Cruises on clippers for adventurous travelersTo each his...

TRAVEL LOG

November 06, 1994|By Kim Wesley

Cruises on clippers for adventurous travelers

To each his or her own, they say. The same holds true for cruises. On big luxury liners you may get gambling, dancing and shopping. But on a smaller ship like a clipper, you get a hands-on adventure.

On Clipper Cruise Lines, hardy voyagers in the icy waters of Alaska get into motorized rafts and explore virgin terrain. In the Caribbean, passengers snorkel directly off the side of the ship. Specialists and historians ride along, telling passengers about the ports of call. No tourist traps, no disco dancers, just you and about 100 other passengers coming face to face with nature.

The Nantucket and Yorktown Clippers cruise anywhere from six to 22 days through North American waterways from Alaska to Puerto Rico to the Great Lakes. A weeklong tour of the Chesapeake Bay is also available. All meals are at a single,

open-seating. For information: (800) 325-0010. Buy one, get one half free! Visitors planning to travel by train in Europe through March 31 can get additional Eurailpasses for half price with the purchase of one full-fare first-class pass. The discount is restricted to first-class passes valid for 15 days, 21 days, or a month. Eurailpasses provide unlimited train travel throughout 17 European countries. For more information: (800) 438-7245.

Biking through Paris

Travelers to Paris looking for a new way to discover the city's narrow alleys and crowded avenues can take a guided mountain-bike tour. Three Ducks Youth Hostel rents a bike with an English-speaking guide for about $23, calculated at 5.6 francs to the dollar. Tours, which average about 20 people, give riders access to places that cannot easily be reached on a conventional bicycle. Three Ducks Youth Hostel, 6 Place Etienne Pernet, 75015 Paris, (33 1) 48.42.57.87, runs the seven-hour bike tour every day, beginning at 11 a.m.

Opportunities for seniors

Age has its privileges. The Inn at Semiahmoo, a Wyndham resort in Washington state, offers a Seniors Package in which the senior citizen's (55-plus) age determines the percent of savings. With this formula, a centurion would stay at no charge. Call (206) 371-2000.

Overland Journeys for Seniors caters to adventurous seniors while understanding that the ability to handle strenuous hiking and climbing is waning. For itineraries, contact the Center for Himalayan Research & Studies, (800) 225-4666.

A room of their own

Midway Airlines, which services primarily the Midwest, is now offering a first for women -- their own restroom.

"Our female passengers told us they want a women's restroom on board and we listened," said Joanne Smith, a Midway vice president. This restroom is strictly off-limits to men. The room offers an extra mirror, soap and hand-lotion dispensers, flowers, a hand-painted mural and, soon, a state-of-the-art automatic sanitary toilet seat cover as well as a baby-changing table.

Although not the best-known airline around, Midway is gaining a reputation for listening to its customers. The new rooms come in response to women's complaints that current restrooms are too small, smell unpleasant and have messy sinks.

Winter wonderland

Russia in winter? A bargain? No, a steal, according to the Russian Travel Bureau in New York. The deal is an eight-day, all-inclusive tour now through May with prices beginning at $794, which include round-trip air fare from New York on Finnair, two nights in Moscow, two in St. Petersburg and a night in Helsinki. The package includes meals, sightseeing, theater, the overnight train to St. Petersburg and four-star hotels throughout. For information, call (800) 847-1800.

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