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Old March 2nd, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Default PANAMA CANAL TRANSITS

I have read alot on these boards about those who get up early enough to see the ship approach the Panama Canal's Gaton Locks. I get the impression, as well, that the time that the ship (Island Princess or Coral Princess, in particular) enters the first lock can vary quite a bit.

I have also learned that in the newsletter the night before, they announce when they will be entering the canal (correct?). With all the other ships on any given day lining up to go through the Panama Canal, is it really possible to "schedule" a transit through the Gaton Locks?

If the newsletter says that they Island Princess or Coral Princess will be entering the locks at 7AM, could the entry actually be later, or perhaps even earlier??

What's the best way to judge, and what have the experience of Panama Canal transit veterans been?

With this being my first cruise, and my first trip to the Panama Canal, I don't want to miss a thing!!

Thanks for your observations and advice!
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Generally, unless something unforeseen happens, they will enter the .ocks pretty close to that time. Ships have to schedule appointments to transit the locks. This allows the canal authority to get everybody all lined up so transits happen smoothly. Can you imaging the chaos if ships just showed up and jostled for position?

On your first passage through the locks, be sure to get a place near the bow of the ship. It is really quite amazing. (Hmmmm. I need to schedule another Panama Canal cruise. Haven't been on one in quite a while.)
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: PANAMA CANAL TRANSITS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boiler Cuiser
is it really possible to "schedule" a transit through the Gaton Locks?
Quite possible. In fact, when a cruise ship shows up, it goes to the front of the line...ahead of any non-passenger ships that may have been waiting for a day or more.

Of course, they pay for the privilege. Last time we were at the Canal (2005 - non-transit), the highest fee ever paid to date was by the Coral Princess...$250,000. to transit the canal.

At that time, the average ship was paying about $55,000.00.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 04:45 PM
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Yes, yes, yes, don't miss a thing. It's more than fascinating. We even saw a nuclear sub traversing in the opposite direction with all hands on deck.. I mean what pictures.

At each lock, the ship photographer might be on the dock area shooting pictures up at the ship's on lookers as he was on our cruise. We have a great shot of us on our balcony incorporated into a souvenir remembrance of the Canal.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 03:14 PM
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We sailed through the Panama Canal 2 years ago on the Celebrity Summit and I'm sorry to put a downer on things but the transit though the canal was one of the most boring days of the whole cruise!

Yes, it an piece of absolute brilliant engineering but once you have witnessed one set of locks.....you'll find the rest look exactly the same, only a lot less interesting!

Maybe it was just me but the scenery certainly wasn't that great and once you have seen water gushing through a partially opened gate.....that's about it, the same happens over and over again!

Possibly because we had this huge China cargo ship travel along side us for the whole trip maybe ruined the experience for me but it is something I will not be doing again.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 05:08 PM
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Gee pringle, you may not be inclined to engineering, mechanics, hydraulics and history! Personally, I've been through the canal twice, loved every minute, can't imagine anyone being bored, and can't wait to do it again. I have about 6 hours of video if you'd care to come over to see it

I highly recommend McCullough's wonderful book "Path Between the Seas" before you go.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 05:14 PM
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Boiler,

You may enter a little before or after the posted time, but the captain will let everyone know, and the approach to the canal takes quite some time. everybody will be up early and it will be a pretty leisurely affair.

there was lot of room at both th bow and the rear of the Island Princess to see all the action. And there is plenty to see

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Old March 3rd, 2008, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pringle8
We sailed through the Panama Canal 2 years ago on the Celebrity Summit and I'm sorry to put a downer on things but the transit though the canal was one of the most boring days of the whole cruise!

Yes, it an piece of absolute brilliant engineering but once you have witnessed one set of locks.....you'll find the rest look exactly the same, only a lot less interesting!

Maybe it was just me but the scenery certainly wasn't that great and once you have seen water gushing through a partially opened gate.....that's about it, the same happens over and over again!

Possibly because we had this huge China cargo ship travel along side us for the whole trip maybe ruined the experience for me but it is something I will not be doing again.
I would agree about the entire day, but at the beginning it was a wonderful experience, I will remember it for a long time.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Ummm, Maybe its a boy girl thing. 8) I just couln't get enough of it.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
Personally, I've been through the canal twice, loved every minute, can't imagine anyone being bored, and can't wait to do it again. I have about 6 hours of video if you'd care to come over to see it

I highly recommend McCullough's wonderful book "Path Between the Seas" before you go.
Each to their own richstacy!!!!

