Can you suggest a few tour operators that organize adventure trips for solo travelers?
—S.L., VIA E-MAIL
Cyclists on Footloose/TrekAmerica's new Southwest Mountain Bike Tour (800/221-0596; www.footloose.com; June 16-27; $1,199, including camping gear and admission to all national parks) will traverse backcountry trails in Moab, the Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park, camping along the way. • The roommate-matching program at Singles Travel International (877/765-6874; www.singlestravelintl.com) allows guests to avoid a (low) single supplement of $500. On its shipwreck diving trip to Chuuk, Micronesia (April 24-May 3; $2,775, including airfare from Houston and accommodations), divers can explore more than 50 coral-covered vessels that have been buried in Truk Lagoon since World War II. • Singles in Paradise (800/954-5453; www.singlesinparadise.com) organizes trips to Greece, Belize, and Russia, but athletic types will want to sign up for "Multisport Maui" (July 17-24; $1,079, including airfare from the West Coast and seven nights' accommodation). Excursions—which cost anywhere from $45 to $245 extra—range from the low-key (guided hikes to the island's tropical interior) to the adrenaline-pumping (paragliding off Haleakala volcano).
My husband and I are planning an Alaskan cruise—which ones do you recommend?
—M.D., VIA E-MAIL
This spring, Princess Cruises launches its 1,337-room sister vessels, Diamond and Sapphire Princess—the largest cruise ships ever to sail to Alaska. A seven-day round-trip voyage from Seattle (800/774-6237; www.princess.com; doubles from $1,798) offers glacier viewing and Klondike excursions—along with innumerable onboard activities (each ship has four pools, a casino, a nightclub, a putting course, and even a wedding chapel). Holland America's Oosterdam also begins plying Alaskan waters this season on a seven-day round-trip cruise from Seattle (877/724-5425; www.hollandamerica.com; doubles from $1,798). The first of Holland's ultrasleek Vista Class ships in the Northwest, the Oosterdam has verandas on two-thirds of its 924 cabins. Silversea's Silver Shadow is adding Alaskan routes in June, the best of which is a 10-day trip from Anchorage to Vancouver that stops in bygone mining towns and historic ports (800/722-9955; www.silversea.com; doubles from $8,000). With a Mandara Spa, Frette linens, Bulgari toiletries, and teak balconies, the 192-room ship ensures that passengers will be afloat in luxury.
I'm booking a trip through a travel agency located outside the United States. Are there any travel insurance companies that provide coverage for vacations purchased overseas?
—D.H., VIA E-MAIL
Most major domestic travel insurance companies offer both trip cancellation policies and emergency medical care coverage for trips purchased abroad. If you want additional perks like last-minute flight changes, cash transfers, and restaurant reservations, sign up for Travel Guard International's "cruise, tour, and travel" plan (800/826-7791; www.travelguard.com).The "five-hour trip delay" benefit in Travelex Insurance Services' plans (800/228-9792; www.travelex-insurance.com) covers meals and lodging if you're stranded en route for five hours or more. CSA Travel Protection (800/348-9505; www.csatravelprotection.com) rewards tardy planning with its "impulse travel discount." Booking a trip and buying coverage within just 15 days of departure earns travelers a 15 percent saving on their policy.
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