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Old September 21st, 2006, 08:40 PM
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Default Panama Canal full Lock???

looking at booking....would like southern...Hubby would like to see Panama...I heard your should do full lock. Can anyone gice advise on whcih ships? Anything about doing Panama? Is it as cool as it sounds? SHips in transit?

Lots of questions...
Karyn
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Old September 21st, 2006, 10:19 PM
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Karyn,

looking at booking....would like southern...Hubby would like to see Panama...I heard your should do full lock. Can anyone gice advise on whcih ships? Anything about doing Panama? Is it as cool as it sounds? SHips in transit?

I'm not sure what you mean by "full lock, but you have to do a full transit of the Panama Canal if you wnat "braggin' rights." The hokey extended "southern Caribbean" cruises that go through the westernmost (yes, the geography plays tricks on you -- the western end of the canal opens to the Caribbean and the eastern end of the canal opens to the Pacific...) locks to Gatun Lake, then turn around and return to the Caribbean, actually do not transit any o the actual canal, which really extends southeastward from Gatun Lake to the Gulf of Panama on Panama's southern (Pacific) coast.

Several cruise lines now offer fantastic "Panama Canal" (full transit) itineraries in both directions. Just to make life confusing, the "westbound" transits from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale to either San Diego or Los Angeles pass eastward through the canal, and vice versa. Thus, you'll get a great view of the spectacular Bridge of the Americas, which links the two banks at the eastern (Pacific) end, in bright sunlight as teh ship approaches it, regardless of which transit you take. Along the way, the experts usually provide a fascinating narration of the various parts of the canal. They also explain the navigational markers (targets on land) that the canal pilots use when piloting vessels through the canal. "The Ditch" remains the only waterway in the world where the master is NOT responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel; the canal authority assumes that responsibility.

The "full transit" panama canal cruises also offer fantastic ports of call, both in the Caribbean and along the Mexican Riviera. On my last cruise, the stops included Puntarenas (Costa Rica) and Huatulco (Mexico) -- two fascinating ports of call that you probably won't find on other itineraries. Puntarenas is a small Costa Rican fishing village that serves as the gateway to Costa Rica's many attractions. Huatulco is a splendid tropical paradise located to the southeast of Acapulco with beautiful beaches where Mexican authroities are just starting to promote tourism.

As to choice of cruise lines, much depends upon your personality and lifestyle. Some cruise lines are quite fancy, in terms of dress and cuisine, while others are quite simple, and there are various degrees in between. I strongly recommend stopping by your favorite bookstore to pick up a guidebook to cruises that contains descriptions of hte various lines and reading the descriptions carefully so you can make an informed choice that will match your preferences. A competent local travel agent is also a great asset in making an informed choice that will match your personal style. This is not a question of one style, and the folks who prefer it, being in any way "better" or "worse" than another, but rather a question of choosing the style that you will find most comfortable and enjoyable.

Have a great cruise, whatever you decide!

Norm.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17

On my last cruise, the stops included Puntarenas (Costa Rica)

Norm.
We are doing the full transit in January and stopping in Putarenas..any suggestions on things to do there?
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 11:48 PM
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kitty2

We are doing the full transit in January and stopping in Putarenas..any suggestions on things to do there?

Yes. The shore excursion that goes to Grecia and Sarchi is outstanding. The church in Grecia, built from metal shipping containers, is an impressive work of art. At Sarchi, you'll have the opportunity to watch craftsmen making very colorful miniature "ox carts" that are really bars, with racks inside for your booze and barware and tops that become serving trays. The carts have very colorful and artistic paint jobs that, IMHO, have a style very similar to "Pennsylvaniia Deuch" (Amish) decor that abounds in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County. Sarchi is also a great place to buy Costa Rican Dark Roast or your other favorite Costa Rican coffees, as well as other crafts and souvenirs.

If you want a more ambitious tour, you can take any of several full day excursions that go all the way to Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. The drawback to these excursions is that San Jose is about an hour and a half from Puntarenas by bus, on two lane mountain roads, so you'll spend a total of three hours riding both ways. The Costa Rican landscape is beautiful, but you probably will have your fill of it if you venture as far as Sarhi and Grecia (which are off the road to San Jose).

There are also several excursions that feature outdoor activities, such as rafting and ziplining, in Costa Rica's "ecological preserves" (that is, tropical rain forests). Most of these excursions probably will encounter rain, so the participants probably will get very wet. Thus, these excursions may or may not be your pleasure. I'll let you decide.

