Maybe it was the three trips in one or perhaps we were enticed by the grand scale of the Canal.   It could have been the novelty of the new areas in the itinerary that we found intriguing but whatever the combination of motives we found ourselves flying south in mid-October (2019) to join the Star Legend for a new aspect of cruising.

In brief:  we boarded the ship at Puerto Caldera on the west coast of Costa Rica.  Sailed south to Panama,  crossed via the Panama Canal to the east coast, visited Columbia, sailed north to Puerto Rico and finished the trip with a cruise around the Virgin Islands ending up again in Puerto Rico.  In all 21 pleasant days with 17 ports of  call.  Not too shabby.

Left:  a simple map to show the route of the first leg of three for the whole cruise

Above and Below:  Painted murals in our hotel room. Indeed we are in a painted hotel with a roof-top bar on a lovely fall eve, S. José

A Heron stands guard at our hotel in Puerto Caldera


Above:  a little bit of paradise on Isla Parida

Below:   an elaborate BBQ lunch put on by the staff

above:   a "Wet-:Landing" uses a Zodiac to reach beaches that lack a pier while our ship, the Star Legend, rides at anchor off shore.

Below:  Panama City - far more architecturally sophisticated than I was expecting.  It looks like being the owner of a canal pays well.