Welcome to the Panama Canal!

| August 26, 2008 | 5 Replies

If you ever get a chance to cruise or fly through the Panama Canal, you should definitely do it!  This is the most incredible feat of engineering I have ever seen.  What’s amazing is that this canal was built over 100 years ago and it works much the same way today.

This is our second cruise through the Panama Canal.  Before the first one, we read up on the building of the canal.  It was fascinating to see how the idea came to be, where else they tried to build it and the number of people who sacrificed their lives to build it.  Basically, exporters and importers needed to find a short cut across the continent with goods.  Now instead of going around the tip of South American, they go through the canal.

Rumor has it that our passage through the canal will set a new record for the highest price ever paid.  It is believed that Disney was charged $330,000, with the previous record being $313,000.

We set the alarm clock for 5:30 am.  We were set to have the pilot get onboard at 6:00 am.  We did not plan to be at the front of the ship, but still wanted to see what was going on and to figure out where we would spend at least the first part of our day.  We came up on deck to find that it had rained, but the sun was now out and it was a beautiful day.  We noticed a double rainbow over our ship, which had a significant meaning to me, especially on this day.  I made my way to the front of deck 10 and took a couple pictures.  It was packed with people, some who got there as early as 2:00 am!  We then went back to Topsiders for breakfast on the back of the ship.  My goal for the morning was to get a picture of the Bridge of the Americas just after we passed under it.  We were able to get a table right by the railing and in no time the bridge passed over us.  I snapped a couple pictures of it and then a gentleman nearby asked if I wanted to use one of his wide angle lens.  I jumped at the chance and got a few incredible shots of the bridge!  Bill thanked him because he knows that lens won’t be cheap when I want to get it for myself!

We were about 45 minutes behind schedule at this point.  We went down to secret deck 7 and got into position for photographs of the first lock.  We waited for a while, saw an alligator in the channel and then finally approached the first locks.  Once the mules were hooked up, they guided us into the first chamber.  We could see the back of the locks and watched the water fill up, rising us up the first step of three.

After the first two locks were over, we moved to the front of the boat where the early comers had left and took some photos of us entering the Pedro Miguel lock.  It was cool to take photos of us entering the lock.  We also could get photos of the Centennial Bridge from this location, and I took many.  At this point we were getting hot and tired so we decided to get lunch.  They had a BBQ on deck 9, complete with the charcoal grills!  We ate in front of the adult pool and then got in for a bit to cool off.

Once we passed by the Centennial Bridge and cooled off a bit, it was time to rest.  Since we had done this before, we knew it could be quite a while until we got to the other side of the canal so we went back to our room for a while.  While we were going through Gatun Lake, a storm started to catch up from behind!  Soon it was impossible to see land or other ships around us because the rain was so hard.  There were still a variety of places to watch the ship enter the locks and checked a few of them out.  There was a bit of a delay, but we finally got into the Gatun locks to be lowered down to the Atlantic Ocean.  This offered some different shots instead of when we were raised.

We made sure at some point during the day we were either out front on top, out back on top, on deck 4, both sides and deck 3 to see the inside walls of the locks.  By the time we pulled out of the last lock, it was dark out.  It was still raining, but not nearly like it had been before.  We needed to get ready for dinner though because we were having a special menu – the Panama Canal West Meets East menu.  This was our first chance to have lobster tails on this cruise and we were ready for it!  We got to keep our menu because it was a special one and won’t be used again – at least anytime soon!

Tomorrow we will arrive for the first time ever in Columbia!

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Category: Disney Cruise Line

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