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Canal: Interesting History, Background, etc.??!!

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Perfect picture again!:)

 

Yes, agree and super appreciate these additional details, visuals items, etc. Very helpful and interesting, especial with the comprehensive background from BillB48.

 

Just had breakfast this morning with Ann who just got off from doing the Island Princess earlier this month traveling from California to Fort Lauderdale. Wonderful background. It given us good ideas to consider our strategies for where, when and how to do our observations and positions for these transiting activities.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 222,017 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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On our recent (Jan. 24, 2017) transit of the Canal on the NCL Jewel, we did not reach the Bridge of the Americas until well past 7pm, by which time of course it was dark out. I'm not sure whether this was a typical time to reach the Bridge. I do think we had a fairly slow sail though Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut as we followed a big neo-Panamax ship all day. (I'm not complaining. It was awesome. Watching the ships coming in the other direction was like being in several episodes of Mighty Ships.)

 

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(photo by turtles06)

 

 

Great Photo. We went the other way and were supposed to pass under the Bridge of Americas at 6:30 am and didn't reach it until almost 7:30. We seemed to watch it coming forever. By the end of the day, we were only about 30 minutes behind schedule, so we must have caught up somewhere along the line. They kept repeating all day that it was a "tentative" schedule. ;)

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Great Photo. We went the other way and were supposed to pass under the Bridge of Americas at 6:30 am and didn't reach it until almost 7:30. We seemed to watch it coming forever. By the end of the day, we were only about 30 minutes behind schedule, so we must have caught up somewhere along the line. They kept repeating all day that it was a "tentative" schedule. ;)

 

Appreciate this wonderful reminder above by Ann as to how schedules can vary when doing the Panama Canal. Ann is a "neighbor" who lives nearby to where we are at in Central Ohio. Among her other keys tips were:

1. As others have shared, "MOVE AROUND" on the ship during this day to get many varied angles and views.

2. Be forward as you approach the canal and the initial locks.

3. Do a rear-facing angle to see the locks close and get that "back view", etc.

4. For the longer passage on Gatun Lake, your balcony, if you have a decent location, might be good for observing this passage that requires more time/patience than just standing on a deck.

5. Don't forget that passage under the large bridge pictured above.

6. Being at a location that offers angles/views on BOTH SIDES can be very important. Don't just spend all of your time on your balcony as you will miss the "action" on the other side of the ship.

 

I will have my camera and different lenses ready to get lots of good and interesting visuals. Really getting excited for this Sunday, March 5, 6 am-4:30 pm, passage though this dramatic and historic site.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 210,012 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Terry,

 

You asked about wildlife along the canal Friday, so I thought of these when I found them. I haven't taken the pictures off of Ron's camera yet, so these are from my point and shoot with very limited zoom.

 

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Terry, You asked about wildlife along the canal Friday, so I thought of these when I found them. I haven't taken the pictures off of Ron's camera yet, so these are from my point and shoot with very limited zoom.

Appreciate these great pictures and this follow-up by Ann. Fortunately I have a Nikon D7200 and several lenses, including a 55-300mm lens. That will help me get closer to the action. Yes, look forward to any added photo examples/samples you can share.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 171,921 views for this posting.

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Don't be too, too terribly disappointed in the wildlife offerings at the Canal. Birds are going to be your best bet, but then you just never know what will decide show up. There are spots where you may see a crocodile or two lounging on the bank... the most likely spots are at the sea entrance before arriving at Gatun Locks and again the sea end of Miraflores Locks on leaving. While crocodiles can once in a while be seen during your crossing of Gatun Lake, more than likely if you happen see any of these denizens in the Lake they are more apt to be a caiman. That really is more of a distinction without a whole lot of difference in my mind, particularly if you are too close!

 

On your trip across the Lake after clearing Gatun Locks and you are interested in seeing oncoming ship traffic, this is the place for it. Normally ships pass port to port in this portion of the Canal. So if you are relaxing on your balcony it needs to be on the "right" side and in this case the left side (port) is the "right" side.

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Don't be too, too terribly disappointed in the wildlife offerings at the Canal. Birds are going to be your best bet, but then you just never know what will decide show up. There are spots where you may see a crocodile or two lounging on the bank... the most likely spots are at the sea entrance before arriving at Gatun Locks and again the sea end of Miraflores Locks on leaving. On your trip across the Lake after clearing Gatun Locks and you are interested in seeing oncoming ship traffic, this is the place for it. Normally ships pass port to port in this portion of the Canal. So if you are relaxing on your balcony it needs to be on the "right" side and in this case the left side (port) is the "right" side.

