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Linda Klose

Age: 63


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Star Clipper

Ship: Star Flyer

Sailing Date: 2014-01-5

Itinerary: Costa Rica

We chose the Star Clipper line because we wanted the experience of a real sailing ship. We chose Costa Rica because of the rave reviews of family and friends. Both were well warranted and we can heartily recommend the Star Flyer cruise along the coast of Costa Rica. The food was exceptional. The cabins are adequate with very attentive stewards. The experiences on deck were very special. I did climb up to the 'crow's nest'. My new friends did pull the line to raise the sail. I did lie down in the net next to the bowsprit and watch the water go by. Despite past history, my husband had no problem with seasickness. The ship is large enough and stable enough plus the seas off Costa Rica are fairly calm. Shipboard staff was wonderful. The excursions and pre-cruise tour added to the trip. And, yes, there is plenty of time to just lie next to one of the mini-pools on the deck or spend hours on a quiet beach.

Breakfast and lunch were lavish buffets with always a custom cook station. Dinner was multiple courses with lots of choices. The level of the cuisine was very good to excellent with plenty of variety. The pastries were superb! Given the small kitchen used, it was truly amazing the level of fresh food that was served! Liquor was extra, of course, but buy your wine by the bottle because they will label it with your cabin number and hold it for your next meal. One highlight of the trip was the beach barbecue. The kitchen, dining room, and bar staff moved ashore with linens, cooking equipment, and a full bar. It was the most elaborate beach picnic that I have ever had!

We were in one of the cheaper cabins on the lowest level. Waves sometimes splashed by our porthole. There was plenty of storage including room for two good sized suitcases under the bed after you unpacked. Lots of shelves and hangers were provided. Fresh towels were provided whenever needed. The very attentive steward checked our cabin at least two times per day. The bathroom was adequate with a roomy medicine cabinet. The shower is separated only by a curtain from the rest of the bathroom but it was adequate in size. Plenty of hot water was available at all times. The cabin décor is lovely but a little shabby. The ship has been scheduled for an overhaul soon. The beds were comfortable. The ventilation worked well. Electricity was 110w. A blow dryer and standard toiletries were provided.

Almost everything focuses on this being a sailing ship to explore. Yes, there is a masseuse on board. Yes, there are two tiny swimming pools. Yes, there are lounge chairs. But, what makes this a different experience is climbing in the rigging or lying in the net next to the bowsprit or helping haul up the sails. Each day as you leave port, there is an announcement and special music as passengers go on deck to watch the sails go up as the ship leaves port. We did have one night that a local group came on board with very good musicians and dancers. Also, snorkel gear was given out for the cruise to anyone interested. Swimming was offered next to the ship at one point also.

To get a more complete Costa Rican experience, we added on the Treetops Treasures pre-cruise tour and that was marvelous with a two night visit to the Cloud Forest for viewing hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds while ziplining and crossing suspension bridges. We also took local excursions while on the cruise portion of the trip. They were a lot of fun. Pick and choose from some excellent choices since there is definitely some overlap. We did one in a mangrove swamp, one in the ocean looking for marine life, and one to a rescue center and botanical garden. We skipped ziplining since we had already done that. In past reviews, I read that it could be difficult to get the excursions that you wanted. We did not have that problem. Very few excursions were filled to capacity because the ship was not full probably but if there is something you really want, do sign up quickly. Most of our trips from the Star Flyer to land were by tender and some were wet landings. Bring water shoes. There was never a line for the tender and you could take it to shore anytime in port to explore on your own.

We had an absolutely marvelous time on the trip from beginning to end. Our only regret was not booking two weeks instead of one. There are two itineraries. There is one that heads south than back to Puerta Caldera and the other one that heads north then back to Puerta Caldera. If we had known how much fun we would have, we would have done both weeks.

Our only problems were all centered around the incompetent office staff in Miami. If you book directly with them, make sure that you nag and follow-up every detail. Make sure that they mail to you the confirmation packet. We booked two months prior to departure and they never sent one to us. We were given contradictory information about a transfer. And, finally, the ship was told that about 20 of us were traveling for two weeks when we were traveling for one!

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