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... 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 1,250 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 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. The Pearls of Italy, featuring twelve days in the Lake District, Venice, Florence, Tuscany and Rome (September 30 – October 11, 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. 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. Pearls of Southeast Asia - Cruise from Hong Kong to Saigon aboard our exclusively chartered Five-Star Small Ship m.s. L’Austral (October 18 to 28, 2017) This exclusive nine-night cruise from the spectacular harbor of Hong Kong, “Crossroads of the East,” to vibrant Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) aboard our exclusively chartered Five-Star, small ship, m.s. L’Austral, showcases Southeast Asia’s most intriguing destinations, the fascinating treasures of Vietnam—from serene rice paddies to mystical ancient pagodas and bustling sampan-filled harbors—and three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tour Hanoi, Vietnam’s dynamic capital and a romantic blend of old Asian and French heritage. Cruise along the majestic shores of Ha Long Bay. Visit the Forbidden Purple City in the former imperial city of Hue. Admire the Japanese-style covered bridge and the intricately carved Assembly Hall in ancient Hoi An. Discover the mystique of ancient customs and colorful traditions juxtaposed with modernity. From $7195 including air from Los Angeles. Round-trip economy-class air from Los Angeles is included. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are served throughout the cruise. A Hong Kong Pre-Cruise Option and an Angkor Wat Post-Cruise are also offered. *Air included from Los Angeles has limited availability and is not guaranteed. For more detailed information, click here. 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. ... and these are the first programs for 2018: Tasman Pearls – A deluxe cruise from Sydney (Australia) to Auckland (New Zealand), aboard Oceania Cruises Regatta, (January 21 – February 5, 2018). The very name Tasmania conjures up all sorts of images --- and this exciting two week luxury cruise affords us the opportunity to actually visit this storied land in person, on a two-week luxury cruise from Australia to New Zealand – the pearls of the South Pacific. We’ll embark our ship in the capital city of Sydney, and first sail to Eden, a sleepy seaside town that’s home to the fascinating Killer Whale Museum, and the historic Boyd’s Tower, which affords visitors striking panoramic views. Then it’s off for two days in Melbourne, where we’ll see koalas, wallabies, and more at the spectacular wildlife park --- unlike anything we have here at home. Next stop Burnie, on the storied isle of Tasmania, where we may well discover natural gems on the many trails of Fern Glade Reserve. From Tasmania we sail across the Tasman Sea to picture-perfect New Zealand, where our first port is Dunedin, where we can spot sunbathing fur seals and yellow-eyed penguins in Dunedin. Then it’s a short hop to picture-perfect Christchurch, known as the Garden City. With its sloping hills to the west, the vibrant waters of the Pacific to the east, and a river winding gently through its center, Christchurch boasts a rich natural beauty. Next we cruise to the northern tip of the South Island, where the port of Picton offers a seafront lined with cafés, restaurants, and galleries. Finally, it’s a short sail to the North Island, where we can admire Napier’s art-deco architecture and take in Rotorua’s geysers and hot springs before ending our cruise in Auckland, New Zealand.Best of all, we’ll sail to these wonderful ports aboard Oceania Cruises perfectly-sized (just 684 passengers) ship Regatta, offering the best value in upscale cruising. With our fellow alums on board, this journey to an amazing part of the world will delight you with world-class cuisine and elegant amenities. Prices for this once-in-a-lifetime cruise begin at $6,999 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Passage thru the Panama Canal & Costa Rica – A deluxe cruise from Panama City (Panama) to San Jose (Costa Rica), including a full transit of the Panama Canal (February 3 – 11, 2018). Few experiences can match one of the world’s most dramatic voyages, a cruise from the Atlantic to the Pacific through one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world, the ingenious Panama Canal. Having celebrated its centennial anniversary just three years ago and the completion of a monumental expansion doubling its capacity last year, this marvel of engineering and 50-mile passage through the narrow Isthmus of Panama continues to astonish even today’s most veteran traveler. During a specially arranged daylight transit, we’ll experience firsthand the mighty locks that raise and lower oceangoing vessels 85 feet and using no other power than the force of gravity, accomplishing in mere hours what would have taken a three‑week circumnavigation of South America in years gone by. On this comprehensive itinerary, explore the heart of Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Casco Antiguo—the city’s old town—and tour acclaimed architect Frank Gehry’s only design in Latin America, Panama City’s Biodiversity