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About Alumni Association

Rice Alumni Travel Program

Join us for a journey of a lifetime! The Rice Travel Program offers an array of educational and cultural itineraries to take you around the world, all in the company of fellow Rice alumni and friends of the university. Our program includes special planning and a commitment to exceptional service that you won't find anywhere else. We invite you learn more about our upcoming trips and being exploring with us today!

Click here to download the 2013 Alumni Travel Brochure (3MB file size). The 2012 Brochure is here.

All dates and prices are subject to change due to the advance planning of the trips. If you have questions regarding the Travel Program, please contact Dan Stypa at 800-RICE-ALU or 713-348-5094. If you would like to receive information on trips, please complete our online form. Please note that brochures for individual trips will be mailed as they become available.

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2013 Travel Itineraries: Collapse all | Expand all

Sensational South America

January 5-15, 2013
Prices begin at $2,099 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Alumni Travelers

South America is a continent of contrasts. From rainforests to sophisticated cities, explore colonial history and modern local life along South America’s eastern seaboard. Highlights of this 10-night cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires include the 17th-century Portuguese town of Parati, the tropical wonderland of Ilhabela, the lively city and markets of Montevideo, and the beaches and nightlife of fabulous Punta del Este. Described by Darwin as “more magnificent than anything any European has ever seen in his country of origin,” Rio de Janeiro is blessed with an idyllic setting.

With two overnights in Buenos Aires, you can sample fine Argentinean beef and malbec wines and tour distinctive historic neighborhoods and monuments. Don’t miss samba and tango performances or better yet, take a lesson. Traveling aboard the luxurious Azamara Quest, a 654-passenger ship, you’ll enjoy elegantly appointed, customized staterooms and suites, culinary masterpieces prepared by some of the world’s most accomplished chefs, and a service staff who will anticipate your every need.

Your voyage includes many amenities at no extra cost: beverages, including wine with lunch and dinner; specialty coffees and cappuccinos; crew gratuities; and 24-hour room service. A selection of optional shore excursions will also be available.

Learn more here.


February 23-March 2, 2013
Approximately $4,895 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare
Operated by: Academic Arrangements Abroad
Featuring: Arthur Gottschalk, Rice professor of composition and theory at the Shepherd School of Music

We are delighted to offer our first-ever travel program to Cuba — an exploration of the country’s remarkable art and architecture and opportunities to meet talented artists, architects and musicians and to experience the warm hospitality of this captivating Caribbean nation. Joining us on this trip will be the Shepherd School of Music’s Arthur Gottschalk.

Accommodations are at the elegant Hotel Parque Central in Old Havana. Enjoy a walking tour with an architectural historian, who will lead us past the neighborhood’s most atmospheric baroque and neoclassical landmarks and meet leading Cuban artists
in their studios and homes and at a private reception. Take a curatorial tour of the Cuban art collection at the National Museum of Fine Arts and see the beautiful craftsmanship on display at the Ceramics Museum, with a private after-hours visit and reception. Drive south for an overnight stay in Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South, to see its neoclassical buildings and stroll the historic cobblestone streets of nearby Trinidad.

Specially arranged performances of music, dance and theater will enhance our visit, as will lectures on Cuban history and art and a briefing on Cuban-American relations. We hope you will join us for this immersion in the many celebrated arts of Cuba.

Tulip Time in Holland and Belgium

April 8-15, 2013
Prices begin at $2,216 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Avalon Waterways

Discover picturesque Holland and Belgium in the spring on this marvelous eight-day river cruise departing from Amsterdam, a sophisticated and modern capital with a rich and fascinating history. Enjoy a canal cruise in Amsterdam, take photos of the charming windmills at Kinderjijk, discover St. Baaf’s Cathedral in medieval Ghent, explore Antwerp and learn about Holland’s complex flood controls at the fascinating Delta Works.

Visit Maastricht, the university town on the borders of Belgium and Germany. Drink in the colorful blooming beauty of famous Keukenhof Gardens — 70 acres of parkland with lakes, sculpture gardens, greenhouses and the world’s largest bulb flower park. All of this is waiting for you on this cruise vacation sure to delight all of your senses.

Avalon Waterways spacious and contemporary Affinity will be your home, while you are immersed in old world history and charm. You will enjoy fine dining that includes regional cuisine, daily sightseeing with local experts in each of the ports, and a stateroom with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors to view the flowers and windmills as you sail on the rivers and canals of Holland and Belgium.

Learn more here.

