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Old August 4th, 2004, 10:15 PM
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Default Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

We will be doing a 10 day Panama Canal cruise in 1/05. Our ship only goes to Gatun Lake and then turns around. I've heard many people stay on the ship for the view of the locks. However, there are a few excursions that interest me, so I wonder if anyone has done them, and if they are worth getting off the ship for.

1)Embera Indian Culture excursion--looks like you get to see some tribal ceremonies and some of the old remaining culture of Panama....they do have crafts for sale too....are they pushy?

2)Cruising the Canal by Ferry--I really like this excursion because it takes you from Gatun Lake to the Pacific side and through the Miraflores Locks and then back...so theoretically you'd get to see more of the Canal (WHICH IS WHY I'M THERE!!! ) than if I just stayed on the ship. Was this worth the $154pp asking price?

3)Peacock Bass Fishing Excursion--my DH LOVES to fish! He would LOVE to do this excursion but we've heard some have had bad experiences w/bad guides who used 2 liter coke bottles for tackle boxes, who couldn't find the fish, who didn't know how to bait a pole, who had poles with lines so brittle that any time they did get a bite, the line broke, and wondered if others had the same or better experience.

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Old August 6th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

You won't be sorry if you do the "cruising the canal by ferry" we did the Ocean to Ocean journey which is something like yours. And I'm here to tell you its a "MUST"!!

Enjoy your cruise!!

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Old August 9th, 2004, 06:00 AM
Joe Reynolds
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Cruisisng the Canal by Ferry I am not familiar with. $154 pp seems steep.
You would probably sail into the Culebra cut (Galliard cut). You would have to go through the Pedro Miguel locks to get to Miraflores locks, and then I am not sure if you would go through tht Miraflores locks or not. The lock fees are steep.
When I went through the Panama Canal it took us 8 hours to go from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side.

http://www.cruisebuggie.com/modules....content&id=128

The above is a link to a report which has another link at the bottom to some pictures. Let me know if you are able to get there.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Although I have not done the ferry trip, it sounds great. Considering the steep lock fees, it doesn't sound that expensive.

I did the full Canal transit and the most scenic part of the canal is closer to the Pacific side, especially the narrow passages that you don't experience around Gatun Lake. When you are going through the interior part of the canal, you feel like you are sailing through a jungle. When you get close to the Pacific side, you also see the skyline of Panama City. You should find out out whether you go as far as the Bridge of the Americas, which is quite magnificent. Be prepared for the heat as you get closer to the middle of the canal. It can get quite steamy. You will need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

If you are very interested in seeing the entire canal, the ferry trip sounds great. You should also read up a little on the history. I think there is a video which I rented from the library which provided great background on the canal. When you see how the poor workers worked to make this canal possible, it will really make you appreciate what a great feat it was to dig it up.

The Panama Canal trip is one that I will definitely do once again in my life. It truly is amazing. Unfortunately, the partial crossing (Gatun Lake) doesn't do it justice.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Thanks for the pics joe. They looked great! Here is RC website description of the locks by ferry excursion:

Ever wonder what it would be like to transit the Panama Canal locks in a small boat? Experience the eighth wonder of the world as you transit the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks aboard a comfortable ferry.

Your experience begins with a 1-hour narrated drive to Balboa, located on the Pacific coast, where your ferry awaits. Departing Balboa by the ferry, you travel through the Miraflores Locks, the first set of locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.

Your ferry continues along the Miraflores Lake before entering the Pedro Miguel Locks, the second set of Locks. Upon exiting the locks, you are now in the Gaillard Cut, one of the most important parts of the Panama Canal. Gaillard Cut is the location of the Continental Divide and the site where thousands of workers lost their lives during the construction of the canal. A study conducted by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute concluded that the surrounding area is home to nearly 1,368 species of plants, 93 species of mammals, 366 species of birds, and 90 species of amphibians and reptiles.

