• SPLASHDOWN Sometimes just looking at the ocean isn't enough—you have to get into it. That's why the yachts of Windstar are now equipped for all water sports. When the ships are anchored or docked, an aft platform opens for swimming, snorkeling, waterskiing, kayaking, sailing, banana boating, and windsurfing. You can even get diving instruction and PADI certification while on board, then take a guided scuba dive to Shark's Tooth off St. Bart's, Toopua Island in Bora Bora, a sunken B-17 bomber off Calvi, Corsica, or a rugged seamount in Bodrum, Turkey.
ON ALL SAILINGS; FROM $1,406 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; 800/258-7245; www.windstarcruises.com
• TOUR DE FRANCE This March, Continental Waterways' classic French canal barge, Escargot, will ferry 24 cyclists through the byways of the Upper Loire for a six-day tour of the villages, forests, and architectural treasures of the region. Daily 30-mile biking expeditions vary in difficulty and include visits to the châteaux and vineyards of Sancerre, the cathedral of Notre Dame at Briare, and the tiny hamlet of Chavignol, famous for its goat cheese.
FIVE-NIGHT TRIPS IN MARCH; $1,390 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; 800/676-6613; www.continentalwaterways.com
• ON THE RUN Anyone who runs a marathon deserves a treat after crossing the finish line, and Passport to Adventure makes the reward as great as the accomplishment, combining excursions to top destination races with one-week cruises. New in '04 is their Los Angeles Marathon trip, in March, followed by a one-week cruise of the Mexican Riviera, from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta, on Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas. In June, Passport caters to less hard-core runners, with a trip to the Vancouver Half-Marathon and 5K, followed by a sail to Alaska on Serenade of the Seas.
L.A. MARATHON AND MEXICO CRUISE, MARCH 5-14, FROM $1,209 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; VANCOUVER RACES AND ALASKA CRUISE, JUNE 25-JULY 4, FROM $1,278 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; 800/955-5769; www.passporttoadventure.net
• SWING WITH THE MONKEYS Though most associate the ultra-luxury Seabourn line with refined in-port amusements like shopping and museum visits, guests aboard the Seabourn Legend's Central America cruise play hard: climbing trees, swimming with dolphins, scaling pyramids, white-water rafting, and rappelling through the rain forest canopy in Panama, Belize, and Costa Rica. And in early 2004, Seabourn Spirit will cruise the South Pacific, stopping in Papua New Guinea and offering great snorkeling, board sailing, and waterskiing. Seabourn has also doubled the gym sizes and added exercise equipment on all of its yachts.
CENTRAL AMERICA VOYAGES FROM $3,998 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND PACIFIC ADVENTURE SAILINGS FROM $6,399 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; 800/929-9391; www.seabourn.com
• ALONG THE ALASKAN COAST For more than 30 years, Sheila Cluff, the force behind the Oaks at Ojai and the Palms at Palm Springs, has taught her fitness program to cruise passengers; this year, she'll be on Crystal Harmony's July sailing to Alaska. Participants will start each morning with yoga, stretching, and strengthening exercises followed by a two-mile walk on deck. Later, there's aqua-aerobics and, yes, disco dancing. In each port, Cluff offers an activity to whip guests into shape: an "aerobic shopping" tour around Juneau, for example, or an invigorating hike near Victoria, followed by a formal tea service.
JULY 17-29, FROM $3,120 PER PERSON, DOUBLE; 800/892-4995; www.oaksspa.com
NPR commentator MARION WINIK is the author of First Comes Love.