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Everything posted by BillB48

  1. IIRC the last partial transit for Royal was back in 2010 and then somewhere in the in between they even were absent for a period of time with full transits.
  2. The Rhapsody will enter the Canal at the Atlantic entrance and travel to Gatun Locks. It will then lock up the 3 steps at Gatun Locks, enter Gatun Lake and proceed to the anchorage a short distance away. Once at the anchorage passengers who have tours will be disembarked to meet their tours. Those remaining onboard will then lock back through Gatun Locks and a short sail to the dock in Colon to pick up passenger who were on excursions. From the entrance of the Canal at the breakwater it is about 8 miles to the anchorage in Gatun Lake. Sure hope this doesn't also fall victim to you know what!! 🤞
  3. Wow, over two months and nary a single post about the Canal... guess there have been other things on peoples minds and cruising was not at the forefront😉. Although this is anecdotal, every time I happen to look at one of the Canal's webcams it just seemed to me that I wasn't seeing as many ships, however I really didn't try to investigate if what I was seeing was correct. Turns out my suspicions were correct. WBUR, Boston reported the Canal's administrator Ricaurte Vasquez said that in January there were around 40 transits per day and presently the daily transits have been only around 25 per day. I am sure than those of you who have transited the Canal remember seeing the bridge over the Chagres River at Gamboa. This is the point where the Chagres enters the Canal which is just about halfway through the Canal. The Bridge was constructed in 1911 at first as a railroad bridge and later a single lane was added for vehicles. On Tuesday this week (Jun. 24) the bulk carrier Bluebill (656x78) was transiting northbound (Pac to Atl), as she was exiting Gaillard (Culebra) Cut the vessel veered to starboard and took out a section of the bridge just north of the main span. At this time there was no word as to the cause. I have heard through the coconut telegraph the rudder stuck at 20deg starboard, that of course very unofficial, unconfirmed etc. AIS still has the Bluebill at the Gamboa moorings
  4. I was on the Brilliance for a couple of sailings just before they suspended operations, the CL was used traditionally welcoming suite guests and D+.
  5. The last time I used the D+ single supplement which was this past March (seems so long ago) it did not show up on line and I had to call C&A Diamond number. When I explained what I was looking for to the rep, it was a entirely new ball game... he had never heard of it! It eventually got sorted out.
  6. The Rhapsody has a partial transit cruise from Tampa in February 2021.
  7. The ones off PC/Cocoa Beach are about 4 to 6 miles offshore. They appear to be anchored, the depth of the water is not deep enough that would make anchoring a challenge.
  8. Not too many AFAIK. HAL has a couple of their R class, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Royal Caribbeans Radiance class ships, Brilliance, Radiance, Serenade and Jewel. NCL's Norwegian Dawn can do 25. Those are the ones I can come with.
  9. There are a couple of names that pop up on this forum once in awhile like Robtads and My Friend Mario, but they always seem a bit ephemeral. I don't have any names that I could throw out. Just see if you can find anything current on Trip Advisor or see what the hotel you are staying at may have to offer.
  10. She is scheduled to be transferred to Pullmantur in early 2021, but will sail with RCI until then. At least that what the plans were.
  11. I see that Perico Island had to photo bomb what would have been a great Pacific sunrise!😉 Oh well, just a minor inconvenience😁.
  12. Actually passenger ships pay a premium for a daylight transit. Previously ships with beams near the maximum limits were required to complete passage through the locks and Gaillard Cut during daylight hours. Gradually the daylight requirement for wide beam ships at the locks was dropped and as the Cut was widened daylight requirements were greatly reduced. While the locks and Gaillard Cut are very attractive on a night passage, cruise passengers want to see it in the daytime. A ship wanting to transit during the day will pay an additional $30,000 on top of the regular tolls for a daylight transit. For the Canal's purposes a daylight transit is to arrive at the first lock after sunrise and clear the last lock by sunset.
  13. The pilot would enter the ship at about the same point passengers would tender off the ship when not docked. They are then taken to the bridge by a crew member. At a point near the locks the Canal would then also board Canal seamen to handle the cables from the mules, normally the Canal seamen disembark after the ship clears the locks and then another group is placed aboard to handle the locks on the other side of the Isthmus. A ship the size of the Zandam would probably use 14 to 16 Canal seamen and at least two pilots. Also from what I can tell from pictures to bridge is totally enclosed, so they would in contact with the bridge crew for the transit. Just a side... the R'dam and the Z'dam according to marine traffic are anchored in the anchorage that is normally used for vessels with hazardous cargo.
  14. Capt. Capt Ole-Johan Gronhaug was captain on the Brilliance for the March 7 sailing. Don't know if that is when the rotation took place or not as Capt. Ante was on for the cruise that ended on March 2.
