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Star Breeze Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
120 reviews
8 Awards

Cruise Good -- Business Transactions Sometimes Difficult

Review for Star Breeze to the Panama Canal & Central America
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10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Apr 2017

We chose this cruise for the itinerary as a Panama Canal transit was a bucket list item; the itinerary was excellent, food was great, and service generally good! Our difficulties were with booking the cruise, paying for it, and then getting the final bill correct. While service was generally good we found it spotty, with a very odd experience of past cruisers (Yacht Club members) being invited to a reception and no staff showing up.

Booking the cruise: We booked this cruise only a few months ago, and WindStar made it clear that we needed to pay THAT DAY or we would lose the booking; we were fine to pay that day. But wait -- WindStar couldn't process AMEX transactions as they had some system outage, which went on for about a week. And we were determined to pay with AMEX. Finally they processed the payment and we felt like we had an upcoming cruise. We had also referred 9 people to a Christmas 2016 WindStar cruise. WindStar's internal process for documenting referral bonuses is rudimentary, and it took our agent more than one call to find the referral. The booking process could have been a lot better.

Before embarkation: We arrived into Costa Rica the day before our cruise and had booked a driver to take us to a lodge near(er) to our departure port. Costaricadriver.net was easy to work with and provided an excellent driver. He met us at the airport and we headed to our hotel, Hotel Lapa Villas. The drive was about 90 minutes, and we knew the next day's drive to the port would be about 30 minutes. We wanted to stay somewhere local, but nearer to the port. On the way to the hotel the driver stopped at a local restaurant for lunch, Soda el Guicamo. It was delicious! The hotel itself had large but basic rooms and was located in a National Park. The sounds outside were incredible -- what I might have expected as sounds of the jungle. We did take a short hike from the hotel, where we spotted macaws, toucans, and one pizote (related to raccoon). The hotel's food and bar gave us local flavor. This was not the Four Seasons, and if you're looking for that experience, look elsewhere. One the day of the cruise, the same driver picked us up and off we headed to Jose's Crocodile Tour. Wow -- what a tour. We'd found this tour and had booked it after we'd confirmed the cruise. The tour boat captain and guide were both incredible; we spotted all sorts of birds and many crocodiles, including some 18 feet long. Our last planned stop was the port, and the driver had a surprise for us -- if we wanted to see some Capuchin monkeys. Of course we wanted to see monkeys; for a nominal fee, we were surrounded by some 15 monkeys. Yes, they climbed on our heads and shoulders. What fun. We then headed to our ship, where we quickly boarded. There were no lines.

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