Legendary Turkey

April 23-May 7, 2013
Prices begin at $3,895 (based on double occupancy, including airfare, taxes and fees)
Operated by: Odysseys Unlimited
Featuring: Lisa Balabanlilar, Rice assistant professor of history

Turkey — where Europe and Asia meet to form the cradle of civilization — is yours to discover on this exclusive 15-day tour. Travelers will be accompanied by Lisa Balabanlilar, a Turkish history and cultural expert, and a seasoned Turkish tour director. You will visit remote villages, explore fascinating archaeological sites and cruise the Turquoise Coast in a privately chartered yacht.

Begin your journey in Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural and spiritual heart. The city astonishes with its legendary Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace, one of the world’s richest museums. Then travel south to the sacred World War I battlefield of Gallipoli, ferry across the Dardanelles to Troy and explore the wealth of Greco-Roman ruins at ancient Pergamum. Spend a full day at Turkey’s nonpareil classical city, Ephsesus. Among its treasures are the grand Library of Celsus and a 25,000-seat amphitheater with excellent acoustics and splendid views. Before boarding a privately chartered gulet yacht, travelers will enjoy lunch in a local village.

For four splendid days, cruise the exquisite Turquoise Coast, relaxing and discovering hidden sights, quaint fishing villages and remote ruins. End your journey in the seaside resort Antalya, with a side trip to ancient Perge. There is an optional five-day, four-night posttour extension for those who wish to see the remarkable rock formations of Cappadocia and Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

Learn more here.
Rice Alumni Legendary Turkey Brochure

Kentucky Derby

May 2-5, 2013

The premier event of thoroughbred horse racing, The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday of May each year in Louisville, Kentucky. Known as "the most exciting two minutes in sports," The Derby is a must see special event. From May 2-5, 2013, come experience the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby and all its great tradition. Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the “top ten events to experience in a lifetime,” the Kentucky Derby is the leading stakes race for three year old thoroughbred horses.

One of the oldest continuously-held sporting events in the world, the "Run for the Roses" was first contested back in 1875 and has enjoyed many special horses including Secretariat and Seattle Slew. Your tour includes all that you need to explore and appreciate this great majestic sport: special tours at horse farms, knowledgeable speakers to help you better understand thoroughbreds, and attentive staff.  In addition, Rice faculty member, avid equestrian, and regular Rice travel faculty lecturer Dr. Linda Neagley will accompany the group.  Join us as we plan our "Run for the Roses."

Learn more here.


May 15-22, 2013
Approximately $2,825 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare
Operated by: Tauck
Featuring: John Boles, Rice’s William P. Hobby Professor and editor of the Journal of Southern History

Experience the enchantment of the low country from Savannah to Charleston and hear stories that have shaped the area’s culture and role in Atlantic maritime history. This tour will feature John Boles ’65 as he enlightens travelers on the impact that this area of the country has had on the nation’s history.

This eight-day trip includes guided visits to the historic district of Jekyll Island and then sightseeing in Savannah with tours of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (founder of Girl Scouts of the USA) and the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. Enjoy a private tasting of Savannah’s madeira wine traditions and a bistro dinner in a historic Savannah hotel.

Visit Fort Pulaski National Monument and Hilton Head Island, where you will go on a storytelling journey through the roots of Gullah culture with a master artist. Continue to Beaufort, known for its antebellum architecture and scenic location on Port Royal Island, and then on to Charleston, where a private cruise of the Charleston Harbor will focus on sharing the area’s history. Take a guided tour of Charleston’s elegant cobblestone streets along the harbor front, the Citadel and the Battery. After a farewell reception and dinner, a private visit to an 18th-century plantation and America’s oldest landscaped gardens bring the tour to an end.

Deadline to register is November 1, 2012

Learn more here.

Treasures of Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon, and Catalonia

May 23-June 2, 2013
Prices begin at $6,990 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Travel Dynamics International

Catalonia in Spain and the French provinces of Roussillon, Languedoc and Provence are among the most vibrant in Europe, with their own language, cuisine, music, and styles of art and architecture that are distinct from the other parts of Spain and France.

This summer voyage, which introduces you to these fascinating regions, will follow the cobblestone streets of Tarragona to see the city’s well-preserved Roman ruins and numerous medieval monuments. Then passengers will travel along the Costa Brava to Catalonia’s ancient Greek and Roman cities and enchanting medieval villages. At Caret in the Roussillon — a part of France that receives very few visitors — you will discover an exceptional collection of works of art by Matisse, Braque and other modern masters. In Languedoc, you will explore Carcassonne, one of the finest medieval towns in Europe. And in Provence, you will follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Chagall and Picasso, discovering the landscapes that inspired them and wandering through some of the finest art galleries in the world.

