Panama Canal Transit Question

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#1
150 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
My wife & I are doing a full transit through the Canal in October 2017 & I was wonder which side of the ship will be facing the newer locks (Port or Starboard Side)? Can you see the newer locks or older locks while going through your set of locks? Not sure what locks we will be using.

What is the best side of the ship to be on during the transit? We have a balcony on the Port Side.


We will be leaving Long Bech, Ca to New Orleans
#2
Florida
5,585 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Just a guess, but I would think you would be using the old locks... but really can't be sure unless I know the name of the ship. Basically if a ship has used the old locks previously, it will continue to use the old locks. You will be able to see the new locks on the Pacific side from the port side. They will come into view after the ship travels under the Bridge of Americas and before you get to the first set of locks (Miraflores Locks)on the Pacific side. The new locks are not really visible from the old locks even though they are relatively close to each other. However, you will be able to see a ship passing through them from the old locks if there is a ship in the new locks at the that time. The new locks on the Atlantic side will be seen on the starboard side after you clear the last locks (Gatun Locks) later in the afternoon.

I am sure others will advise you to move around the ship during the transit and see the sites from a number of different vantage points. I agree with that strategy completely. Here is one quick example if you are too anchored down to your port side balcony... as you arrive at the Pacific entrance of the Canal to begin your transit, the port side will offer you a great view of the various islands in the Bay. You will probably see a number of other ships waiting for their transit of the Canal, however if you are not where you can take in what the starboard side has to offer, you will miss the striking skyline of Panama City, well worth seeing.
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#3
91,575 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I highly recommend viewing the transit from the outside decks and from different areas.

This includes the top deck and from the front, back and each side and then also from lower decks.

Have a great time.

Keith
#4
150 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by BillB48
Just a guess, but I would think you would be using the old locks... but really can't be sure unless I know the name of the ship. Basically if a ship has used the old locks previously, it will continue to use the old locks. You will be able to see the new locks on the Pacific side from the port side. They will come into view after the ship travels under the Bridge of Americas and before you get to the first set of locks (Miraflores Locks)on the Pacific side. The new locks are not really visible from the old locks even though they are relatively close to each other. However, you will be able to see a ship passing through them from the old locks if there is a ship in the new locks at the that time. The new locks on the Atlantic side will be seen on the starboard side after you clear the last locks (Gatun Locks) later in the afternoon.

I am sure others will advise you to move around the ship during the transit and see the sites from a number of different vantage points. I agree with that strategy completely. Here is one quick example if you are too anchored down to your port side balcony... as you arrive at the Pacific entrance of the Canal to begin your transit, the port side will offer you a great view of the various islands in the Bay. You will probably see a number of other ships waiting for their transit of the Canal, however if you are not where you can take in what the starboard side has to offer, you will miss the striking skyline of Panama City, well worth seeing.

Thanks for the quick response. Good information
Thanks again
#5
3 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by KajunCruiser
My wife & I are doing a full transit through the Canal in October 2017 & I was wonder which side of the ship will be facing the newer locks (Port or Starboard Side)? Can you see the newer locks or older locks while going through your set of locks? Not sure what locks we will be using.

What is the best side of the ship to be on during the transit? We have a balcony on the Port Side.


We will be leaving Long Bech, Ca to New Orleans

Love to hear about Cruise when you get back, coming into New Orleans. Are you going to stay awhile and site see in New Orleans? Let us know where you got the best views, is it the Norwegian Pearl? Have fun!
#6
United States
70 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by BillB48
Just a guess, but I would think you would be using the old locks... but really can't be sure unless I know the name of the ship. Basically if a ship has used the old locks previously, it will continue to use the old locks. You will be able to see the new locks on the Pacific side from the port side. They will come into view after the ship travels under the Bridge of Americas and before you get to the first set of locks (Miraflores Locks)on the Pacific side. The new locks are not really visible from the old locks even though they are relatively close to each other. However, you will be able to see a ship passing through them from the old locks if there is a ship in the new locks at the that time. The new locks on the Atlantic side will be seen on the starboard side after you clear the last locks (Gatun Locks) later in the afternoon.

I am sure others will advise you to move around the ship during the transit and see the sites from a number of different vantage points. I agree with that strategy completely. Here is one quick example if you are too anchored down to your port side balcony... as you arrive at the Pacific entrance of the Canal to begin your transit, the port side will offer you a great view of the various islands in the Bay. You will probably see a number of other ships waiting for their transit of the Canal, however if you are not where you can take in what the starboard side has to offer, you will miss the striking skyline of Panama City, well worth seeing.
we had a rear facing balcony (back of the ship) in Alaska a year ago and enjoyed it so much that we have another booked for our full transit., so should be in good shape to see everything. When we considered doing it for Alaska folks advised that you either hate or love it. Guess you can count us among those who loved it. Plus you get a much larger balcony (which we didn't get a ton of use out of in Alaska due to the weather in Sept), but this time our cruising buddies will be next door in another rear facing and we can open the divider and have party central!