December 2016 – The theme and highlight of our cruise, the Panama Canal, lived up to our expectations. Our cruise ship entered the first set of locks at dawn on the morning of our transit. It took nearly two hours from the time we sailed near it until we anchored in Gatun Lake. Having a balcony room, we were able to watch the event from the comfort and privacy of our room.
After passing through the first set of locks and entering the Gatun Lake, we were tendered ashore. We took a bus ride to meet a ferry that would take us through the other two sets of locks and into the Pacific Ocean. Even though we encountered downpours of rain periodically throughout the day, our spirits of adventure were not dampened. We had already seen one crocodile before entering the first set of locks, and we got to see another one swimming in front of our ferry as we entered another set of locks.
The entire transit was an amazing experience, and it was my first time to visit the Pacific side of the continent. The detail on the locks and water entering through as seen up close from the ferry made for an unforgettable experience.
As the ferry was lowered, the wall of the canal was close enough to touch from the boat. We just could not pass up the opportunity.
We had a great view of the skyline of Panama City as we neared the end of our transit. After exiting our ferry, we boarded a bus fo r a ride through the city and then onto Colon, where we were rejoined with the ship after a couple of hours to explore the port.
As we sailed away after sunset, we could see a long line of boats waiting for their turns to enter the canal. This transit was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget!