Travel briefs

Trim a sail in Antigua’s calm waters during a week of sailing lessons.

The June 16 program will be at the Sunsail Colonna Sailing Resort on Hodges Bay in Antigua. It includes sailing instruction for participants of all skill levels and unlimited use of sailing and water-sport equipment, including two Beneteau 473 premium charter yachts.

“This is a great summer trip because it offers an affordable opportunity to learn to sail in the tropical Caribbean,” said Sonya Grigoruk, spokeswoman for the American Sailing Association. “Antigua’s warm seas, tropical climate and coastline of safe harbors make it the ideal location to learn how to sail.”

Cost: $890 per person, double occupancy ($445 single surcharge), including lodging, most meals, instruction, resort activities and airport transfers. Air fare and $39 membership fee are not included.

Contact: American Sailing Association, Los Angeles; 800-327-2276,

Journey to the high mountains of Ladakh to visit remote monasteries and vanishing tribes of India.

The 18-night tour, which begins July 28, also will take in festivals and dance performances.

The trip starts in Delhi and travels to the Dah Hanu Valley, the Chumathang highlands bordering Tibet, Tsomoriri Lake and the town of Leh.

Participants watch dancers perform at a Buddhist festival at the Dakthok monastery in a village near Leh.

They camp in the Chumathang region, home to the Changpa nomads and wildlife, including horses and black neck cranes.

The group meets the blue-eyed, blond-haired Drokpa tribes in the Dah Hanu Valley.

They also tour the bustling capital of Delhi, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque in Old Delhi.

Cost: $3,650 per person, double occupancy ($790 single surcharge), including hotels and lodging, most meals, internal air fare, sightseeing, entrance fees, hotel taxes and service charges. International air fare is not included.

Contact: Asian Pacific Adventures, Tarzana; 800-825-1680,

Let the good times roll and help Hurricane Katrina victims on five-day New Orleans tours.

Travelers on the tours, offered Sept. 4, Oct. 2 and Nov. 6, explore the French Quarter, see a jazz revue on Bourbon Street, take a river steamboat cruise and take Creole cooking lessons.

Profit from the tours goes to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund of the American Red Cross.

Cost: $699 per person, double occupancy ($350 single surcharge), including hotel accommodations, some meals and sightseeing. Air fare not included.

Contact: Colette Vacations, Pawtucket, RI; 800-340-5158,

Just in time for high season for travel to Europe, the dollar is up 12 percent against the euro – just over $1.20 to a euro – a dramatic recovery from the historic lows of March 2005.

If you’re planning to head over in the next few months and you want to visit more than one destination on the continent, do a little research before you go about how to travel once you’re there.

Click on “How to Travel” at for all types of information, including links to plane and train travel.

A new Web site at lists all the inter-European low-cost airlines, with information searchable by any combination of routes, from Aberdeen to Zagreb.

If you’re short on time but you want to explore various regions within the same country, consider a high-speed train like the Eurostar Italia alta Velocita connecting Turin and Milan in Italy ( or the Train a Grande Vitesse, which zips you from Paris to the south of France in a few hours (

A Eurostar train also connects London with Paris and Brussels via the English Channel tunnel; details at

Eurail passes – – offer a variety of options for train travel around Europe and you can buy them before you leave the states; details from or 866-638-7245.

Solitude, sightseeing and parachute-jumping are some of the things that draw visitors to the New River Gorge, one of West Virginia’s most scenic spots, according to a new study.

A million people a year visit the gorge, and despite the high number of visitors, a third of them said “solitude” is what they love about the place, according to the study by the National Park Service.

The park was created in 1978 to protect 53 miles of the New River and encompasses more than 70,000 acres between the towns of Hinton and Fayetteville.

The gorge also features what was once the longest steel-arch bridge in the world at 3,030 feet. The 876-foot high span is used every third weekend in October by BASE jumpers, an acronym for people who parachute off buildings, antennae, spans and earth forms.

