I am curious about this itinerary. Does the ship pass through the first set of locks into Lake Gatun? The ship has a three hour stop in Colon. Doesn't seem like you would do much there other than pick up passengers from excursions.
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield
Carnival: Glory 2004, Destiny 2008, Splendor 2009, Freedom 2011, Valor 2012, Dream 2013
Celebrity: Summit 2011
Princess: Ruby 2010, 2014, Caribbean 2013, Coral 2014, Regal 2014
Star Clippers: Royal Clipper 2015
Yes, you go through the Gatun Locks and from there to excursions - tender to land, then bus, then I highly recommend the ferry for a whole different perspective of the locks and go through the other 2 locks and all the way over to the Pacific Ocean.
As to the lay over - it's in Cristobal where they have a very large flea market, native dancers and some duty free shops while the ship is waiting for those that went on excursions to rejoin them.
I'll be on my 6th cruise doing this in November - 4th on the Coral and 2nd on the Island
Highly recommend this cruise.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012