 

Appreciate these added details and tips. Very good!! Here is a key question to make sure that I am understanding correctly. Since we are sailing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, will our ship be on the northern/NW side during our water path across Gatun Lake? While for those ship going from the Pacific to the Gulf will be on the southern/SE side? Kind of like driving in the U.S., those driving are on the "right" side? Correct? Or wrong?

 

Our balcony room is on the right or starboard side. With some twists and turns along this path, we will need to be on the lookout for certain shipping/cargo vessels up ahead coming at us and be ready to switch to the port side, up higher, to capture certain of those views and images. Right?

 

Any other good sights and photography secrets/tips?

 

THANKS for all of the aid! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

If Venice is one of your future desires or past favorites, look at this earlier posting for many options and visual samples this city that is so great for "walking around", personally seeing its great history and architecture. This posting is now at 66,027 views.

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

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Sorry to go off of the canal crossing topic, but on the wildlife topic, our two best stops for wildlife photos were Costa Rica (we did a private rainforest and crocodile river cruise) and then the bird sanctuary inside of the port in Cartagena.

 

Other photography ideas I picked up from an Antigua web site I visited. There are a lot of cool doors and walls in the older cities. Putting together a group of them will make an interesting collage or photo page.

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:)

Appreciate these added details and tips. Very good!! Here is a key question to make sure that I am understanding correctly. Since we are sailing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, will our ship be on the northern/NW side during our water path across Gatun Lake? While for those ship going from the Pacific to the Gulf will be on the southern/SE side? Kind of like driving in the U.S., those driving are on the "right" side? Correct? Or wrong?

 

Our balcony room is on the right or starboard side. With some twists and turns along this path, we will need to be on the lookout for certain shipping/cargo vessels up ahead coming at us and be ready to switch to the port side, up higher, to capture certain of those views and images. Right?

 

Any other good sights and photography secrets/tips?

 

THANKS for all of the aid! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

If Venice is one of your future desires or past favorites, look at this earlier posting for many options and visual samples this city that is so great for "walking around", personally seeing its great history and architecture. This posting is now at 66,027 views.

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

 

We can simplify the compass directions a little and put in Canalspeak... On your trip through the Canal you will be a southbound transit and the opposing traffic will be northbound traffic. Your ship will be assigned as South and an even number... 2, 4, 6... Northbound ships are North odd number... 1,3. 5 and so on. Keeping with the compass directions, you will generally be on the west side of the channel while meeting opposing traffic and probably in the middle of the channel when there is no opposing traffic. Don't worry about the compound directions as northwest and southeast. The ship will meander around the compass a bit as it traverses Gatun Lake, but the right side of the channel (in your direction) is always referred to as the west side and the left side the east side. Unless there is some unusual circumstance oncoming ship traffic will pass to your left side... just like regular right hand rules of the road.

 

This is not to mean that the right side is a write off and not worth a look, it is just I would rather experience the view of the oncoming traffic... sort of what the Canal is all about. Just before you enter the Cut you will pass Gamboa on the left (I know left again), this is the home of the Canal's Dredging Division and you may get a chance to see some of their equipment. One of the most prominent pieces is the crane Titan. This crane was taken from Germany after WW2 as a war prize and served in Long Beach until the late 90s when it came to the Canal. While in Long Beach is was affectionately known as Herman the German. Shortly after Gamboa is where the Chagres river enters the Canal... the only river in the world that empties into both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.

 

Almost time for you to cast off!:) Enjoy!!

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Sorry to go off of the canal crossing topic, but on the wildlife topic, our two best stops for wildlife photos were Costa Rica (we did a private rainforest and crocodile river cruise) and then the bird sanctuary inside of the port in Cartagena.

 

Other photography ideas I picked up from an Antigua web site I visited. There are a lot of cool doors and walls in the older cities. Putting together a group of them will make an interesting collage or photo page.

 

Some the biggest crocodiles I have ever seen in the wild was on the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica at the Puntarenas stop.

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Some the biggest crocodiles I have ever seen in the wild was on the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica at the Puntarenas stop.