But the New River Gorge Bridge was bumped to second place in 2003 by the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai, China, which is 105 feet longer.

Tourists who visited Las Vegas in 2005 were younger than visitors from the previous year and spent more on gambling, lodging, food, drink and shopping, tourism officials said.

The addition of hot nightspots in the past several years has boosted trips made by the Generation X crowd, said Kevin Bagger, research director for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

“Part of this is in response to the addition of significant nightclub and nightlife opportunities the hotels have provided in the last four or five years,” Bagger said.

The bulk of visitors remain the baby boomers, he said, but the average age fell to 47.7 years old from 49.0. The average age in 2003 was 50.2 years old.

A record 38.6 million people visited Las Vegas in 2005, and 39.1 million are expected in 2006.

Tuscan Way has discounted its Italian cooking vacations by as much as $860 a week for travel April 1-Oct. 22. For example, a week at Villa Poggiarello in Tuscany is now $2,390 per person double (previous price was $3,250). The deal includes lodging, meals, wine, transfers, excursions, five cooking courses and taxes. Info: 800-766-2390,

Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples in Florida is offering discounted rates and resort credits June 1-Sept. 30. The “Summer Sand &Sun” package, including a deluxe room with coastal views, starts at $159 per night at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort and $199 at Ritz-Carlton Naples. Stay for at least three nights and receive a $100 resort credit that can be used at the resort’s spa, restaurants or gift shops (five-night stays receive $200 and seven nights $300). Taxes are about $20 a night. Info: 800-241-3333,

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is celebrating its spring 2007 return to New Orleans with reduced rates and free airfare. For example, a seven-night “Spring Pilgrimage” cruise on the Delta Queen from New Orleans to Memphis departing March 17 has been reduced by $642, to $1,498 per person double. Air from Washington – worth about $253 – is free. Taxes and fees are an extra $50. Info: 800-543-1949,

Children up to age 16 cruise free aboard Picasso Cruise’s M/S Oceanic when sharing a cabin with two adults. The offer is good on seven-night Mediterranean cruises, except for high-season departures June 12-Sept. 11. Fare for the Barcelona to Monte Carlo itinerary starts at $759 per adult for April and May departures and drops to $599 in November and December. Additional port charges of $200 and fees of $80 apply to all passengers except infants. Info: 800-995-7997,

Carnival has promotional rates on its seven-night sailings aboard the Carnival Conquest from Galveston, Texas, to the Western Caribbean. Rates start at $529 per person double (brochure rates start at $1,669) for select sailings in September, October and November; taxes are another $36. Info: 888-CARNIVAL,

Book a Pleasant Holidays package to Hawaii through a Carlson Wagonlit travel agency this month and receive $100 in spending money and discounted packages. For example, a five-night deal to Oahu for travel Aug. 23-Dec. 7 starts at $1,055 per person double, including air from Washington, lodging at ResortQuest Waikiki Sunset and transfers; taxes are about $56 extra. Priced separately, room and air alone would cost about $1,212 per person. Info: 800-CARLSON,

Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door hosts free travel classes most Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Edmonds Theater, 415 Main St., Edmonds.

* Packing light and right with Joan Robinson, April 22.

* Scandinavia with Dave Fox, April 29.

Classes are free, reservations recommended. Call 425-771-8303 ext. 298 or visit

The Savvy Traveler offers travel seminars at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. most Saturdays at 112 Fifth Ave. S., Edmonds.

* Provence and Southern France, 1 p.m. April 8.

* French for travelers, 6 p.m. Thursdays, May 4 through 25.

Classes are free, reservations recommended. Call 425-744-6076, 877-225-1994, or visit

Travel classes offered in Everett: Everett Parks and Recreation presents a series of travel classes featuring travel experts from Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door. Classes are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Van Valey House, 2130 Colby Ave., Everett.

* Regions of France with Colleen Schaffer, May 11.

Cost is $5. Registration is required.

For information, call 425-257-8300 or visit

The Herald is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

Herald staff and wire services

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