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. Take a Look at Our 2015 Programs ... Island Life in Ancient Greece & Turkey – a unique seven-night cruise aboard an exclusively chartered Five-Star small ship (new this year) from Athens to Istanbul (September 28 - October 6, 2015): If you have ever dreamed of spending time in the storied Greek Islands, this trip may just be THE perfect opportunity. We’ll travel aboard a beautiful brand new five-star small ship (sister ship to Le Boreal, L’Austral and Le Soleal) sailing from the ancient city of Athens, and calling at Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Patmos, Kasadasi (Ephesus), and Canakkale (Troy) before concluding our trip in Istanbul. Included are tours of legendary Troy (you thought the one in which we spent four years was the only one? Trust me, this is much more interesting), Ephesus (the best preserved Greco-Roman city in the world), and the Greek Islands of Delos (with its splendid classical ruins including the Sanctuary of Apollo), Santorini (with its phenomenal Minoan excavation), Rhodes (home of the famed Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), and picture-perfect Patmos. The Greek island are the stuff of legends, and I can think of no finer way to experience them than on this unique small ship cruise – with fellow Engineers from Troy! Prices begin at just $3,995 per person; Click here for more details and booking information. Symphony on the Blue Danube – A week in Krakow (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic), followed by a five night river cruise from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary (October 1 – 13, 2015): This exclusive, custom-designed journey will take us to the European cultural centers that inspired classical music’s Great Masters. Framed by rolling hillsides, lush vineyards and medieval castles, the Danube River Valley has resonated with musicians, artists, poets and travelers throughout the centuries, and has contributed to the world the genius of its most renowned virtuosos. Our comprehensive itinerary will take us through six countries in the heartland of central Europe. This trip has been custom-designed to feature the musical heritage of Europe’s most accomplished composers, including Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, and carefully planned to afford us time to explore nine UNESCO World Heritage treasures. Join us as we cruise the legendary Blue Danube from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, aboard the exclusively chartered, deluxe M.S. Amadeus Fleet, one of the finest ships to ply the waterways of Europe. We’ll spend three nights each in historic Prague and Kraków in deluxe, centrally located hotels, and then – aboard the ship – we’ll often dock right in the heart of the cities, providing a wonderful opportunity to maximize our time ashore. You’ll find that our experience will be enhanced by a comprehensive schedule of exclusive and specially arranged expert lectures, classical music performances and guided excursions in the world-class cities of Prague and Kraków, and in each port of call along the Danube. Traveling through the heartland of Europe has never been more historically rich and culturally exciting. This exceptional program is sure to strike a chord with both new and repeat travelers, reaching into the heart and soul of the region, as well as its great composers, art and architectural masterpieces. And, you’ll find that it is an excellent value. Prices begin at just $3,995 per person. Click here for more details and booking information. Cruise through Canada and New England, aboard the 6-star Crystal Symphony, from Montreal to New York City in the prime Fall foliage season: (October 14 – 24, 2015): This super-deluxe ten-night cruise, aboard one of the most consistently rated top ships in the world, begins in the heart of French Canada, and wends its way through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and down the Northeast Coast of the United States. Our first stop, after leaving Montreal (I recommend you go ahead and spend a few days there before the ship departs) will be the incredibly beautiful Quebec City. Next, after a delightful day of cruising in the Gulf, we’ll stop at Prince Edward Island, where we’ll visit Charlottetown, and its stately buildings. From there it’s on to the Magdelan Islands, once isolated from the mainland, but now a tranquil retreat. We’ll continue along to the Nova Scotian towns of Sydney, on Cape Breton Island’s eastern shore, and surprisingly beautiful Halifax, considered the most Scottish of all of Canada’s great cities. From there we’ll cross into U.S. waters and stop first in picturesque Portland, Maine, before we stop in historic Boston, and then Newport. Rhode Island may be our smallest state but you’ll find Newport rich in American history (think of the ultra-wealthy’s summer “cottages” overlooking the seashore. From here we’ll have the unique experience of sailing into New York City, past the Statue of Liberty and a skyline like no other in the world. And every step of the way we’ll be pampered in luxury and comfort that only Crystal Cruises ships can provide. Prices start at just $3,595 per person for this wonderful holiday. Click here for more details and booking information. Alumni Campus Abroad on the Italian Riviera, featuring seven nights in Sestri Levante: (October 24 – November 1, 2015): Few places in the world conjure up such delightful images as the Italian Riviera, an area known for its sparking, turquoise waters, and lush green landscapes. It has been captivating visitors for centuries. We’ll stay at the centrally located, first-class Hotel Vis-à-vis, in Sestri Levante, ideally located only a short drive away from such wonderful places as Genoa, Portofino, Santa Margherita, Carrara, Lucca, Florence, and more. On this wonderful trip (which I have personally experienced) we’ll spend