 

Appreciate Bill's great tip and suggestion on the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica. Was he correct? YES!! YES!! 100% accurate. Need photo proof and evidence? Here are just a few examples from my photos earlier this month are shown below. Soon.O will post a number visuals from the fun and enlightening experience through the Panama Canal. Lots of photos to share.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Just completed Feb. 28-Mar. 15, 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through the Panama Canal with our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Lots of fun pictures!! See more at:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

 

Our great day in Costa Rica started with a wonderful sunrise and here was an example for our first crocs on the river sighting. Lots of interesting crocodiles!! Like this pattern for how they are lined-up?:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)MarTravel2017A%20108_zpsnrbzwdva.jpg

From our Tarcoles River boat experience, here are more examples as the "success" in this sightings. Our boat driver was very "daring" with his feeding of these crocs and it was fun "theatre". No loss of fingers, hands, etc. Plus, a couple of other crocs enjoyed along the river banks. Those are big, BIG teeth!!:

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We can simplify the compass directions a little and put in Canalspeak... On your trip through the Canal you will be a southbound transit and the opposing traffic will be northbound traffic. Your ship will be assigned as South and an even number... 2, 4, 6... Northbound ships are North odd number... 1,3. 5 and so on. Keeping with the compass directions, you will generally be on the west side of the channel while meeting opposing traffic and probably in the middle of the channel when there is no opposing traffic. Don't worry about the compound directions as northwest and southeast. The ship will meander around the compass a bit as it traverses Gatun Lake, but the right side of the channel (in your direction) is always referred to as the west side and the left side the east side. Unless there is some unusual circumstance oncoming ship traffic will pass to your left side... just like regular right hand rules of the road.

 

Interestingly, our ship, as my photos detail, went through on the left side earlier this month. Kind of surprised, but that is how it worked for us.

 

Here are some my visuals from The Main Event! Yes, that “star” of our cruise was the Panama Canal!! I took many hundreds of pictures with three different lenses, from a nice variety of different angles, views and ship levels. Looking forward as we approached the locks, looking back from the rear of the ship and then some side shots from our balcony on the 10th/Caribe level and from the 15th/top deck level. There was a somewhat secret 8th back viewing point that can be very good to capture action in the that aft direction, plus I was able to “sneak” into the The Sanctuary top, back area for a few pictures.

 

It started early, early before sunrise and lasted until the late afternoon when we had pass under the Bridge of America arched crossing near the Pacific Ocean. Our final images were captured as we saw the views of the many, many tall buildings in Panama City. Amazing and very fun!

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 173,890 views for this posting.

 

Did not want to miss anything at the Panama Canal, so I was up way before sunrise. In the first picture, it is still dark and you can see one of the three pilot boats approaching with their local experts to guide our Island Princess through these locks. In the background, you can see some of the nearby city of Colon and various port operations.:

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Second is the view as we enter Limon Bay and you can see some of the lights of Colon in the background. There are many different shipping and tanker ships awaiting their time and turn to go through these locks. There are also visible many cranes and other equipment for this large and active port. There was some early morning rain and clouds, but that passed over and the weather worked well for the day in going through the Panama Canal.:

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Here are elements of the third major bridge now being built to cross the canal. This will be called the Atlantic Bridge. Lots of poured concrete! And all high enough to allow large ships with tall masts to pass under this suspension bridge. Seeing this completed bridge will be another good reason to visit back again in the future:

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These two pictures show as we approach the Gatun Locks on the Atlantic side. First shows some of the “mules” or the electric tractors that will pull our ship through these narrow locks. Our ship is 106’ wide. The canal locks are only 110’ wide. That allows only a two-foot margin for each side. That makes it very important for keeping things very precise and straight. None of the ship power and/or navigation controls are used to guide our ship through locks. The canal has 55 of these “mules” and they now cost about one million dollars each. We started at sea level and these three Gatun Locks took us up, UP, UP to a height of 86’ to cross Gatun Lake and through the Culebra Cut. That means each of these three locks must be filled with enough water to raise up our ship nearly 30’ for each of these three chambers on this side of the canal.:

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For most of the early part of canal transit, we were on the ship’s front/forward 10th deck that was right near our C227 balcony room. Right above us and shown in this picture were passengers on the 11th level focusing intently on the activities in front of the ship as we are going through the first set of locks.:

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Here is the second of four phases sharing my top priority pictures from our passage through the Panama Canal on Sunday, March 5, 2017.

Here are some additional and hopefully interesting facts and info items on the canal, its operations, etc.

 

Passage Costs: The rate paid by the Island Princess for this canal passage was $341,000 for basic fee and this is based on the number of berths on the ship. But, then there are added, other fees for items such as the tugs boats ($13K) for approaching and exiting each set of locks, those doing the hand line connections, the pulling locomotives, inspection, day reservation and daylight transit priority charges, etc. So our total was $431,000 in total cost for our ship on March 5.

