Panama Canal (Cruise Into Canal) expert cruise advice
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No excursion that day for us because we did not want to miss the return transit along the Canal. Our cruise did a partial transit into the Canal, as far as Gatun Lake. Lots of people got off the ship there in Gatun Lake and then scattered in all directions to do shore excursions, but not us. I have looked forward to seeing the Panama Canal all my life and I did not want to miss a minute. My husband and I grew up hearing about about what an awe-inspiring feat of engineering and rite of passage for history buffs the Canal was. It was on our "bucket lists" for sure. So, I was up, dressed and on my balcony by 6 a.m. that morning. I had breakfast delivered to my balcony so I could leisurely eat and watch our approach. The pilot boarded the ship off Cristobal, Panama at 6. We passed the Atlantic Bridge and then entered the Gatun Locks at 8 a.m. Our progress was monitored and each step reported over the PA system that we could hear in our rooms. The Canal narrator provided lots of info about our progress. It took 2 hours to get through the Canal as the ship was raised and lowered through the Canal's lock system, powered by gravity using water pulled from Gatun Lake. The locks raise ships up to 85 feet above sea level. We watched it all from our balconies and it was a thrilling process. The Panama Canal is certainly a testament to the power of human ingenuity to solve seemingly impossible problems. It definitely changed the course of history by redirecting the course of ships sailing between two oceans. We were anchored in Gatun Lake for almost 2 hours (we grabbed lunch in the Horizon Court) and then we turned around for our transit back to the Atlantic side through the other lock. For this part, we left our balconies and went to watch the return transit from a large balcony at the front of the ship on our same deck (Caribe 10). It was accessible through a door that looked like one only staff could us. It is a little known "watch spot" that we heard about from the Canal narrator and we had it mostly to ourselves for the first hour. We had a very dramatic, up close and personal view of the locks opening and closing and the lake water draining and filling! And we did it with a slice of pizza and a cold drink from the Lido deck in hand. To summarize, it was a great day!
Visited: Mar 30, 2019
Amazing to see the new Panama Canal - once in a lifetime experience. Get up early so you can get a good spot at the front of the ship to see the locks. On the way back through, a side view is great to see the actually locks open and close.
Visited: Jan 27, 2018
Wonderful to go through the locks.
Visited: Feb 26, 2018
This was not disappointing. So very interesting. Enjoyed the narration and background on the canal. Recommend for everyone. .........
Fascinating to watch and learn about the canal.. but for me too long spent in the draining heat in the efforts to get a picture or footage of passing through the canal. I am glad to say I have experienced this type of cruise.
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