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Passage through The Panama Canal and Costa Rica

Exclusively Chartered, Five-Star, All-Suite, Small Ship M.V. Star Breeze

Date: Fri, February 9, 2018 - Sat, February 17, 2018

Trip Status: Taking Reservations

Price: from approximately $4,995 per person

Activity Level: Moderate

Region: North America

Arrangements: Thomas P. Gohagan & Co.

Download the brochure

Join us for this spectacular nine-day journey from the Costa Rican rainforest through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Spend one night in a deluxe hotel in San José, Costa Rica, then cruise for seven nights from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, to Colón, Panama, aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star, all-Suite m.v. Star Breeze, among the highly acclaimed Windstar fleet. Explore the terrestrial wonders of Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park and Curú National Wildlife Refuge. Call at rarely-visited Cebaco Island and discover the rich marine life in its spectacular coral reefs. Learn about the latest investigations in tropical ecology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Experience a daylight passage through the awe-inspiring Panama Canal to the San Blas Islands, where indigenous Guna people have maintained their traditional lifestyle for centuries. Tour Panama City, including its Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter), a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy lectures by exclusive onboard study leaders throughout the itinerary. Extend your stay with the Costa Rica’s Cloud Forests and Volcanoes Pre-Program and Dynamic Panama Post-Program Options.


Day     Destination

  1. Depart the U.S. or Canada/Arrive San José, Costa Rica
  2. San José/Puerto Caldera/Embark
  3. Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park
  4. Curú National Wildlife Refuge
  5. Cebaco Island, Panama
  6. Panama City
  7. Panama City/Panama Canal Transit/Colón
  8. San Blas Islands
  9. Colón/Disembark ship/Agua Clara Visitor Center**/Panama City/Return to the U.S. or Canada

*Cruise itinerary is subject to change.
**Agua Clara visit is departure flight time permitting.



  1. Continuing the tradition of unique small ship itineraries.
  2. Exclusively chartered, Five-Star, all-Suite, small ship m.v. Star Breeze calls on ports inaccessible to larger vessels.
  3. Intimate ship—106 spacious Suites (277 to 575 sq. ft.).
  4. Once-in-a-lifetime daytime passage through the Panama Canal.
  5. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  6. One port of call every day and an excursion included in each port.
  7. Specially arranged educational lectures by study leaders.
  8. Visit Panama City’s Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  9. Learn about the latest investigations in tropical ecology during a specially arranged, staff-led tour of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).
  10. Comprehensive cruise/land program—ocean, jungle, wildlife, islands and culture.
  11. Early Booking Savings!
  12. Costa Rica’s Cloud Forests and Volcanoes Pre-Program Option.

Dynamic Panama—The Renaissance of a City Post-Program Option.

Reservations and Information

To reserve, complete a registration form in the brochure and fax it to (919) 660-0148 or call (919) 684-2988 to reserve conveniently over the phone.

To learn more about our travel program or any of our upcoming trips, please contact us at travel@daa.duke.edu or 919-684-2988

Duke Leaders

Mode of Travel

Five-Star, All-Suite, Small Ship m.v. Star Breeze

The exclusively chartered, Five-Star, all-Suite m.v. Star Breeze, relaunched in 2015 following a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, offers intimate cruising at its finest and ranks high among Travel + Leisure magazine’s “World’s Best Cruise Lines.” This small ship can dock in ports inaccessible to larger vessels and celebrates traditional “sail aways” on deck. Its Zodiacs carry small groups on island landings and excursions that are led by expert naturalists.  

Ideal for private viewing of passing landscapes and coastal sites are the six Classic and Owner’s Suites, each with a private, furnished veranda. The 36 French Balcony Suites have a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door and wooden railing, and the Ocean-View Suites have one picture window. Each of the Five-Star Suites features one queen bed (most convertible to two twin beds), a private bathroom with shower (most with full bathtub), luxurious European linens and amenities, individual climate control, flat-screen satellite television, Wi-Fi Internet access, safe, minibar, dressing table, hair dryer, plush robes and slippers. Complimentary welcome flowers and fruit are provided in each Suite upon arrival.