Museum. Visit Panama’s ancient San Blas Islands, where the Guna Indians live much as they did centuries ago. Experience one of our planet’s most pristine ecosystems in the rainforests, islands and archipelagos of Panama and Costa Rica. This spectacular offering features the exclusively chartered, Five-Star, all-Suite STAR BREEZE, re-launched in 2015 by an award‑winning cruise line after an expansive, $8.5 million refurbishment. This sophisticated small ship features only 106 suites, six with a private furnished veranda and 36 with a private French-style balcony— ideal for our own secluded viewing of the daylight passage through the Panama Canal. We’ll dock in small ports of call inaccessible to larger vessels and enjoy the advantages of Five-Star small ship cruising—casually elegant ocean-view accommodations, an exclusive itinerary carefully crafted with enriching excursions led by experienced onboard naturalists and no waiting in long lines. Prices begin at just $4,995 per person, and include all shore-excursions among many other extras. Click here for full details. The Sparkling South Pacific – A deluxe ten-night cruise in Tahiti (round trip Papeete) aboard Oceania Cruises Marina, (February 25 – March 7, 2018). The very word “vacation” conjures up images of relaxing on a tropical South Pacific island beach, with crystal blue waters, swaying palm trees, and endless sunshine. If this appeals to you, here is the perfect trip! This ten-night cruise will give you the chance to settle into the laid-back island life of the magical South Pacific, with its pristine beaches and glistening lagoons. For ten days you will travel aboard the luxurious Oceania Cruise Lines perfectly-sized (just 1250 passengers) ship Marina, where every day will truly feel like you are in paradise. We’ll embark on our cruise in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, in the tropical paradise of Tahiti. Here the island’s volcanic peaks overlook lush rainforest, black sand beaches, and shimmering waterfalls. From here we’ll sail Moorea, with its verdant mountains (and said to be the inspiration for the magical island of Bali Hai in South Pacific), and travel on the gorgeous island of Fakarava, home to flocks of extremely rare birds. Next we’ll learn all about the marine life, abundant in Rangiroa’s expansive lagoon and in Bora Bora’s sparkling turquoise waters. Then we sail to Raiatea, dotted with vanilla plantations and rich with fascinating history and mythology. Finally our last stop before sailing back to Papeete is serene Huahine, home of the most beautiful white sand beaches you have ever seen. This is a truly a week in paradise. And you’ll be pampered every day aboard Oceania Cruises’ elegant Marina, an award-winning ship with world-class cuisine and elegant amenities. Prices for this once-in-a-lifetime trip begin at just $4,299 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. River Life along the world-famous Dutch waterways – A legendary river and canal cruise from Amsterdam (Holland) to Ghent (Belgium) aboard the M/S Amadeus Brilliant (April 18 - 26, 2018). This legendary one-week cruise program has been operating for thirty years and still sells out year after year. We’ll begin in what is arguably one of the most wonderful cities in Europe, Holland’s capital of Amsterdam, filled with fascinating sites, wonderful restaurants, and warm, friendly people who speak English fluently. Sailing from Amsterdam, our trip includes a walking tour of the charming former Dutch Golden Age trading town of Hoorn, made famous during the 17th-Century era of the Dutch East India Company (whose spin-off, the Dutch West India Company, founded New York City in 1624). Then we’ll cruise through the village of Giethoorn, widely regarded as the most picturesque village in all of The Netherlands. And then, what most think is the highlight of the entire trip, we’ll enjoy an excursion to the absolutely magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, known as the “Garden of Europe,” during the best time of the year, to see the world’s largest and most colorful display of spring flowers in bloom. Don’t forget your camera – the spectacle of the acres and acres of flowers are simply amazing. And we’ll also have a chance to walk through the former Hanseatic League city of Kampen, as well as the 2,000-year-old city of Nijmgen, which was first granteds city status by the Romans in the year AD 104. There is so much more included in this wonderful trip, including a city tour of Antwerp with its famous Cathedral of our lady, with its three Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpieces, a visit to the World War II American Military Cemetery in Margraten, a walking tour of Ghent, and a day in the absolutely magical city of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage site. I traveled on this tour, with four or five fellow alumni, and I highly recommend it. If you have never cruised through Europe before, this is the perfect trip for you. Prices begin at just $2,995 per person, and include all shore excursions, among many other extras. Click here for full details. Southern Grandeur – A 7-night Mississippi River cruise aboard the elegant American Queen, from New Orleans to Memphis (April 29 – May 7, 2018). The American Queen is the largest and most opulent riverboat in the world – and you now have the opportunity to join fellow alums for a spectacular cruise on the legendary Mississippi River, from New Orleans to Memphis. We’ll begin by experiencing some of the best of New Orleans, from the traditional Southern oaks and Spanish moss of City Park to the French Quarter’s legendary Bourbon Street and Jackson Square. Next, we cruise up-river to Oak Alley (Louisiana), located in Saint James Parish, Oak Alley plantation combines architectural splendor and the natural wonder of 300-year-old oak trees. We’ll walk its antebellum halls, spend time strolling beneath its canopy of trees, and learn about the rich history of this Southern estate. Then we visit St. Francisville, (Louisiana), with over 140 buildings and plantation homes on the National Register of Historic Places, this quaint town is a window to history. Here are the legacies of the Butlers, the Forts, the Barrows, and the Turnbulls — families who helped build the South. From here our riverboat takes us to Natchez, (Mississippi), one of the oldest European settlements in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and former capital of the state. Natchez is a charming and authentic Southern town with a rich heritage shaped by Native Americans and those of French, African, British, and Spanish descent. Continuing up-river, we call at Vicksburg, (Mississippi), billed as the “Red Carpet City of the South.” Vicksburg is a unique blend of old and new and displays its heritage with tremendous pride. The site of a dramatic siege and major turning point in the Civil War, Vicksburg is now a center of Southern hospitality with a vibrant downtown area. Our next-to-last-stop is the “Queen of the Arkansas Delta,” Helena, Arkansas, an historic town filled with fascinating 19th-century architecture from before and after the legendary Battle of Helena. The Delta Cultural Center lays out Helena’s antebellum roots and is also home to King Biscuit Time, the nation’s longest running blues radio program. Our cruise ends in Memphis, filled with history and home to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home – not to be missed. This is a wonderful opportunity to see America’s heartland “up close and personal” in a relaxed, delightful cruise. Prices begin at just $1,999 for this outstanding Mississippi River Cruise. Click here for more information. Timeless Beauties – A deluxe seven-night cruise from Barcelona (Spain) to Monte Carlo (Monaco) aboard Oceania Cruises Riviera, (May 2 – 10, 2018). Here is a perfect opportunity to spend a wonderful week cruising in the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Monte Carlo, aboard the wonderful mid-sized (just 1,250 passengers) Oceania Cruises deluxe ship Riviera. Every day of this delightful cruise will find you in a new, exciting city. If you have never been to Barcelona, this is the perfect opportunity to see this truly outstanding, architecturally magnificent city on Spain’s Mediterranean Coast. Whatever you look for on vacation, Barcelona has it: beautiful beaches, a vibrant night life and restaurant scene, truly inspiring architecture, a fascinating history, and so much more. By all means head to Spain a few days early to spend time here before your cruise departs. Then, once we leave Barcelona, our ship heads for Valencia, and then the fabulous resort island of Palma de Mallorca. From here we sail to the French island of Corsica, a bit off-the-beaten-path but really beautiful and fascinating (I was there not too long ago). After a day in Corsica we’ll head to the Italian port of Livorno, for visits to Florence and Pisa – the heart of Tuscany. Our next port of call will be picture-perfect Portofino, for an absolutely delightful day in this exquisite seaside town. Finally, after our ship stops briefly in Antibes (France), our cruise concludes in the magical city of Monte Carlo, home to the “glitterati” and a fascinating place to visit. Each day aboard this cruise reveals another wonderful destination; and all the way you’ll be pampered in luxury aboard the Riviera. Prices begin at just $2,499 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Swiss Alps & Italian Lakes – Nine days in Southern Switzerland and Northern Italy, (May 23 – June 1, 2018). How often, when presented with a choice, would you like to say “I’ll take both!” This tour allows us to spend time in both Switzerland (the world-famous glamorous village of St. Moritz) and Italy (in beautiful Stresa, in the beautiful Italian Lakes district). What could be better? Our trip begins with your overnight flight to Zurich, where you’ll be met by our own coach for the transfer to St. Moritz. We’ll spend four nights at the first class Hotel Schweizerhof, our home base for our stay here. Among the highlights of our stay is a train ride to the beautiful village of Zuoz, known for its unusual brightly-painted homes and buildings. Then we’ll embark on the famed Bernina Express train, to Tirano, Italy, where we’ll have lunch, and back – the highest rail crossing in the Alps. Along the way you’ll be surrounded by spectacular majestic Alpine scenery that helps make Switzerland the picture-perfect destination that it is. While in St. Moritz you’ll have time to use your St. Moritz gondola pass, that can be used on any of the 13 cable cars, funiculars and lifts in the area. Then it’s