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Seating while going through Panama locks?


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DH and I are going on a partial transit of the Panama Canal on the Island in October.  In researching when and where to go to get the best view of the first lock, I see that going to the 10th or 11th deck forward about 1- 11/2 hours before is suggested.  My question is whether or not there is somewhere to sit in that area while waiting.  I don’t think DH or I could stand for that long.  I know that some people secure seating in the Horizon, but I don’t want to take up a table where someone wants to have breakfast.

Thanks 

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We did this cruise on the Coral which was the sister ship of the Island (before the unfortunate Island renovations ).  We were on the forward Deck 10 viewing area while going through the canal and there was no seating.

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Years ago we did a in/out of the canal on the Island (yes before it was butchered) and watched most of the transit from our balcony.  At one point I did go down to outside promenade deck to see the side clearance with the lock walls.  The ship photographers were on the locks and took pictures of pax on their balcony and we have that picture.  DW made a poster board sign with identifying info and I had my alumni flag hanging from the balcony.  Very nice remembrance.

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We were on the Coral and did quite a bit of moving around; ours was a full transit. We were on our balcony as well as many of the open areas on deck. We could touch the wall from our balcony, Great trip!

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6 hours ago, nini said:

We were on the Coral and did quite a bit of moving around; ours was a full transit. We were on our balcony as well as many of the open areas on deck. We could touch the wall from our balcony, Great trip!

 

We had the same experience on the Coral.  The narrative through the canal was great (I think his name was Dr. Godwin) and could be heard in most areas of the ship and over the cabin TV.  We were all over the ship during the day and alternated between forward viewing stations and aft when entering and leaving the locks.  IMHO the people who stake out a single spot are missing out on a lot of the show.  

 

If you have standing issues, I would suggest taking a portable camp chair on board with you.  You can use it in your cabin in lieu of the barrel chair and it's easy to fold up and carry with you when you want to stand/sit on one of the many viewing areas.

 

 

coleman-cooler-chair.w600.h396.jpg

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We have been in the P.C. 5 times. Each time the schedule was basically the same. The ship arrived in the approach channel around 5am. Initial lock transit began around 6am. It takes around 1 1/2 to 2 hours to clear the 3 locks and arrive in Gatun Lake. A schedule will be delivered to your cabin. Passengers start gathering on the Sun Deck above the Horizon Ct. very early placing the lounge chairs in forward positions. Passengers also find locations all along the side rails of the Sun Deck, along the Promenade Deck, up on the Sports Deck 16 forward and aft. The decks you mention, 10 and 11 forward do not have any chairs. People come and go. If you bring your own chair you may have some difficulty seeing over the solid railing. The Sanctuary is available for the transit. There is a good sized fee. Book early on boarding day.

If you take a Princess tour you will not be able to see the exit through the locks. Tours return to the docks. If you stay on the ship you can experience the exit through the locks, without commentary. Viewing locations are readily available on exit as many passengers are on tours.

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31 minutes ago, skynight said:

 

If you take a Princess tour you will not be able to see the exit through the locks. Tours return to the docks. If you stay on the ship you can experience the exit through the locks, without commentary. Viewing locations are readily available on exit as many passengers are on tours.

Thank you for this information. I was looking at the 2021 Panama Canal and it gave the illusion you can visit Panama City and still see the ship go through the locks. Since this is our first time thru the locks I didn’t want to miss it.  

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We've done two full transits with a partial coming up in Dec.

 

We, and others, did a lot of moving around various decks and areas to see the locks and various sights going through the lake and canal.  I think it would be difficult to find a chair in most areas that actually let you see much--but you could certainly use one to rest for awhile between viewings.  Maybe a table and chair near a window somewhere?  Areas with good views were very crowded most of the time

 

Your balcony is also an option, although of course then you can see only one side.  Maybe one of those canes that also have a little seat on them, to use when needed?

 

We loved both transits--so much to see.

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Have you considered viewing the transit from the aft?  We stayed on Caribe Deck on the Coral and aft was a beautiful terrace that ran the entire width of the ship.  It was virtually unoccupied during the transit and we got to see everything on both sides of the ship.  The only problem was that the narration wasn’t synchronized for the aft of the ship.  Here’s a photo of the terrace.

 

P4080016.JPG

Edited by Daniel A
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29 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Have you considered viewing the transit from the aft?  We stayed on Caribe Deck on the Coral and aft was a beautiful terrace that ran the entire width of the ship.  It was virtually unoccupied during the transit and we got to see everything on both sides of the ship.  The only problem was that the narration wasn’t synchronized for the aft of the ship.  Here’s a photo of the terrace.

 

P4080016.JPG

These aft areas on decks 9, 10 11, & 12 are not available on the Island, the OP's ship. There are cabins in these areas. There may be a small area on deck 8, not sure.

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28 minutes ago, skynight said:

These aft areas on decks 9, 10 11, & 12 are not available on the Island, the OP's ship. There are cabins in these areas. There may be a small area on deck 8, not sure.

I checked a number of photos of the stern of the Island and they were there.  Did they get removed during a refurbishment and I am only seeing old photos?  I know people are not happy with the changes that were made to the Island, maybe that was one of them.

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Our narrator on the Coral was excellent as well. Probably, Dr. Godwin. It was his 212th transit through

the locks! I believe that one of the differences between a full and partial transit, is that there may be a docking point

on a partial and a shore excursion on the partial. Our full transit just went straight through. 

