Giving a very detailed account of our trip because a similar review VERY MUCH helped me plan a previous trip to Hawaii. Loved having details to help plan days on shore.Bottom line, I can’t recommend this cruise highly enough. Small ship, great staff/passenger ratio. Large rooms and wonderful food, service etc etc. Each night there was a short program in the lounge to debrief for the next day and the day.
Costa Rica/Panama Canal
Wednesday January 16th 2019 overnight in Louisville for 7AM flight to San Jose
Thursday January 17th travel day San Jose via Atlanta.Arrived at Restaurante del LaRosa LOS Americas in the afternoon. This was the coolest place. They told us to help ourselves to the fridge and keep tabs to pay later. Had drinks by pool, wonderful dinner with Edwin taking great care of us. Lots of wine and local food
Friday January 18th we awoke, at least in our building, to the sound of something scampering across the roof and birds so close they sounded like they were inside. With the warm climate, a metal roof is all that is between you and the great outdoors at this hotel. Today is the trip from San Jose to Caldera where we will meet our ship on Saturday. pick up by Henry from a travel co. I don’t remember at 8am for tour of coffee plantation. Stopped for wine and cheese tasting at roadside store, on toward Caldera with stops at Our Lady of Mercedes (church with exterior made of iron.) Lunch at La Finca, ending with visit to oxcart factory. Wonderful day with lots of fun surprises especially seeing an ox cart man on the side of the road and getting our picture made with him. Arrived at Costa del Sol late afternoon and checked in to a quaint little hotel. We had rooms ranging from large suites to very small and sparse rooms but the whole place had less than 20 rooms. A large open air veranda at the end of the hall provided a view of the ocean and the ship we’d be boarding the next day. We had a wonderful dinner of fresh seafood with a view of the water before retiring. Another long day in the books.
January 19th board Star Breeze today. We spent an easy morning at the pool in Caldera. Had to walk down the street to another hotel for this. We were all amazed at how this quaint little hotel was in the middle of such a rough looking area but we are learning that there are lots of metal bars and razor wire here. We boarded the ship around 1:00 with the hotel providing transportation we soon started to get aquatinted with our home for the next week. Cabins on this trip proved to be spacious and the crew is exceptional. During the afternoon, some had naps others had drinks and we met in the main dining room for a delicious dinner. Everyone turned in at that point except for one couple and the nightlife didn’t prove to be enough to keep them up much longer.
Sunday January 20th Quepos- early coffee and breakfast for most. We soon learned via social media that we are missing out on a snow and ice storm at home and are all happy to be in sunny Quepos Last night at dinner our waiter Yogi promised us the best coffee in the world at the Star Bar and it didn’t disappoint.
We disembarked at 8:30 for a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. After convincing a cab driver that 10 of us couldn’t squeeze into 2 Corollas we finally made it to the park in 3 cars. We thought we could do this walk without a guide but the long wait and the promise of moving to the front of the line prompted us to get one and we were super glad we did. He carried a long lens and knew exactly where to spot sloth, monkeys, iguanas (or something like that) He arranged a van for us to get back to the ship where we engaged in swimming, naps, and drinks. What a life we are living this week. Dinner in the main dining room again tonight. Best part of the day for me today, swimming in the Pacific, seeing white faced monkeys, and marking a National Park of the list.
Monday January 21st today we are signed up for afternoon kayaking at port Jimenez. Spent the morning in the Yacht Club having coffee and we grabbed some lunch there before meeting our boat. We booked this tour on our own and were scheduled to be picked up at noon on the beach. A zodiac took us in where we had a “wet landing” meaning you will get your feet wet. The cruise line provided towels that we were advised to take to put over our legs while kayaking as the weather was so hot. We did about a 3 hour excursion seeing some local birds and more monkeys stopping toward the end at a beach to rest, cool down and have some delicious pineapple provided by our guide Jessica. Back on the ship for a few drinks before dinner, followed by some music on deck
Tuesday January 22nd Isla Perida cancelled due to high winds near the shore. Day at sea. Not much to report. Time on top deck, a game of scrabble in the yacht club (which we are sure will be named the redneck yacht club by the time we leave) lunch, naps, drinks, dinner, ending the night with a talent show by the crew which proved to be fun.
Wednesday January 23rd Balboa Panama (since day at sea came early we have an extra excursion planned) Indian village. We rode a bus through the outskirts of Panama and couldn’t believe how this part of the world lives. It did not seem to be so impoverished but trash was everywhere. Our guide told us they don’t recycle and it seemed to us that they didn’t have anything to do with garbage. We went down to the Chagres River and took a dugout to a Embera Indian Village where we learned of their customs and saw goods that they make. So glad we had the opportunity to do this.
Thursday January 24th Island of monkeys, a long ride through the city with long delays on the way due to a World Youth day and a visit by the Pope to Panama. Once there we took a boat out on an eco tour and saw more monkeys and a couple of crocs. Excursion was ok but glad we had taken the unplanned Embera village tour the day before. It was much better. We ended the tour with a stop at a hotel/resort for a restroom break and some complimentary fruit punch. Back to ship for late lunch left in our cabin by the steward and a nap and drink before dinner. Dinner was a barbecue on deck with a feast of sushi, ribs, lobster tail and on and on....followed by line dancing. This small ship with a big crew does not disappoint in any way.
Friday January 25th Panama Canal passage awake and on deck a little after 5 AM. Very interesting going through the locks and seeing how the canal works. The crew brought around champagne and the small nature of the ship provided great viewing.I’ve heard such horror stories of not being able to even see the canal on those mega ships. Later in the day we viewed a video of the history of the Canal. Very interesting. Other than that naps and packing were the order of the day. A nice dinner to top off the trip
Saturday January 26th left the ship at 7:15 guided bus trip to airport (blah blah blah) at the airport at 9:30 for a 3:15 flight. Found some Mexican food and free WiFi then on to Atlanta for a late flight home. Great trip with great friends.
I can’t locate the number of our cabin but we were on the same floor as the lounge and had an Ocean View room. Very spacious room and bathroom especially for a cruise ship. Bathroom had full size tub and shower and double sink. There was also a large closet with room for luggage and clothes. We had the laundry package which was awesome.