ARMENIA, GEORGIA AND TURKEY
A historical perspective
Step back in time during Sima Tours' "Pilgrimage to Historical Armenia." Religious enthusiasts, architectural aficionados and history buffs should be satisfied by this odyssey of Christian anthropology. The itinerary is packed with ancient ruins and modern urban enclaves that have risen and fallen near Mt. Ararat and Lake Van. One must-do is watching the Divine Liturgy delivered by an Armenian clergyman in the Sanctuary of the Holy Cross Church.
Itinerary: Yerevan, Armenia to Akhaltsikhe and Vale, Georgia; Posof, Artahan, Kars, Van, Mush, Varto, and Erzurum, Turkey; and back to Yerevan
Dates: Sept. 9-14
Price: From $650, double occupancy, including lodging, transportation, transfers, some meals, entrance fees and the services of a tour guide. The price excludes airfare, visa fees and beverages.
Info: Sima Tours, Philadelphia; (610) 359-7521, http://www.simatours.com
Exploring the island
The three-night "Active Cayman Sampler" offering from Cotton Tree, a boutique hotel, allows travelers to experience the Caymans' ecological diversity on land and in the water. By day, kayak through mangroves or by night take a bioluminescent tour. A guided Land Rover excursion traverses the island for five hours, hitting highlights including blow holes and restaurants. A day trip to Cayman Brac showcases rare wildlife.
Dates: Available through Sept. 30
Price: Starting at $2,980, double occupancy, including lodging, your choice of a kayaking or bioluminescence outing, the trip to Cayman Brac, the Land Rover tour, daily continental breakfast and airport transfers. The rate does not include airfare and taxes.
Info: Cotton Tree, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; (345) 943-0700, http://www.caymancottontree.com
PORTUGAL AND SPAIN
A holiday on Iberian Peninsula
Uniworld's 12-day "Portugal, Spain, & the Douro River Valley" cruise starts with a tour of Lisbon, then cuts inland to explore religious sites, universities, vineyards, gardens, restaurants and museums. While aboard the Douro Spirit, meals and performances continue to immerse travelers in the region's rich culture.
Itinerary: Lisbon to Coimbra, Porto, Bitetos, Régua and Pinhão, Portugal; Vega de Terron, Spain; Barca d'Alva, Portugal; Pinhão, Régua and Porto
Dates: Departures July 21-Oct. 27
Price: Starting at $2,549, double occupancy, including lodging, most meals (and dinner drinks), tours and shore excursions, and all land and water transportation, including transfers. The price does not include airfare, port charges ($98), visa fees or gratuities.
Info: Uniworld, Los Angeles; (800) 733-7820, http://www.uniworld.com
ARIZONA, UTAH AND NEVADA
Canyons of the Southwest
Insight Vacations' weeklong "Enchanting Canyonlands" journey pays tribute to the natural artwork carved by water and wind. Trace gorgeous southwestern landscapes in three national parks as a tour director explains the geologic marvels. Exploring by foot is encouraged during stops and excursions, including visits to places rife with Native American culture such as Monument Valley Tribal Park and Cameron Trading Post. Phoenix and Las Vegas bookend the trip, and the Colorado River, which sustains them, is a constant throughout.
Itinerary: Phoenix to Scottsdale, Oak Creek Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park to Las Vegas
Dates: Departures between now and March 2011
Price: Starting at $1,450, double occupancy, including private motorcoach transportation, hotel lodgings, daily breakfast, some dinners, the services of a tour director, park entrance fees and baggage handling for one suitcase. The rate does not include airfare.
Info: Insight Vacations, Anaheim; (800) 582-8380, http://www.insightvacations.com
Where the gangsters roamed
Get a glimpse into Chicago's infamous underworld by booking the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel's "Good to Be a Gangster" package. The Untouchable Tour brings old-time gangsters to life by visiting the historical haunts of the Windy City's most notorious mobsters. After a day of hard crime, head back to your guestroom to enjoy stories of Capone in print and film.
Dates: Available through June 4, 2011
Price: From $249, including a one-night stay, two tickets for the Untouchable Tour, a signed copy of the book "Get Capone," a DVD of "The Untouchables" (part of which was filmed at the hotel) and a cocktail at Mercat a la Planxa, the hotel's restaurant. The rate does not include taxes or tips. Use promotional code ZJL.
Info: Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel; (800) 468-3571, http://www.marriott.com