time in each of these cities and towns. In Carrara we’ll visit a marble quarry and studio; in Lucca we’ll have a chance to spend time strolling this beautiful walled city; in Portofino we’ll spend time in the picture postcard-perfect waterfront. And in the bustling shipbuilding city of Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Every day in this beautiful part of the world is a special treat, and every day will prove to be a delightful surprise. No matter where your interests lie, the Italian Riviera is a treat for all your senses. Join us! Prices start at only $2,895 per person – and there is no single supplement for solo travelers. Click here for more details and booking information. Voyage to Antiquity – Cruise from Athens, Greece to Haifa, Israel, with three nights in Jerusalem (October 27 – November 7, 2015): Here is a wonderful opportunity to visit some of the most historic ports in the Eastern Mediterranean, aboard a cruise on an exclusively chartered small ship with only 36 stylishly appointed, wood-paneled, ocean-view cabins. Unlike the “mega” cruise ships, this unique vessel enables us to visit smaller ports that are simply inaccessible to the large ships. Our stops include Kusadasi (for Ephesus – the best preserved Greco-Roman city in the world); Bodrum; Daylan River Delta (for Kaunos); Antalya (for Aspendos and Perge – all in Turkey); Limassol (Cyprus); and finally Haifa in Israel, where we’ll visit Caesarea and Tel Aviv (with aspecial orientation to the famed “White City”), before spending three nights in Jerusalem. Aboard the ship all meals are included, as are all shore excursions. And complimentary beer and wine are available with lunch and dinner. Enriching lectures are held daily before each stop. Truly there are few places in the world as fascinating as the Middle East – often referred to (with good reason) as the “Cradle of Civilization.” And this trip may be one of the best ways to experience this unique part of the world – all with your fellow alums. Prices for this fabulous trip will be available soon. For now, Click here for more details. Cruise on the American Queen for Country & Blues Music on the mighty Mississippi, from Nashville to Memphis: (October 31-November 8, 2015): Here is a wonderful chance to celebrate homegrown country and blues music as we cruise legendary rivers aboard the grand American Queen, and savor beautiful vistas, sumptuous cuisine and elegant amenities along the way. We’ll begin with a stay in America’s Music City, Nashville, an exciting cultural hub boasting the Country Music Hall of Fame and the famous Grand Ole Opry House. Then we board the largest and most opulent riverboat in the world, the American Queen, and cruise to Clarksville, featuring a historic center sprinkled with local shops, breweries and restaurants. In Dover, we’ll delve into rich Civil War history at the Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Cemetery, site of one of the first significant Union victories, before heading to Cave-in-Rock State Park in Illinois, offering an incredibly scenic blend of deep green forests and breathtaking, rugged bluffs. In Mt. Vernon, Indiana, we’ll discover well-preserved historic landmarks, including the 19th-century Posey County Courthouse. Then we will witness sprawling murals in Paducah, a river town established by William Clark in 1827. And visit the oldest city west of the Mississippi, New Madrid, where we’ll climb the town’s observation deck to take in fabulous panoramas of Bessie Bend peninsula, before our adventure concludes in Memphis. Prices begin at just $2,699 per person, (airfare is additional). Click here for more details and booking information. These are the 2016 Programs... Vietnam, Saigon, and Hanoi (January 13-24, 2016): This is a wonderful and unique opportunity to witness firsthand changes that have transpired in a part of the world that holds a unique and significant place in our country’s history. On this amazing trip to Southeast Asia, we’ll have the perfect opportunity to explore Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, and scenic Ha Long Bay. Our adventure begins with our flight to Saigon, where we’ll spend five nights at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza. Here we’ll visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Fine Arts Museum and more. We’ll explore the Mekong Delta, with a sampan cruise on the Ham Luong River, have lunch at a riverside restaurant, see the War Remnants Museum, and the famed Ben Thanh Market --- where virtually everything is available for sale. Then it’s a day in the country before we fly north to Hanoi, where we will stay for four nights at the InterContinental Hanoi West Lake. Hanoi is the home of Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and home, as well as the 11th Century Confucian Temple of Literature, which later became the country’s first university. Then, before leaving the north, we’ll be treated to a one night cruise aboard an elegant Vietnamese junk, the Paradise Luxury, for a scenic one night cruise of Ha Long bay. Then it’s back to Hanoi for our last night before boarding our flight back to the U.S. Prices for this is amazing trip begin at just $3,495 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Jewels of Central America: An Exciting Cruise Aboard the New MS St. Laurent, From San Jose (Costa Rica) to Cartagena (Columbia), Featuring a Daytime Transit of the Panama Canal (January 22-31, 2016). Here is a wonderful chance to take in Central America’s unparalleled ecological majesty, with its incredible wildlife, secluded white-sand beaches and pristine emerald-green forests. From San José to Cartagena, we will encounter the remote natural riches of Costa Rica and Panama on an odyssey aboard the new small ship (just 210 passengers) MS Saint Laurent. Aboard, we will be treated to elegant amenities and breathtaking vistas as this luxurious ship takes us