 

Mules: These locomotives originally cost about $1 million each, but their price is around now around $2 million. The new locks use a different system of tug boat-like devices pulling and pushing. But that system is not working as well, including lacking ideal control as the ship go through these larger canal locks. Each of these mules weighs about 50 tons and has two 294-hp engines. Each engine can pull about 70,000 pounds. They use a “cog and wheel” set-up and tracking/power system to allow them to climb up these steps rail paths.

 

Trade Impact: Around 7-8% of the total world sea trade passes through this one canal location. These ship going through here serve about 160 ports or destinations for cargo.

 

Top Book/Background: Reading prior to our cruise David McCullough’s Path Between the Seas, written in 1977, helped our visit all come “alive” in an ideal manner!! Sure glad that I had prepared by this reading and other research. The more you know, the better you can appreciate the achievement with this challenging construction and its current operations.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 35,381 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

 

Here is my wife, Penny, on the right, with her high school classmate, Jean, as they were enjoying the early morning passing through the first set of locks. These locks are near the Gatun Dam that created this large lake and tamed the wild Chagres River. Early in the design/planning around 1905, a big debate was about whether to build a sea-level canal . . . or . . . one involving locks and a large lake.:

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These next two pictures give a better, closer look at these “mules” and the very steep inclines that they must go up to pull ships through this initial series of locks. That name or phrase of “mules” goes back to the old days for canals in the 1800’s when those creatures pulled the boats along canal routes. These current tractors are electric-powered and these are the third-generation of this design to be used during the past 100+ year history here.:

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This picture shows a large tanker, the Cape Brasilia, that was traveling in the opposite direct and where we were able to observe it “up-close-and-personal” as it passed next to our 10th-floor cabin balcony. We got see and video tape this ship with its various pipings and other operational details. Its colorful orange color added to the excitement!:

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Finally in this group are two pictures from the rear of The Sanctuary luxury area of the Island. This is an “extra charge” section of our Princess ship that on Canal Day goes up to costing $80 pp for use here. Normally, it is a $40 a day cost or $20 for a half-day. For this one day on the canal passage, it was booked up quickly on the boarding date. First shows looking back towards the Caribbean Sea and the Gatun Locks were are passing through. You can see the large concrete construction for the Atlantic Bridge. Second gives a little sample for the “life of luxury” enjoyed by those in The Sanctuary. Personally, we were very glad that we opted to have our prime forward view and then move around the ship to experience the views from many different levels and angles. Plus, we saved the $160 cost for this fixed, rear-facing ship location on this important day!:

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Here is the third of four phases from our Panama Canal passage on Sunday, March 5, 2017. Appreciate your interest and patience. This includes lots of information and pictures. But if you have visited here previous and/or are planning an update canal sailing, hopefully this info brings back nice memories and/or helps prepare for your upcoming adventure.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Wonderful Kotor and nearby Montenegro? Check these postings. Have had over 34,728 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and commented.:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

 

As we prepared to exit out of the Gatun Locks, here is a closer view at the lower angle from the 8th floor rear of our ship. On the left, you can see a very large ship getting ready to exit out and sail towards the Caribbean Sea.:

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As we passed from Gatun Lake to the Gaillard or Culebra Cut, there were various dredging and other operations on-going in order to keep the depth of the canal at a proper level. This project was not a “one-and-done”, simple construction project. Land and rock slides happen still to this date and there must be continued work to make ship passages possible and safe. This especially true as the new canal locks will accommodate wider, longer and larger ship.:

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Here is the view as we approached the Centennial Bridge in the middle of the canal passage near Gold Hill and the Continental Divide. That hill is 312’ in height above sea level. Originally the height of this Continental Divide was much higher, but it was cut town during the original construction efforts by both the French in the 1880’s and the Americans in the early 1900’s. On the right, you can see some of the lights along the edge of the canal that allow night passage through this area.:

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Here is the view as we approached the Pedro Migeul Locks after sailing through the Culebra Cut. This location has just one chamber to drop us down about 30’ as we moved towards the Pacific Ocean. At the right is the Swedish ship with the cute name of “Migon” that was ahead of us when we first started entering the initial canal locks on the Caribbean Sea side.:

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Here is a long-distance view of the Bridge of the Americas that carries the Pan-American Highway across the Panama Canal. We will see more on this bridge later.:

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Here is the view of the "fans" from the Visitor's Center at the Miraflores Locks that gave us a warm welcome as we were completing the last two sets of passage chambers in going towards the Pacific Ocean.:

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Here is the fourth phase from our Panama Canal passage. Have lots more angles and aspects that we observed during our transiting of this historic canal. Will try to post more later. Especially, if there is “demand” and interest.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

If Venice is one of your future desires or past favorites, look at this earlier posting for many options and visual samples this city that is so great for "walking around", personally seeing its great history and architecture. This posting is now at 66,330 views.

