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May 14, 2018

Seats aboard 2019 Eastern European-bound guided tour, cruise offered by SVSU organization

OLLI tripIndividuals aged 50 and over are invited aboard a Saginaw Valley State University organization-sponsored 15-day guided cruise and tour across the Adriatic Sea and Eastern Europe next winter.

SVSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which offers educational programs and trips to its membership of individuals aged 50 and over, will sponsor the overseas trek from Feb. 26 to March 12, 2019. Individuals who are not members of OLLI are invited on the trip, which includes a boat cruise and land-bound tours to historic and scenic sites across Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina and Montenegro.

“This is a very unique opportunity that not everyone is going to have on their bucket list — but they should,” said Shelley Wegner, associate director of OLLI. “There is so much to see. So much natural beauty and history.”

To prime those individuals unfamiliar with the region and its history, OLLI this week will invite an expert to speak on the topic at SVSU. Mindy Morgan, an associate professor of anthropology at Michigan State University, will visit SVSU Wednesday, May 16, at 5 p.m. in Curtiss Hall, room 129. She will discuss the language, culture, cuisine and geography of Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast region. Wegner encouraged individuals considering the trip to attend Morgan’s talk, which is free and open to the public.

While typically only members are able to attend OLLI-sponsored trips, the unique destination of Eastern Europe led OLLI leaders to offer the opportunity to anyone over 50.

Tickets range from $4,585 to $4,885, which includes costs relating to travel, lodging, and most meals. Cancellation insurance is available.

The trip plan includes spots for 50 people. Once overseas, the travelers will split into two guided tour groups of 25 people.

“Even though it is a group tour, we want to keep it small enough that it will be an intimate experience for all involved,” Wegner said.

The trip will begin when the group departs from SVSU to Detroit Metropolitan Airport for an overnight flight to Zagreb, Croatia. Upon arrival, the group will meet with the guided tour director and stay one night in a hotel before boarding the cruise ship on the Adriatic Sea the following morning.

Once the cruise sets sail, the vessel will dock at various spots along the western coasts of Montenegro and Croatia, where members will view sites such as the waterfalls and canyons of the Krka National Park as well as the historical monument of the Imperial Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

After spending 11 nights aboard the ship and exploring several countries, the last two nights of the vacation will be spent in a hotel in Istria, Croatia.

“There is plenty of time built into the schedule for people to explore on their own,” said Wegner. “Whether it’s shopping or taking in the local sites, there is free time and you don’t always have to do what’s on the itinerary.”

OLLI leaders said the trip will involve walking up to three miles and include between six to eight hours of activity daily.

OLLI organized the trip through Grand Circle Travel, a Boston-based travel agency.

Those interested in learning more can visit the OLLI office at SVSU in Curtiss Hall, room 111, or contact the office at (989) 964-4475 or Detailed print brochures for the trip are available.