off by deluxe motorcoach to Stresa, through the Maloja Pass, filled with hairpin turns and views of Alpine villages mirrored in glacial lakes. We’ll arrive in the Italian town of Tremezzo, on the shores of Lake Como. From here we’ll cruise first to the storied village of Bellagio, and then continue on to Como itself, for the drive to the town of Stresa. Highlights while in Italy include a cruise on Lake Maggiore, to visit all three of the Borromean Islands: Isola Madre, with its beautiful botanic garden; Isola dei Pescatori, with its charming fishing village; and Isola Bella, home to a 17th-century baroque palace and gardens. And no visit to Northern Italy would be complete with a day in Milano, to visit (among other sights) the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, to see daVinci’s famous “The Last Supper,” as well as the La Scala Museum and the Duomo. This is truly a trip whose memories will last a lifetime. Prices begin at just $3,295 per person. Click here for more information. Italy’s Famous Amalfi Coast – seven nights in Vietri sul Mare, on Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast (June 12 - 20, 2018). The images that Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast conjures up are justly famous. Just mention the towns of Naples, Sorrento, and Ravello; imagine seeing the ruins in Pompeii, dating from the year 79 A.D. when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. All this, and so much more are yours on this fabulous week-long tour of the Amalfi Coast. Because we’ll spend seven nights at the first-class hotel Raito, you only need to unpack once. The pace on this tour is leisurely enough for you to enjoy every day! Highlights include a cruise along the rugged coastline, where the colorful homes cling to the rugged hills along the shore. And we’ll have a chance to sample the fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, at a dairy farm where the water buffalo are raised. We’ll see the ruins of Paestum, a great city of Ancient Greece, and never forget the haunting images of the lives cut short in Pompeii and Herculaneum when the great volcano erupted. And, of course, we’ll get to explore Naples – where we can enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza for lunch, and inhale the invigorating the scent of lemon trees in the beautiful seaside town of Sorrento. It is often said that “No one ever has a bad holiday in Italy!” The people are friendly; the language is relatively easy to understand; the weather is perfect; and the Amalfi coastline is truly spectacular. If you have always wanted to spend time here, this is the perfect opportunity. Prices begin at just $3,295 per person, with no supplement for single travelers! Click here for more information. The Great Journey through Europe, a spectacular Rhine River cruise from Amsterdam, Holland to Basel, Switzerland, followed by four days in Switzerland’s most beautiful Alpine area (June 13 - 23, 2018). If you have always wanted to cruise down the majestic Rhine River, or if you have always wanted to spend a few days in what is perhaps the most majestic scenery available in Europe, this is the perfect trip. And I speak with experience: my wife and I traveled on this exact trip in 2016, and I can honestly report that it was one of the best trips we have ever taken. Starting in Amsterdam, you’ll board the deluxe river boat M/S Amadeus Silver II, for a journey down the mighty Rhine River that includes stops in such storied cities as Cologne (with its world-famous cathedral), Koblenz (where we’ll visit the medieval town of Rudesheim for a private wine tasting), Heidelberg (home to the world-famous hilltop castle – a real treat), and picture-perfect Strasbourg, a city that has at times found itself ruled alternately by the French and the Germans. Then we’ll disembark in the beautiful city of Berne, for an absolutely beautiful one day motorcoach-trip through Berne, the Swiss capital city, beautiful Interlaken, nestled among the mountains, and the absolutely picture-perfect city of Lucerne, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by the Swiss Alps. If ever there is a picture-perfect-postcard city, Lucerne is it. And from there we’ll travel to the lovely town of Andermatt, where we’ll board the world-famous Glacier Express train to the magical Alpine town of Zermatt, and an excursion to Gornergrat for a high altitude view of the Matterhorn. All in all this is a trip you will never forget. Each day is just more spectacular than the last. Prices for the extraordinary trip begin at just $4,595 per person, and include not only the deluxe river cruise, but a ride on the famous Glacier Express train, a day-long coach ride through the Alps, and a spectacular time in the Alpine village of Zermatt. This is one trip you do not want to miss! Click here for full details. Baltic & Scandinavian Treasures – A deluxe ten-night cruise from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Stockholm (Sweden) aboard Oceania Cruises Marina, (June 21 – July 2, 2018). If you have never spent time in the Baltics, or have never had the joy of sailing into Stockholm, then here is a trip that you won’t want to miss. This deluxe cruise begins in Copenhagen, capital city of Denmark, home to the people often billed as the world’s happiest. Spend a few days here