to legendary sights including Darién National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park. We will witness the astounding scenery and biodiversity of Golfo Dulce, Coiba Island and the Osa Peninsula, and admire the 17th-century architectural grandeur of Panama’s Casco Viejo. Visit the stunning San Blas Islands, home of the Kuna Indians, before experiencing a daylight passage through one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders, the Panama Canal. No RPI Alum should miss this! And aboard this deluxe ship we’ll be treated to outstanding cuisine free-flowing beverages, as well as enriching lectures and complimentary expert-led Zodiac excursions. This 10-day voyage promises a Central American expedition like no other. Prices begin at $4,499 per person, double occupancy (airfare is additional). Click here for full details. Sands & Shores of the Caribbean: (February 12-22, 2016): A deluxe cruise, round-trip Miami! Join us as we sail the shimmering Caribbean Sea aboard Oceania Cruises’ newest ship, Riviera, an award-winning masterpiece with outstanding personalized service, elegant designer details and world-class cuisine. Starting in Miami, we’ll cruise along the white sands and sun-kissed shores of several spectacular Caribbean islands, including Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Maarten, Tortola, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Surround yourself with serene beauty on Grand Turk, where colonial architecture mingles with Caribbean–style dwellings. Experience the charming colonial character of Old San Juan, with its blue-tinged cobblestone streets, brightly painted buildings and ornate balconies; stroll along Gustavia’s glittering harbor (in St. Barts), lined with sleek yachts; relax on Tortola’s famous Cane Garden Bay Beach; admire Philipsburg’s colorful Dutch architecture; and explore Cayo Levantado’s (Dominican Republic) tranquil, palm-fringed beaches. Before returning to Miami, encounter a blend of beautifully restored Victorian mansions, candy-colored parliament buildings and 18th-century forts in cosmopolitan Nassau. And all the while you’ll be pampered aboard the Riviera, with just 1,250 guests, and the finest cuisine at sea, under the direction of renowned chef Jacques Pepin. Here you’ll find unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, juice, tea, coffee and cappuccino. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $2,999 per person, double occupancy, including free round-trip airfare from most gateway cities in the U.S. Click here for further details. Treasures of South America - Buenos Aires to Santiago (February 26 – March 9, 2016): Travel with us to exciting South America, as we go from Argentina’s cosmopolitan and vibrant capital of Buenos Aires to Chile’s capital city of Santiago, via San Carlos de Bariloche and Puerto Varas. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know two wonderful countries here in our own hemisphere (I know because I have been there). We’ll begin this South American adventure in Buenos Aires, filled with amazing cultural attractions, beautiful wide boulevards and European-style architecture. The diversity will amaze you; there is so much to do and see you’ll want to go back again and again! Then, after three nights at the deluxe Caesar Park Hotel, we’ll fly to San Carlos de Bariloche, in beautiful Patagonia, where we’ll see Argentina’s oldest National Park, and its two million acres of primal beauty. We’ll drive along the coast of Lake Nahuel Huapi, with its peaceful lagoons and thundering waterfalls. From here a real treat is in store as we embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey across the Andean Lakes, where we will marvel at the pristine beauty of the Patgaonia and its waterfalls, rivers and volcanoes. Our first stop in Chile will take us to Puerto Varas, where we’ll visit a traditional Chilean ranch and meet “huasos,” traditional Chilean cowboys. Next it’s off for our flight from nearby Puerto Montt to Santiago, where we’ll spend two nights at the InterContinental Santiago, well located in the city’s financial district – near upscale shops and restaurants. Here we can explore the city, with its towering skyscrapers, and marvel at the views of the majestic Andes mountains. Prices for this is amazing trip begin at $4,695 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Radiant Rhythms of South America: March 11 to March 25, 2016. A deluxe cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Come with us as we cruise along South America’s east coast, where pulsating rhythms, sublime scenery, and age-old traditions still thrive. On this deluxe voyage we’ll have an opportunity to explore Buenos Aires, an unforgettable city known as the “Paris of South America,” before cruising to our first stop, cosmopolitan Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, and the surprisingly chic resort town of Punta del Este. Then we’ll continue on to some of Brazil’s most captivating ports of call—charming Rio Grande, quaint Porto Belo, cosmopolitan São Paulo, historic Parati, the unspoiled island of Ilha Grande and the resort town of Buzios. Along the way we’ll discover sparkling beaches, exotic wildlife, fascinating botanical gardens and wonderful colonial Portuguese architecture. Our journey will conclude in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a stunning metropolis surrounded by magnificent mountains and rainforests. From the glamorous boutiques of Buenos Aires to the exotic nature reserves of Brazil, we will experience the radiant rhythms of South America on this alluring 12-night voyage. And all the while you’ll be pampered aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized ship Regatta, with only 684 guests, and the finest cuisine at sea, under the direction of renowned chef Jacques Pepin. Here you’ll find unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, juice, tea, coffee and cappuccino. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $4,499 per person, double occupancy, including free round-trip airfare from most gateway cities in the U.S. Click here for further details. Journey Through the Amazon River of South America: March 10 to April 2, 2016: A deluxe cruise from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Miami, Florida, from March 10 to April 2, 2016. Come join your fellow alums as we journey deep into the heart of the Amazon, where the calls of exotic wildlife echo amid verdant forests, and each secluded town offers a glimpse into the fascinating history of this amazing area. We’ll begin with a day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s stunning metropolis, surrounded by magnificent mountains, before embarking on a unique voyage of discovery aboard Oceania Cruises’ intimate, perfectly sized (only 684 passengers) Regatta. Then we will have the opportunity to experience Recife, often called the "Venice of Brazil," for its winding bridges and waterways, and admire the famous Portuguese-built fort in Macapá, Brazil. Continuing in Brazil, you can relax on Alter do Chão’s blissful white-sand beaches, stroll past wooden stilt-houses in the remote village of Boca da Valeria, behold Manaus’ regal pastel opera house, and explore the floating market at Parintins. Continuing through Brazil, we’ll witness the “Wedding of the Waters” at Santarem, where the deep blue waters of the Tapajós River meet the creamy brown-colored Amazon. Next we will discover the wild, haunting beauty of Devil’s Island, the former site of an infamous French penal colony. And, before concluding our odyssey in Miami, we’ll experience the charms of the sun-kissed Caribbean islands of Barbados, St. Barts, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. And all the while you’ll be pampered aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized ship Regatta, with only 684 guests, and the finest cuisine at sea, under the direction of renowned chef Jacques Pepin. Here you’ll find unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, juice, tea, coffee and cappuccino. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $6,499 per person, double occupancy, including free round-trip airfare from most gateway cities in the U.S. Click here for further details. Palms in Paradise, Featuring a Transit of the Panama Canal: April 24 to May 10, 2016: A deluxe cruise from Miami, Florida, to San Francisco, California. Calling all Engineers! Here is a wonderful chance to experience one of the great engineering marvels of the world, aboard a deluxe cruise ship for a full transit of the Panama Canal. Aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized ship Regatta (just 684 passengers), we’ll see palm-studded, emerald landscapes, man-made wonders and majestic colonial architecture as we experience the highlights of Central America sailing from Florida to Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico, before ending in beautiful California. We’ll begin our adventure in Miami, and set sail for Key West, a unique and fascinating town once home to Ernest Hemingway. Then it’s on to behold Cartagena’s enchanting architectural treasures, flower-adorned balconies and glorious 16th-century city walls, before we cruise through the impressive Panama Canal en route to Puntarenas, a gateway to Costa Rica’s breathtaking tropical splendors. If you have never had the chance to see the Canal first-hand, this is a wonderful opportunity to do so – with your fellow alums. From Puntarenas we will savor the idyllic beauty of San Juan del Sur, with its gorgeous cliffs, golden sands and gentle crystalline waters. Then we continue on to Puerto Quetzal, a gateway to the lovely colonial capital of Antigua, followed by a stop at Acapulco, home to magnificent sprawling beaches. And, before concluding our voyage in San Francisco, we can unwind in sun-kissed Cabo San Lucas, the exclusive resort town complete with picture-perfect beaches, trendy restaurants and chic boutiques. And all the while you’ll be pampered aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized ship Regatta, with the finest cuisine at sea, under the direction of renowned chef Jacques Pepin. Here you’ll find unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, juice, tea, coffee and cappuccino. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $3,299 per person, double occupancy, including free round-trip airfare from most gateway cities in the U.S. Click here for further details. Caribbean Cruise (January 30, 2016): Here is a Caribbean cruise --- not just an ordinary “run-of-the-mill” trip that we see advertised all the time --- but something really special. This trip will take us aboard an exclusively chartered, three-masted, small (just 32 staterooms) sailing ship, the M.Y. LE PONANT, for a glorious week sailing among the idyllic Windward Islands, a remote archipelago of spectacular volcanic islands in the southern Caribbean Sea. With this true sailing experience we’ll revel in the sublime charm of island life discover the historic towns and picturesque harbors favored by yachtsmen for hundreds of years. We will enjoy a refined yet casual lifestyle on board this intimate, deluxe ship, which is able to call on the smaller, more interesting ports that are simply inaccessible to larger vessels—making this the best way to see the real Caribbean. We’ll pull into the secluded harbors and popular sailors’ haunts to explore the rich culture and beautiful natural features of the less-visited remote Windward Islands. Here the idyllic tropical breezes of the southern Caribbean, particularly at this time of year, compel the seasoned crew to unfurl the sails and provide an unforgettable experience. Our adventure begins in Fort-de-France, Martinique; continues on to visit St. Vincent’s lush Botanic Garden, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. We’ll