Finally, Puntarenas is still a small fishing village that has not become a tourist haven in spite of the cruise ships that now call there. Some folks seem to enjoy just wandering into town for a taste of the local cuture.

Have a great cruise, whatever you decide!

Norm.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17

Yes. The shore excursion that goes to Grecia and Sarchi is outstanding. The church in Grecia, built from metal shipping containers, is an impressive work of art.

Norm.
Thank you for the info.

How far would these towns be from the Port?

Was there any private tours to pick up at the port or should we stick with ship's tours?
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Old September 24th, 2006, 11:03 PM
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Kitty2,

Thank you for the info.

You're welcome!

How far would these towns be from the Port?

About 45 minutes to an hour, depending upon traffic.

Was there any private tours to pick up at the port or should we stick with ship's tours?

Stick with the ship's tour, especially in Central or South America. The cruise lines checks out the operators of the ships' tours thoroughly, so you have good assurance that they are safe.

Norm.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Stick with the ship's tour, especially in Central or South America. The cruise lines checks out the operators of the ships' tours thoroughly, so you have good assurance that they are safe.

Norm.
Ok will check them out!
Thanks for the info
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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Karyn - go for the full canal transit. It is an experience that you will never forget. We did a 10 day full canal transit on Princess, our cruise originated in San Juan and ended in Acapulco, Mexico.
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Old October 1st, 2006, 09:57 AM
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We choose for a partial transit for 1 major reason.

We want to do a Mexican Riviera cruise next year, but also a Panama Canal cruise. If we choose for a Panama Canal full transit cruise, we should have a lot of double port of calls during our 11 nights Mexican Riviera Cruise. Therefore, we choose for a Caribbean Itenerary which also includes Panama (Gatun Lake) and Costa Rica.

Although we do a partial transit (just the Gatun Lock) we booked a tour witch a ferry which goes through all the locks too. Oke, not with a big cruise ship, but on a small boat, which is a very great experience too.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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My husband and I did the repositioning cruise though the Panama Canal in April. Depending on where you live on the contenant, this is a great cruise. We live off of the BC Coast in Canada so cruising from Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver was best for us. We sailed on the Zuiderdam and it was great. A balcony deck is well worth the extra cost. Have a great time which ever one you choose.
Sammy2
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Old October 16th, 2006, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17

[i] but you have to do a full transit of the Panama Canal if you wnat "braggin' rights." Norm.
Hello again Norm!
I guess I can't claim bragging rights but I did do the canal this year as a shore excursion where we traveled to the Pacific side and boarded as ferry across. The Carnival Legend docked at Colon Panama as part of a 8 day cruise. Hopefullt that counts !
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Old October 18th, 2006, 10:02 PM
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Sheik -- we also chose a partial transit because we have furbaby we do not want to leave as long as it would be necessary to do a full transit. And we don't look it as "Hokey", it's our choice and our money!!
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Old October 19th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Default Panamal Canal

Februay 2006 we did the 14 day Panama Canal Cruise on Celebrity. We left San Pedro Calif and returned to Ft Lauderdale, FL. It was wonderfull; I highly recommend this one. As we went through the locks, we as well as three other couples that were traveling with, sat on our balconies chatting,enjoying food and drink, and the locks. Some people got up very early like 4:00 am to camp out on deck and be near the rails, and it did get quite crowded. It was also televised on the TV in your stateroom.

We have done 6 cruises and this was the best so far.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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The full transit of the panama canal is great . we did it on HAL

last Oct (06) Vancouver to Ft Lauderdale.

Would do it in a flash probably in the opposite direction and in the spring.

We found the fall fairly damp , told spring is usually drier.

We had the Orchid Farm tour in Punteranas. Half day tour was just about

right . Which cruiseline dependants on what you want to do on board.


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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Hi Norm,
We sailed the RCI Vision Of the Seas thru the canal in 1999 and stopped in Puntarenas. The Corobic River Raft is a great tour. It is a all day tour with Lunch included in the price. The rapids are rated about a 1 to a 1.5, great for a first timer on the rapids. Lots of monkeys a aguana to see. Costa Rica is hot so the river raft trip is a great way to stay cool.
We are also transitting the canal in Nov 2007 on the Island Princess - West to East (Acapulco to San Juan.
Hope this info helps. have a great trip

Richard & nancy Tremblay
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17

On my last cruise, the stops included Puntarenas (Costa Rica)

Norm.
We are doing the full transit in January and stopping in Putarenas..any suggestions on things to do there?
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