Notes From Explor Cruises Guests

We love to hear stories and viewing photos from our past guests and hope that you will as well!
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Panama to Costa Rica March 2016

Hello Annie,

The ship (Windstar; Star Breeze) was wonderful. Very happy with the Bristol Panama City, the day before the cruise. Both were way above my usual selection of accommodations.

The unscheduled stop at Portobelo was great. Got to go to Easter service there and participate in the procession through town. Having a little time in Panama City was great, went to old town and saw procession for Easter that was very impressive. Most restaurants and businesses closed but churches open.

Not having a place to put luggage at airport made a long day waiting for plane, should have booked a hotel even if we didn’t stay the night, then we could have done some of the things I planned in town.

Would recommend this Windstar cruise without reservation.

Rick, South Carolina
March 2016















From Catherine, age 14

Dear Mr. West, I would just like to say thank you. Thank you for the dolls, the boxes and the book. But mostly, thank you for the trip. It was an amazing experience – one I’ll never forget, and I thank you. It really opened my eyes to the world. Thank you for sitting with us all the time, sharing your stories, and having fun. The trip was wonderful, too. Everything from the hotels to the food, from the guides to the group – it was all wonderful. I truly had the experience of a lifetime…”

Catherine (14), South Carolina

From Montreal to New York

Hello Annie,

We had a good time on the Grande Caribe. The itinerary was very interesting and the pace was easy. Local guides did a nice job. The captain’s commentary when we were somewhere interesting or passing something interesting or unusual was a very nice addition. The ship usually docked close to town which was very nice for sightseeing.

The food was good American fare, but much too much. Excellent baked goods!
The ship was very basic and the cabins were small but that was what we expected.

Thank you for asking.

J. Ringer
September 17, 2014

Blount Cover



The Alaskan Story

The trip was wonderful. The crew was great and always going out of their way to make everything perfect. The condition of the boat and the accommodations were excellent. The food was out of this world. The scenery and wildlife were spectacular. The other guests were congenial. I think I’m running out of superlatives. It was probably the best trip we have ever taken.

They had stocked the dry Riesling for me which I thoroughly enjoyed. my husband had been sick just before we left and was taking medication so he couldn’t drink wine. On our anniversary we were toasted with champagne at dinner. A nice recognition of 50 years married without a big to-do. Thanks for you help.
September 8, 2014


The Amazon, Mirror Image

The Amazon, Mirror Image

The Amazon

Hello Annie,

The Amazon trip was a very intense experience!  We were so isolated from anything in the current world that it was like stepping into an alternative life – which it was, but having no modern distractions allowed one to become immersed in the nature and cultures of the area more completely!  I had forgotten about the almost constant severe heat and humidity, except for the air conditioning on the boat for part of the day and night, in that part of the world.  I had, also, visited Panama and recently, Belize and Trinidad, so was prepared.  But had forgotten how often one needed to change clothes because of the heat.  Wear one, wash two.

The exploration excursions – 4 X day – gave us much to anticipate and discuss.  The naturalists on board were excellent.  If you are picky about food, you probably should not choose this trip.  There was sufficient quantity, but variety was local.

The boat has accommodations for 18, but we were just right with only 9 on this trip.  18 might be a little too cozy.

I chose to visit the Amazon area under your auspices because I hoped that the travelers booking through you might have more realistic expectations, being more interested in the destinations than the beds – and it turned out to be the case on this trip.  This group, made up of very independent people, worked well together.  The Brazilian airports are not very accommodating to non Portuguese speaking travelers.  The staff all were very pleasant, but did not understand much English and the signs were few and far between.  And, of course, I was traveling alone.  They do include “old people” among their Priority Boarding designations, though!  Not just ticket price.

FYI – Your prepared information/voucher binder, while lovely and impressive, weighs quite a bit when trying to count ounces in the suitcase.

I journaled with my camera – have tons of pictures.  Will try to send a few to you.

Thank you.

B. Stoermer

September 5, 2014



The Tucano Dining Room








Single Stateroom, The Tucano

Single Stateroom, The Tucano


Alaska Inside Passage 2014, The Alaskan Story

Hi Annie:

Overall, we had a good trip to Alaska. Our flights went well and our hotel accommodations were fine. There were 4 couples on board – 3 of the couples booked through Explor and one couple booked directly with Geoff. The Alaskan Story is a beautiful boat. Our twin bunk cabin was fine.