The elegant AmphorA dining room accommodates all guests at a single, unassigned seating, and an attentive staff serves fine contemporary international cuisine. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise. Guests may enjoy indoor or outdoor dining in the Veranda restaurant for breakfast and lunch or reserve a table at Candles for alfresco evening dining. The Yacht Club offers complimentary specialty coffees and light snacks in between meals. Room service is also available 24 hours.

The inviting and spacious public areas are tastefully appointed and include a large lounge, where a program of enriching lectures is held, two bars, a comfortable library, computer center with Internet access, spa, fitness center, boutique, casino, outdoor whirlpool and counter-current pool and a watersports marina with complimentary paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkeling equipment. Each ship has two elevators, and there is a physician on board and a medical facility.

With a ratio of one crew member for every 1.5 guests, the English-speaking, award-winning crew provides personal and attentive service.

Included Features

In San Jose, Costa Rica

  • One night in the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José.
  • Breakfast.
  • Tour of San José, including the National Theater and National Museum.

Scenic transfer from San José to Puerto Caldera.

On board the  exclusively chartered,  Five-Star, All-Suite, small ship
m.v. Star Breeze

  • Seven-night cruise from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, to Colón, Panama, featuring Panama Canal transit and port calls at Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park, Curú National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica; Cebaco Island, Panama City and San Blas Islands, Panama.
  • Spacious, Five-Star ocean-view, all-Suite accommodations, each with private bathroom and individual climate control.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • All gourmet meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—throughout the cruise, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are served throughout the cruise.
  • Expert onboard naturalist guides to lead small group excursions.
  • Excursion in stunning and biodiverse Manuel Antonio National Park with a naturalist-led trail walk through the protected rainforest.
  • Specially arranged onboard guitar performance by local Quepos musicians.
  • Guided tour through Curú National Wildlife Refuge to see a wide array of wildlife in its natural habitat, such as the rare scarlet macaw and the spider monkey, both reintroduced into the wild here.
  • Specially arranged visit to Cebaco Island, with opportunities for snorkeling in pristine waters teeming with colorful marine life.
  • Exclusive visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Punta Culebra Nature Center, accompanied by Director Matthew Larsen, with a Smithsonian staff-led tour.
  • Tour of Panama City, highlighted by visits to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Casco Antiguo and the new Frank Gehry-designed Biodiversity Museum.
  • Daylight passage through the Panama Canal, accompanied by a narration on the history of the canal. Transit times through the canal are controlled by the Panama Canal Authority and subject to traffic conditions.
  • Excursion to the idyllic, remote San Blas Islands.
  • Culinary demonstration by the ship’s chef.
  • Tour of the ship's galley.

Scenic transfer from Colón to Panama City, including a visit to the Panama Canal Expansion Agua Clara Visitor Center, departure flight time permitting.

Costa Rica’s Cloud Forests And Volcanoes

Pre-Program Option

Experience a medley of Costa Rica’s diverse biospheres, where a 9000-foot-tall volcano cradles an emerald green lagoon deep within a mile-wide crater and misty cloud forests shelter a dazzling array of flora and fauna. Explore the distinctive layers of the lush Arenal rainforest along a series of suspended and fixed bridges. Enjoy a soothing soak in secluded geothermal hot springs. Tour historic San José, an organic chocolate workshop and an award-winning coffee estate. Accommodations are for two nights in the ideally located Hotel Royal Corin and one night in the hacienda-style Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José.

Dynamic Panama—The Renaissance of a City
Post-Program Option

The perfect complement to Panama’s man-made wonder and “the crossroads of the Americas” is an exploration of old and new Panama. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Panama Viejo to see the ruins of the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the American continents and enjoy an architectural tour featuring modern Panama City. Cruise on the Gatún River through the rainforest to encounter Panama’s indigenous Embera people. Sample ceviche, a delicious traditional Latin American fresh seafood dish. Accommodations for two nights are in the ideally located, deluxe Bristol Panama Hotel.

map showing route of mode of travel