To expand on Cruiser Girls' comments, another reason only people with booked tours are allowed to disembark in Gatun Lake is that there is nothing to do or see on shore. Unlike typical ports of call, Gatun Lake's dock for tenders has nothing there except a parking lot for buses, and you are several miles from anything. This "port" was developed by Panama to allow cruise ship passengers a place to disembark so they can see some of the county instead of just sitting on the ship waiting to go back through Gatun Locks.
We just cruise to Panama on the Liberty and did the Panama Canal tour thru the ship. It was a bus ride to a 3 story ferry that went down the canal and thru 2 locks. It was awesome. We saw 2 cruiseship size cargo ships going thru on the other side. We had an up close experience of going thru the locks as we were below the walls and as we were raised, I could actually touch the walls, watch the water rush around us and watch us raise up. We think it was a better experience than on a cruise ship. Now we can tell our sons and grandchildren we had lunch while floating down the Panama Canal.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
CA Cruiser, what is the name of that tour.
We sail the Liberty Jan 21 to the Panama Canal, and we cannot decide what tour to book. Do you have to book it on board, is that safer, or is it possible to book on land? How limited are the places for the tours?
I am looking forward to see the Panama Canal, but there are more tours that seems excited, for instance the ocean to ocean trainride, but then you do not go through the locks.
Choises, choises ......
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