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

 

Here is a closer view of the Pedro Migeul Lock. Notice on the lower, left side, there is a man in a red shirt walking across the six-foot wide canal lock door that was close to our ship? This gives you better idea for the “human scale” as to how very large are these lock facilities?:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)

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From the Miraflores Locks, here is the view looking back from the front area of our ship that shows part of a unique “swinging bridge” that was used for cars and trucks to cross the Panama Canal before the Bridge of the Americas was opened in 1963. Clearly as canal traffic increased, having such a “temporary” type of bridge was good enough as vehicle/truck traffic also increased.:

MarTravel2017A%20045_zpspuoyljmp.jpg

 

Next are two different views that shows parts of the massive and rising skyline of nearby Panama City. The second picture gives an idea for the very large port operation on this Pacific Ocean side of the canal. Panama City has that “high-rise” look with lots of apartments and condos.:

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Here is a top-of-the-ship look as our Island Princess crossed under the Bridge of the Americas. Notice the large viewing screen on this ship? Shown is Elton John from one his highlight/interview programs that was aired in this ship area overlooking the main, outdoor pool. Kind of a cool, hip look here??!!:

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Finally, as we sail away from the canal and Panama City, here is a special angle on a new Panama Canal Museum with a very interesting and contemporary design. Plus, a wide view of the Panama City skyline.:

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Gee, funny how you have a lot of my pictures. :D

 

So glad you enjoyed your trip through the canal. And I'm glad the advice to read Path Between the Seas paid off for you. It definitely did for me.

 

Were you as surprised as we were when Panama City first came into view? We never anticipated a modern city like that with those skyscrapers.

 

Welcome home!

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I followed your "live" thread over on the Princess board... nice collection of shots at the Canal and the other ports. Hope the Canal met your expectations and it was a great cruise!

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Gee, funny how you have a lot of my pictures. :D So glad you enjoyed your trip through the canal. And I'm glad the advice to read Path Between the Seas paid off for you. It definitely did for me. Were you as surprised as we were when Panama City first came into view? We never anticipated a modern city like that with those skyscrapers. Welcome home!

 

Appreciate Diane's very nice follow-up. YES, both Panama City and Cartagena were somewhat surprising with their soaring, large and dramatic skylines. It was not just a few tall buildings, but lots and lots of them. Many, many being residential, either condos or rental apartments. Very impressive!!

 

In talking with others on the cruise, a number had read "Path Between the Seas", but others had also offered the feed-back that the book was very long and almost too detailed. True, but those complex and varied details were very interesting for me and my type of mind. Hard to believe that this book is 40 years old. Probably needs a major update as the "new canal" is now completed, but struggling to make certain aspects operate properly and ideally.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting and dramatic pictures can be seen from my latest live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 30,531 views for this reporting and visual sharing that includes Cape Town, all along the South Africa coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta area.

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I followed your "live" thread over on the Princess board... nice collection of shots at the Canal and the other ports. Hope the Canal met your expectations and it was a great cruise!

 

Bill's interest and postings about the Panama Canal have been great and very helpful. Yes, the Canal met expectations and much more!! BUT, overall, the downside is that there are so many sea-days required getting down to the canal from your USA port and back to a port on the other coast of our country. Some love sea-days. Not as much for me and my wife. Fortunately, there were a number of her high school classmates along and that helped the long sailing process needed.

 

From what I heard and picked up, there is still lots more to be reported and fixed regarding the new canal. As I picked up, there are just two main areas to fix. First, the sliding gates for the locks do not work as well as planned. Second, the idea of having tug boats at the front and back doing the job of the "mules" in powering and guiding the ships through new locks is not that perfect. Needs work and attention!! Plus, the much higher tolls to go through those costly new locks. Also, several have said that the new locks are lacking in "character" and storyline for how they were designed and built. Sure glad our cruise went through the living history from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

 

Reactions and added info from Bill and others on the challenges for the new canal?

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 210,910 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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I've also read that there are issues with keeping the ships in place in the new canal. Looks like there are still a bunch of issues to work out.

