses a collection of art and antiques and offers incredible views of the Riviera as we explore the grounds. Before leaving France, we’ll visit the charming hill town of St. Paul de Vence and the Foundation Maeght, a renowned gallery of contemporary art. Surrounded by 16th-century medieval ramparts high on the hill, St. Paul de Vence has historically been a haven for artists, drawn to the peaceful beauty of its narrow stone streets and shaded squares. Prices for this wonderful experience in the South of France begin at just $3,295 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. England’s Castles, Cottages and Countryside – the Cotswolds (June 22 - July 2, 2017): The English countryside is among the most beautiful in the world, and this is a perfect opportunity to explore this beautiful area with our fellow alums. Join us as we spend three nights in Canterbury at the first-class HotelABode Canterbury, four nights in Broadway at the world-renowned Lygon Arms hotel, and finally two nights in London at the first-class Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt hotel. We’ll begin our journey in Canterbury, where we travel back in time to a medieval England setting when twenty-nine pilgrims meet at the Tabard Inn before beginning their journey to Canterbury, home to the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly 500 years. Visit the Canterbury Cathedral. See its remarkable stained-glass windows and admire the cathedral’s Romanesque and Gothic features that date back to A.D. 587. Then we continue to Leeds Castle near the village of Maidstone. Originally built by Robert de Crevecoeur as a Norman stronghold in 1119, the palace has since been owned by a handful of monarchs and six queens of England. The property was also a favorite retreat of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Then we head for the coast where the enthralling White Cliffs of Dover overlook the English Channel. The sweeping cliffs reach up to 300 feet high and stretch for 10 miles along the coast to Dover. Located at the narrowest part of the English Channel, the White Cliffs have met the challenge of many invasion attempts, including Julius Caesar's foray in 55 B.C. We continue on to Dover Castle and experience a World War II hospital atmosphere at the Underground Hospital. En route to the storied village of Broadway, we’ll visit Chartwell, home of Sir Winston Churchill and his wife. Originally from the Tudor times, Chartwell is a picture of life from when Churchill, and his family lived there, with many of their belongings, photographs and books still in the home. From here we’ll explore the genteel villages peppering the quaint English county landscape that is the Cotswolds. We’ll drive through a patchwork of pastures and sleepy hamlets, including Burton-on-the-Water, known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, and continue on to Stow-on-the-Wold, a village designed with a network of tight, narrow lanes which allowed for easy shepherding during the wool trade era. We will also have an opportunity to visit Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Oxford we’ll see the oldest university in the English-speaking world (began before RPI!). Four British kings, 47 Nobel Prize winners, one pope and a potpourri of other notable students have graduated from Oxford. If you like you can join an elective excursion to Stratford-upon-Avon to discover the house where William Shakespeare grew up before becoming the world's greatest dramatist. This excursion includes transportation to/from Stratford-upon-Avon. Then, en route to London, we’ll see the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle. In London, we’ll enjoy a full day of leisure in London, where the opportunities to explore are virtually endless. Prices for this wonderful English holiday begin at just $3,995 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. A complete two-week circumnavigation of the British Isles, including three stops in Ireland, (July 31 – August 13, 2017): This is a unique opportunity to experience the British Isles as few travelers do, aboard Oceania Cruises luxury ocean-liner Marina, a delightful ship with just 1250 passengers, sailing round-trip from Southampton around the British Isles. Ports of call include Portland, Cork, Holyhead, Dublin, Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh, and Newcastle. We’ll begin in Newcastle (Tyne), England, a city set astride the River Tyne, united by seven bridges, Newcastle exudes urban sophistication and celebrates its fascinating heritage in the graceful Central Arcade and charming Grainger Town. Then we head north to Scotland, where we call first at Edinburgh (New Haven), where perched atop the craggy Castle Rock and crowning the city is Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s prize of history and beauty. The dignified capital’s finer details lie in its trove of brick-paved streets, intimate squares, and maze-like alleyways along the Royal Mile. Further north, we call at Invergordon, known for its rich naval history. Invergordon is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands — widely recognized as one of Europe’s most stunning landscapes. Draped with soaring forested mountains and dotted with local clan castles, this breathtaking region never fails to amaze. Then, sailing west around the “top” of Scotland we head for Glasgow (Greenock), Britain’s former industrial powerhouse, which is today a dynamic, down-to-earth metropolis where history, culture, and sophistication meet in spectacular fashion. On the banks of the mighty River Clyde, Scotland’s largest city is sprinkled with world-class museums and art galleries. From here we set sail for Liverpool, back in England, a city that has recast itself into a vibrant, up-and-coming destination. Famous, of