Print Posted_by Deborah Boyd on 06/18/2015 in Cruise Destinations

Cruise Destination: The Panama Canal

Cruise Destination: The Panama Canal

I don’t know that it is on everyone’s bucket list, but transiting the Panama Canal was certainly on mine. Years ago I visited Panama City, Panama as a Travel Writer. Among the highlights of that visit was seeing a ship sail through the Miraflores Locks. I watched in awe from the shore and dreamt of the day when I would see the same from a different perspective – from a cruise ship.  I got my chance about a year ago when I took the Los Angeles to Miami full transit cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. The experience clearly exceeded my expectations. We were up at the crack of dawn, convinced we would find the perfect viewing spot. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. On this cruise, NCL opened all forward areas to the public. Even at this early hour, 5:00 a.m., every open space was packed with passengers. We officially entered the Canal around 6:00 a.m., navigated the three locks and exited around 3:30 p.m.  Panama-locks

Even if you weren’t right next to the rail, it was a sight to behold. An onboard historian described the history and the building of the canal, along with detailed accounts as we passed through each lock. We watched the entrance and exit at Miraflores from the front of the ship, but because of the extreme heat, decided to catch the remaining locks from our balcony. It was equally entertaining. Bragging rights t-shirts of every size and hue went up for sale in the early morning hours and continued throughout the day. They sold like hotcakes. The crew filmed our entire transit from both land and from the ship and got closeups of guests proudly wearing their t-shirts and waving from all the public areas If you were watching the transit from anywhere other than the privacy of your room, you were in the video. And that’s what made it special. The video was made specifically for this ship, for this sailing and all those who sailed were the stars. It was available the following day for less than $20 and the DVD all but sold out. So I cross the Panama Canal transit off my bucket list.  I enjoyed every moment of that journey and I’m happy that I found it important enough to add it to my ‘must do’ list.


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