 

As for me, I've been through the canal twice and wouldn't hesitate to go again. :)

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Finally, as we sail away from the canal and Panama City, here is a special angle on a new Panama Canal Museum with a very interesting and contemporary design. Plus, a wide view of the Panama City skyline.:

MarTravel2017A%20041_zpsp1vljayc.jpg

 

Sorry, I lost the quote box and my phone doesn't have square brackets.

 

I love the pics and narrative Terry. I just found a great short video I will add as soon as I stop drowning at work.

 

One quick correction. The bright building is the bio museum. Sorry, can't spell it the Spanish way on my phone either. It has displays on bio diversity and natural history of Panama. It was on our to do list, but we spent too much time at Casco Viejo and didn't want to take a chance of missing the last bus.

 

Sent from my SM-G900T using Forums mobile app

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That is the Museum of Biodiversity or Biomuseo. It was designed by Frank Gehry who has designed a number of edgy modern art types of buildings such as the Museum of Pop Cultrue in Seattle. Guess I just don't get it... looks like Sanford and Son lost a load of sheet metal destined for the scrap yard... sorry:o .

 

This leads me another interesting building that Terry grabbed a shot of in one of his great pictures of the skyline of Panama City. As DianeinNY mentioned, I think many are surprised by how modern Panama's skyline is, specially when you have been treated by the looks of Colon, not so pleasant. Terry took a picture of what I think is a most eye catching building (pic below), it is officially called the Revolution Tower, it has a nickname which I will post further down.

 

The Revolution Tower by Terry

 

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A couple of years ago while on a tour in Panama City I snapped this of the Revolution Tower. Looks like a bunch CD jewel cases stacked on top of one another and given a twist. Locally it has the nickname Screw Tower. Looks like it is getting ready to auger its way up through the clouds. This is more my kinda of "edgy" architecture!

 

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To those of you who have done a Canal transit without at least a stop in either Colon or Ft. Amador (for Panama City) another Canal cruise may just be the ticket!

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Appreciate these updates, added information and the great follow-up from Bill and Ann. Yes, it's fun exploring and seeing these various cultures, lifestyles, history, etc. Very special and interesting in seeing the Panama Canal and learning about its creation/construction.

 

Getting ready in six days to be departing for Lisbon and our first visit to Portugal. Then, we will be seeing NW Spain, Bordeaux and Brittany also for the first times in these charming regions. Will do a live/blog for these "adventures". Join in and feel free to ask any questions as we sail.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Just completed Feb. 28-Mar. 15, 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through the Panama Canal with our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Lots of fun pictures!! Those pictures start on the second page, post #26. See more at:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

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Yes!! Appreciate these excellent reminders on getting this "The Path Between the Seas" book by David McCullough from 1977. Wow!! Didn't realize that it was 40 years ago that this book was written. But for covering this unique history from more than a hundred years ago, it still works well.

 

Have log on to our local library's website and have a reserved placed for this historic book. Will be getting it shortly and reading it!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 167,241 views for this posting.

 

I got this book for my husband for $9.95 on Amazon. We have free shipping.

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I got this book for my husband for $9.95 on Amazon. We have free shipping.

 

YES, that was a good and smart $10 investment in getting this book for your husband. Excellent prep for sailing through the Panama Canal.

 

LATEST ADVENTURE??!!: Just got back from three weeks in Europe doing five days in Lisbon, sailing from Portugal, seeing for the first time NW Spain, Bordeaux, Brittany, etc. Great sights and sites! Below are a few "samples" to prove the value for exploring these wonderful areas. For many more pictures and full details, check out this live/blog:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting and dramatic pictures can be seen from this live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 32,521 views for this visual sharing including Cape Town, along South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta area.

 

For Sintra north of Lisbon, here is one small visual sampling. Yes, as we told our grandsons, these are "Real Castles!". Really have learned lots on the unique history of Portugal.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)

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From Porto, during our first trip to Portugal, we loved doing a small-craft sailing along their historic town areas near where Port wines are stored and sold.:

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At the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the art is mostly about the building. Lighting and time of day when photo shooting allows for much creativity as to how you can capture this structure, its outdoor art, the inside drama, etc. Not your grandfather's museum! Like?:

June%202017A%201564_zpsjjiq8ype.jpg

 

Here is one quick visual sample from being in Bordeaux. If you love history and architecture, this is the super place to be!!. Like the little boy enjoying the water experience?: June%202017A%201587_zpsw32y5i9v.jpg

 

During our Guernsey Island visit off of the French coast, we did our ship's "Powerboat Seascape Expedition". Great fun and sightings! Isn't this puffin cute?? Plus, lots of seal, beach, sea gull, etc., actions and activities.:June%202017A%201627_zpsnz42afom.jpg