I also looked on the Princess site, and it does not look like the Island has those wonderful aft balconies.

 

Bringing a lightweight folding chair is a great idea.

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The key is getting a good viewing spot for entering the 1st lock and seeing all the prep needed. Then move around on the ship while the ship moves through the locks.  We have gone out on the front deck at 5 am to get a primo spot. Stay there until the ship is completely in the 1st of 3 locks.  Then go done to the promenade deck as the ship moves into the 2nd lock.  Move to the rear of P deck to see gate operation. (Front will be packed.) Once the ship is raising walk around P deck to see how close the walls are. Once ship is entering 3rd lock, go have breakfast.  As the ship leaves the 3rd lock be at the rear of the ship. You'll get some great pix of the 3 locks and great perspective of the locks.

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Has anyone booked the Sanctuary on PC day on the Island??  Was thinking of booking a cabana (I know it will be pricey) and would like to know if the Sanctuary has an excellent view when entering the locks.  I do have a mini-suite booked so could also go on one of the decks when first entering the canal and also some viewing time from my balcony. 

 

Thanks

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We did a partial transit cruise on the Island back in January round trip form Ft. Lauderdale.  All viewing locations forward will be crowded.  My advice is to get there early and go high.  On the Lido deck there will be chairs and loungers.  This is a slow process so you have time to move around and not miss anything.  We also spent time on our balcony.

 

As for visiting Panama City, you can't.  But you can see it.  We did the excursion where you transfer to a smaller boat (less than 400 pax) and transit the rest of the canal.  This was awesome.  You were literally a few feet from the sides of the locks and yes, you could touch the walls.  After exiting on the Pacific side we docked  near Panama City (you can see the skyline).  We then transferred to a motor coach for the ride back to the ship, which only takes an hour, LOL.

 

This makes for a long day, but if you want to see the entire transit and part of it up close, this is a great way.

 

 

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12 hours ago, nini said:

We were on the Coral and did quite a bit of moving around; ours was a full transit. We were on our balcony as well as many of the open areas on deck. We could touch the wall from our balcony, Great trip!

 

So you're able to sit on your balcony while going through the canal?  Good to know!

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4 hours ago, patrickmoran said:

The key is getting a good viewing spot for entering the 1st lock and seeing all the prep needed. Then move around on the ship while the ship moves through the locks.  We have gone out on the front deck at 5 am to get a primo spot. Stay there until the ship is completely in the 1st of 3 locks.  Then go done to the promenade deck as the ship moves into the 2nd lock.  Move to the rear of P deck to see gate operation. (Front will be packed.) Once the ship is raising walk around P deck to see how close the walls are. Once ship is entering 3rd lock, go have breakfast.  As the ship leaves the 3rd lock be at the rear of the ship. You'll get some great pix of the 3 locks and great perspective of the locks.

This sounds like an awesome excellent plan, except for getting a good viewing spot for the first lock- that’s where we have a problem.  Thanks for the suggestions.  I will definitely do the rest.

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8 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

We had the same experience on the Coral.  The narrative through the canal was great (I think his name was Dr. Godwin) and could be heard in most areas of the ship and over the cabin TV.  We were all over the ship during the day and alternated between forward viewing stations and aft when entering and leaving the locks.  IMHO the people who stake out a single spot are missing out on a lot of the show.  

 

If you have standing issues, I would suggest taking a portable camp chair on board with you.  You can use it in your cabin in lieu of the barrel chair and it's easy to fold up and carry with you when you want to stand/sit on one of the many viewing areas.

 

 

coleman-cooler-chair.w600.h396.jpg

We live in Georgia and had originally planned on driving to Fort Lauderdale.  However, when we saw the great deal we could get through EZ Air, we decided to fly.  Therefore, bringing this chair wouldn’t work.  Otherwise, this would have been a great idea! Thanks

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I want to thank everyone for all of these great ideas.  After seeing the first locks, we plan to move around.  We will be in a mini suite with a balcony, so look forward to even seeing the trip through the locks from our balcony.

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16 hours ago, mevs904 said:

We did this cruise on the Coral which was the sister ship of the Island (before the unfortunate Island renovations ).  We were on the forward Deck 10 viewing area while going through the canal and there was no seating.

Thanks, that’s what I needed to know.

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6 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

We've done two full transits with a partial coming up in Dec.

 

We, and others, did a lot of moving around various decks and areas to see the locks and various sights going through the lake and canal.  I think it would be difficult to find a chair in most areas that actually let you see much--but you could certainly use one to rest for awhile between viewings.  Maybe a table and chair near a window somewhere?  Areas with good views were very crowded most of the time

 

Your balcony is also an option, although of course then you can see only one side.  Maybe one of those canes that also have a little seat on them, to use when needed?

 

We loved both transits--so much to see.

Yes, I was just thinking of somewhere to rest while waiting for the first locks.  Otherwise, we plan to move around.  I’ll think about the chair cane.  We’re flying, so would probably hav to but it once in Fla and the leave it behind.

Thanks

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3 hours ago, Lucky TGO said:

We did this cruise on the Coral Princess there was no seating sorry. (See photos) 

I love the picture I took looking out from the back of the ship. The next ship was right behind us. Caribe Deck 

Tony

4BFE05D3-D7E4-4E6A-8ACA-2DC01D741DFF.jpeg

750382DC-7AD6-4F41-942E-92B89D7120C2.jpeg

Great pictures!  This makes me even more excited.

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