before the cruise departs and you’ll quickly see why; Copenhagen is simply delightful on every count. Whether you go for a stroll along the waterfront, or spend time in the world famous Tivoli Gardens, you’ll find that every day is a new treat. Then from Copenhagen, our ship sails to Germany, and the little town of Warnemunde, from which you can join an excursion to Berlin. Next stop, after a day at sea, we’ll call on Klaipeda (Lithuania), before moving on to Riga (Latvia), and then Helsinki (Finland). You’ll quickly realize that each of these Baltic states and cities in unique, but they share a delightful air and perfect summer weather. Our ship then sails for what is clearly one of the highlights of any trip to Europe: the Russian city of St. Petersburg. This is an extra special city, filled with incredible riches and palaces, and an incredibly important place in world history. We’ll have three days to explore and I can only say that you’ll wish we were here longer. St. Petersburg is, in a word, incredible. From here, we’re off to the high-tech capital of Tallinn (Estonia), for an interesting visit before we sail into Sweden’s utterly delightful capital of Stockholm. Be sure you are on deck for the cruise into Stockholm; it is truly a delight. This ten-night cruise is filled with endless attractions and will fill you with impressions, stories and memories that will last a lifetime. Prices begin at just $3,799 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Breathtaking Bordeaux – A 7-night luxury river cruise aboard the M/S Scenic Diamond (July 16 - 24, 2018). From extra-ordinary landscapes dotted with picturesque lavender fields and ageless vineyards, to elegant châteaux and churches that have been around longer than most of the new world, to delicious fare prepared with a finesse characteristic of the French, this deluxe cruise in the Bordeaux region is guaranteed to satisfy all your senses. We’ll discover the treasures of each port-of-call by foot, e-bike, or with Scenic’s renowned Freechoice and Enrich programs. Our adventure through the French countryside begins in Bordeaux, and taxes us to Saint-Emilion, a visual feast and the jewel of this ancient wine-growing region. Here we’ll get to explore the underground catacombs of the Saint-Emilion Monolithic Church – a true trip highlight. After stopping at Libourne, we will cruise along to the famous wine-producing town of Medoc, a region viewed as the world’s leading red wine producer. Here we’ll b escorted to the charming 18th century Farm Suzanne for an unforgettable four-course meal with Grand Cru Classe wines included. Next our ship sails along the Garonne River en route to the town on Cadillac, and the Sauternes wine region for a tasting of the prestige Chateau Guiraud dessert wines. Then our river boat heads back on the Garronne River to Bordeaux for a special farewell dinner on board. There will be opportunities for participation in a series of onboard, intimate (only ten guests) cooking classes through the Scenic Culinaire experience. The Scenic Diamond, a lavish, cutting-edge, and spacious ship staffed by expert cruise directors with an attention for the finer details. With its large, spacious suites, the 1:3 staff-to-guest ratio, and the pairing of a private butler with every guest, on board the Scenic Diamond, comfort and luxury is a top priority. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $3,899 per person; click here for more information. The Canadian Rockies: Jasper, Banff, and Kananaskis --- eight nights in this spectacular area of North America (July 27 -August 4, 2018). The Canadian Rockies should be on everyone’s must-see list! Utterly spectacular scenery; majestic mountains; jewel-like lakes, plunging waterfalls, endless pristine forests populated with a richly diverse wildlife --- there is truly something for everyone in the Canadian Rockies. This wonderful small group (no more than 28 travelers) trip affords us a unique opportunity to take this all in --- right here in North America, close to home. Our journey begins in Calgary, where we’ll be transferred by deluxe motorcoach to the first class Delta Lodge in Kananaskis (Alberta). We’ll spend the entire next day here, before spending time on the giant Columbia Icefield, where we’ll board a special vehicle (designed for traveling on the ice) that will take us to the Athabasca Glacier. If you have never had the opportunity to walk on a glacier, this is an experience you’ll never forget. Then we’ll have another unique opportunity to admire the Rockies from a unique vantage point by drifting along the Athabasca River, the precise route used by fur traders. Next, we’ll head to Jasper National Park, for an interactive session at Jasper’s world renowned planetarium. Then we’ll step outside to witness firsthand the incredible night sky, using the largest telescope in the Rockies. The next day we travel to Athabasca Falls, where the Athabasca River crashes in a powerful display of nature’s brutal strength. Then, in stark contrast, we’ll spend time at tranquil Peyto Lake, nestled amid forestlands and the Rocky Mountains. And there is so much more. Wildlife can often surprise us in unexpected spots; the amazing hoodoo rocks are just that – amazing; and the abandoned ruins of a mining town are a bit spooky. All in all this is a wonderful