 

After the cruise concluded in Rouen, we finished with in-depth time in Brittany and to finish with a stop at Monet's Giverny before flying out from Paris' de Gaulle airport.:

June%202017A%201625_zpspdjx3z9y.jpg

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From the Wall Street Journal this morning, they have this headline: Panama Canal’s Big Bet Is Paying Off with these highlights: Panama’s $5 billion investment to expand its century-old canal is paying off as shipping lines send more U.S.-bound cargoes through the passage instead of the Suez Canal. Ships nearly three times as large as the ones crossing before the expanded locks opened in June of 2016 are bringing tens of millions of additional dollars in tolls and a trading boom to U.S. East Coast ports. Since the start of the year, transiting tonnage at the Panama Canal has increased by nearly 23%. Last week marked the 2,000th transit of a ship that wouldn’t have fit through the old locks.

 

Interesting article and background on this major project and canal expansion. In March, we traveled through the older, historic canal, but we could see many aspects related to this new passage way. This article also noted: "The Panama Canal is also helping U.S. exporters of natural gas send bigger loads to Asian markets. The new locks took nine years and cost $5.4 billion. The locks allow vessels moving up to 14,800 containers to cross, while the old locks, which still operate, can only handle ships carrying up to 5,000 containers."

 

Full story at:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-panama-canals-big-bet-is-paying-off-1507464000

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 220,190 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Have a "comparison question" for traveling through the Panama Canal versus the experience/sights, etc., for doing the Suez Canal. As noted below, we are planning for an "adventure" next year that would include the famed canal in Egypt that was pushed and completed by the original French engineer/developer who also tried to make the Panama Canal happen. But, he failed in Panama. In researching and reading David McCullough's excellent Path Between the Seas book on the Panama Canal, there was much background for these Suez efforts. BUT, looking to learn more!! Any tips, insights, sharing?

 

As an update for our plans in late January 2018, we will be doing our first visit to Southeast Asia. This will feature Hong Kong, Bangkok, Vietnam and Cambodia, including a seven-day Mekong River cruise with Avalon Waterways, seeing Angkor Wat and Hue/Danang, etc. We will be gone a little over one month for this latest “adventure”. Then for late November, 2018, looking to do an Athens to Dubai, 20-day cruise with Oceania, including our first visits to the Holy Lands, Egypt, Middle East, etc. Any tips, ideas and secrets from those who have visited this interesting, historic areas?

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean adventure that started in Barbados, here is the link for that live/blog. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.):

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 54,394 views for these postings.

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Have a "comparison question" for traveling through the Panama Canal versus the experience/sights, etc., for doing the Suez Canal. As noted below, we are planning for an "adventure" next year that would include the famed canal in Egypt that was pushed and completed by the original French engineer/developer who also tried to make the Panama Canal happen. But, he failed in Panama. In researching and reading David McCullough's excellent Path Between the Seas book on the Panama Canal, there was much background for these Suez efforts. BUT, looking to learn more!! Any tips, insights, sharing?

 

As an update for our plans in late January 2018, we will be doing our first visit to Southeast Asia. This will feature Hong Kong, Bangkok, Vietnam and Cambodia, including a seven-day Mekong River cruise with Avalon Waterways, seeing Angkor Wat and Hue/Danang, etc. We will be gone a little over one month for this latest “adventure”. Then for late November, 2018, looking to do an Athens to Dubai, 20-day cruise with Oceania, including our first visits to the Holy Lands, Egypt, Middle East, etc. Any tips, ideas and secrets from those who have visited this interesting, historic areas?

 

 

Hi Terry

 

My husband and I are planning a visit to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) for late next year so would love to hear from you about dos and don'ts.

 

As for your Athens to Dubai trip, my first thought is a few days pre-cruise in Athens if you haven't yet been there. It is a very easy city to do on your own. Plan on at least 3 full days so you can take an excursion outside the city onto the Peloponnese Peninsula. And just a heads up that during your time there, don't carve any plans in stone (except your excursion) because strikes can happen suddenly and they do. Our morning plans to visit the Acropolis got canceled when the ticket sellers went on strike until noon. Then we made the mistake of going back early afternoon when it was unbelievably crowded. We should have gone the next day. We stayed near the Plaka (pedestrian) area which was a great place to walk in the evening for window shopping and dinner.

 

What are your other ports of call?

