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Tour the Amazon via kayak

Plus: Want to see the U.K. and brush up on Mac skills? There's a cruise for that

By Phil Marty, Special to Tribune Newspapers

1:00 AM EST, February 25, 2014

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Many trips to the Amazon tend to be based on very small ships (actually more like large boats). Tofino Expeditions is offering a new twist with a nine-day kayaking exploration of the iconic river system. Accompanied by a naturalist and aboriginal guides, you'll paddle the waters of the Ecuadorean Amazon by day, then return by motorized dugout canoe to spend the night at one of three deluxe jungle lodges. In addition to kayaking, you'll be able to explore the jungle from ground level and in the forest canopy. The trip is priced from $4,390 per person and includes eight nights' lodging, meals and guides. Trips are limited to 10 participants, and there are dates in April, October and December. Airfare is extra. Info: 800-677-0877, tinyurl.com/lrtkpvj

A cruise for Mac users

MacMania sounds like a natural offering from a cruise that stops in Scotland. MacMania, in this case, refers to an offering from Macworld, the magazine devoted to iMacs, iPhones and all things Apple. It is presenting a conference during a cruise June 13-23 onboard the Celebrity Infinity. Round-trip from Harwich, England, the cruise will make port calls in Paris/Normandy (Le Havre); St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands; Cork (Cobh), Waterford (Dunmore East) and Dublin, all in Ireland; Liverpool, England; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; and Holyhead, Wales. The MacMania conference offers 14 seminars, 60 to 90 minutes long, ranging from iPad for Digital Photographers to Master Your iPhone. Seminars are held during the single at-sea day and most nights during port days. Cruise pricing is from $1,899 per person double occupancy, and the conference costs $1,275 per person additional. Info: tinyurl.com/no73pw6.

Monitor cruise discounts

Trying to figure out the right time to get the best price on airfares, lodging or tour packages can drive you crazy. The folks at CruiseCritic.com have a new tool on their site to help you scope out cruise deals. Called Price Drop, it compares fares from major cruise lines to published fares from the previous seven days. Prices that have dropped are added to Price Drop along with the previous price and the percentage of decrease. When we checked Price Drop in late February, we found a 17-night South Pacific cruise aboard Royal Caribbean International on April 10. An interior cabin was listed at just $1,289 per person double occupancy, down 55 percent from the $2,877 price six days before. For a July 13 seven-night Caribbean cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines, the price of an ocean-view cabin had fallen to $789 from $1,769 just two days before. The Price Drop tool allows you to filter for destination, date, cruise line, cabin type and trip length. Info: tinyurl.com/l69xnqn