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This may be a silly question to some but when going through the canal traveling Eastbound, will it be dark as you go through Gatun Locks? Thanks RJ

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the canal operates 24/7 ...... cruise ships pay extra for prime time

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We have friends on the Norwegian Sun now who will be going thru in a day or two. Hoping it would still be daylight. We went years ago but went Westbound and it was dark as we exited. Thanks RJ

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Likely it will be daylight. Been through 4 times, only the first time was darkness an issue, just after we cleared the locks on the Pacific side.

 

We were through the Gatun Locks right at 4pm last November...still quite light.

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Early morning approach and daylight transit of the canal.

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Sometimes it depends on how many cruise ships are going through that day. Sometimes they use both lanes, other times they follow each other. For some reason, some ships enter very early...passengers have to be up before 6am to see the approach. Other times the ships get a late start. Infinity today got a late start, but still was through by 5:30p. Remember your geography...The Panama Canal is getting down close to the equator, where there is always 12 hours of dark, and 12 hours of daylight. EM

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We were on the Island Princess last February, eastbound, and it was light the entire transit. We were totally through it before dinner.

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About the only cruise ship I am aware of that will lock through Gatun during the night is one of the small, boutique cruise ships and that cruise is terminating in Colon. So long as you are asking about "regular" cruise ships, unless there are some extenuating circumstances passing through all the locks will occur during daylight hours. For an extra $30,000 on top of the toll the Canal will provide a "daylight" transit, a daylight transit means the ship will arrive at the first lock after sunrise and clear the last lock before sunset. Sunrise/sunset times in Panama only vary about 40 minutes throughout the year, so it is pretty much a 6 to 6 affair.

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In general, you can count on a full daylight transit.

 

On the other hand, things happen. On one of our sailings, a ship broke down and had to be moved out of the way. It delayed things and it was dark before we got to Panama City.

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We have done the full transits many, many times.

The majority of the time we have had day light the entire time. I can only remember twice when we exited the canal in the dark -- one east bound and one west bound.

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Cruise lines usually time it to be daylight so will enter around 6-7am or thereabouts.

 

We started the east side approach to the canal just after sunrise in high summer and entered the pacific ocean just before evening in the full heat of the afternoon.

 

The weather changed a lot mind...tropical heavy rain and sweltering heat.

 

Was fab.

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