trip to a spectacularly beautiful part of North America. Prices for this wonderful experience begin at just $3,595 per person; click here for more information. Switzerland – the Bernese Oberland --- seven nights in beautiful Interlaken, at the first class Hotel Hotel Carlton-Europe (August 15 - 23, 2018). Switzerland is a fascinating, relatively small country in the center of Europe. Famously neutral, it has never been invaded by a foreign power, helped no doubt by the soaring Alpine mountains that are difficult to cross. But these same mountains make Switzerland arguably the most beautiful country in Europe, with soaring mountains, spectacular lakes, and beautiful green meadows blending to form a nearly perfect backdrop to wherever you are. And few places are more beautiful than Interlaken, set perfectly in the midst of the Bernese Oberland. Interlaken, as the name implies, is perfectly situated between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Highlights of this wonderful trip include a short train ride to Kandersteg, where a gondola will take us to the picture-perfect turquoise glacial Lake Oeschinen. Another short train ride brings us to the beautiful city of Lucerne, where we’ll take a cruise around the lake. And we’ll visit the famous resort town of Grindelwald, famous for its superb skiing in the winter, and for its summer activities of walking, hiking and cycling. We will also have a chance to walk along the trail that parallels the Weissenbach River, which rushes through a narrow gorge created by an ancient glacier. Another scenic train journey brings us to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, where we can walk along the Allmendhubel Flower Trail to the charming car-free town of Murren, at the base of the Schiltorn mountain. And there is so much more: Switzerland is truly a delight for all the senses, and you’ll find that every single day on this trip is just a joy. The Bernese Oberland may just be the “best of the best;” join us for the picture perfect week. Prices for this wonderful week start at just $2,995 per person; please click here for more information. Symphony on the Blue Danube – A three-night stay in beautiful Prague (Czech Republic), followed by a five-night river cruise on the famed Blue Danube (from Passau (Germany) to Budapest (Hungary) aboard the exclusively chartered M/S Amadeus Brilliant (September 5 - 14, 2018). Who hasn’t heard of the famed “Blue Danube Waltz,” and fantasized about taking a cruise on that river? Here is the perfect opportunity to join your fellow alums on a wonderful custom-designed, ten-day journey, showcasing the musical heritage of the European masters. We’ll spend five nights on the beautiful blue Danube, as we cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our trip begins with three nights in historic Prague, at the deluxe InterContinental Hotel. Here there will be lots of time to explore this very special city, with its historic Old Town and world-famous Jewish Quarter. We’ll also have a chance to visit the magnificent Hradcany Castle and the adjacent St. Vitus Cathedral, and be treated to a private guided tour of the Lobkowicz Palace to include a classical music concert. From Prague, we will transfer to Passau, Germany, for a walking tour of this charming town with its historic Old Town and the 12th-century St. Stephan’s Cathedral. After lunch, we’ll board our river cruise ship headed to Budapest with port calls at Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, and Bratislava, before arriving in Budapest. (Travel Director’s note: we were in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest a couple of years ago and highly recommend this trip. If you have been to the more common tourist destinations, such as London, Paris, and Rome, this is a perfect opportunity to see in-depth a historic, especially beautiful part of Europe.) En route, we’ll cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and on to our final destination in Budapest. Every step of the way you’ll find history at your fingertips, traveling through this historic and very special part of Europe. Prices for this amazing trip begin at just $3,795 per person. Click here for full details. Wines of the Pacific Northwest – A 7-night cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers aboard the majestic American Empress, from Portland (Oregon) to Clarkston (Washington) (September 16 - 24, 2018). Here is an absolutely wonderful opportunity to see the wonderful wine country in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. Our river cruise begins in Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington, with a one-night stay in the heart of Vancouver, Washington. Here you can stroll the nearby promenade that runs along the Columbia River, browse the shops and local galleries in Vancouver, or consider a trip into Portland, the “City of Roses.” Oregon’s blossoming cultural haven, Portland is home to renowned sites, including the International Rose Test Garden, Portland Art Museum, and Powell’s City of Books. Our next stop is Astoria, Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll find the oldest city west of the Rockies, Astoria — named for John Jacob Astor, the owner of the American Fur Company. This “Little San Francisco” is bursting with character, from its steep hillsides