  15. Normally the ship will arrive at the Cristobal breakwater (Atlantic entrance)5-5:30ish. From there it will about an hour or so to reach Gatun locks The return passage through Gatun can take place anytime from 11-12 or after. The only reason I do not care for an aft cabin for a canal transit is all the narration is given with a forward perspective. Otherwise view is wonderful.
  16. Yes, the bigger ships use the new locks due to their size. Normally if a ship can fit in the original locks, those are the locks the ship will use. However, there are occasions where a ship that can use the original locks will be accommodated in the new larger locks. This will happen from time to time for Canal "convenience". To the best of my knowledge there has not been any substitution of the new locks for a cruise ship that can use the original locks.
  17. Should have included the link. Don't worry, you won't have to use Google Translate, it is the English version! http://www.pancanal.com/eng/general/reporte-anual/2019-AnnualReport-Rev02.pdf
  18. If anyone is looking for a bunch of tables and other assorted info that could possibly put you to sleep, I highly recommend the 2019 Annual Report for the Panama Canal. There are however, some interesting nuggets of info that I thought might be of interest. First the passenger/ cruise ship items... A total of 242 cruise ships transited the Canal in FY 2019. The Canal's FY runs from Oct. 1 to Sept 30 in the following year. 188 of these transits were full transits and 54 partial transits. There were 14 less cruise ship transits this FY than in FY 18. There were 12 transits using the new locks. A decline of 12% in total passengers and a 10% decline in toll revenue from Cruise ships. General Canal Info... Total of 12,291 ocean going transits during the period. 20% of the transits were through the new locks, however the new locks accounted for 50% of the tolls collected. Petroleum and petroleum products, followed by container cargo then grains are the top commodities shipped through the Canal. Asia to East coast US, West Coast South America to Europe and West Coast US to Europe account for 90% of all container traffic. Trade between Asia and East Coast of the US account for 61% of total cargo through the Canal. Another tidbit I found fascinating and really doesn't surprise me except I had never seen any official documentation of it. First we have always have the question on Cruise Critic, "which locks will my ship use?" The answer that is normally provided here is if it fits the Panamax Locks (original locks), that is the locks the it will use. That still is the most accurate answer. Many times when I have answered that question I have frequently prefaced my answer by pointing out that the original will be used unless there is some sort of anomaly that would necessitate a deviation. In the Annual Report reports there were 88 transits by Panamax vessels (vessels that fit the original locks) through the new locks for Canal "convenience". Of these 88 transits 22 of the transits used the new locks exclusively, in other words used the new lock for the entire transit. The remainder of the transits used a combination of Panamax Locks and Neo Locks, For example Gatun and Cocoli or Miraflores/Pedro Miguel and Agua Clara.
  19. Your reply intrigues me. Just wondering which way it is going to go... no more CLs and only SLs or CLs will return in earnest and open the doors to the D+? I think I already know😁!
  20. The mall I am referencing is at the pier, this is the only place at this stop you should go on your own. Do not venture outside the walled area of the parking lot and it is not uncommon for locals to remind you not to go any further.
  21. There are a number of shops to peruse in the shopping area connected to the pier. Walking across the street towards the ship there are a few more shops as well. Food and drinks won't be any problem, there is also a grocery store.
  22. While no doubt the little price hike in the tolls was noted by the cruise lines as well as other shippers. The amount of tolls that the cruise lines fork over, the "Fresh Water Surcharge" is more of a nuisance charge and really won't impact their decision to transit the Canal significantly. The real purpose for the surcharge is to discourage smaller vessels from using the Canal as much. A vessel uses the same amount of water to transit the Canal regardless if it is a row boat or a battleship. So the initial $10,000 flat fee will certainly impact the smaller ships more than the larger vessels such as a passenger ship. There is another portion of the surcharge that can float (pun intended) between 1 and 10% of the toll paid and depending on the level of Gatun Lake.
  23. I would recommend you hire a cab for the entire time you are touring. A cabby will run interference for you and steer you away from the real sketchy areas. If you are with a local there is much less of a chance you will be bothered. While it is possible to catch a cab at each point you wish to visit, I not sure it will wind up being that much of a savings when you consider the convenience. While Panama does have set rates for taxi rates between different points in the city, as a tourist I sincerely doubt you will be "offered" those rates. You can negotiate with the cab and outline what and where you want to go. Just settle on a price before you hop in.
  24. IMO entering the Canal from the Pacific in the morning is the more visually interesting of the two approaches. The Bay of Panama where the Canal begins has numerous islands, the largest of the islands, Taboga is on the the port side. As mentioned previously the Panama City skyline is pretty spectacular and not to be missed. One little unique thing to see is the sunrise. Hopefully the skies won't be real cloudy and the precise positioning of the ship plays a part... you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and later that evening see it set in the Atlantic. I don't know of any other place you can do that in the same day without the assistance of a supersonic airplane. Enjoy!
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