Re: Difference cruising from the west or east Panamacanal
When you enter the Panama Canal on a cruise ship from the Pacific, you will generally either arrive early in the morning or often the night before at a staging area off the coast. To approach the canal you are actually heading slightly northwest, so one beautiful sight is sunrise over Panama City which will be off in the distance over your right shoulder. You then sail towards the first set of locks passing under the Pan Amercan Highway Bridge. On the Pacific side there are two sets of locks . Then you cruise the actual Canal (the part that had to be dug out) for sevral hours. You then enter Gatun Lake (formed by the dams on the rivers flowing into the Canal)and cruise for another few hours. One set of locks on the Caribbean side, then out to sea.
I think , if I did it again I would prefer a Pacific to Atlantic crossing as I describe above.
If you begin a transit of the Canal from the Caribbean side in the morning, you will be sailing to the southeast and the sun as it rises will pretty much be in your eyes.
Just one persons opinion. Beautiful and not to be missed either way.