Our Storyteller: Captain Neil Broomhall
Master, Star Legend
Neil Broomhall knew there was a big world beyond the Norman castle ruins and half-timbered cottages of his home in Stafford, England, and he was determined to see it. He set off as a teen for a life at sea, starting as a deckhand aboard cargo ships and working his way up through the ranks to become first officer aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2. Captain Neil took command of his first ship at age 34, and mastered Swan Hellenic’s Minerva before joining Windstar. An avid diver, he is also a skilled sailing and kayaking instructor, and is fascinated by global meteorology.
Captain Neil Broomhall fondly recalls his first visit to Central America and Boca Del Torro: “I was just 16 and working as a deckhand aboard a banana boat!” He instantly fell in love with Boca’s gorgeous beaches, warm waters, Latin music, and easygoing lifestyle that is “such a different pace” from his home in Britain. (He remembers falling for a certain young girl there as well, but that’s for another story.) The Captain also raves about Costa Rica’s rainforest with “all the sights and sounds of its animals and birds — and lots of lizards!”
Cartagena’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another favorite of the Star Legend master, who says the colonial gem is “absolutely amazing. The wood carvings inside Santa Domingo Cathedral are incredible, and a walk along the city walls makes for great exercise.” Just beyond pastel-painted Oranjestad you’ll find the monolithic Ayo Rock Formations, considered sacred by Aruba’s ancient Arawak Indians; while a day in Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest city, leads to glittering displays in the Gold Museum and two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. A final overnight in Colón allows time to explore Panama City’s revitalized Old Quarter and the UNESCO-designated Fort San Lorenzo. Add a healthy dose of vitamin D from the tropical sun and, says Captain Neil, “this cruise is the perfect antidote to winter.”