NEW YORK -- Want to impress your clients with your knowledge of
special-interest tours? Here is a look at some of the most popular
European special-interest destinations -- France, Greece and Turkey
-- for 1999.
Greek islands cruises continue to be the centerpiece of operator
the same time, travel companies continue to expand client choices
for stay-a-while-in-the-islands vacations. This year there are more
packages available to many of the less-trafficked island
destinations. "The more independent traveler has learned that to
appreciate and enjoy an island destination, you need four days, not
the four hours that a port-of-call stay allows," said Nick Athans,
president of Tourlite.
Tourlite offers vacation packages on 16 Greek islands, from the
Cyclades and the Dodecanese group to the Northern Sporades, the
eastern Aegean, the Ionian and the Saronics. Three-night packages,
quoted per person, double, are offered on some of the
On Chios, 27 nautical miles south of Lesbos in the eastern
Aegean and a direct flight from Athens, clients can stay at the
four-star Chandris hotel on the harbor for $129 to $189 or at the
four-star Golden Sand Hotel on the beach of Karfas for $139 to
$219. Packages include transfers to and from the hotel; three
nights' accommodations with daily breakfasts; service charges, and
On the Saronic island of Spetses, reached by hydrofoil from
Athens, the three-night package features the four-star Spetses
Hotel on the beach and is priced between $139 and $209.
On Paros in the Cyclades, packages feature accommodations with
American breakfasts at the five-star Astir of Paros Hotel; the
price range is $269 to $369 for three nights; access is by air.
Zeus Cruises will sail to infrequently explored islands on
seven-night itineraries aboard its yacht Zeus to the Ionian islands
of Corfu, Paxi, Lefkas, Kefalonia, Ithaki, Zakynthos and Parga.
Cruises depart on Thursdays from May 20 to Sept. 16, and the
cruise cost -- including three nights in Athens, interisland air
from Athens to Corfu and two meals -- ranges from $1,599 to $2,185
per person, double.
Zeus cruises also sail on a Cycladic Jewels itinerary from April
16 through Oct. 15, offering a mix of traditional and unfamiliar
ports of call: Naxos, Santorini, Ios, Paros, Delos, Mykonos, Tinos
On another routing, the Greco-Turkish Mystique cruise, Zeus
cruises sail roundtrip from Rhodes from May 19 through Oct. 6 and
call at Marmaris, Turkey, and the Greek islands of Kalymnos, Kos,
Lipsi, Leros and Simi.
Hellenic Adventures of Minneapolis introduces travelers to the
Culinary Delights of Greece on an eight-night tour that includes
cooking classes during a five-night stay in Santorini. During four
half-day cooking sessions, participants will learn the history of
Greek cuisine and the adaptation of Greek foods to modern times and
U.S. standards. Courses will highlight wine (with visits to
wineries) as well as olive oil makers and spice markets.
The tour will include sightseeing on Santorini and, during a
three-night stay in Athens, a daylong visit to the tour leader's
village near Corinth. Georgia Sander, a Minneapolis caterer
specializing in nouvelle Greek cuisine, and Eleni Petroutsou, a
food specialist in Athens, will accompany the departures that start
in Athens on April 23 and Oct. 1. Per person, double, land costs
range from $3,250 to $3,650, depending on the number of tour
members and accommodations, and include most meals and all other
Classic Adventures visits ancient Crete by bicycle from
Heraklion to Chania on a 12-night itinerary. The ride is suited to
The guide is the company's Dale Hart, who takes groups out on
May 1 and Sept. 25.
The tour cost is $2,389, including accommodations, breakfasts,
dinners and roundtrip transportation between Athens and Crete. Bike
rentals are an additional $190.
This country sits in the path of the century's last total solar
eclipse, expected on Aug. 11, and many tour operators with programs
to Turkey are putting travelers on various points along its path.
The two following itineraries will feature eclipse escorts.
Ya'lla Tours scheduled a 12-night tour, departing the U.S. on
Aug. 7, escorted by John McKune, a veteran eclipse tour leader. The
group goes first to Ankara and continues to the Cappadocia region
for a three-night stay to be in position in Silvas for eclipse
viewing. The tour continues to Pamukkale, Kusadasi and Canakkale
and ends in Istanbul. The per-person, double, cost is $2,995 and
includes air from any Lufthansa gateway in the U.S. plus
accommodations with breakfast, dinners outside Istanbul, two
lunches in Istanbul and 10 touring days.
On the World of Oz solar eclipse program, participants will be
in the ancient fortress of Harput, near Elazig in central Turkey.
The trip is offered in cooperation with Scientific Expeditions and
Sky and Telescope magazine. The tour's study leader will be Richard
Chambers of the University of Chicago.
The operator offers a choice of programs, from six to 15 nights,
with deluxe or first class arrangements to be combined with the
eclipse. Prices, with air, will range from $2,525 to $4,680 per
person, double occupancy, and include air from New York or Chicago,
internal flights in Turkey, hotels, most sightseeing, guest
lecturers, escorts and land transportation.
Lavender fields, local vineyards and fragrant produce markets
are the venues of a new Air France Holidays' package called Cooking
in Provence. The five-night program is based at the Hostellerie
Berard, a converted 11th century monastery in the hilltop village
of La Cadiere de Azur, where, each day, participants will prepare a
Breads and desserts are the specialty of the hostellerie's chef,
The five-night program, which starts on Sundays and ends
Fridays, can be added on to a Paris package or can be priced with
air. The land-only cost is $1,029 and includes accommodations at
the Hostellerie, a five-day car rental with unlimited mileage and
local taxes; four days of cooking lessons; a welcome dinner, and
breakfast and lunch daily.
Marketing Ahead uses the nearly 50 properties it represents in
Brittany for off-the-beaten track cycling and hiking treks. The
cycling tour is six days, and the hiking trip is seven. The cycling
program travels along the coast, from St. Malo through the forested
Valley of La Rance to Mont St. Michel, staying the final night in
Cancale, famous for its oysters, before returning to St. Malo.
Cyclists stay at three different three-star hotels and cycle
between 25 and 35 miles a day. The per-person, double, rate of $850
for the cycling includes lodging with breakfasts and dinners and
transportation of luggage from one stop to the next.