This trip is aboard the 114-guest all suite cruise ship Corinthian. The small group experience of this trip will provide you with the utmost personal attention and certainly be a trip that you will remember for a lifetime.

Learn more here.

London and Paris

June 1-8, 2013
Approximately $1,895 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Orbridge

Enjoy two of the most accessible European cities on an eight-day flexible adventure. Interested in the London theater scene, experiencing the delicious restaurants in Paris, exploring the historic museums, or just relaxing with a cappuccino and watching daily life pass by? This program is designed to allow you to tune your activities to your interests, with the support and guidance of a local host.

Guided sightseeing includes renowned sites such as Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament in London, as well as the Notre Dame Cathedral and Arc de Triomphe in Paris, among others. Then, a full day at leisure in each city gives you the time to see London and Paris from the inside, at your own pace.

In London, relax and rejuvenate after a full day of exploring at the modern Mandara Spa at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, featuring a fitness center and 15-meter pool. Each room is equipped with state-ofthe-art facilities, including an LCD flat-screen TV, complimentary wireless Internet and en suite facilities.

During your stay in Paris, unwind in the Opera District at the Radisson Blu Ambassador Hotel, walking distance from some of the city’s most iconic sites, including the Galleries Lafayette and Folies Bergères. Each room reflects the hotel’s 1920s art deco style and offers modern amenities such as free wireless Internet and LCD flat-screen TVs.

Learn more here.

Alaska Frontiers and Glaciers

July 12-22, 2013
Prices begin at $2,999 (based on double occupancy, including airfare, taxes and fees)
Operated by: GoNext

Revel in the rugged, unspoiled beauty of Alaska as you sail its coastline aboard the elegant 684-passenger Oceania Cruises’ Regatta. Depart from Seattle and follow the Inside Passage along Canada’s scenic coast to Alaska and the small wilderness outpost of Ketchikan, known as the Salmon Capital of the World.

Next on the itinerary is Alaska’s capital, Juneau, an exhilarating blend of nature and modern culture. Marvel at the spectacular Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, followed by a visit to Icy Strait Point, a secluded seaport nestled in the unspoiled beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Continue to Sitka, an astoundingly picturesque city known for its many historic attractions, and then onward to Wrangell, one of the oldest settlements in Alaska. Sail south to Canada’s largest island and the lovely city of Victoria, a former British colony that has retained much of its colonial splendor, before returning to Seattle. Savor the majestic beauty of ancient glaciers, soaring mountains and exceptional wildlife on this Alaskan cruise.

During your cruise, a selection of optional shore excursions will be available to choose from in each port of call.

Rice Alumni Alaska Frontiers Brochure

Ecuador and Cruising the Galapagos Islands

August 18-27, 2013
Prices begin at $5,995 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Classic Escapes
Co-sponsored with the Houston Zoo, featuring senior veterinarian Joseph Flanagan

On our first partnership with the Houston Zoo, discover the landscapes of Ecuador and the wildlife of the famed Galapagos Islands on our land and sea adventure to the Earth’s most biodiverse country. Experience Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a local market high in the volcanic mountains vibrant with Andean culture, and enjoy dining at a traditional hacienda in the mainland portion of our adventure. Your 10-day journey will include a cruise on the M/V Santa Cruz, built specifically
for exploring this magnificent archipelago.

Walk and hike the islands; swim and snorkel in coves in a brilliant show of color rich with tropical fish; and marvel at the sea lions, marine iguanas and bird life unique to the Galapagos Islands. Your itinerary follows in the footsteps of explorer and scientific traveler Charles Darwin as you tour the breathtaking islands and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where world renowned scientists conduct biological studies.

From highlands to giant tortoises and salt lagoons, often frequented by flamingos, your trip concludes with the final night spent in a luxury hotel in Guayaquil. For intrepid explorers, there are optional extensions: a classic Andean adventure in Peru, culminating at the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, or arrive in Ecuador early for a brief pretour to Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve.

Learn more here.

Village Life in the Italian Lake District

September 7-14, 2013
Approximately $3,095 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Thomas P. Gohagan & Company

Experience the true essence of life in northern Italy’s fabled Lake District for one full week, with a lake-view room in the charming Hotel Regina Olga in Cernobbio, a picturesque village overlooking Lake Como. Enjoy a private boat cruise on Lake Como and see how this unique setting has inspired poets, composers, musicians, artists and philosophers for centuries. Explore the artistic and architectural treasures left by Roman patricians, medieval lords and Renaissance princes during expert-guided excursions to Bellagio, Villa del Balbianello, the Borromean Islands and Stresa.