The area we traveled was vast. We spent lots of time onboard the Alaskan Story and we wish we could have been a bit more active and gone ashore more. We spent a lot of time glassing the water and shoreline with binoculars looking for wildlife. We had especially good sightings of whales plus saw quite a few sea lions, eagles and otters. We also saw some brown bears, one black bear on shore and a few dolphins.
The two person crew of Jake and Maria were very accommodating and we very much enjoyed interacting with them. They aimed to please.

We fished for both King Salmon and Halibut and caught some of each. We also caught crab and shrimp. Debbie prepared meals of salmon, halibut, crab and shrimp for us all to enjoy.

We took 2 great hikes during our trip and kayaked once – we had good experiences doing those things and wished we could have done more.

The food on board was excellent. Debbie is a great chef and prepared three full meals each day. We sometimes felt overfed and we hoped food wasn’t being wasted. We sometimes wished there was less food served. Soft drinks, snacks, wine and beer were always available. Again, the food was excellent – but often times there was just too much.

We have a collection of 90 photos and I know you don’t want to see them all, but I am sharing our salmon photos and one of the humpback whales bubble feeding.

Thank you, Annie.

Mary & Rick
July 24, 2014

Bubble Feeding Whales in Alaska 2014 - The Alaskan Story

Bubble Feeding Humpback Whales in Alaska 2014               The Alaskan Story



Amazon Cruise

The cruise up the Rio Negro is definitely for the adventurous traveler. The accommodations are comfortable but not luxurious and the food is regional, tasty and well prepared but not gourmet. Transfers to and from the boat are all by “canoe” not a dock. Within an hour of departure you are surrounded by the rain forest and you will see no commercial traffic and only an occasional fisherman. There are few villages, a couple of which you will visit. Amazonia is a huge ecosystem, almost unspoiled by man and fascinating. If you want to be immersed in nature, and are fascinated by unusual trees and vegetation and a huge variety of birds this cruise is for you. The daily excursions by canoe to see what wildlife are in the area and hikes through the rain forest, somewhat rugged, are lifetime experiences. Pink river dolphins, monkeys and an occasional iguana are about the only large animals you may see and hear. The tour guide is exceptional, knowledgeable and very accommodating as are the other crew members. One more thing bears mentioning. Because the areas explored are so remote, the boat must generate its own power. As a result the electricity is turned off for several hours a day and hot shower water is only available for about forty-five minutes a day. Don’t let this scare you off, it’s not as inconvenient as it sounds and is a small price to pay for the exceptional experience of learning about life in one of the few remaining wildernesses on the planet.

F.B., Chicago, IL
July 16, 2014

The Alaskan Story 2013

Hello Dick and Annie,

Our trip was delightful and the company (crew and fellow passengers) could not have been better. Even the gloomy weather could not reduce the beauty of Alaska. Thank you for your help in making it possible.

Sincerely, Gay Lynn and Gil
September 20,2013

The Alaskan Story 2013
Good Morning Annie,
Everything was perfect, don’t know of anything more you could of done for us.  The trip was way more than we expected.  Truly a ‘trip of a life time’ for us.
We are now sold on small ships and small groups.  We got so much closer and were able to see so much more.   Definitely First Class.
Thanks Again, you did a great job!!!
W.  Stanton
September 14, 2013

 The Alaskan Story 2013

 Dear Annie and Dick,
The trip was wonderful and we saw amazing things.  I am sure you have heard about the bubble net feeding we watched for over an hour.
I enjoyed the other people who were great as was the crew.  The only thing we did not do which I was lead to believe we would was to eat the catch of the day.  Instead we had what the last group caught on their trip.  The food was very good and Debbie does a great job.
Thanks for a wonderful cruise.
September 13, 2013

Great Lakes Cruise

Just a note to tell you the cruise was just what I wanted it to be!  Everything was great – and it only rained two days.  Of course, one of the days was when we were embarking so everyone got pretty wet, and the other was in Saugatuck where we went on the dune buggy rides . . .  and got soaked.
The people were all enthusiastic and happy with the trip.  The lecturers were superb.
It seemed as though we were the only ones with such a complete notebook – no one had maps like the ones you included for us.  Thanks so much!  They were a help to a lot of people.
D. Howell
July 18, 2013

Dear Mr. West,

I would just like to say thank you. Thank you for the dolls, the boxes and the book. But mostly, thank you for the trip. It was an amazing experience – one I’ll never forget, and I thank you. It really opened my eyes to the world. Thank you for sitting with us all the time, sharing your stories, and having fun.

The trip was wonderful, too. Everything from the hotels to the food, from the guides to the group – it was all wonderful. I truly had the experience of a lifetime…
Cathering, North Carolina
September 28, 2012

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