course, as the city which launched the Beatles, the city offers eye-catching cathedrals and galleries, including the Walker Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool. Next we call at Dublin, Ireland, a cosmopolitan city that packs character and wonder into its neatly lined rows of Georgian buildings, gleaming edifices, quaint cobblestone streets, Victorian pubs, and the stately buildings of Trinity College and Dublin Castle. Leaving Ireland (briefly) we sail to Holyhead, Wales, situated on the craggy coast of Holy Island. Holyhead occupies an area that dates back to prehistoric times. This bustling ferry port is renowned as a jumping-off point to explore the exquisite Welsh countryside and its charming towns, farms, and imposing castles. Then it’s back to Ireland for a visit to Cork (Cobh), sprawled about the River Lee and intertwined by bridges, the Cork’s city center is paved with 17th-century alleyways leading to iconic sites,such as St. Anne’s Church and the Old City Gaol. Finally, before we head back to Southampton, we’ll stop at Portland, England, straddled by the pebbled Chesil Beach and situated in the heart of England’s dramatic Jurassic Coast. The “isle” of Portland boasts scenic cliffs, rare plants, and rich wildlife. More than a setting of unparalleled natural beauty, it is also a gateway to the lovely Dorset countryside. This is a unique journey on a perfectly-sized (just 1250 passengers) ship, with wonderful, personal service and truly outstanding cuisine. Prices begin at just $5,999 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. A week in Scotland – Great Britain’s northernmost country – (August 1 – 9, 2017): Here is a perfect opportunity to see a part of Great Britain that is a bit less-traveled, but spectacularly rugged and beautiful. From its deep glacial lakes shrouded in mist, to the beautiful highland hills, Scotland’s legendary landscape has historically been the stage for epic adventures. For centuries an intricate blend of Celtic, Norse and Norman cultures have intermingled like the weave of a tartan plaid to fashion colorful seaside towns and fairy-tale castles. On this trip we’ll discover the very best of Scotland by walking in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and leaving our own along the Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond. Highlights of our trip will include the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a matchless spectacle performed on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle; this is not to be missed! We’ll also board a steamship for a cruise on Loch Katrine, made famous in Scott’s narrative poem “Lady of the Lake.” And we’ll be treated to a visit to Scone Palace, where the kings of Scotland were crowned, home of the famous Stone of Scone (the Stone of Destiny). Finally, no visit to Scotland would be complete without a visit to St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf, where we’ll tour the famous St. Andrews Cathedral. This is a wonderfully fascinating trip, which is priced from just $2,995 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. A Portrait of Ireland – Dublin, Belfast, Donegal, and Mayo (August 21 – September 1, 2017): Join us as we discover Irish history and culture as we travel the breadth of the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, staying in vibrant Dublin, historic Belfast, coastal Donegal and verdant county Mayo. We’ll begin with a three-night stay at The Westbury Hotel in Dublin, Ireland’s cosmopolitan capital, which has undergone a recent incredible economic resurgence. We’ll have an ample opportunity to visit Dublin’s treasured sites, its Georgian architecture, Trinity College, where we’ll see the famed Book of Kells, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We’ll stroll down Grafton Street, and, at day’s end, relax with a Guinness in one of Dublin’s storied pubs. Then, as we make our way north, at the Bend of the Boyne River, we’ll stop at Newgrange, a prehistoric monument older than Stonehenge. When we arrive in Northern Ireland well discover the history of Belfast, and learn first-hand about “The Troubles,” the decades-long struggle between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland. And, of course, Belfast was where the unsinkable Titanic was built; we’ll visit an interpretation center to learn all about the ship and its construction, and tragic sinking. Next we drive along the Giant’s Causeway, and visit the Old Bushmill’s Distillery, which has been making Irish whiskey since 1784. We’ll take a cruise around Donegal Bay, and visit the grave of W.B. Yeats, the great Irish poet. This is a wonderful opportunity see Ireland in depth, with our fellow alums. And it’s priced right, at just $3,995 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. The Pearls of Italy, featuring twelve days in the Lake District, Venice, Florence, Tuscany and Rome (August 23 – 31, 2017): It is no exaggeration to say that Italy is a tourist’s delight; nearly everything about the country conspires to provide the perfect holiday. And on this trip we can lose ourselves in a captivating journey through Italy’s most scenic areas and its most alluring cities. We’ll travel across northern Italy, to marvel at the spectacular blue glacial lakes nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Here we’ll visit the Villa Balbianello, an 18th century villa overlooking Lake Como. And we’ll take a cruise across the lake to Bellagio, where we’ll have a private tour. From this area it’s just a short hop into Switzerland, where we’ll be treated to a stop in Lugano, arguably the best of all worlds (Swiss efficiency and Italian charm). Next we stop in Verona, the city in which Shakespeare set “Romeo and Juliet.” And we’ll flirt with the seductive city of Venice, whose