Enriching lectures and the exclusive Village Forum with local residents bring you personal perspectives of the region’s modern life and cultural heritage. This comprehensive itinerary also features an optional excursion to stunning Lugano, Switzerland, a historic city with a distinctive Swiss culture. The two-night Milan preprogram option features a visit to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see Leonardo da Vinci’s hauntingly entrancing “The Last Supper.”

An exceptional value, this exclusive travel program repeatedly sells out quickly and offers not only one of the world’s most enchanting destinations, but also the convenience of unpacking just once.

Amalfi: The Divine Coast

September 17-25, 2013
Prices begin at $2,995, plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Alumni Holidays International

On this seven-night program, delight in the scenic grandeur of the Amalfi Coast. Here, mountains erupt from the waters of the Mediterranean and pastelpainted buildings cascade down their sides.

From your base in Vietri sul Mare at the deluxe Hotel Ratio, travel a fabled, serpentine ribbon of road from destination to destination. Along the way, take in the breathtaking views that inspired countless artists, gain historical perspectives and see exactly why the Divine Coast has drawn royalty and celebrities for decades.

During the tour, experience the dramatic cliffs of Positano, Italy’s most vertical town. Explore the charming seaside resort of Amalfi and the cliff-top village of Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples. You will discover an epoch suspended in time during a tour of the fabled ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii and then explore the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, one of the most important archeological museums in the world. From there, visit a farm where mozzarella cheese is produced and enjoy a tasting of the delicious finished product. While here, meet some of the local residents and immerse yourself in the daily life of this stunning region.

An extensive meal plan, featuring dinners with local wine, a program of informative lectures, an itinerary of all-included excursions and no single supplement for solo travelers, makes this an experience you won’t want to miss.

Flavors of Northern Italy

September 28-October 6, 2013
Price: $3,995 (based on double occupancy, plus airfare)
Operated by: Orbridge

This specialty program offers intimate experiences with celebrated Italian makers, producers, and chefs. You will be immersed in Northern Italy’s Veneto region, a historic region where of some of the world’s best wine and cuisine is produced. Take part in intimate experiences designed to showcase the age old methods and ingredients of the region’s cuisine.

Relax in a family owned wine- and oil-producing estate as your base while you visit vibrant local farmers markets, picturesque family vineyards, and the most celebrated makers and producers of the region’s specialties. Featuring hands-on culinary demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, tastings, shared meals, and discussions will make a lasting, authentically Italian experience: one that will enliven your repertoire and deepen your appreciation for the people and places behind this historic region.

Experience life in a classic Italian estate located just a few kilometres from Verona and within arm’s reach of Veneto’s wine and cuisine sources. Family-owned, the 70-acre estate offers the rustic luxury of apartment-like suites and manor rooms in a historic setting, Italian villa décor, and surrounding vineyards and groves that invite exploration; along with the comforts of an eco-friendly spa and swimming pool.

Classic Greek Isles

October 7-19, 2013
Prices begin at $5,417 (based on double occupancy, including airfare, taxes and fees)
Operated by: Odysseys Unlimited

Join us for a cruise through the azure waters of the Aegean aboard the Harmony V, stopping at various islands to see archaeological sites and discover the way the landscape and imagination combine to create myth. Along with visits to Athens, cradle of civilization, and the island of Crete, rich in history and culture, this tour presents Greece in all its glory — and in a harmonious balance between traditional cruising and private yachting.

Start in Athens with a visit to the magnificent Parthenon atop the Acropolis, affording spectacular views of the city below. Next, travel to central Greece for a stop in Delphi, the most beautiful and celebrated ancient site of all. Each day, dock in new ports and see sites such as the sacred island of Delos; the imposing ruins of Mycenae, a UNESCO World Heritage site; and Knossos in Crete, the political center of Minoan civilization.

Other exciting ports of call include picturesque Santorini, with its whitewashed homes overlooking the Aegean Sea, and Mykonos, with its beautiful port and beaches. Call on the Peloponnese region on the Greek mainland, where you can visit the fortified town of Monemvassia, and explore charming Nafplion, with its Venetian-inspired architecture.

Those who wish to extend their Mediterranean odyssey can add a four-day, three-night posttour extension to Istanbul, Turkey.

Learn more here.

Around the World by Private Jet

October 29-November 20, 2013
Price: $67,950 (based on double occupancy, plus airfare to Orlando, FL)
Operated by: TCS & Starquest Expeditions

Explore the Earth's greatest treasures with this personalized around the world expedition. Travel in a customized private jet to the fantastic places, cultures, and landscapes that capture your imagination.

