Panama Canal?

Old Apr 10th, 2011, 05:18 AM
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Panama Canal?

I've cancelled my cruise in the Chesapeake Bay for August and am now looking for a Panama Canal transit in Jan. or Feb. I enjoy cruising and am not very interested in the ports. Anyone done a full transit and have any recommendations?
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 06:46 AM
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Just about anyone will do then. We did it on the Island Princess BTW. Nice but not spectacular. However the hx. of the canal is amazing. For us the ports were rather secondary and if you are expecting great ports this isn't the cruise for you. Its all about the canal.
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 08:09 AM
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Thanks Jacketwatch,
The ports are of little interest to me.The Canal is the main point of this cruise.
Would you recommend the Island Princess? why didn't you think it was spectacular?
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 04:36 PM
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I prefer the design concepts by RCI. To me their ships have nicer features like ice skating rinks, rock climbing wall. wave machines and so on. The IP is very nice, very clean and it does have good service and food but lacks in comparison to the aforementioned.
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Old Apr 11th, 2011, 04:11 AM
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I've done it and here is my own rec: this is t6he ONE cruise when it is definitely WORTH having a balcony cabin of ANY sort. Why?

There will bne a whole bunch of people at the front of the ship as the ship appraoches the first lock and believe me, they will do ANYTHING to make sure they are IN FRONT OF YOU..and I mean ANYTHING so a word to the wise.
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Old Apr 11th, 2011, 04:46 AM
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I plan on getting a balcony...is one side better than the other? I talked with a friend yesterday who didn't do the whole transit and thought he had a better view of the locks on the excursion on a small boat...any thoughts on that?
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 05:21 AM
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My trip through the canal was on a Royal Caribbean ship and it was a full transit as opposed to one in which the ship goes up the Gatun lock flight, into the lake, and back out again.

You have to remember that these locks are pretty big...1000 feet long. There will be action by those "mules" which literally tow the ship through the entire lock flight using the wire "lines." They will be working on BOTH sides of the ship.

The rise and fall happens fairly quickly and it is one of those unforgettable cruise experiences IMO.

The reason I recommend having a balcony is so all those other people who have decided their view is MUCH more important than yours are NOT an issue.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 06:02 AM
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Thanks, Dukey
I really want to do the full transit. Which way did you go? I've heard that it is better to go from the west to east coast. Any thoughts on that?
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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We did a full transit on the Regal Princess, a ship I loved (we also went to Alaska on her) but is no longer in the fleet. We started in Acapulco and ended in San Juan, PR. We visited Huatulco (didn't get off the ship). Antigua, Guatemala was next and we did a walking tour with a wonderful guide. In Puntarenas, CR, we did a river cruise that was very interesting and then an aerial tour of a rainforest. We did some shopping in San Cristobal and watched some dancers (Embara Indian women and Panamanian couples) which I enjoyed. I bought a beautiful basket made by Embara Indians. Aruba was our last stop and I mostly wanted to see the California Lighthouse. We hired a taxi to take us there and for a tour of the city.

I know you said you weren't interested in the ports, but thought I might pique your interest with what we did. The canal transit was incredible. We were parallel with the second cut with the mules and lots of activity in between. We saw several merchant ships in the other locks. I've heard people say after the first lock it was really boring. I can't imagine how anyone could feel that way. Since we went West to East the port side was for viewing all the mules and the business at hand, and the starboard side was to view the scenery on land.

It's all a matter of taste, of course, but we prefer Princess and the elegance of the ships. I would love to do another canal cruise, again with full transit.
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