capture a picturesque glimpse of the Gros and Petit Pitons, (stunning twin mountain peaks and a UNESCO World Heritage site) as we approach St. Lucia; experience Dominica’s geothermal activity and see its famous twin Trafalgar Falls; snorkel amidst the awe‑inspiring reefs and marine life in the lagoons of Tobago Cays Marine Park and Union Island. Next we see the stunning natural beauty of Bequia, the most captivating isle of the Grenadines; visit Grenada, known as the Spice Island, where the scent of spices wafts through the air; and finally explore the old‑world charm of St. Vincent and its historic capital, Kingstown. Many of us have been to the Caribbean before, but never like this! I assure you that you do not want to miss this intimate, small sailing ship escape to the warm temperatures and alluring ports of the pristine southern Caribbean. This unique voyage around the Windward Islands is an excellent value --- and a special small group experience to be shared with your fellow alums who love the lure of the sea. Click here for complete details and booking information. Alumni Campus Abroad in Spain – Barcelona and San Sebastian (May 22 - 31, 2016): If Spain is on your list of places to visit, this is a perfect trip. And if it’s not, it should be. This wonderful trip will take us to Barcelona, where we’ll spend four nights in one of Europe’s most fascinating cities, and four nights in San Sebastian, in Spain’s fertile wine country and near Bilbao and Pamplona. Barcelona is a city that deserves a place on everyone’s must-see list. Located on the shores of the Mediterranean, the city is a treat for all the senses, with the amazing architecture of Antoni Gaudi in evidence at nearly every corner. There is so much to see and enjoy – including Gaudi’s absolutely incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral – still under construction – and his Parc Guell. You will be amazed! Then, after we check out of our first-class Renaissance Barcelona Hotel, we’ll travel by deluxe motor coach across the stunning countryside of northern Spain en route to San Sebastian, where we’ll spend four nights. From here we’ll be treated to two outstanding excursions – the waterfront city of Bilbao, with its famed Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, and Pamplona, famous for the Running of the Bulls, and the setting for Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This is truly an amazing trip --- and an outstanding value. Prices begin at just $3,295 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. London Immersion – Ten days in one of the world’s most important cities (June 8 - 19 2016): “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that man can afford.” So said Samuel Johnson in 1777. And it is as true today as it was almost two hundred and fifty years ago. If you have never spent time in London, this may just be your perfect opportunity. Our friends at Alumni Holidays have put together a wonderful trip that will allow you to spend ten days in London, in a modern apartment, conveniently located in the heart of London’s most exclusive borough, Kensington and Chelsea. Your apartment is within walking distance of three Tube (subway) stations, and just steps from Hyde Park, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and some of the city’s most exclusive shops and restaurants. Excursions to Westminster Abbey, Oxford (home of the oldest university in the English-speaking world), Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the British Museum, London’s Law Courts, the Beatles’ Abbey road Studios, and many, many more sights are included. For ten days you can live like a local, and soak up the culture of one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Prices for this wonderful trip begin at just $3,995 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Baltic & Scandinavian Treasures, a cruise aboard Oceania Cruises Marina, from Copenhagen to Stockholm (July 12 -23, 2016). This wonderful cruise, to some of the most historically rich and fascinating cities of northern Europe, begins in Copenhagen, Denmark’s absolutely delightful capital), takes us to seven different cities, providing an opportunity to enjoy spectacular scenery (cruising into Stockholm is simply amazing!) and see firsthand the amazing culture each has to offer, including opulent palaces, sparkling harbors and spire-crowned churches. Departing from Copenhagen, we’ll head for the delightful former fishing village of Warnemünde, in Germany. Here you can take in the town’s landmark 19th-century lighthouse and quaint cottages, or head inland to Berlin, Germany’s world-class capital. Next it’s off to Lithuania, where we will stroll past stately buildings in Klaipeda, a gateway to the pine groves and sand dunes of the Curonian Spit, before we’re off to Latvia where we can explore the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga. Our next stop will be Finland’s beautiful capital of Helsinki, where imaginative architecture mingles with leafy parks and elegant gardens. Then comes perhaps the highlight of the entire trip: three full days in Russia, admiring the splendors of St. Petersburg, a glittering metropolis crisscrossed by canals and dotted with elaborate palaces. St. Petersburg will amaze you with its splendors and treasures – on a scale that you’ve hardly ever seen before! Next, before concluding our adventure, we’ll witness Tallinn’s fairy-tale charm reflected in Gothic churches, half-hidden courtyards, and gabled merchants’ houses. And finally our trip ends with an absolutely breathtaking cruise into Stockholm, arguably one of the most beautiful cities you’ve ever seen. Best of all, we’ll travel to these beautiful Baltic and Scandinavian ports aboard Oceania Cruises’ state-of-the-art Marina, a perfectly sized (just 1,250 guests) ship, renowned for its superb service and outstanding cuisine. And all the while we’ll enjoy