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Panama Canal which side to book?


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A quick look at Google maps shows the new locks on the west and southwest side of the old locks, port side of your ship in your sailing. Bear in mind, the Canal doesn't run east-west, rather it runs, if you are entering from the Pacific side, generally northwest.

 

A little reading on the board would get you tons of info. The side of the ship your cabin is on doesn't matter, as you should not stay just on your balcony. There are some many things to see from better and different locations, that you will be shutting yourself out of seeing things if you stay on your balcony. You would miss everything on the other side of the ship. As discussed here frequently, you want to see a lock transit form the bow, if your ship allows you to be on the bow. Also, while in a lock, the promenade deck around the ship is also an impressive view.

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When going through the Agua Clara locks into Gatun Lake, I would want to be up front or on my starboard side balcony.  But once you pass under Centennial Bridge and heading for Cocoli Locks and the Pacific, I would want to be portside.  So it's best to get the best you can afford and be out moving around as you transit the canal.  EM

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Book the type of cabin you prefer for the rest of the cruise, don't select your cabin based on the Canal.  An interior cabin is just fine for the transit of the Canal.  The reason I say that is you really don't want to nailed down to your cabin during the transit.  The best side of the ship is topside or outside😀!  Or at least position yourself where you can be where you need to be to see whatever is of interest.  Things happen in the Canal at a pretty gentle pace, so you should be able to position yourself to take in the view.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You will want to ROAM about the ship during your transit.  If you stay on your balcony, you will miss 3/4's of the sights.  And go to different deck levels...things look different from the promenade deck compared to the upper higher decks.  Honestly, it doesn't matter WHERE your cabin is...you should not be IN the cabin for this!

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We are on a Los Angeles to Miami via the Panama Canal right now. We booked starboard side cabin thinking we would like to have sunset views on sea days.  BUT, I did not take into account how warm the afternoon sun might make the cabin!  Thank goodness the a/c works so well!

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That will change😀!  By the time you arrive at the Pacific entrance to the Canal and as long as the clouds cooperate, you will be able to see the sun rise in the Pacific from your starboard side cabin!  Later that day, you will be able to see the sun set in another ocean as well.

 

One more little disclaimer... depending on when your ship actually starts the transit, the view of the sunrise could be blocked by some islands.  However it will still be rising in the east!!😉

 

Enjoy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We did the Carnival Miracle sailing from Tampa to Long Beach and were thrilled to have our balcony.  While we started the day up top, it got hot quickly.  We retreated to the outside promenade deck, which was much cooler.  Then the rain came in and our portside balcony provided shelter and a great view of the locks, including all of the larger ships using the newer lock. 

 

YMMV, but we were super glad we booked a portside balcony for this trip.

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  • 1 year later...
On 10/7/2019 at 7:42 PM, JC in CA said:

We are on a Los Angeles to Miami via the Panama Canal right now. We booked starboard side cabin thinking we would like to have sunset views on sea days.  BUT, I did not take into account how warm the afternoon sun might make the cabin!  Thank goodness the a/c works so well!

From your post I take that the cooler side of the ship is the port side if going from the Pacific to the Atlantic?

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1 hour ago, Smokeyham said:

From your post I take that the cooler side of the ship is the port side if going from the Pacific to the Atlantic?

That depends.  Are you talking only about the transit day?  If so, port side might be cooler early, but as you move and the sun moves, port side will heat up.  If you are talking about the full cruise, Coming down the Pacific coast, morning side port,  evening side starboard.  Going out of the canal you are sailing NE so morning/afternoon temps will reverse.  Remember, the canal transit is only one (long) day of your cruise.  EM

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2 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

That depends.  Are you talking only about the transit day?  If so, port side might be cooler early, but as you move and the sun moves, port side will heat up.  If you are talking about the full cruise, Coming down the Pacific coast, morning side port,  evening side starboard.  Going out of the canal you are sailing NE so morning/afternoon temps will reverse.  Remember, the canal transit is only one (long) day of your cruise.  EM

Thanks,

I'm thinking that the most important day (i.e. when we will most want to be out on our balcony) will be transit day.  Since we will be doing a Pacific to Atlantic then the shade in the afternoon on the starboard side seems like a better choice. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Smokeyham said:

Thanks,

I'm thinking that the most important day (i.e. when we will most want to be out on our balcony) will be transit day.  Since we will be doing a Pacific to Atlantic then the shade in the afternoon on the starboard side seems like a better choice. 

 

 

 

I think this is a really good choice.  Enjoy! 

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1 hour ago, Smokeyham said:

Thanks,

I'm thinking that the most important day (i.e. when we will most want to be out on our balcony) will be transit day.  Since we will be doing a Pacific to Atlantic then the shade in the afternoon on the starboard side seems like a better choice. 

 

 

 

10 minutes ago, lazydayz said:

 

I think this is a really good choice.  Enjoy! 

Thanks,

I know the advice is not to stay in your cabin but to roam about the ship.  While we intend to do that we have friends who did the transit and who said that after awhile the heat really got to them and they were glad to be able to retreat to their cabin and then to step outside occasionally to see what was happening and then to quickly retreat back into the air conditioning.

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On 3/16/2021 at 5:48 AM, Smokeyham said:

From your post I take that the cooler side of the ship is the port side if going from the Pacific to the Atlantic?

Smokeyham:

We were in suite 863 (starboard) on the Mariner.  We traveled  the eastbound route - from LA to Miami.  We were ALL over the ship on canal day!  The observation lounge and the 2 outdoor areas next to it were quite crowded.  Two of our favorite spots were the outdoor area of La Veranda - seeing the gates close behind us, and the Mariner lounge as we were going up in a lock- watching the wall as we rose was really something- really gave us a sense of how fast we were rising!  The transit takes a long time, and I would encourage you to experience it in as many different places as possible.  

 

My comment about heating up our suite is that in the afternoon, as we were southbound from LA, we had the sun coming into our suite which definitely could be felt, and our balcony was quite warm!  The A/C in our suite, and all over the ship, was very good. 

 

One thing we found quite by accident is that there were thunderstorms many nights.  We leave our blinds open at night - not like anyone will be looking in- and got to see some wonderful lightning shows from our bed!  (We are from CA - not many lightning storms here!)

 

This was a very enjoyable cruise for us - our 1st on Regent - we hope we will do more in the future!

enjoy your cruise, whenever it may take place!

Jerie

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2 hours ago, Smokeyham said:

@JC in CA

Thanks so much for the feedback!  I'm also from Santa Clara..... I agree, we don't get many thunderstorms.  🙂

Gordon

Many (many) years ago my sister’s Girl Scout troop went to the cabana in Mexico. I went because mom was asst. leader.  In my dorm was a scout from Lima, Peru.  Apparently they never get rain in Lima.  The Windows did not have glass, only screens.  When it stormed, she would sit in the wide window sill, behind the curtains, and watch the storm.  EM

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3 hours ago, Smokeyham said:

@JC in CA

Thanks so much for the feedback!  I'm also from Santa Clara..... I agree, we don't get many thunderstorms.  🙂

Gordon

Small world!

I did save all of the daily Passages - I forgot which way you are planning - if LA to Miami - I'd be happy to loan them to you!

 

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1 hour ago, JC in CA said:

Small world!

I did save all of the daily Passages - I forgot which way you are planning - if LA to Miami - I'd be happy to loan them to you!

 

Thanks, ours is SF to FT Lauderdale on Princess, so probably different ports.  

Did you stop in Fuerte Amador (for Panama City)?  If so, do you have any ShoreEx recommendations?  Thinking of going to the Embera Village with Anne Gordon de Barrigón.

 

 

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