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Hi Terry. My husband and I are planning a visit to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) for late next year so would love to hear from you about dos and don'ts. As for your Athens to Dubai trip, my first thought is a few days pre-cruise in Athens if you haven't yet been there. It is a very easy city to do on your own. Plan on at least 3 full days so you can take an excursion outside the city onto the Peloponnese Peninsula. And just a heads up that during your time there, don't carve any plans in stone (except your excursion) because strikes can happen suddenly and they do. Our morning plans to visit the Acropolis got canceled when the ticket sellers went on strike until noon. We stayed near the Plaka (pedestrian) area which was a great place to walk in the evening for window shopping and dinner. What are your other ports of call?

 

Appreciate so much these great details and suggestions for wonderful Diane. Yes, Have been to Athens!! Great history and sights there. As detailed on the link below, we did three days for Athens in June 2006 before enjoying our first cruise sailing (on the way to Istanbul). Yes, stayed and super loved being right near the charming Plaka. AND, we also did a day-trip excursion around the scenic and historic Peloponnese Peninsula with our private guide/driver. Lots of great Greek experiences from 2006. Looking forward to getting a fresher sampling of Greece after its financial struggles.

 

For this November 16-December 6, 2018, Oceania cruise, here would be the stops/schedule: After Athens, three island stops, including the Greek islands of Patmos (where we stopped in 2006) and Rhodes, and then Limassol, Cyprus. We would have an overnight stop in Haifa, allowing two days for Jerusalem, etc. Then, the Suez Canal Transt and a full day and evening stop in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Then it would an overnight, two-day stop for Luxor (Safaga), Egypt. Then, Aqaba, Jordan, for Petra. There would be four days cruising the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden before two different stops in Salalah and Muscat for Oman. Then we finish with an overnight in Dubai, United Arab Emirates before departing this ship.

 

Love any more great suggestion and ideas. Keep it coming!!

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For Athens and nearby, look at this earlier posting for many options and visual samples from this city that is so great for seeing its great history, style and architecture. This posting is now at 17,611 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1101008

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Just finished June 2017 sailing from Portugal to France along the scenic Atlantic Coast, plus great pre- and post-cruise experiences. Many interesting pictures and details on history, food, culture, etc., from my live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

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. We would have an overnight stop in Haifa, allowing two days for Jerusalem, etc.

 

 

Sounds like a fantastic itinerary!

 

The only thing I can advise is your Haifa stop. The city has some highlights but I don't believe enough to take time away from Jerusalem. Of course, it depends on your personal interest but if you have an overnight stop, I would take a tour that lets you stay overnight in Jerusalem to max your time there. We had only a bunch of hours from our POC in Ashdod and wasn't anywhere near enough.

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Sounds like a fantastic itinerary! The only thing I can advise is your Haifa stop. The city has some highlights but I don't believe enough to take time away from Jerusalem. Of course, it depends on your personal interest but if you have an overnight stop, I would take a tour that lets you stay overnight in Jerusalem to max your time there. We had only a bunch of hours from our POC in Ashdod and wasn't anywhere near enough.

 

YES!! Agree with Diane and your helpful, wise follow-up. Our leaning is towards doing an overnight in Jerusalem. That seems to be the "star" for this area. We will be traveling with friends who have been to this area. Plus, have many other friends who are experienced with travel in this historic region. Please keep sharing any and all tips and ideas for this part of the world with so many excellent options.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 39,683 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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For Diane and others, we are now back from our first river boat sailing and doing a sampling of Southeast Asia. It was for the Mekong River!! Plus, plus!!

 

Well-pleased with these countries, especially Cambodia and Siem Reap plus the ship, staff, food, tours, etc. On my live/blog, connected below, there are dozens of pictures and many details to document these fun adventures and travels. Happy on the live/blog to answer any and all questions, share more info/background, etc.

 

Now, we shift our focus and attention to mid November, 2018, for our Athens to Dubai, 20-day cruise with Oceania, including our first visits to the Holy Lands, Egypt, Middle East, etc. This includes for the Suez Canal!! Many options to consider and logistics to research. Keep hearing great things from other travelers about Oceania, the staff, their food, etc. Look forward to comparing Oceania versus other cruise lines we have experienced, who has what plus and minus factors, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

Here are just a few visuals samples from what we saw and did with Avalon while sailing along the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Many, many more photos and details on the full live/blog.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

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We saw many temples, palaces, markets and samples of daily life/work, including at this below spectacular Royal structure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.:

CMY_1271_zpsif0trcea.jpg

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CMY_0470%201_zpsdpnhanc1.jpg

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