the outstanding benefits of traveling with the thoughtful assistance of the GoNext Guest Experience Specialists and Program Managers who travel with us. This cruise is one that you will long remember. Click here for full details. The Great Journey Through Europe – A River Cruise from Amsterdam to Geneva (June 25 – July 5, 2016): This grand tour of Europe will take us through four countries – Holland, Germany, France and Switzerland – on a journey that encompasses some of the most fantastic sights that Europe has to offer. We’ll spend five nights on an exclusively-chartered river cruise from Amsterdam (The Netherlands), perhaps the most wonderful city in Europe (you are guaranteed to feel right at home – don’t forget it was the Dutch who first came here in 1624) to Basel (Switzerland), with stops in Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim and Mannheim (Heidelberg) Germany, and Strasbourg (France). Aboard the ship you’ll find that all rooms have a river-view, and are air-conditioned with private bath. Complimentary beer and wine are served with lunch and dinner. Once we disembark from the ship, we’ll spend two nights in the picture-perfect Swiss city of Lucerne, where the highlight may well be an excursion up Mount Pilatus in the famous panoramic aerial gondola; then on the way down we’ll descend on the world’s steepest cogwheel train, the Pilatus Railway. And a scenic cruise on beautiful Lake Lucerne is included as well. Then – in what may well be the highlight of the entire trip – we’ll travel from Lucerne to Andermatt, where we board one of the most famous and spectacular trains in the world, the renowned Glacier Express, headed for Zermatt, another picture-postcard Swiss town where no cars are allowed – all travel is done by foot or horse-drawn sleigh. Here we’ll spend two nights at the first-class Hotel Alex, and be treated to a ride aboard the Gornegrat Bahn, one of the most picturesque train rides in the world – with its breathtaking views of the Matterhorn. All in all this is an amazing trip – not to be missed – and is priced from just $4,295 per person, (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Mediterranean Crossroads: A Deluxe Cruise from Monaco to Barcelona (June 25 – July 3, 2016). From glamorous resorts edged by sparkling blue seas to historic cities studded with fascinating ancient monuments, experience the allure of the Mediterranean as you cruise from world-famous Monaco to France, Italy and Spain aboard Oceania Cruises’ luxurious perfectly-sized (just 1,250 passengers) Riviera. Depart Monte Carlo for Bandol, a charming French resort town known for its designer shops, photogenic marina and superb rosé wine. Explore the ancient streets of Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, an island of lush pine forests and scenic gorges. Visit Cagliari, Sardinia, offering an alluring mix of Roman ruins, Byzantine churches and lovely botanical gardens, before heading to the island of Mallorca, the largest of the Spanish Balearic Islands. Marvel at Palma’s massive Gothic cathedral and circular castle overlooking the harbor, relax amid the windmill-dotted countryside, or stroll the cobbled streets of Old Palma. Then stop at sun-kissed Ibiza, a holiday hotspot and home of the 16th-century Castle of Ibiza and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Absorb more Spanish culture in Valencia, renowned for its visually impressive City of Arts and Sciences, before concluding your voyage in Barcelona. Prices begin at just $2799 per person. Click here for full details. Paris Immersion – Ten days in the magical “City of Light” (August 25 – September 5, 2016): Paris earned its nickname, the “City of Light”, because it embraced education and the exploration of new ideas during the Enlightenment in Europe, in the hundred or so years from the mid 17th to the mid 18th centuries. Today, over three hundred years later, Paris is still unparalleled in its cultural wealth. Filled with museums, architectural masterpieces, elegant shops, and the best restaurants, the city welcomes all who are in search of the finest things. For ten days you will stay at the Aparthotel Adagio Paris Bercy Village, in the 12th Arrondissement, along the right bank of the Seine. Modern and stylish, the hotel is a short stroll from the Metro station for Line 14, which takes you directly into the heart of the city, where you will have the opportunity to explore the city and its environs at an unhurried pace. You’ll travel like a local aboard the beautiful Paris Metro, and the sleek ultra-modern TGV high-speed trains. Excursions to Le Marais, Versailles, Dijon, the world-famous Louvre Museum, the Musee d’Orsay, Rouen (the capital of Normandy), and many more sights are included. Prices for this wonderful trip begin at just $3,495 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. China and the Yangtzee River – (September 5 - 19, 2016): Few countries are more in the headlines today than China, home to one of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations. This specially prepared alumni trip will take us to this magical land, filled with both historic and contemporary treasures. Join us as we spend three nights in Beijing, at the deluxe Four Seasons Hotel, two nights in Xi’An at the deluxe Shangri-La hotel, two nights in Chengdu at the Ritz Carlton, three nights aboard the deluxe Century Paragon river boat, and finally three nights in Shanghai at the deluxe Fairmont Peace Hotel. At every step we’ll have a unique opportunity to discover China’s rich heritage, including the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta warriors, Shanghai’s iconic waterfront boulevard, the Bund, the Three Gorges project along the Yangtze (where we’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk with local residents), the Giant Panda research base, and so much more. You will awake each morning to the promise of exciting