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About Karen13

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  1. Thank you to everyone who has posted updates. We are due to embark on the Veendam from Montreal next Saturday. Calling at Sydney, Halifax and Charlottetown. Any updates from those CC’ers in the area before then would be appreciated.
  2. I am not sure about the OBC issue, but with regard to the WiFi price, check out the recent AI package, which includes all drinks, tips, laundry and wifi. We were offered it as a special offer on our Panama Canal cruise earlier this year and the package price saving meant we got WiFi for free. We would have purchased the other add ons anyway, so it was a no brainer. The wifi worked fine, much to my surprise, and was very useful for keeping in touch with the kids back home. I see it is now being offered generally on the Windstar website, presumably because it has proved popular. We would certainly get it again for that saving.
  3. Thanks everyone for your comments. My colleagues daughter is very mature, and well behaved. As an only child, she is well used to the company of adults and travels everywhere with her parents. I have discussed what is, and what is not, available on this cruise so my friend is aware. She has cruised on the Star Clipper many years ago which I would imagine offers a similar level of entertainment, etc. Thanks again.
  4. Hi, I have a colleague who is keen to try Windstar after I have told her how much we enjoy our cruises with them. she is hoping to do a Caribbean trip on one of the motor yachts next year with her husband and 12 year old daughter. Is that possible without having to book two cabins? Thanks for any advice.
  5. We flew into Costa Rica via Panama and stayed a few days in a nice hotel in the hills above the city, Hotel Buena Vista. Lovely views and away from the hustle and bustle. Private taxi transfer to the ship. We planned it that way so the highlight of the cruise, the passage through the canal, came at the end. The cruise was great, usual superb Windstar service, and amazing to go through on a small ship. Couldn’t believe it was built so long ago. We also stayed at Las Clementinas, would highly recommend their lovely apartments. It’s in the Old Town. Panama City was fascinating.
  6. We were on an Alaska cruise three years ago when there was a large religious group who took over the whole MDR for the early sitting, meaning no other passengers were able to eat then, as they objected to sitting in the same room as other guests drinking alcohol. On one occasion we were in the lift between evening venues carrying our drinks, and one woman even turned her back on me and faced the wall rather then look at me carrying a glass of wine. My husband and I paid to dine at Tamarind three times so we could eat at a convenient time for us as a result. We complained to HAL on our return home and got £500 future cruise credit as compensation for our inconvenience, as we had not been informed of this prior to our booking.
  7. Thanks everyone for your advice. That’s all very helpful.
  8. My husband and I are on a Canada and New England Cruise in September. We are thinking of booking Oli’s Trolley four hour tour of Acadia National Park. We dock at 7.00am. This is a tender port and one of the ships tours departs at 7.30. The tour we are looking at departs at 9.30. I have emailed the company and this is the response I got ‘Thank you for the email! Bar Harbor is a tender port and we suggest you are on a tender boat 1 hour prior to tour time and check in 30 minutes prior to tour time we are located directly on the tender pier for check in’ can anyone who has done this confirm whether they had any problems getting a tender in time to join this tour? Many thanks for any advice.
  9. Hi, we docked at the Cristobal terminal on our recent Panama Canal cruise on the Star Breeze. I emailed Windstar and they emailed me straight back to confirm this, as it was not on our cruise documentation. this info was on another thread recently about what to do in Balboa - Posted January 28 There is a lot to do in Balboa. We didn't get to do everything I wanted to. We were anchored and tendered to Marina Flamenco (near the end of the Amador causeway). https://www.google.com/maps/place/Marina+Flamenco/@8.9229608,-79.5468257,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8facaf06e12d6f73:0x3d149e4af039a38a!8m2!3d8.9115931!4d-79.5226214 Something I really wanted to do but couldn't work in was a day tour to an Embara village. The following one gets really good reviews. It is a long tour day so it would be good to do it either before the cruise or on the first day in Balboa. http://www.emberavillagetours.com/ If you are really into learning as much as possible about the canal, you can visit the visitor centers at Mira Flores (old locks, has a museum about the canal) and Agua Clara (new locks). We did an evening walking tour (mostly Casco Viejo). For embarkation day, we arranged for the same guide to take us on a morning tour of Portobello (the Caribbean end of the Spanish overland route for transferring gold from the Pacific to the Caribbean) including the Customs House museum and the forts. Since we had some extra time, he also took us on the ferry across the canal to visit the land side of the Gatun dam before dropping us off to board the ship. The guide, Vincent Scott, was excellent (phone is +50766547771 email vscott03@gmail.com). I went to the Biomuseo - it is on the causeway, not far from the ship. It tells about how the isthmus formed and explains the biodiversity there. Very nice - about 2 hours to view it. Casco Viejo is a really nice area to spend some time. There is also a canal museum there. I did the monkey tour on the second day in port. It left at 9 AM - I think an earlier departure might have been better - we saw some monkeys, birds and a distant view of a sloth high in a tree. The guides said that the monkeys are more interested in the tour boats earlier. We stayed in Casco Viejo (the old town) for a few days at the end of the cruise and I would highly recommend a visit there. There is also a Canal Museum there which it is worth visiting. Much less crowded than the one at Miraflores.
  10. Hi Mocamps, It wasn't really a snorkelling cruise. Just a few opportunities to swim, but not the Red Sea or even the Caribbean type. I think the platform was out out at least once, maybe more. They brought the water toys into the beach for the beach bbq. There was a water trampoline that seemed to be great fun! The deck bbq was on the Thursday while we were in Balboa.
  11. We have just returned from this cruise on the Star Breeze and really enjoyed it. We have also cruised twice on the Windstar and it is a great ship, you will love it. We have had deck 1and deck 2 when we were upgraded, but there is really not much difference. You need to work out if the drinks package is worth it for you, depending on how much you like to drink. We like the convenience of not worrying about a bar bill at the end of the cruise. The beach barbecue was fun and the deck barbecue was exceptional as usual. The staff are wonderful and cannot do enough for you on any of the ships we have been on. I would second the Manuel Antonio Nature Walk. Our guide was exceptional, and we also saw 3 species of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, raccoons, and tiny deer. We would have missed most of these without the eagle eyes of our guide. We also did the dolphin watch cruise which was a fun sail, and we saw lots of dolphins up close. We did the Monkey watch tour from Balboa, which was interesting as you go out onto Gatun Lake in a fairly small covered speedboat. A very different perspective from a large cruise ship! It was weird when a large ship came into sight and were were in our tiny boat! Some people took a taxi into Panama City which is very close, but complained the traffic was bad. Our itinerary was the reverse of yours, and we had three nights pre-cruise in San Jose and three in Panama City. We stayed in Casco Viejo (the old town) in Panama which is a fascinating world heritage site, and worth a longer stay. Uber’s were easy and cheap there to get around. We pre-booked our transfer from Colon to Panama City with Amber Moon Taxis who communicated with us very well, and their driver was on time at the cruiseport and very friendly. Any more questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  12. Thanks so much Ski Mom 2 for the recommendation for Las Clementinas! We really loved the lovely huge apartment and the location, right in the heart of the Old Town. We felt really safe walking around, even at night, and enjoyed seeing how the area is still being rejuvenated. There is such a contrast between the quite clinical new part of town and the vibrant old town. Many lovely restaurants and rooftop bars. Panama City was a very interesting place to visit. Easy access by Uber to Miraflores locks. Uber was easy and cheap to travel around and to the airport.
  13. Sorry Griller, I meant waxed paper straws! And I remember glass milk bottles at school too. I don’t need straws either, although I appreciate some people may want them. I have decided to tell the bar staff on board I do not want a plastic straw in future.
  14. We are currently on the Costa Rica and Panama Canal Cruise, which is wonderful so far. However as a passenger from the UK I am surprised that in Costa Rica generally, and on the Star Breeze, the use of plastic straws and single use plastic water bottles are still widespread, given the emphasis on conservation and ecologically sustainable practices. Windstar have pioneered the use of glass water containers in the cabins. Perhaps they could consider using reusable water bottels when on shore excursions? Plastic straws are being outlawed in the UK in favour of waxed plastic ones which are biodegradable.
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