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Fake, Made Up and Completely Impossible Virtual Cruise Trip Report

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On 9/4/2020 at 8:08 PM, JBTCAT said:

When is the best time to do an Alaskan cruise?  I really want to book one!

As has been said, you will likely have a great cruise whenever you go.  I've been twice - once in early July and once in mid-September.   

If I was to plan another one I would go for the July/August time frame.  Weather is always variable in Alaska, but you're more likely to have better weather in mid-summer and that can make a real difference for enjoyment of the glaciers, etc.  Also, the days are longer so you can enjoy the scenery for longer.

We chose our September voyage because we wanted less kids on board.  We were on Princess and I suspect the summer voyage would not have been overrun with kids.  


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Now that I'm in the region known for Oranges and Pinnacles I'm getting ready for the next update to this virtual cruise. 


I'm thinking somewhere the CDC stole from me for the fall of 2021.  They might be able to ban the cruise lines from talking about such a cruise but they can't stop me from virtually sailing there...



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5 hours ago, twangster said:

Oranges and Pinnacles

I must be hungry.   I read that as oranges and pineapples.  Good to hear from you and looking forward to rejoining your trip.

Until then, I am sightseeing in Curacao


Tranquil Bays with flamingos


North shore at National Park Shete Boka



Playa Porto Marie



Playa Kenapa 





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Dawn was slow to break through the cloudy mist on this morning.




The sizable city of Panama appeared through the mist.




Then a bridge appeared.




Not just any bridge.  The Bridge of The Americas connects North and South America.




A nod towards yesteryear on display.




A ship ahead of use is jostled into position for it's journey.






While we may our way towards our path.




This will begin our day going through the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering.

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On 8/16/2020 at 9:15 PM, Sasksilver said:

. . . When the deck is quiet and there are only a few people out, usually with their cameras, far away sounds from the lower decks of people laughing, and the sound of the waves as the ship makes its way to the next port . . .


Very beautifully put!   My husband and I often say that there is just something special about cruising that is hard to put into words.  You know who really needs that transporter?  The airlines!!!  Thank you so much for this wonderful fantasy cruise, OP.  What a great idea and you do write very well.

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Heading from the Pacific Ocean East towards the Atlantic our first close up experience with the Panama Canal will be the Miraflores Locks.


There are two steps in these locks with a small lake in between them.






These tugs are an important part of the canal operation. Ships our size are assigned two tugs.




Two people in a row boat... can you believe these row boats are still used over a hundred years after the canal first opened?




They bring "messenger" lines over to the ship that will be used to haul the steel cables from the locomotives over to the ship.  Ship lines are not used in the transit.




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The Miraflores locks will lift us two of the three steps required to reach the level of Gatun Lake.




The locomotives on each side will help guide the ship into the lock channel and keep the ship centered. These have been upgraded over the years but their function remains the same as it was in 1914 when the Panama Canal first opened.




The locomotives are nicknamed "mules" and operating under guidance from the control room,  the onboard seamen and the pilot they keep the ship moving centered in the lock chamber.  The ship uses its own propulsion to move forward.




As the ship moves forward we approach the lock door that hold back massive volumes of water.  Behind us a set of lock doors will close creating a chamber for us to ride in.




Once the doors behind the ship close the lock is flooded with water.  The spray seen here is normal leakage, the chamber is actually filled from below. 




As the chamber fills we can sense we are gently rising.




It's a subtle rise that can be hard to notice.  The water line against the lock doors can be used to see how far the water has risen.  






With our first lift complete the lock doors in front of us open and we advance into the next lock chamber.




The ship before us is already moving into Miraflores Lake.




The orange ship in the new locks has already reach the level of Gatun Lake and is starting to move forward to continue the transit.  The Borinquen Dams separate the new Pacific access channel where this ship is from Miraflores Lake.






These Miraflores locks were originally completed in 1913. 




One more lift to go to reach the level of Miraflores Lake.




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I'm slow rollin' this thread because I think we still have a few more months of virtual cruising but our day in the Panama Canal continues...


It's amazing to think that the canal has for over one hundred years been powered by... rain. 


The entire scope of what was accomplished in building the canal includes numerous individual feats of achievement.  It's unlikely modern society could ever duplicate the efforts and accomplishments that went into building this wonder of the world. 


The time and fuel savings for the shipping industry over those 100+ years is hard to fathom and it was all made possible by water falling from the sky.  The original canal system used no power to lift or lower ships, it was all done by using the power of water.  Think of the weight of all the ships that have used the canal over those 100+ years.  Pretty amazing stuff.  


With the Miraflores Locks complete it was time to proceed.  The ship before us is already halfway across Miraflores Lake.




They begin to let the cables to the locomotives go as we slowly move forward.




As we make our way across Miraflores Lake that ship ahead of us is nearly through the Pedro Miguel lock that comes next. 




Tugs at the ready to push us around.




Two people in a row boat...




Our narrator over the P.A. system informs us they had studies done to evaluate replacing the people in a row boat with various other ways to accomplish the same goal.  At the conclusion it was determined this remains the most flexible means to get the job done.  It simply works.




Looking at the countryside you get an idea of just what they had to deal with over one hundred years ago when they started building the canal.




At this point we could clearly see the Centennial Bridge, the next bridge we would pass under and the channel forward into the Culebra cut.




As we approach the Pedro Miguel lock the doors begin to open



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