Climb the terraced steps of Machu Picchu and touch the seamless walls of this ancient Inca citadel. Feel the protective gaze of the Easter Island moaistatues. Bask in the radiant beauty of lush tropical Samoa. Immerse yourself in the underwater splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. Welcome the sun among Angkor Wat’s astoundingly beautiful temples and watch it set amid Africa’s greatest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania. Stand enthralled before the majesty of the Taj Mahal. Savor the exotic scents of spices and foods in the souks of Fez. Travel around the world and return with memories that will last a lifetime.

Your specially outfitted Boeing 757 follows a private travel schedule, so you will avoid layovers and other hassles of commercial travel. You will land in smaller airports closer to your destinations and are provided the ultimate in luxury, convenience, and safety. Your private plane interiors accommodate only 78 guests in roomy two-by-two VIP-style leather seats. You will receive one of the best crew-to-traveler ratios in the world: one to five.

Around the world tours are the ideal way to reach many remote cultures and have peak experiences, while enjoying premium travel comfort. Feel free to go beyond the main itinerary and follow your passion. The tour operator is happy to accommodate your choice of personalized excursions along the way. Whether you want to take a cooking class, visit a school, or hike off the beaten path, the tour operator will ensure that your trip is tailored for your specific enjoyment.

Learn more here. | Rice Alumni Traveling Owl brochure

Treasures of Southern Africa

November 19-December 3, 2013
Prices begin at $6,995 (based on double occupancy), plus airfare, taxes and fees
Operated by: Alumni Holidays International

Experience the best of southern Africa with an itinerary that showcases its diverse cultures, lands and wildlife. Cosmopolitan Cape Town, poised between mountains and ocean, combines Cape Dutch houses and inspiring landmarks and bustling Johannesburg, born from a 19th-century gold rush camp and home to the stirring Apartheid Museum. Walk in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps with visits to Robben Island and Soweto and travel to Cape Peninsula National Park to admire the stunning beauty of the unique flora at Kirstenbosch Gardens. See the African Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach and watch exotic wildlife in its natural habitat during a three-night safari at Thornybush Game Lodge. There will be the opportunity to learn about South Africa, past and present, with two exclusive presentations by local experts as you enjoy incredible scenery and classic luxury during a two-night Rovos Rail journey to breathtaking Victoria Falls.

Robben Island and the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas in South Africa and Victoria Falls, which extends from Zimbabwe into Zambia, are UNESCO World Heritage sites featured in this comprehensive program. These sites are distinguished due to universal scenic, historic, artistic or scientific value. This adventure includes excursions, luxury accommodations and an extensive meal plan.

Learn more here.

Young Alumni Travel

Year-round flexible options

The Rice Alumni Travel program brings young alumni a new opportunity to explore the globe, experience new cultures, ancient art , historic sites, delicious cuisine, thrilling adventures and authentic self-discovery all while making longlasting friendships.

We are excited to partner with Contiki Vacations, the worldwide leader in travel for 18–35 year olds. With more than 200 trips to choose from in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Asia, Russia and Egypt, traveling with Contiki means you’ll share an amazing journey with alumni and travelers your age from all over the world.

When you plan your next trip with the Rice Alumni Travel program, the choices are limitless. With trips ranging from three days to more than a month, you are sure to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To learn all about the trips expertly designed foryoung alumni 18–35 years old available throughout 2013, visit Contiki’s website at If you have any questions, please contact the Rice Alumni Travel program at 713-348-5094 or Contiki at 866-652-4483 or email

You have earned your degree, now it’s time to embark on an education beyond the classroom and workplace. As Rice young alumni, you deserve it.

Travel Insurance

Each of the Association of Rice Alumni trips is designed to put your safety and comfort first. However, travel insurance is an important precaution to protect you, your family and your investment should an unforeseen incident occur.

USI Travel Insurance Services (TIS) is an independent insurance agency that offers travel insurance to the alumni travel community. This optional insurance coverage is available for:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption
  • Baggage
  • Emergency medical and evacuation expenses
  • Emergency assistance services

After your reservation is confirmed, you will receive information about this travel insurance plan, including costs and application forms. When you enroll with TIS, they will mail you a certificate of insurance that describes the policy provisions. If you need to make a claim, you will contact Travel Insurance Services directly.

Whether you select the insurance coverage provided by TIS or another insurance agency of your choice, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance for your protection.

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