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Lastdance

What is so wonderful about a panama canal cruise?

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Please enlighten me and the rest of us who haven't been on a Panama Canal cruise. What makes it a cruise of choice?

Thanking you in advance!:)

Edited by Lastdance

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was not really interested but did it because my father had wanted us to do it before he died.....I sort of did it for him, but was totally mesmerized by the whole thing....the locks, the ships waiting to go thru - it is totally amazing and no one can explain it to you until you see it. I am not really into this kind of thing but would go back in a minute!

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I have the same question because we were looking at this cruise for next year. Thanks for asking. I look forward to seeing the answers.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We did a back to back Panama Canal cruise this past February Miami-LA-Miami. We enjoyed all the ports but the highlight was watching the ship go through the Canal and lake. It is amazing to see the mechanisms still working that were built in the early 1900s. The ship is within inches of the sides and is guided through with locomotives. In one place men in a rowboat come out and hook up lines. The locks are very interesting and you can watch the ship in the parallel canal section go through before or after your ship. All in all, a very interesting day and cruise. Also nice to get out of cold weather.

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We've done two Panama Canal cruises. My husband went on the first with extreme reluctance as he thought he'd be bored going through the canal. Ha! He enjoyed it just as much as me (the history buff) and gladly did a second one. The day going through the canal is just spectacular with so much to see. I'm sure we will do more.

 

Also, they are longer cruises (we've only done the two week full canal cruises) with interesting ports. We hate to go on anything less than 10 days, preferably two weeks anymore.

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Before I went on a Panama Canal cruise I was thinking a bit like you. What does everyone see in this cruise and why is it so great.

 

It's a wonderful story of the making of the canal and was extremely challenging for all involved. Especially for the French who began the project and the Americans who were able to eventually finish things. You also get to experience going through the canal various locks and levels. It is certainly one of the wonders of the world and a tribute to mankind.

 

I also enjoyed the 5000 nautical mile journey from FLL to L.A and all the ports in between. If your a cruiser it's truly a trip to experience. :)

Edited by Shake

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I will respectfully take a different view. We did a Panama stop on the Equinox last January and did a day excursion though the canal on a ferry. We were told that the small vessel was better than a large ship as you get the feel of the movement in the locks better. The first lock as great,the second OK the third was a bore. All this made worse by having to wait almost an hour in each lock as we were paired with a large freighter which was slow to load.

The history of the building was fine but could be read in a book.

I am going back on the same southern Caribbean cruise this winter and not be doing the canal...once,one lock was plenty for me.

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It is nice to hear all of your impressions of the cruise. I too have done the reading and used to teach about the Suez Canal. The undertaking of this project during that period of time was unbelievably difficult.

 

Please keep your comments flowing...:)

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We did not do a complete transit but still loved it... we went through the Gatun locks during the early morning.,,then disembarked via tender for a great excursion., Gatun aerial tram, and re-met the ship. One of our most memorable cruises.

 

Canal experience was totally awesome, esp after reading "Path Between the Seas", we loved our tour of Panama ...aerial tram, tower views of the canal, butterfly center and a mountain resort... then shopping at the port for beautiful embroudered items, coffee at the port area where we re-met the ship

 

also on our itin was Costa Rica..Tortuguero Canal tour...wonderful nature oriented experience

 

We are hoping to do a full transit in the future...but need 14 or 15 days at least!

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We've done the full transit twice. We'd do it again in a heatbeat. Why?

-We like sea days, and this cruise was almost 1/2 sea days.

-The Canal itself is a great experience for us. The history, the scenery, the sights are wonderful.

-Given the length, 15 days, it allows us to truly unwind and relax in the way a shorter cruise can't.

-In addition to the Canal itself, the other ports offer a difference from the so often visited Caribbean stops. Depending on the itinerary you can get some seldom visited port visits.

-An interesting option is a Princess itinerary which overnights at Panama allowing for tours of the City. We have called at Panama many times and it has lots to offer in addition to the Canal.

 

IMG_4670_zpsa94e5a94.jpg

 

IMG_5016_zpsdc1d4a42.jpg

Edited by WpgCruise

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I, too, am of the opinion that the Panama Canal transit, like Alaska, has to be experienced to be appreciated. No pictures or description can completely reveal the wonder. We have done it twice; once eastbound and once westbound. Both trips were spectacular. I highly recommend it!

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I will respectfully take a different view. We did a Panama stop on the Equinox last January and did a day excursion though the canal on a ferry. We were told that the small vessel was better than a large ship as you get the feel of the movement in the locks better. The first lock as great,the second OK the third was a bore. All this made worse by having to wait almost an hour in each lock as we were paired with a large freighter which was slow to load.

The history of the building was fine but could be read in a book.