blanketed in sprawling Victorian homes and weathered Deco-era buildings to its maritime relics and downtown studded with chic cafés and whimsical shops. Then we cruise to The Dalles, Oregon, a quintessential frontier town that rests on a crescent bend of the Columbia River, between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. The Dalles welcomes visitors with its picturesque backdrop of forests, orchards, and high desert. Once known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles occupied a strategic transfer point for Westbound pioneers heading to the Willamette Valley. Our next stop is Stevenson, Washington, nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, this friendly, laid-back town packs in lovely scenery and layer upon layer of history. Peaceful riverfront parks and downtown delicatessens, pubs, antique stores, and art galleries offer a dose of small-town charm while the nearby Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum brings to life 15,000 years of geological glory and compelling regional history. Day 6 takes us to the Sacajawea State Park, Washington, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. This 284-acre park occupies the former site of Ainsworth, a 19th-century railroad town. The land also holds unique history—in 1805, Lewis and Clark and their Shoshone Indian guide camped here during their fabled expedition. Sacajawea State Park features a blend of ponds, marshes, sand dunes, and over 9,000 feet of freshwater shoreline as well as an interpretive center. Finally, after a beautiful day on the river, we’ll arrive at Clarkston, Washington, situated in the beautiful Lewis-Clark Valley — the centuries-old home of the Nez Perce Indians. Here are the sister cities of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. Founded in the 19th century as a way station for travelers bound for the Idaho goldfields, today Clarkston is famed as the gateway to Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge. This is a truly wonderful opportunity to visit in depth an absolutely wonderful area of the country, on a majestic river boat, at the perfect time of the year. Prices begin at just $3,499 per person. Click here for more information. Barcelona – its Art, Culture & People: seven nights in Barcelona, Spain, at the first class Renaissance Barcelona Hotel (September 20 - 28, 2018). Barcelona, situated on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, is literally a treat for all your senses. The waterfront beaches are wonderful; the Catalan cuisine is justifiably world-famous; the architecture on virtually every street corner is not to be missed – and there is so much more. We’ll spend seven nights in our first-class hotel (you unpack only once) for a relaxing stay in this most amazing of world-class cities. Here we will see the whimsical, colorful architectural creations of Antoni Gaudi, many of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the incredible collection of Pablo Picasso’s artwork. We can wander through Montserrat, a wonderful monastery literally tucked into the side of a mountain. And learn how to prepare traditional Catalan dishes during a special, always fun, hands-on cooking session. There’ll be plenty of time to wander along Barcelona’s famous boulevards and upscale shopping streets. And, of course, we’ll visit Gaudi’s masterpiece, the still unfinished Basilica La Sagrada Familia – a cathedral like none other than you have ever seen – guaranteed. All in all, this is a trip not to be missed. Prices begin at just $2,995 per person. Click here for more information. Town & Country Life in Languedoc (France) – Nine days in this historic region of southern France, featuring four nights in the beautiful town of Albi, and four nights in charming Floure, located near the historic walled city of Carcassonne (October 5 - 14, 2018). What could be better than spending a week in beautiful southern France? This storied historic region of Languedoc-Roussillon is located on the Mediterranean Sea, just west of the more well-known (and much more crowded) area of Provence. On this wonderful, relaxed trip we’ll have a unique opportunity to experience three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the medieval walled city of Carcassonne; the charming town of Albi, once a stronghold of the Cathars; and a cruise on the tranquil and beautiful Canal du Midi. Also included are a tour of the acclaimed Toulouse-Lautrec museum, located in the 13th century Berbie Palace, which contains the world’s largest collection of the famed artist’s works, and a full-day excursion to the historical town of Gaillac to visit the St. Michel Abbey, and the spectacular city of Cordes-sur-Ciel, perched high atop the Midi-Pyrenees, and believed to be the most picturesque village in all of France. Although I have never been to Cordes-sur-Ciel, I have had the opportunity to walk through the walled city of Carcassonne, and it is truly a site not to be missed. Included in our tour are visits to the Romanesque-Gothic Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus, with stained glass windows dating back to the 13th century, and a tour through the archaeological museum of the Chateau Comtal, a former Cathar castle. Another outstanding feature of this trip is a cruise aboard a traditional flat-bottomed boat on the