Your canal experience concludes at the pier in Gamboa where your will board a bus for the 1 hour ride back to the ship. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the Panama Canal as few others have.

Note: Due to the duration of the tour, a light snack and beverages will be will be provided.

Note: This tour will commence via tender from Gatun Lake and end at Cristobal Pier.


= To fully participate may require leisurely walking over primarily even surfaces. There may be a limited number of steps, a minimal amount of cobblestones or uneven surfaces, and some standing for extended periods of time.



Post Edited (08-09-04 12:21)
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Old August 9th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

The description sounds great. It looks like you will go through the entire canal. As I said before, the most interesting part of the canal is from the Pacific to Gatun Lake. I think you will really enjoy it. Also, being on a small ferry, you will probably see things you may not see from a large cruise ship. The canal truly is amazing. Don't forget -- dress lightly -- it will get very humid.
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Old August 10th, 2004, 06:07 AM
Joe Reynolds
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Default Re: Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Vossjemi,
That sounds like a great trip. On second thought it probably is worth the $154 pp.
I suppose you come back by another method other than boat.
Maybe you come back by the train. That would be great.
By the way read the "Path between the Seas" by David Mccollum.
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Old August 10th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Ha. Ha. I have that book now! I am thinking I will do this ferry thing as that is why I'm taking the PC cruise...didn't have the time for 14 day so 10 day had to do it for us. This excursion will give us a little closer to what we wanted out of the 14 day, so as soon as excursions are available I'll probably book it. Thanks!

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Old August 16th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

I was stationed in Panama for two years and had a chance to do a full transit on a destroyer. The view was grand and I enjoyed every minute of it. I also got to stand on the observation areas of the locks and watch cruise ships go through. Everyone looked like they were having a wonderful time. As soon as I can, I want to do a full transit, but the ferry sounds like a good alternative.
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Old August 18th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

i agree with the others that the ferry excursion would be a great trip. We did the full canal transit- amazing.
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Old August 18th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

here is a site you might find interesting
http://www.pancanal.com/eng/general/...rks/index.html

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Old December 18th, 2004, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

If you do the 'cruising the canal by ferry', would you post something about it when you return? I just posted a ?? about it. I'm going in April and was looking at that excursion with Carnival. It looks like it would be a really good excursion.

Thanks-- Have a great trip
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Old December 19th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

Indian tour without question if you are interested in cultures and history. Watching the canal operate is also amazing in it's simplicity. CCL also has what they call a grand tour that includes a road tour, boat ride on Gatun Lake, a visit to an Indian village, and a trip to the locks to watch them work.
Jim

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Old December 19th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

thanks for the info
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Old December 19th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

We're on a similar itin but will do one of the tours. Probably one of the shorter ones that includes a walking tour around the locks. Hope to go through the canal on a future. cruise. That book is very popular. I have it on backorder at the local bookstore but want to read it before we cruise in March..
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Old December 19th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

I just ordered the book on half.com which is part of ebay. It cost me $8.78 with shipping. They had many copies available.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

We did the Embera Indian Culture excursion March 2004. Love it and would do it again.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Re: Panama Canal--stay on ship or do excursions?

We did the Ocean to Ocean tour of the Panama Canal last Jan..It was an awesome experience and would highly recommend it..I agree..the cost is steep...and I don't or say this...it was worth the money..You get the opportunity to experience the canal 'up close'...totally different from the deck of a large cruise ship..

After coming through the Gaton Locks on the Coral Princess we tendered off to a smaller tour boat..We then continued through the rest of the canal..passing through the two remaining lock..Pedro Megal and Mirafores...passed under the Bridge of the American...(it's the start of the Pan American Highway) and out into the Pacific..We we bussed back to our ship which was docked at Christabel..We had a wonderful tour guide who was passionate about his country and gave us lots of information..I came away with a true appreciation for this engineering feat and a desire to return some day..

Hope you consider this special tour...Have a great cruise..

Carol
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