I am going back on the same southern Caribbean cruise this winter and not be doing the canal...once,one lock was plenty for me.

The excursion on the ferry was our favorite one! It was really interesting and even more interesting was comparing the transit on the big ship to the ferry. It really made you appreciate the canal. We went from bobbing along in the middle of the canal to scrapping the sides (literally!). It was great!

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Also, a good video "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama". Notice the palindrome. We did San Diego to San Juan. It's surprising what directions we actual traveled through. Very interesting and enjoyable but after 2nd lock, DH didn't care if he did a 3rd. And our captain was really ticked off when the pilot and mules combined to have our ship bump the wall and cause damage; yes it was that tight; clearance was ~ 4 feet on either side.

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I will respectfully take a different view. We did a Panama stop on the Equinox last January and did a day excursion though the canal on a ferry. We were told that the small vessel was better than a large ship as you get the feel of the movement in the locks better. The first lock as great,the second OK the third was a bore. All this made worse by having to wait almost an hour in each lock as we were paired with a large freighter which was slow to load.

The history of the building was fine but could be read in a book.

I am going back on the same southern Caribbean cruise this winter and not be doing the canal...once,one lock was plenty for me.

 

You are not alone!

While we have taken five full transits over the years, we always enjoy the other ports of call more than actually going through the canal. It's about the only way to get to some ports on the Pacific side of Central America.

Edited by OCruisers

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I don't know why I want to do it, not being the history buff my DH is, but I do. We are booked for the east bound in April 2016 and I'm really looking forward to it. I just ordered "The Path Between the Seas" on my Kindle. Part of the allure is the canal and the other part is the sea days and other ports.

 

Mary Lou

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The canal was the most interesting cruise we have taken. Absolutely amazing how the whole process takes place. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite:

 

Entering%20canal.JPG

 

Helipad-Panama%20Canal%201.JPG

 

Canal.JPG

 

Touching.JPG

 

Panama%20channel%20wall.JPG

 

Ship%20passing.JPG

Edited by boogs

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Boggs, thanks for the photos.

 

Does any one know what will happen to the old locks once the new ones are completed? I love the idea of going through the old locks.

 

Mary Lou

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Entering and exiting the canal feels like living history. Ten canal is one of the great achievements of our species, hwe you consider what was known and believed when gone project started, and the new no different thinking that was needed to solve some problems with what turned out to be elegant simplicity in a way. Then, sailing though the canal, while in Gatun lake, is peaceful and serene, dwelling in the inner sanctum as it were. Truly a lifetime highlight.

 

There is something really cool, too, to realize that crossing the isthmus brings you into a different ocean, and it feels like you're halfway across the world. Kind of like a wormhole.

 

Gotta go.

 

- Joel

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Our Panama transit day was dominated by Dr. Dave, this gentleman would not shut-up. He apparently thought that no one could remember any of his four lectures prior to the transit day. He talked for 8+ hours with about a 1/2 hour off for lunch. Everyone cheered when he announced that he was taking lunch. But he resumed after. Overall the history is interesting and if you want to know about every blade of grass along the way make sure Dr. Dave is the naturalist.

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Please enlighten me and the rest of us who haven't been on a Panama Canal cruise. What makes it a cruise of choice?

Thanking you in advance!:)

 

Doing it on Infinity 4th November. Can't wait. It's one of those things I've always wanted to do.

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Boggs, thanks for the photos.

 

Does any one know what will happen to the old locks once the new ones are completed? I love the idea of going through the old locks.

 

Mary Lou

 

The old locks will remain. They need the new ones for the post-Panamax ships - the really BIG ones! The project is an expansion, not a replacement. The canal was 100 years old on August 15th!

Edited by gimletgal

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Doing the Panama Canal cruise was a wonderful experience! We had an aft cabin and enjoyed the whole day on our balcony drinking champagne and OJ, ordering in our breakfast and then our lunch, and experiencing the full transit. Celebrity did a great job of teaching us the history of the Canal before we went through. On the day of the Canal transit, the process starts very early in the morning and it was interesting to watch all the ships after us getting into a straight line to start their trip through the Canal.

Would we do this sailing again - - yes, in a New York minute!

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There is something really cool, too, to realize that crossing the isthmus brings you into a different ocean, and it feels like you're halfway across the world. Kind of like a wormhole.l

 

It is also one of the few times you will be on a cruise ship that is not at sea level. For about 6 hours, you will be floating along 85 feet higher than sea level - the highest elevation anywhere in the world a large cruise ship can ever be.

 

Cruising in and out of Amsterdam in the Netherlands also sees elevation changes. However, you are about 12 feet BELOW sea level there.

Edited by boogs

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I agree with the "once was enough" faction. Go if there are ports you wish to see on both sides, but not for the canal itself IMHO. Really enjoyed the stop in Cartagena however.

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