discoveries in the fascinating, ancient land, and return each evening to the comfort of luxurious five-star accommodations. This is truly a trip whose memories will last a lifetime. If you have always been curious about China, and its 5,000 year-old civilization, this is the perfect opportunity to explore it with your fellow alums. Prices begin at just $4,995 per person (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia – (September 16 – 24, 2016): Join us on an exclusively chartered five-star small ship, the M/V Tere Moana, for a seven night cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, around the Iberian peninsula, to Barcelona, Spain. Along the way our ship will call at Portimao (Portugal); Seville and Motril (Spain); Gibraltar (British Crown Colony); and Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). Excursions to the ancient village of Alte, in Portugal’s magnificent Algarve province, and the Algarve’s best-preserved castle in the former Moorish capital of Silves are included. So is a scenic cruise into the heart of Seville (on the legendary Guadalquivir River) with its UNESCO World Heritage sites of Giralda Tower, the lavishly decorated Cathedral, and the famed Moorish Alcazar. We will also stop at the world renowned Rock of Gibraltar, featuring visits to the “Top of the Rock” and St. Michael’s Cave. And then it’s on to Granada, and the Alhambra Palace and the lush Generalife Gardens (my wife and I were just there – fabulous!). On Ibiza we visit the old town and the Las Salinas salt flats. And then we stop at Palma de Mallorca, with its magnificent Moorish Royal Palace and medieval Old City, before our cruise ends in the fantastic city of Barcelona – not to be missed. This deluxe cruise is priced from $5,595 per person, (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Autumn in America's Heartland: A Wonderful River Cruise Aboard the American Queen on the Mississippi River from St. Louis to St. Paul (September 18 –26, 2016). Imagine a Mississippi River cruise at the dawn of autumn—a quiet calm lingers in the air as the season’s brilliant palette of colors begins to transform the rolling hills and steep limestone bluffs rising from the riverbanks. We’ll begin our journey in St. Louis, famed for its exciting, eclectic neighborhoods and bold skyline dominated by the iconic Gateway Arch, designed by the famous architect Eero Saarinen. Then we’ll board the American Queen, the largest and most opulent riverboat in the world, and cruise past breathtaking riverbanks on our way to classic ports in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We’ll visit Hannibal, Missouri, the boyhood home of Mark Twain and a source of endless river legends, and take in a three-state view from the gorgeous river bluffs in Dubuque and La Crosse. Before concluding our voyage in St. Paul, Minnesota’s inviting capital city, we will immerse ourselves in the rich Scandinavian heritage and local charms of Red Wing, Minnesota. Traveling by steamboat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; there is no better way than to do so with your fellow alumni. Come join us! Prices start at just $2,799 per person, double occupancy (airfare is additional). Click here for full details. Symphony on the Blue Danube – (October 2 - 11, 2016): Prague, Budapest, Vienna and more are all highlights of this custom-designed, ten day journey showcasing five countries in Central Europe that are home to some of the best architecture, natural scenery and wonderful music in the entire world. We’ll begin our trip with three nights at the centrally located five-star Prague InterContinental hotel, where we’ll see the historic Old Town and Jewish Quarter neighborhoods, the not-to-be missed Hradcany Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Estates Theater, where Mozart actually performed, and where we will be treated to a special performance of his music. Next we will travel by coach to the beautiful German town of Passau, where we board our exclusively chartered Amadeus river boat, for a delightful five night cruise on the beautiful blue Danube to Budapest, stopping at Melk (to see the famous Baroque Abbey), Durnstein, Vienna, and Bratislava. (Editor’s note: my wife and I were in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest recently; they are steeped in history, and well worth your time.) Aboard the ship all rooms have a river-view, and are air-conditioned with private bath. Complimentary beer and wine are served with lunch and dinner. Our cruise takes us through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Vienna we’ll tour St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the world famous Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens. And in Bratislava we’ll spend a day in the historic, fascinating Old Town area of the city. If you have not spent time in this part of Europe, this delightful river cruise is an ideal introduction. You will love every minute. This deluxe cruise is priced from $4,995 per person, (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. LEGENDARY TURKEY: FROM ISTANBUL TO THE TURQUOISE COAST – Istanbul to Antalya (OCTOBER 15 – 29, 2016): Exotic sights, scents, and sounds reign in this fascinating land where Europe and Asia meet. From Istanbul, magnificent “Empress of the World,” to ancient ruins, stunning landscapes, and the dramatic Turquoise Coast where we board privately chartered "gulet" yachts for a distinctive four-day voyage, Turkey engages and beguiles, offering us an unparalleled small group experience. We’ll begin our adventure in exotic Istanbul, the literal crossroads of the world, a city that spans two continents, whose widely renowned sights include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia (from the Greek words meaning “Holy Wisdom.” It dates from the year 537, and is a former Greek Orthodox church, was later an imperial mosque, and now is a spectacular