legacy as a powerful maritime republic shines through it spectacular architecture. See St. Mark’s Square, the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace. And by all means go for a gondola ride – simply wonderful. From there we’ll head south on the high-speed train to Tuscany (under the Tuscan sun) where the golden age of the Renaissance was born. Spend time in Florence, famous for so many artists’ works. We’ll also discover a bit of Umbria, in the Italian heartland. And then, as we all know, all roads lead to Rome, where our incredible Italian experience concludes. There is so much to see in Italy, and this is the perfect opportunity to get a real taste of Italy. Prices begin at just $4,495 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. The Italian Lakes: Four nights in Cernobbio overlooking the magical Lake Como, and three nights in romantic Venice (September 7 – 15, 2017): Como • Bellagio • Maggiore • Verona • Venice. If ever there is a slightly-less-traveled but unbelievably beautiful part of Europe, the Italian Lakes region is surely it. This seven night alumni trip affords us a wonderful opportunity to tour this incredible area, beginning with four nights in the charming Hotel Regina Olga, overlooking Lake Como – one of the gems of Italy’s magical Lake Region. We’ll be treated to a private boat cruise across Lake Como, to medieval Bellagio (the most famous village on Lake Como) and the stunning 18th-century Villa del Balbianello and gardens, owned and maintained by the Italian National Trust. On Lake Maggiore we’ll spend a full day touring, including a private cruise to the beautiful Borromean Islands. And we’ll also visit the ancient Roman city of Verona, where we’ll see the legendary balcony of Shakespeare’s Juliet. And in Venice, a city like no other on earth, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of Venice’s renowned Gallerie dell’Accademia, and experience the vivacity of the Piazza San Marco, the social, religious and political center of Venice. It is no exaggeration to say that every day in Italy is a feast for all the senses. There is truly something magical here, and this specially designed alumni trip is the perfect opportunity to experience the charm of this wonderful country first hand. Prices for this wonderful northern Italian holiday begin at just $3,495 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. Ancient Empires, a Voyage from Rome to Malta (October 7 – 15, 2017): Rome • Naples • Isle of Capri • Amalfi • Sicily • Malta. Have you ever been to Malta? Probably not --- few of us have, but it is a great tourist destination, a little off the beaten path but perfectly situated in the Mediterranean Sea just 50 miles south of Sicily. It is covers just over 120 square miles, with a population of less than half a million, making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. Its capital of Valletta is the smallest national capital in the European Union. It’s location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have all ruled this unique country. The country played such an important role in World War II that the English King George VI awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942, the only country in the world to be so honored and the George Cross continues to appear on Malta's national flag. So much for Malta – arguably the most “off-the-beaten-path” destination on this wonderful trip. We’ll begin in the Eternal City of Rome, where we embark our deluxe small ship – just 36 stylishly-appointed ocean-view cabins and head to the port of Naples, where we’ll have an opportunity to spend time visiting the awe-inspiring ruins at Pompeii. Then it’s off to the famed Isle of Capri (as beautiful as you imagine), and the beautiful Amalfi coast, before we cruise past Stromboli, an active volcano that serves as a ship’s beacon at night, en route to three ports in Sicily. We’ll visit Taormina, Syracuse, and Agrigento as jumping off points to the many wonders of this special island. And then, sailing away from Porto Empedocle, our last stop in Sicily, we travel the short distance to Malta, and a truly unforgettable experience. Prices for this extra-special cruise begin at just $5,695 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. Mediterranean Radiance, a 9-night luxury cruise from Rome to Monte Carlo (October 7 - 17, 2017): Join us for a wonderful cruise aboard Oceania Cruise Lines elegant mid-sized ship (catering to just 1,250 guests) Riviera as we sail from Rome to Monte Carlo, stopping along the way at so many of the Mediterranean spots where the ”beautiful people” relax on their holidays. Rome, Florence, Pisa, Tuscany, Portofino, St. Tropez, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo --- these are just some of the cities that we’ll visit on this wonderful 9-night cruise. We’ll set sail first from Rome, the Eternal City, whose history has influenced so much of the Western world. In fact, you have not yet been, by all means go a few days early and spend time here before the ship sails. You’ll be glad that you did. Then, from the port of Rome (Civitavecchia) we’ll set sail for Livorno, gateway to the Tuscany area where well have a chance to visit Florence (with its incredible art galleries and museums), Pisa (a charming town with the famous leaning tower), and the entire Tuscany region – arguably among the most beautiful in all of Italy. From here we head to the “glamorous” ports of Portofino (Italy) and St. Tropez (France), wonderful Mediterranean resorts. Leaving France, our ship sets sail for Spain, and the four wonderful cities of Palamos (on the Costa Brava), Barcelona (where you will surely want to return), Valencia (on Spain’s southeastern Orange Blossom Coast), and finally Mahon, on the Balearic island of Minorca, famed for its pristine beaches