Monday, May 22, 2023

The Panama Canal

What a day! I’m not even sure where to start. I could give you a long history lesson on the Panama Canal and quite a lecture on the logistics of the locks, but there are plenty of books out there that do both, so today I’m cutting to the chase and getting straight to the photos.

Early this morning workers in row boats sent lines to our ship.

row bow workers getting ready to tie up cruise ship in The Panama Canal

The other end of the lines were attached to mules. These mules help guide ships through the locks.

mule to help to guide cruise ship through locks in The Panama Canal
We entered the first locks on the Pacific side. As we needed to gain elevation to match the higher man made Gatun Lake we had to step up, up, up. Using water, of course. 
The Panama Canal filling up with water

The gates close and then fill the lock with water. You can feel the ship go up and up.
The Panama Canal filling up with water
Taken from the back of this ship. 
We came from the lower lock to this higher one.
A secondary gates closes as well. It’s like a just-in-case gate. These ships are big and can move fast.
Workers can then walk from one side to other. And drive as well!
white van driving across a lock of the The Panama Canal
Once through the locks on the Pacific side we arrived in Gatun Lake. We saw more than one dredge during our journey. It takes a lot of work to keep the ships moving.
dredging in The Panama Canal
Panama Canal viewing platform
Did you know there are viewing platforms so folks
onshore can watch ships transiting?
Once through Gatun Lake we worked our way to the Atlantic Ocean. What comes up must go down so we stepped down, down, down. You can see with the ship behind us the difference in water levels. 
We’re one lock ahead - and one step lower -
than the ship behind us.
All my pictures today were taken from the back of the ship thanks to those lines the row boat guys delivered. Being my cabin is on the Promenade Deck at the back of the ship, and a lot of the mule work is done at the lower levels at the back of the ship, my deck’s balconies were off limits to us today. But Princess has this figured out. They provided passengers in those cabins a day in the Sanctuary on Panama Canal day. (The other alternative was a $60 onboard credit.) Hard to believe in 90 Princess cruises I’ve never been in the Sanctuary but that changed today. Front row seats!
Best seat in the house
We had mimosas, parfaits, and pastries for breakfast.
Sanctuary breakfast for Panama Canal day on Island Princess
A bento box for lunch…
bento box lunch at the Sanctuary for Panama Canal day on Island Princess
And afternoon tea.
afternoon tea at the Sanctuary for Panama Canal day on Island Princess
We also had Sanctuary stewards mist us and keep us cool with ice cold wet washcloths. We had a little bit of rain but nothing enough to put too much of a “damper” on the day.
Hello, Atlantic Ocean!
The strong wind and rain kicked up just in time for Movies Under the Stars. Let’s see how long I can brave it.
Cartagena, Columbia is up tomorrow.