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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 23rd, 2001, 01:15 PM
tomcruise2623
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Default PORT OR STARBOARD SIDE FOR PANAMA CRUISE

DEAR EDITOR,

AFTER I READ THE ARTICLE "THREADING THE NEEDLE: A CANAL PASSAGE" BY BEN LYONS, I SUDDENLY WANT TO DO THE PANAMA CRUISE THIS FALL.

SUPPOSING THAT I AM TAKING THE EAST BOUND FULL PANAMA CANAL PASSAGE, SAY FROM L.A. TO MIAMII, WHICH SIDE OF THE SHIP FROM A BALCONY SUITE, WILL ENSURE ME TO SEE ALL THE ACTIVITIES ALONG IT DURING TRANSIT AS DESCRIBED BY BEN?

THANKS AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

TOM
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Old August 23rd, 2001, 04:10 PM
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Y2C Y2C is offline
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Default Re: PORT OR STARBOARD SIDE FOR PANAMA CRUISE

Hello Tom,
We booked the port side balcony on a west bound Panama cruise. This may have been the luck of a draw. When entering the first set of locks it can be 50-50 on what side of the median the ship will enter depending on other ships going through the Canal.
We stayed on the same side of the median through the complete transit.

It is possible (???) that paticular cruise lines are assigned to one side during transit. A call to the TA might be able to confirm the transit with the cruise line. Who knows it is worth asking.
You will also want to be on upper observation decks for fantastic views and photo opportunities.

We sailed the Celebrity Mercury this past April.

Y2C
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Old August 23rd, 2001, 04:55 PM
Carole Dunham
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Default Re: PORT OR STARBOARD SIDE FOR PANAMA CRUISE

Probably the best cabins are Celebrity's forward facing cabins. You get to see both sides without having to go outside. It is super hot in the canal. When you reach the Caribbean it is such a blessed relief. The temperature drops about twenty degrees. Not a suite though.

Carole
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Old August 24th, 2001, 01:06 PM
FrankM
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Default Re: PORT OR STARBOARD SIDE FOR PANAMA CRUISE

Toncruise2623,

Transiting the canal from West-to-East (which is actually more South-to-North) is the ideal passage through the Panama Canal. Since the canal is more south-north oriented and you enter from the Pacific side at about 8 AM in the morning (Panama Time) the sun will be coming from the Starboard, rear quarter of the ship.

If you book a cabin on the Port side (left side, facing forward) you will look out of your cabin to the west. Ususally,the canal ship traffic stays to the right (as we drive on the right side of the road) so on-coming ships will pass to your side of the ship. With the sun coming from the other side of the ship (Starboard) and you facing West, what you see is in bright sunlight and great for photography.If you were to travel from the Caribbean to the Pacific, you would be traveling south, facing into the sun and looking at objects in shadows (not so good for photography). So book a Port side cabin!

If you will be taking a load of photos as many people do, the sun will be behind you and illuminating the left side (West side of the canal for some great photo opportunities. Of course the sun will reach the port side of the ship after noon, but some of the best photos opportunities will occur before noon. In any case, you just might want to find a place at the bow of the ship and at a high vantage point and watch both sides of the ship as you transit the canal.

To get you prepared for your canal passage, here are a couple of web sites at the Panama Canal to give you some background history and operating information on the canal. The first one is the homepage for the Pamana Canal Authority with the background information. The second one is the 24 Hr. stop-action Canal-Cam that you can watch at your computer day or night. For the best thrill of all, in late Sept., the cruise ships will start transiting to the Caribbean Sea and for six to eight weeks you will have the opportunity to watch the cruise ships pass through the canal. Cruise ships pass through the canal only in the day time.

The Canal-Cam is located at the Miraflores Locks: the first set of locks on the Pacific side. The canal is on Easstern Standard Time, but they don't participate in Daylight Savings Time. So, 8 o'clock Central Standard Time is about when the cruise ships will enter Miraflores Locks. Passage through the canal takes about 8 hours. Enjoy your canal passage planning.

http://www.pancanal.com/index.html

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html



FrankM









8 AM
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Old August 28th, 2001, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: PORT OR STARBOARD SIDE FOR PANAMA CRUISE

I'm actually writing to Tom Cruise? Be still, my heart !!!

I've only done the Canal twice, both times west to east (or as Frank points out, south to north). The main action is between the two lock sets. On both transits we were in the lower set of locks as one looks north and had portside balcony cabins. Perfect.

We did make friends with others on the "other" side of the ship so, regardless of which locksets the ship was directed to, we had a balcony on the proper side.

I highly recommend reading "The Path Between the Seas" before your canal adventure.

pamda -- CruiseMates First-Time Cruisers Editor
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