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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:36 PM
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Default PANAMA CANAL - Port or Starboard?

We are looking at doing the partial on Holland America or Princess and are wondering which is the better side of the ship to select a cabin for this cruise. Also, does anyone happen to know what the smoking in cabin policy is on these 2 lines, since we don't and can't end up in a cabin where there has been smoking due to severe reaction to it. (Never had a problem on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean).
Thanks much for your insights and input!
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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:48 PM
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Both Princess and HAL allow smoking in rooms and balconies...so you're completely out of luck to get a cabin where no one has smoked. Celebrity doesn't allow smoking in either cabins or balconies but there's been a lot of reports of them not enforcing it lately.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 2sailors View Post
We are looking at doing the partial on Holland America or Princess and are wondering which is the better side of the ship to select a cabin for this cruise. Also, does anyone happen to know what the smoking in cabin policy is on these 2 lines, since we don't and can't end up in a cabin where there has been smoking due to severe reaction to it. (Never had a problem on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean).
Thanks much for your insights and input!
IMO, it makes no difference which side of the ship you book; you probably will not spend any time in your cabin anyway while in the locks.

Smoking: Princess, from I have read in just the pass couple days, still allows smoking in the cabins and many have recently complained. I do not know about HA.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 09:09 PM
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We just did the HAL trip to the Panama Canal ,its correct that it makes no difference which side of the ship your cabin is in as far as viewing outside .
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Old January 29th, 2011, 06:46 AM
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I would think, as long as you book a balcony cabin, you should be just fine...Do, let us know what ship you decide on.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Way I see it is the OP wants to view the passage through the canal from the cabin, I imagine they realise they can go on deck!
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Old January 29th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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Exclamation Panama Canal

The full transit of the canal can be quite long. On the partial transits I am not sure exactly how far they go.

However, just as at the glaciers in Alaska, I definitely recommend being up on deck during the transit of the locks. They are absolutely fascinating in operation and you will want to go back and forth to watch the "mules" (small engines) and other parts of the operation.

As far as the rest of the canal I don't see that it makes any difference which side you are on.

On either HAL or Princess, we have never noticed any smoke residue in the rooms. They apparently have a highly effective deodorizer between cruises. BUT we are not sensitive to the tiniest smell. If you truly have an extra sensitivity problem, I don't know what to say. As far as I know, neither line has any strictly non-smoking cabins.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 10:30 PM
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If you're doing a partial, you will sail in, go through the locks to Gatun lake. The ship usually stops to let people off onto tenders who have excursions booked, then continues to sail around Gatun lake for a while, then goes back through the same set of locks. Therefore, it wouldn't matter which side you were on, as what you didn't see on the one side going in, you would be able to see coming back through.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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The full transit of the canal can be quite long. On the partial transits I am not sure exactly how far they go.
With a partial transit you will see about 5 miles of the 50 mile Canal, including only the Gatun Locks. To really see the entire Canal you either have to take a full transit, or a long tour.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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If you're doing a partial, you will sail in, go through the locks to Gatun lake. The ship usually stops to let people off onto tenders who have excursions booked, then continues to sail around Gatun lake for a while, then goes back through the same set of locks. Therefore, it wouldn't matter which side you were on, as what you didn't see on the one side going in, you would be able to see coming back through.
All Panama Cruisers: What is describe above used to be the case (and may still be), but from what I have read recently, the tender pier used in Lake Gatun is no longer there due to construction of the Canal Expansion Project. I recommend that anyone considering a partial transit to carefully investigate what will be available to them during their cruise. The last comments that I have read said that partial transits use the piers near downtown Colon for tours disembarkation/reembarkation.

With all the construction, things seem to be in real flux in Panama - - buyer beware.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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I would consider looking at a line that does not allow smoking in the cabins ...while they do clean them quite well I still find a slight odour in some
If your budget will stretch try Azamara or Oceania for a FULL transit
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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If you sensitive to smoke consider an Oceanview or inside cabin. Smoking isn't allowed in either . In the Panama canal you'l probably spend most of the time on deck or near a window inside where it's air conditioned.

Have fun , i'm done the full transit twice and planning to go again in 2014 or 2015 to see the new canal.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Question No smoking in inside cabins?

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Originally Posted by doopydozer View Post
If you sensitive to smoke consider an Oceanview or inside cabin. Smoking isn't allowed in either . In the Panama canal you'l probably spend most of the time on deck or near a window inside where it's air conditioned.

Have fun , i'm done the full transit twice and planning to go again in 2014 or 2015 to see the new canal.
Not sure which line you are talking about. This is certainly not the case on most mainstream lines. Almost all of the mainstream lines allow smoking in all cabins.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Not sure which line you are talking about. This is certainly not the case on most mainstream lines. Almost all of the mainstream lines allow smoking in all cabins.
Neither RCCL nor Celebrity allow smoking in any cabin or on their respective balconies. Although maybe not considered a mainstream line (but close), Oceania has similar restrictions.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 09:51 PM
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Neither RCCL nor Celebrity allow smoking in any cabin or on their respective balconies. Although maybe not considered a mainstream line (but close), Oceania has similar restrictions.
You're wrong. Royal Caribbean still allows it on balconies. Check their website. Celebrity, Azamara & Oceania have no smoking on balconies
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Old January 30th, 2011, 11:01 PM
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Most cruiselines still allow smoking someplace on the ship
Some areas allowed are larger than others so do check carefully
On Oceania they have two small areas 1 inside & 1 outside both easily avoided. On azamara they have now restricted the smoking to 1 area outside
Both line are more $$ than the mass market lines

