- The trips below have already occurred. Keep them in mind for future ideas, though!
- At any point, feel free to email Jim Booth with inquiries.
Antarctica, the Falklands & Cape Horn
This will be a very special opportunity to see some of the most spectacular scenery on earth! Alumni and friends will be treated to the amazing beauty of the Chilean Fjords, Tierra del Fuego, the Beagle Channel, Cape Horn and four days in Antarctica before finishing on the Falkland Islands (great for bird-watching) and Montevideo, Uruguay (a rising tourist destination). Most of our time will be spent aboard the MS Midnatsol, a state-of-the-art cruise ship built especially for this part of the world.
Historic Harbors of New England & Canada
This will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a six-star cruising experience. The 1000-passenger Crystal Serenity is truly one of the finest ships afloat, having been extensively renovated in 2013. The theme of this cruise, Historic Harbors, will be highlighted by visits to the harbors of New York; Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Quebec City. Optional tours, free shuttle service to town centers and onboard lectures will enhance your educational experience. The Crystal cruise experience is highlighted by complimentary gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining; complimentary wines and premium spirits throughout the ship; and many other complimentary services including yoga and pilates instruction, golf clinics/lessons, premium ice cream, yogurt and smoothie bar, enrichment programs and access to specialty restaurants.
New York Theater Tour
Travel to the Big Apple and join fellow Willamette alumni for an unforgettable experience touring the city's legendary theater scene. Along with a six-night stay at the Kimberly Hotel in midtown Manhattan, travelers will enjoy five exceptional shows (four on Broadway and one Off-Broadway), including the universally-acclaimed smash Hamilton! With tickets selling for up to $1,000 online for this show alone, the front row mezzanine seats we have for this cultural phenomenon give this trip more than enough bang for your buck—especially since you'll also be part of five post-performance discussions, five meet-the-artist roundtables and a private tour of the best art galleries in New York's chic Chelsea district. On top of all that, the trip also includes daily breakfasts, a welcome and farewell dinner and a private coach to take you to and from shows and events. This experience is truly a theater lover's dream!
Croatia & Pearls of the Adriatic Coast
Croatia and the Adriatic Coast have become a prime destination for travelers because of their natural beauty and history. Now we can experience both on a Vantage trip that will be one of the best we have done. In addition to 3 nights each in luxury hotels in Zagreb and Opatija, the highlight of this trip will be a seven-night cruise along the gorgeous Adriatic Coast in the 27-passenger yacht, the five-star La Perla. We have reserved the yacht just for Willamette alumni and friends.
Vantage Deluxe Travel will be our tour operator for this trip. Outstanding pre (Montenegro) and post (Lake Bled, Slovenia) extensions are available.
Tanzania Service & Safari
We are making a special trip to Tanzania, which will feature a wildlife safari and include the opportunity to explore some unique Willamette connections! Our two featured alumni connections are through Carrie O'Callaghan '00 and Ashley Holmer '02.
Our trip operator, Embark Adventures, is offering travelers a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with its safari, which promises a raw and uncensored look at the bush of Africa. Become attached to a litter of lion clubs, witness a herd of wildebeest fleeing from a pursuing leopard and be entertained by the hilarious antics of the meerkat -- all on the same journey!
Our group will also have the opportunity to visit The Mungere School founded by Ashley's nonprofit organization, Red Sweater Project. Located at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, The Mungere School provides children in rural Tanzania the opportunity to access an advanced secondary education. This is an extraordinary opportunity to experience and provide service to a locally-supported education project focusing on sustainable development and the utilization of renewable energies.
Stars of Western Cuba
This trip will begin in Cienfuegos and end in Havana, with stops at Trinidad, Cayo Largo, Guanahacabibes National Park and Havana. Local tour guides will assure you of learning as much as possible about Cuba and its history and culture.
As you may know, visiting Cuba is not inexpensive. But if you are going to do it, why not enjoy the luxury and intimacy of a beautifully designed mega yacht and a truly distinctive cruising experience, complimentary shore excursions daily, all meals and beverages onboard (including beer and wine with dinner), and a private Go Next reception.
Cuba: The People and Culture
This more economical land tour is nevertheless an outstanding itinerary, which will enable you to experience the history, people and culture of this heretofore forbidden land. Vantage Travel is our tour operator and has led small group cultural trips to Cuba since 2006. Their itinerary will ensure that you will see and experience the best that Cuba has to offer, including many interactions with locals from the lively music and arts scene. Highlights will include visits to Finca Vigia (Cuban home of author Ernest Hemingway), Old Town Havana, Cienfuegos, colonial Trinidad, Las Terrazas Eco-Preserve, and the Bay of Pigs and Santeria museums.
