Day 7…Cruise to South America…Part 2, The Panama Canal…A repeat of an outstanding experience…Today? Hola Equador!

Some freighters can carry as many as 18,000 20 foot containers. This freighter was being guided through the Panama Canal at the Miraflores locks.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Panama City, which we spotted toward the end of the transit through the canal.

The concept of transiting the Panama Canal beginning at the Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea to ending up later in the day in the Pacific Ocean is an engineering feat we can hardly wrap our minds around.

Target practice for the “rope throwers” who toss the cables to the ship to guide them through the channel.  Contests are held for the workers who compete using this target with big monetary prizes.

Transiting the Panama Canal was as exciting for us the second time as it was the first. Although we didn’t transit the newly built locks, which are reserved for much larger ships, we were able to glimpse it at a distance at a few points.

It was a rainy, cloudy day and visibility was limited. In any case, we were equally in awe of this breathtaking manufactured waterway with locks and dams, a true feat of engineering built in 1914 after 10 years of construction and the loss of many lives.

Another container ship in the lake waiting to enter the channel.

For more details:

Panama Canal
Canal in Panama
The Panama Canal is an artificial 77 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Wikipedia
Length48 mi
Date of first useAugust 15, 1914
Original ownerLa Société internationale du Canal
Did you knowThe Panama Canal has listed 11 marine safety measures in the form of codes which are in operation since the 2009.marineinsight.com
A Silver Seas luxury cruise ship in Miraflores Lake.

We’re still reeling from yesterday’s great day at sea, which proved to be filled with many interactions with fine people who surprisingly knew us from our site. We’re still in a state of shock over being approached by people who “happen to know us.”

A barge with a tugboat is used for moving materials that have been dredged in the channel.

After everyone wandered off for lunch, we finally finished the post in the cabin when my laptop battery died.  Afterward, we visited the Future Cruise on deck five to book four more cruises since they had a “Black Friday” cruise deposit sale.

This meant we could book several cruises for a deposit of only US $25 per person instead of the usual US $450 per person (when off the ship). We booked four cruises knowing full well, and we’d never actually take those specific cruises.

“Herman, the German,” one of the giant floating cranes in the world at 208 feet high, stays in the Panama Canal region. See here for details.

Instead, we have the right to move the deposits to any other Celebrity cruises we’d like at any time in the future. Although we won’t be going on any cruises in 2018 while we’re in Africa (after the Antarctica cruise), we’ll certainly be planning for future cruises in 2019 and after that, for which we’ll transfer these deposits.

Private water crafts pay fees from US $800 to US $3,200 (depending on size) to transit the Panama Canal.

After the cruise booking process was completed, we headed back to the cabin to shower and dress for the two-hour Captain’s Club in the Constellation Lounge, where the free drinks flow with abandon.

Another wonderful couple we’d met a few nights ago joined us, Annwyl and Ted, from Canada. The time passed quickly as we engaged in animation chatter. Finally, we headed to the Trellis Restaurant for dinner, where, once again, we had a delightful dinner sitting at a table for 10. Gosh, it couldn’t be more fun.

The crew aboard the sailboat was transiting the Panama Canal.

Finally, by 10:30 pm, we headed back to the cabin when there was little activity on the ship. This ship has no specific “Centrum,” which makes after-dinner entertainment scattered throughout several bars. Having had good cocktails and wine, we wandered off to our cabin, not falling asleep until after midnight.

Few homes are located in the area.

I’ve been nursing one glass of red wine each evening which seems to have no ill effect. It certainly tastes good.  I’ll order a bottle of Perrier along with the glass of wine and sip back and forth between the two making the wine last through the evening. 

I wish I could have a second glass, but I’m not going to push my luck when I’ve started feeling so much better.  Above all, we must always consider maintaining good health. 

The Miraflores locks as we entered.

Tom’s been amazingly cautious in what’s he’s eating and drinking to avoid a significant weight gain. After all, this is a 30-night cruise, and we’ll be eating out every day until we get settled in South Africa around February 10th. 

Our ship, as it ends its transits through the third and final set of locks.

This morning, our ship docked at an industrial port in Manta, Ecuador. As soon as we upload this post, we’ll walk off the ship to awaiting shuttle buses to take us into town to check things out and take photos. 

The opening of the gates to the locks.

We won’t have a lot of time when we all have to be back onboard by 2:00 pm for an early “set sail.” We’ll be back tomorrow with what we’ve discovered. This cruise, like most, provides us both with a high level of socialization and memorable times together. We continue to be grateful for every day.

May you have a memorable day!

Photo from one year ago, November 29, 2016:

Portable hotspot devices for various countries.  In many countries, we haven’t needed to use these. In others, they were our only means of Wi-Fi. The two black devices’ top centers may be used in many countries but often don’t work, and each country’s device.  For more details, please click here.

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