absolutely exquisite grand 17th century Canal du Midi, another UNESCO World Heritage site. This leisurely-paced tour is truly a delight at every turn, and will certainly engender memories that will last a lifetime. Prices for this absolutely delightful “long week” in southern France begin at just $3,795 per person. Click here for full details. Glorious Greece – A deluxe ten-night cruise round-trip Athens, aboard Oceania Cruise Lines Riviera, (October 13 - 24, 2018). Classic mythology, glistening oceans, and ancient cities await us on this luxurious tour of Greece, Sicily and Malta. Glorious Greece, arguably the birthplace of our modern civilization, is a must-visit destination for all cultured travelers. We’ll embark our cruise ship in Athens, the Cradle of Democracy. You’ll find that Athens is a picture-perfect place, steeped in history and extremely welcoming to American tourists. If you have never visited, this trip is a perfectly delightful opportunity to spend ten nights aboard a luxurious, perfectly-sized (1,250 passengers) ship with outstanding service and top-notch cuisine. From Athens we’ll set off to Gythion, the port city of Sparta, the well-known ancient powerful city state. Then it’s on to Katakonos, a quiet seaside town where you can head inland to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games. And for an extra special treat, we’ll also visit Taormina (Sicily), where astounding views of Mount Etna await, and Valletta (Malta), Valetta, Europe’s smallest capital. Our cruise on the Mediterranean continues to the island of Crete, where we’ll visit Heraklion’s astounding ruins. From Crete it’s a short hop to Rhodes, to soak in the ever-present sunshine of this incredible island. Stand where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood astride the harbor, before we sail to the fabulous black sand beaches of Santorini – a spot that epitomize Grecian beauty. Finally, our ship calls at the island of Patmos, where you’ll hear the sounds of over 300 churches’ bells echo over the otherwise-tranquil. And you can actually visit the spot where John the Apostle wrote the Book of Revelations (I was there – amazing!) Finally from Patmos our ship heads back to Athens where our trip ends (but you can always spend a few extra days). Best of all, prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $2,999 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. Timeless Cuba – A luxury 7-night cruise round-trip Miami, aboard Oceania Cruise Lines Sirena, (October 19 - 26, 2018). Cuba! For over fifty years so near and yet so far! Tempting, but difficult to get to – until recently. Here is a wonderful opportunity to visit Cuba in luxury, aboard a perfectly-sized (only 684 passengers) Oceania Cruises ship Sirena, as we sail from Miami to the Cuban cities of Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. On the trip we’ll open the door to Cuba’s soul, first spending two days in Havana, Cuba’s capital city, where you’ll be mesmerized by the architectural sights, the hundreds of old 1950s-era American cars still happily cruising the streets, and the delightful Cuban people. From Havana we’ll sail to the former French city of Cienfuegos, still a paragon of 19th-century urban planning. And our last stop is Cuba’s second largest city, the southeastern cultural hub of Santiago de Cuba – birthplace of Desi Arnaz and Bacardi Rum, home to the famed Battle of San Juan Hill, and the site of the Cuban Revolution’s victory proclamation. This luxurious cruise is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss this best-of-all-ways to vist Cuba. Prices for this wonderful cruise begin at just $1,899 per person, and include free airfare from many US cities. Click here for more information. San Sebastian, and Spain’s Basque Country – seven nights in San Sebastian, Spain, at the first class Hotel de Londres y de Ingaterra (October 20 - 28, 2018). Northern Spain may well be along “the road less traveled,” but that only makes it that much more fascinating. On this relaxing trip we’ll spend a week (seven nights) in the city of San Sebastian, near the French border on the Bay of Biscay – unpack only once! Daily excursions include an afternoon cruise on the Bay, an exploration of the world-famous Guggenheim Museum in nearby Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, a visit to the pretty town of Espelette, where homeowners hang red peppers to dry outside their whitewashed homes, and visits to the wonderful French towns of Biarritz, Bayonne, and St.-Jean-de-Luz. In San Sebastian, the 2016 European capital of culture, we’ll have a chance to walk through the Old Town, visiting the famous cathedral and the Promenade along the beautiful bay. And don’t forget that on this trip we’ll be in the heart of the Rioja wine country, and (of course) we’ll have the opportunity to visit a family owned winery for a tour and wine tasting. And there is so much more, including an opportunity to have dinner with a diverse group of San Sebastian residents who will openly discuss what it’s like to live in the separatist Basque Region of Spain. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit this fascinating region of Spain, on a relaxed tour, at an affordable price. Rates start at just $2,995 per person; please 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.