Coastal Norway: The World's Most Beautiful Voyage
Fall is a spectacular time of year to visit the Norwegian fjords. The combination of fall colors, unsurpassed scenery and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights make this a truly amazing trip! The tour begins and ends in Bergen with an 11-night cruise in between. The Northbound journey along the pristine Norwegian coastline will take us to unspoiled fishing villages, historic towns and a crossing of the Arctic Circle to the Northernmost point of Europe. The Southbound cruise will visit places that were not seen on the Northward route.
Rogue River Whitewater
Join us for three days of Bearcat camaraderie and fun on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon! We'll enjoy three days of rafting on the river and relax two nights in wilderness lodges. The Rogue River has of stretches of calm water in beautiful canyons that funnel into narrow rocky channels full of whitewater rafting excitement on class II-IV rapids.
One of the great treats of rafting the Rogue River is a number of historic lodges that have remained in the canyon since the Wild & Scenic designation was determined in 1968. These privately owned off-the-grid lodges are comfortable, clean and rustic. Our guide is outfit is Rogue Wilderness Adventures which has been providing exciting, fun and unique river adventures in the beautiful Wild and Scenic Rogue River Canyon since 1973.
Italy's Magnificent Lake District
Having done three previous trips to Tuscany, we are now stepping out to offer a fantastic opportunity to see the Lakes area of Northern Italy. This is arguably one of the most beautiful areas on the planet! Our base for this enchanting exploration of villages, villas and vistas will be the Hotel La Palma in Stresa, a beautiful town that offers the best of the Lake District’s legendary culture, cuisine and beauty. The hotel is situated in a quiet, centrally-located neighborhood on the banks of Lake Maggiore, so comfort will not be a concern.
An Oceania Cruise from L.A. to Miami via the Panama Canal
We invite you to start the 2016 travel year by heading south for a warm and wonderful Oceania cruise from Los Angeles to Miami. Along with a first-class cruising experience, you will enjoy stops in San Diego, Mexico (2), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia and the Cayman Islands. Unpack once, then enjoy your home for 16 nights, the newly transformed flagship of the Oceania Cruises fleet, the Regatta. This will be a great trip for glimpsing Central America and the new Panama Canal, dining, relaxing, and socializing with other members of our group aboard the ship.
Japan & 50th WU-TIU Anniversary
Join us for a special journey through the history, mystery and charm of Japan in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the sister university exchange relationship between Willamette and Tokyo International University. Discover an amazing variety of places from modern Tokyo, Kawagoe (known as "Little Edo," it is the sister city to Salem, Oregon and home of TIU), the peaceful countryside of Takayama and the timeless ancient capital of Kyoto with its thousands of shrines and temples.
Destinations include Tokyo, Kawagoe, Hakone, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa and Kyoto. Included highlights will feature sightseeing tours, an English speaking guide, economy reserved train seats, 15 meals and much more.
Kayak the San Juans
Join fellow alumni and Professor Luke Ettinger as we enjoy a three-day, two-night expedition in the beautiful San Juan Islands. We're returning for our third outing with Discovery Sea Kayaks, named a "Best Travel Company on Earth" two years in a row by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Our excursion will begin and end in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and our kayaking route will offer a variety of island scenery and include killer whale habitat and island hopping.
Portugal & The Douro River Wine Country
We are finally offering an opportunity to visit Portugal! This river cruise will provide the best in comfort, while we visit historic Lisbon and the spectacular Douro River wine country. Meaning ‘River of Gold’ and now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Douro will provide a path along graceful terraced vineyards as we glide upriver to Salamanca, Spain, another of 5 UNESCO Sites we will visit on this trip.
Included highlights will feature nine sightseeing tours plus Cultural Connections, 26 meals (wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner), free wi-fi, and the intimate, outside staterooms of the four-star ms Douro Spirit.
The Best of India and a Ganges River Cruise
What better way to start the 2015 travel year than with a spectacular trip to India! We have never offered this tour, but could not pass up this itinerary. Vantage Deluxe World Travel has put together a marvelous tour that will hit all the country's significant locales while providing travelers with seven nights aboard the brand-new, all-suite RV Ganges Voyager. Vantage is the only American cruise operator to offer such an itinerary. This comprehensive journey will be your opportunity to marvel at bustling Delhi, fortified Jaipur, Ranthambore’s tiger-filled national park, and Agra’s unparalleled Taj Mahal. In addition, if you really want to maximize your trip to this part of the world, a 5-day pre trip to Delhi and Kathmandu, Nepal and a 5-day post trip to Varanasi, India are available.