and wonderful Georgian architecture. From Spain we head back to France, and the very cosmopolitan city of Marseille, gateway to Provence in the south of France, before our cruise concludes in Monte Carlo, with its famed casino, spectacular harbor filled with incredible yachts, and breathtaking scenery at every turn. If you have not traveled in this part of the Mediterranean you won’t want to miss the wonderful opportunity to cruise with your fellow alums. Prices begin at just $3,299 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. The Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia, a cruise from (October 23 – 31, 2017): Barcelona • Palma de Mallorca • Valencia •Granada • Gibraltar • Seville • Portimao • Lisbon Join us on this exclusively chartered new five-star small ship (launched in 2015) for a unique luxury cruise along the coast of Spain and Portugal, including a call at the world-famous “Rock of Gibraltar.” We’ll begin in Barcelona (if you have never been, by all means go a few days early; Barcelona is one of the great cities of the world, not to be missed. (If you were an Architect or Building Sciences major, you really have to go! Trust me.) Barcelona will amaze you at every turn and at every block; Antoni Gaudi’s buildings and parks are never-to-be-forgotten. From Barcelona we’ll sail to the well-known resort of Palma de Mallorca, with its medieval Old City, and then to the port of Valencia, the “City of Arts & Sciences,” including a visit to the Silk Exchange, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then, before we stop at Gibraltar, the unique British Crown Colony, and worldwide symbol of strength, our ship will call at the port of Almeria, gateway to Granada, home to the exquisite Alhambra – not to be missed. Next, after leaving Gibraltar, our small ship will cruise up the beautiful Guadalquivir River into the heart of Seville – off limits to larger ships. Seville lies in the heart of the Andalusia region, and is a hotbed of the flamenco dance, as well as the ornate and world-famous Alcazar castle complex. Then it’s back down the river as we leave Spain for Portimao, on the Algarve region in Portugal. Our last short sail takes us to Lisbon, where we disembark our ship. This delightful cruise is the ideal way to visit southern Spain and Portugal, and is an excellent value. Prices begin at just $4,295 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. South African Explorer – Cruise along the coast of this amazing country, with eight ports of call (December 5 – 21, 2017): Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the most fascinating destinations on earth. We’ll spend 15 nights aboard Oceania Cruises Nautica, cruising from Cape Town to seven other ports, including Mossel Bay, with its endless string of beaches and more than 300 days of sunshine every year make this a popular holiday hotspot and magnet for surfers. The town’s Dias Museum offers unique insight into local maritime history as well as a full-size replica of the famed ship, Dias Caravel. Then it’s on to Richards Bay, once a sleepy fishing village, and now the thriving economic hub of Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Beneath its bustling, industrial veneer, South Africa’s largest harbor town offers scenic wetlands, unspoiled beaches, and a gateway to Zululand, one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most fascinating kingdoms. Next stop: Maputo (Mozambique) a city intent on recapturing its former glamour as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Once again attracting the rich and famous. Acacia-lined avenues and a lively waterfront that draw in visitors from around the world, while tales of the city’s poignant colonial history can be found in local museums. From here we head to Durban, where South Africa’s British colonial architecture is in abundance. And yet its natural beauty is what characterizes this delightful city on the Indian Ocean. The Golden Mile beach area attracts sunbathers, of course, but also shoppers and those who just enjoy strolling along the promenade. Then in East London, the nation’s only port on a river, we’ll visit the Juma Masjid, the largest mosque in the Southern hemisphere. East London stretches along the banks of the Buffalo River, and is revered for its unspoiled beaches. Although its links to England are apparent, East London still bears a distinct South African ambience. Then we sail to Port Elizabeth, often described as ”the friendly city.” P.E.— as it’s known by the locals —may be small in size but boasts beautiful beaches and an authentic charm. Central, the old town, is home to well-preserved historic buildings and Parliament Street. Our next stop is Walvis Bay, in Namibia, on Africa’s Southwest Atlantic coast. On the edge of the great Namib Desert and home to an astounding natural lagoon, Walvis Bay claims a resplendent natural backdrop as well as the finest harbor on the Namib coast. Just outside of town is Dune 7, a towering sand dune that rewards climbers with spectacular panoramas. And finally we head back to Cape Town, located at the foot of majestic Table Mountain, which is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cape Town is a breathtakingly beautiful city famed for its astounding landscape, historic landmarks, and handsome Cape Dutch architecture. This is truly an amazing journey on a perfectly-sized (just 684 passengers) ship, with outstanding service and truly outstanding cuisine. Prices begin at just $5,699 per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a double room. Click here for more information. For more information on any of the programs, contact the alumni office at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (518)-276-6205, or e-mail Michael Wellner ’64 at email@example.com or call (212) 486-3064.