Everyone I've spoken to who have done this cruise have said they would NEVER EVER do the trip again......once seen I'm afraid!

There are far far more interesting & beautiful places in the world to visit and IMHO the Panama Canal is way way down the bottom of the list!

I visited China in November and that place knocks spots of anything a panama canal transit can do ( i even had to suffer the FIVE locks at the new dam!!!)......I've seen more in a few days there that I'd seen in a two week cruise through the canal.

I agree that everyone should visit the canal once, just to say they had done it but to want to go back.......c'mon!

As I said before....each to their own!

(PS My wife did buy this book before we went and said it was a good read. And by the way richstacy.......I've also got hours of video but it hasn't been viewed yet!)
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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I don't think you read my last post. I tired to appeal to your sense of humor by offering to show you my six hours of video, but you are persistent.

We've been to China too, and to Japan, Antarctica, and Europe, and Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii and Alaska -- and I couldn't agree more -- there are a great many far more beautiful places in the world than the Canal. But lack of beauty and boring are hardly synonymous are they? Do you have the slightest clue what a feat of engineering the canal was, and remains today? Only those totally deprived of a sense of history and appreciation for an engineering marvel for the ages could possibly be bored by the Panama canal.

Directly contra to what you said:

"Everyone I've spoken to who have done this cruise have said they would NEVER EVER do the trip again..."

I have talked to dozens of people who have made the trip more than once, and I have yet to talk to a single one who had the slightest negative comment, or who was even slightly 'bored.' I'm sure some women are bored by it, but no human being, male or female, especially an American, with an engineering background, and an appreciation for history, or a love of things mechanical, has ever been bored by the Panama canal, one of the most superb and most useful achievements in the history of mankind!

Besides my friend, a full transit includes a Mexican Riviera cruise and a Caribbean cruise as well. Barring a trip around the Horn (which we have also done), I know of no other way to combine the two. If you are tired of the Caribbean, and you want a little variety, and you want two weeks away from winter, it's kind of hard to imagine a better choice or a more pleasant alternative close to home, than a week in Mexico and Costa Rica, a canal transit and then a week in the Caribbean! As you know, many people, including hundreds who frequent this board go to the Caribbean time, after time, after time.

As you say, to each his own But is it not strange, that every single person you know who has done this cruise has said "they would NEVER EVER do the trip again....?" Yet I know dozens who have done so and loved it, and have never heard such a comment -- not even once. I do not know why you have taken it upon yourself to try to discourage others from taking a very popular, worthwhile and educational cruise, but I sure hope you don't succeed.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Boiler, pay no attention to him. You are going to love it, I promise
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Old March 4th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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There are far far more interesting & beautiful places in the world to visit and IMHO the Panama Canal is way way down the bottom of the list!
Quote:

Of course there are far more interesting things to see in this world. But if all you only want to see is the top five, then you've missed the whole point of cruising. Just try and experience, not see, the Panama from the air...impossible. You have to experience the traverse up through the wonders that man has created.

Perhaps you are the type to say that the Pyramids are only a lot of stone blocks. Each sea venture into the world reveals something, some more important than others but, please, none of them boring.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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We also did the Panama Canal on the Coral and found it to be an awesome experience! As you begin to enter the locks they have someone giving a narration over the loud speaker all about the history, etc. It was very early for us, the sun was just coming up and everything was so still & quiet as we approached the locks. Really found it fascinating, I would recommend it to anyone and look forward to doing it again but.... of course this is JMHO!!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Default We've crossed the Panama Canal 4 times...........

Every time we have crossed the canal, I am ALWAYS one of the first to stake my position on the best observation spot, one of the outside front observation decks of the ship. Forget about sleeping in, get there early,
I am usually there at 4am, you'll have plenty of time to sleep later on!


Do not miss the ship making its way under the Bridge of the Americas as it makes its way to/from the locks and also passing under the Centennial Bridge is another great view!


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Old March 6th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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a Panama Canal Transit is one of those things that if you get the opportunity to do it, you should. The Panama Canal is an amazing feat of engineering marvel if you stop to think about when it was built and how it was built. I thought it was kinda cool going thru the locks
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Old March 6th, 2008, 08:02 PM
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I also find the Canal amazing. We are making our 4th tansit on the Coral in April. I always notice the temp and humidity rise and fall on this trip. Going through the locks is another sea day with lots of visuals going on. Have a great trip.
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