Switzerland & the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle
Since 2008, we have offered at least one river cruise. This opportunity to enjoy this most leisurely, yet educational, travel experience will feature a Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam cruise along the scenic Rhine and Moselle rivers. We’ve picked the best time of year to experience the culture and cuisine of five countries aboard the newly refurbished ms River Navigator. One of Vantage Travel’s most popular river cruises, this trip sold out in record time last year.
This will truly be one of the most scenic and comprehensive tours you will take. Highlights include fabulous river views along the heart of the Rhine and Moselle river valleys, 14 sightseeing tours, cultural connections including wine tastings, lectures, and local entertainment on board, and visits to 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites. In addition, a pre trip to Lucerne, Switzerland with its breathtaking alpine views and/or a post trip to historic Bruges, Belgium are available extensions to this remarkable river cruise.
Tuscany, Featuring Professor Emeritus Roger Hull
We invite you to join us for 8 full days in Tuscany with Professor Emeritus Roger Hull. This trip was extremely successful in 2008, and we are happy to offer it with a few enhancements. We would encourage you to go with old friends, and expect to make new ones as we participate in discussions of Italian art and culture, and learn about regional wine and cuisine. With the help of our excellent tour operator, AHI, we have carefully organized a relaxed program of walking tours, coach excursions, museum visits, and free time for individual exploration and contemplation.
We will spend the first six nights in the ancient Etruscan city of Cortona. Daily forays will include visits to Assisi, Perugia, Pienza, Montepulciano and Siena. Our last two nights will be in Florence, where we will experience much of the magnificent art and architecture of this central Renaissance city.
We hope you can take advantage of this opportunity to experience a very special part of the world with the expertise of AHI and Professor Hull. We have 36 spots available, and assure you that the camaraderie will be yet another highlight of this spectacular trip.
Best of Africa: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa
We are limited to 25 spots for this incredible, great value trip of a lifetime. This is your chance to see Victoria Falls, two animal parks (Chobe and Kruger) and the incomparable Cape Town, while enjoying 21 included sightseeing tours and cultural connections, along with superb hotels and safari lodges. The amazing price of $5,599 (double occupancy) includes round-trip airfare from three U.S. cities and all domestic transportation. Connections from 27 other U.S. cities are $150 or less. This may be the best value we've offered thus far in the Willamette Travel Program. Contact Jim Booth for flyer and registration information.
Canyon Country, featuring Arizona and Utah
If you have wanted to see some of America's most beautiful canyons, this is your opportunity. During our nine day adventure, we will travel from Scottsdale, AZ to Las Vegas, NV while experiencing the majesty of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. We will learn much about the history and culture of these magnificent settings. Our accommodations will be excellent and on site.
Costa Rica: A World of Nature
Join Director of Alumni Travel Jim Booth for this exciting opportunity to experience the natural beauty and friendly people of Costa Rica. We will discover the incredible flora and fauna of Costa Rica while visiting Tortuguero National Park, Sarapiqui Rainforest, Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Park. Visits to coffee, cacao, and pineapple plantations will showcase the rich agricultural heritage of this tropical country. February is in the dry season, which should assure us of a spectacular experience.
Canada's Atlantic Coast
We are very pleased to offer this new, fantastic trip to alumni and friends who are interested in visiting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. One of the highlights of the trip will be a visit to Cape Breton Island and the famous Cabot Trail (see picture), named for the famous explorer. Its mountainous beauty, rugged terrain and spectacular ocean views combine to make this one of the most scenic trips on the Atlantic coast.
Undergraduate and law alumni alike are invited to join WUCL Dean Symeon Symeonides and other University staff for this fabulous 12-day cruise from Istanbul, Turkey to Dubrovnik, Croatia to Athens, Greece, aboard the small but luxurious Oceania cruise ship Insignia. The ancient city of Ephesus, the Greek islands of Rhodes, Delos, and Santorini, as well as stops in Katakolon, Corfu and Crete, will provide historic and scenic experiences virtually every day!
Paris and Normandy River Cruise
Experience the history, culture and beauty of Paris, Normandy and Northern France in a single trip. By connecting these destinations with a river cruise, we are combining the convenience of unpacking just once with the variety and depth of experiences that comes with the daily tours you will enjoy as you cruse along the Seine from Paris to the beaches of Normandy. Spring is the ideal time to experience this extraordinary part of France!
Voyage of Discovery: Wonders of the Galapagos Islands
Join Senior Director of Alumni Relations Jim Booth for this magical journey to the untouched habitat of this mysterious natural realm. This will truly be the journey of a lifetime aboard a state-of-the-art research vessel with a team of certified naturalists. We will also spend time in Quito and Otavalo, Ecuador.
You can add another spectacular experience to your trip by taking our optional post-trip to Peru and the "lost city" of Machu Picchu! A full itinerary brochure will be available in June, 2008.