Pursue the paths of historic heroes
to take your travels to another level
By Alexis Hilts
Abercrombie & Kent
Complete a trek only undertaken by the most determined, fit and gutsy adventurers: the climb to base camp on the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest. Beginning and ending in Kathmandu, Nepal, this arduous 19-day excursion travels along a path that the Dalai Lama called "the steps to heaven." Hiking up to nine hours a day, participants reach an elevation of more than 18,000 feet before making their descent.
In the Footsteps of Mandela
Explore the history and culture of South Africa through the story of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela. Ride the ferry to Robben Island -- where he spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment -- and dine with a local family in Cape Town. In Johannesburg, visit Mandela's former home and the township of Soweto. This moving eight-day journey to the Rainbow Nation comes to an end with an enthralling safari adventure.
Art and Impressionist Cruise
This special Oct. 30 departure of "Paris to Normandy's Landing Beaches" sails round trip along the Seine River from France's City of Light, taking in the scenery that inspired the colorful works of the impressionists. View masterpieces at the Louvre Museum and the Musee d'Orsay in the French capital, join an excursion to the village where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, and marvel at one of Claude Monet's favorite subjects, the cathedral of Rouen. Onboard art lectures add insight to the surrounding sights during the eight-day vacation.
Elvis and the Southern Sounds
Memphis and Nashville, TN, are considered hallowed grounds by many music devotees and die-hard Elvis fans. On this eight-day trip, travelers pay tribute to the King and other legends at Graceland, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum and famous Sun Studio in Memphis. They then head to Music City for a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and a private concert with Johnny Cash's son, John Carter Cash.
Scott and Shackleton's Antarctica
Orion Expedition Cruises
Voyage across the polar region navigated by early 20th-century explorers Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. This high-priced three-week journey brings passengers to the Auckland and Macquarie islands off the coast of New Zealand before venturing into the frigid Ross Sea, where few ships sail. The Jan. 21 departure is just around the corner, but this South Pole adventure is scheduled again for Jan. 25, 2013.
Footsteps of Apostle Paul
A 10-day spiritual tour through Greece and Turkey brings visitors into the realm of Paul the Apostle. From Thessalonika, where the influential saint centered his Greek activities, travelers follow his route through Amphipolis to Philippi, where he founded what has been called the first church in Europe. Then, guests board a ship bound for the captivating Greek isles of Mykonos and Santorini, as well as Kusadasi on the Turkish coast.
American Spirit Family Discovery
Tour the world of the founding fathers during eight days in the storied cities of the Eastern Seaboard. Capture the essence of America's beginnings with trips to iconic sites such as Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park; the battlefields of Gettysburg, about 120 miles west; and Virginia's cobblestoned Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon, home of our first president, George Washington.
Pioneer Adventures of the Old West
Families find their inner cowboys during an eight-day vacation through Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Put on your boots and channel the spirit of the Wild West at the desert cliff dwellings of Montezuma Castle National Monument, partake in some modern-day rough riding on a jeep excursion in Sedona, travel along the historic Grand Canyon Railway and catch a rodeo in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
Track mountain gorillas on a four-day expedition in the Parc National des Volcans, where Dian Fossey dedicated years to researching primates. It's an uncommon opportunity to get up close with some of the majestic gorilla families that call the region home. Pay homage to the passionate animal advocate on a hike to the remains of the original Karisoke Research Center, founded by Fossey in 1967. She was buried here after being murdered in her cabin in 1985.
Mysteries of the Mayan World
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula holds the secrets of the ancient Mayan civilization. On this five-day independent tour, travelers can explore the sacred pyramids and temples of Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Enrich the experience with a Mayan cooking or language lesson and a viewing of archaeological artifacts at the Museum of Anthropology in Merida.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2012. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 680-2858 for current rates and details.