Upcoming Trips

Bearcat Explorers experience destinations near and far! Alumni, parents, and friends are invited to join us on the upcoming trips. At any point, feel free to contact the office at 503-375-5304, or email the trip contacts listed below.

2016 Trips

Sand, Sea and Stars - An Oceania Cruise from L.A. to Miami via the Panama Canal

January 4-20, 2016

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.

We are pleased to be working with Go Next as our travel agent. They are a primary agent for Oceania Cruise lines, and have helped us block 15 rooms aboard the Regatta. This cruise is among their most popular. Our pricing is based on 2-for-1 with airfare included, so this trip is an excellent value. It has been more than six years since our last ocean cruise, but the itinerary and value make this trip a great way to start the 2016 travel year!

Contact Jim Booth (503-910-3192 or jbooth@willamette.edu) or Tami Page at Go Next (800-842-9023 or tpage@gonext.com) for additional information or to reserve your space now. We can only guarantee space until June 30, so please make your plans to join us now.

  • Cost: Begins at $3,799 per person double occupancy for inside cabin. Includes airfare from most major U.S. cities.
  • Final payment due: July 17, 2015.
  • Activity Level: light
  • Group size: 30 max.
  • Trip host: Jim Booth '64, Director, Travel Program

Academic Tour of Greece

May 16-June 5, 2016

The Rhetoric department invites alumni as special guests on an academic tour of Greece with current students. As part of the group, you'll study and learn about Greek culture (ancient and modern), literature and art. Travelers will see some of the country's glorious architecture, museums and iconic landmarks, such as the Ancient Agora of Athens. The trip will begin in Athens and cover much of the Greek mainland.

  • Student-centered trip with a focus on the academic experience
  • Appox. Cost: $4,700 plus airfare. This includes all ground transportation (private buses), hotel expenses, site admissions, breakfast and dinner, insurance and gratuities.
  • Hotel rooms are typically doubles or triples
  • Interested parties should contact alumni@willamette.edu for more information
  • In December, interested parties will be asked to complete a trip questionnaire
  • Payment is due in January
  • Trip hosts: Jeanne Clark, associate professor of rhetoric, and Catherine Collins, professor of rhetoric

Italy's Magnificent Lake District

May 31-June 8, 2016

Italy Lake Distrcit

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. We will also visit parts of Southern Switzerland. 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.

AHI Travel will be our tour operator. They do Italy like few other companies, and have escorted all three of our Tuscany trips in the past. Their philosophy includes tour managers from the local area, so we will get the advantage of an in-depth view of the culture and history of the places we will see. In addition, AHI is flexible, in case you want to go earlier or stay later.

Contact Jim Booth ’64 (503-910-3192 or jbooth@willamette.edu) or Renee Okrzesik at AHI (800-680-4244 or rokrzesik@ahitravel.com) for additional information or to reserve your space now.

  • Cost: $3,195 plus airfare. Contact Renee Okzesik at AHI Travel for airfare information from your nearest airport. No single supplement surcharge.
  • Deposit: $600
  • Final payment due: Mar. 17, 2016
  • Activity level: Moderate
  • Group size: 30 max.
  • Trip host: Jim Booth '64, Director, Travel Program

Tanzania - Kilimanjaro Climb & Red Sweater Project

July 9-21, 2016

Informational webcast planned for January 13, 6:00-7:00 p.m. (email for details)

Kilimanjaro trip

We are planning a special 12-day trip to Tanzania including a Mount Kilimanjaro expedition and the opportunity to explore some unique Willamette connections! Our two featured alumni connections are through Carrie O'Callaghan '00 and Ashley Holmer '02.

Carrie and her husband, Donovan, have lived on Mt. Kilimanjaro and now operate Embark Adventures, which offers once-in-a-lifetime adventures for those who want to explore the most remote corners of the planet. Carrie will join us in Tanzania and provide us with a more insider glimpse into life and culture than the average traveler to Tanzania encounters. We'll skip the tourist market and dive into the local market; climb the winding red dirt road 6000 feet up the side of Kilimanjaro to experience the local village where Carrie and Donovan lived and follow it up by a sunset picnic with a view of Kilimanjaro not often glimpsed by the rest of the world.

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 a locally-supported education project focusing on sustainable development and the utilization of renewable energies.

Kilimanjaro beckons, and our group of Bearcat adventurers will climb the "Everyman's Everest" via the Lemosho Route. This is the road less traveled with fewer than 10 percent of Kili climbers, but is one of the more exciting routes on the mountain, and is still manageable for the average adventurer. At 72 km (almost 45 miles), this route is longer and allows for more thorough acclimatization, a higher success rate to the summit, and affords greater potential to see a variety of wildlife through dense jungle. The trail passes through five ecosystems, from dense forest and heather up through alpine desert and the glorious summit. Our group will enjoy a high ratio of guides to climbers with expert climbing expedition gear.

Travelers will have the option of adding additional days for a Serengeti safari and visit to Ngorongoro Crater.

If you're interested in participating and would like more information, please contact James Lippincott, Willamette Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Parent Relations. And be sure to join us for an informational session on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 6:00-7:00 pm, either in person on campus or by webcast where you'll have the chance to hear more and ask questions.

Grand Norwegian Coastal Voyage

October 3-17, 2016

Norway Cruise

Fall is a spectacular time of year to visit the Norwegian fjords. The combination of colors and scenery make for an 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. You can also enhance your journey with a four-day post trip to Amsterdam!

Vantage Travel will be our tour operator for this spectacular trip. They have been consistently among the best in terms of itinerary, price and value. Highlights of this trip include five shore excursions, seven walking tours, seven onboard discussions, the World Heritage site Bryggen Wharf in Bergen and an experienced, Scandinavian Cruise Director. In addition, there are a limited number of free single-supplements available in Category J. Pre-payment before October 2, 2015 will earn a 10% discount!

Contact Jim Booth (503-910-3192 or jbooth@willamette.edu) or Cheryl Sheehan (617-878-6119 or csheehan@vantagetravel.com) for additional information or to reserve your space now.

  • Cost: Begins at $3,749 per person double occupancy for inside cabin, not including air or port changes of $260. Air from Portland is $1,649 (includes all taxes and transfers). There is a 10% discount (not including air) for pre-payment before Oct. 2, 2015; and a lower % discount thereafter. Some cabins are available with NO single supplement.
  • Deposit: $500
  • Final payment due: July 3, 2016.
  • Activity level: Light
  • Group size: 30 max.
  • Trip host: Jim Booth '64, Director, Travel Program

Additional trips are currently being planned, including Cuba for 2017! Stay Tuned!