museum). We will also be treated to a private cruise on the Bosphorus, the waterway that forms the actual boundary between Europe and Asia. And we’ll get to see the famous World War I battlefield of Gallipoli, site of one of the greatest Ottoman victories of that war. We will also see what are arguably the best preserved ancient Roman ruins in the world; Ephesus was once a city of 50,000 people, third largest in the Roman Asia Minor region. And – in what surely must be the highlight for all Rensselaer Alums – we’ll stop in Troy (the original one), whose ruins date back some 5,000 years (even older than RPI!). Our tour also includes four wonderful days cruising aboard our own private gullets, along the stunning coastline Antony is said to have given Cleopatra as a wedding gift. Our “Blue Voyage” takes us to the hidden cove of Aga Limani. From here we have the option of taking a three-hour hike to the Greco-Roman ruins at Lydea, ending at the Sunken Baths of Cleopatra. Set in a breathtaking inlet, the Baths offer crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. Those who prefer a less strenuous day can stay aboard the gulets as we sail to the Sunken Baths. Other stops include an excursion to Dalyan, an envi¬ron¬-mentally protected area known for its loggerhead sea turtles. Here we board a small skiff for a trip through an intriguing maze of channels; high on the hills above we see well-preserved ancient Lycian rock tombs. The next day we cruise to Gemiler Island to tour its 6th-century Byzantine monastery. Then we travel by coach to the Greek “ghost town” of Kayakoy, abandoned after World War I and now preserved as a historical monument. Finally, we cruise this morning to Fethiye, where we disembark then set out by motorcoach through the Taurus Mountains for Antalya. We reach this seaside city in time for lunch and this afternoon visit the acclaimed Archaeological Museum. Our last day includes a visit to the ruins at Perge, an ancient Greek city once among the world’s prettiest and most prosperous. Then we return to Antalya for a walking tour of its charming Old Town, including Hadrian's Gate and the lovely Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret), before our farewell dinner. Prices for this fascinating and unique trip begin at just $3,195 per person, (based on two people traveling together and sharing a room; airfare is additional). Click here for more information. Cuban Discovery (October 8 – 16, 2016): Join us for a unique opportunity to see first-hand this nearby Caribbean island that has for so long been off limits to US travelers. Cuba— historically significant, culturally diverse, and environmentally magnificent --- and just 90 miles away from the U.S. For over fifty years it has been somewhat of a mystery, perceived through secondhand sources and beyond the grasp of most American travelers. Now, as Cuba and the U.S. have begun to re-establish diplomatic relations, this is the perfect time for us to be able to experience first-hand this long-isolated nation on the verge of a great transformation. This extraordinary people-to-people exchange has been especially designed to reveal the authentic spirit and culture of Cuba—where 1950s-era automobiles still roll past magnificent Spanish colonial buildings. Together we’ll encounter the true heart and soul of this colorful country by engaging with the diverse, inspiring people who call it home. From artists and educators to students and entrepreneurs, we will have an opportunity to connect with a variety of citizens who will help us gain a real insight into Cuba’s intriguing past and present. Throughout this week-long journey, we’ll explore the island first-hand, with an insider’s access to unique cultural experiences and off-the-beaten-path sites not found on the typical tourist’s itinerary. Whether visiting a private artist studio in lively Havana, the remote eco-village of Las Terrazas, or the beautifully preserved colonial cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, each destination will spark meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. Finally, a personal note: My wife and I were in Cuba just over a year ago, and I can heartily recommend it to you. It is a fascinating destination, with wonderful people who are resourceful, friendly and very welcoming. Prices begin at $5399 per person. Click here for full details. Stars and Shores of the Mediterranean: A Deluxe Cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice (October 21 – November 1, 2016). From the legendary Italian cities of Florence and Rome to the picture perfect, storied islands of Sicily and Corfu, this cruise will offer us a wonderful opportunity to experience the stars of the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise aboard Oceania Cruise Lines majestic, 1,250-passenger ship Marina. We’ll depart Monte Carlo for the port of Livorno, a jumping-off point for adventures in beautiful Tuscany, Florence or Pisa. This wonderful trip, perfectly timed to take us there after the summer crowds have left, offers ample opportunities to behold Rome’s timeless attractions, stroll the cobbled streets of Sorrento, and explore Taormina’s Greek ruins and modern boutiques. We’ll discover the quaint villages and olive trees that dot Corfu’s emerald landscape, and stop at Montenegro’s port of Kotor, an intriguing coastal town backed by mist-shrouded mountains. Later on we can admire the ancient Roman palace at Split, Croatia’s jewel along the Adriatic Sea, and delight in the age-old atmosphere and grand architecture of Koper, home to the largest cathedral in Slovenia. Finally, we’ll conclude our journey in enchanting and romantic Venice, a magical city laced with delicate bridges and captivating canals parted by gondolas. Prices begin at $4,099 per person, including round-trip airfare from many US cities. Click here for full details. 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.