Just do some research before you decide what one will work best for you
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Old January 31st, 2011, 09:28 AM
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You're wrong. Royal Caribbean still allows it on balconies. Check their website. Celebrity, Azamara & Oceania have no smoking on balconies
Sorry, you are correct. For some reason I thought that the sister companies (RCCL & Celebrity) had the same policy. What is really odd is that I have sailed on both the past three years - senior moments I guess. However, since I don't smoke, I really do not pay much attention to the specifics.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 12:36 PM
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Question Smoking in cabins

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You're wrong. Royal Caribbean still allows it on balconies. Check their website. Celebrity, Azamara & Oceania have no smoking on balconies
Wow, that is news to me. Obviously I haven't kept up.

It would be very interesting to see the statistics on passenger loads, especially on European voyages.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 01:09 PM
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Sorry, you are correct. For some reason I thought that the sister companies (RCCL & Celebrity) had the same policy. What is really odd is that I have sailed on both the past three years - senior moments I guess. However, since I don't smoke, I really do not pay much attention to the specifics.
I find it a very strange policy, it's usually the balcony smokers that everyone complains about so this just forces them out of their suite onto the balcony to smoke...very bizarre. I believe Oasis and Allure don't allow smoking on the inside balconies that overlook Central Park, etc. just the one's that overlook the ocean.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 04:40 PM
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Considering the fire hazard, I am surprised that smoking has not been confined to just certain areas of the ships rather than in a stateroom or balcony where a fire could be started by carelessness. We have found a match on occassion melted into the decking on a balcony.

As for where to watch the transit through the locks, as others have said, it doesn't matter. Wander around the decks as you pass through the chambers of the locks and get several different perspectives. Plan to do a full transit sometime so you can see the Guillard Cut where the major work took place. Here's my article that details our day of transit last December.

Have a great cruise!
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Old August 29th, 2011, 06:40 AM
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Default Balcony view

I plan on choosing a balcony cabin and sit out there and cruise through like I knew what I was doing.

Coffee in hand...lunch in the cabin....wine and cheese on our way out.


I may miss something but we're not much for running up and down the deck in a crowd trying to fight over a spot on the rail.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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I did the full transit in 2005 on a HAL ship, and there certainly was no crowding along the rails; there are more than enough places around the ship to watch from.

I'd like to do this trip again. Does anyone know if HAL still does the "champagne and Panama buns" during the transit day?
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 2sailors View Post
We are looking at doing the partial on Holland America or Princess and are wondering which is the better side of the ship to select a cabin for this cruise. Also, does anyone happen to know what the smoking in cabin policy is on these 2 lines, since we don't and can't end up in a cabin where there has been smoking due to severe reaction to it. (Never had a problem on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean).
Thanks much for your insights and input!
Good news on Princess if your cruise is next year!!
Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America all announced major changes to their smoking policies. Smokers will soon be banned from lighting up in cabins on all the ships of all three lines.

The Princess smoking ban, which also applies to cabin balconies, will become effective on all sailings departing after Jan. 15. Carnival said its ban on smoking in all cabins would take effect Dec. 1. The line will still allow both cigarette and cigar smoking on cabin balconies.

Holland America said its ban on smoking in cabins, but not on balconies, would take effect on Jan. 15.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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I did the full transit in 2005 on a HAL ship, and there certainly was no crowding along the rails; there are more than enough places around the ship to watch from.

I'd like to do this trip again. Does anyone know if HAL still does the "champagne and Panama buns" during the transit day?
I don't know about the Champagne , but they still do the Panama Buns.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:41 PM
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I did the full transit in 2005 on a HAL ship, and there certainly was no crowding along the rails; there are more than enough places around the ship to watch from.
That is good to know, thank you. I wonder how much we would miss if we just stayed on our balcony?

I am not all that lazy I'd like to think, but have a ton of miles on this old body and still working 12 hour days. So I really want to just sit and watch from the balcony.

Having said all that it's gonna cost over $10K to make this trip so I do have this desire to make sure I get our money's worth. Of course that's probably wrong too. If you're goning worry about the money too much it can spoil the trip as well.

I appreciate ya'lls input.

Hoss & Bek
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Old August 29th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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After you go through the locks your balcony is a good place to be
For the best view of the locks it best to be forward or even aft ..then sit on the balcony & enjoy the ride
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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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Most cruise ships also have a very informed and interesting narrator who talks about the canal, its construction and operation, local flora and fauna, etc. while you are transiting the locks; but unless you leave your TV turned high and your door propped open, you can't hear him on your balcony. He is put on speaker on the decks and in the public areas.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 06:11 PM
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Thank you. If I don't wait to long we'll try for a forward cabin.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:16 PM
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I'd like to do this trip again. Does anyone know if HAL still does the "champagne and Panama buns" during the transit day?
Okay - I'll bite - what is a Panama Bun?
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:32 PM
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A Panama bun is an only slightly sweet bread roll, looks kind of like a simple dinner roll; only there's a mango filling inside. Scrumptious. On our transit on the Zaandam they had serving stations on both sides of the promenade, and on the front and rear decks. We started our transit barely after 8 a.m., and from then until around 11 they served coffee, orange juice, champagne, and the buns at all of them.
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