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CM1984

Starting Our Partial Transit Cruise Research

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Usually you can allow about 3 hours total for the bus portion of the excursion with the Colon to Gamboa segment around an hour. FYI, although they usually describe the ferry excursion operating from Gamboa to the Pacific entrance, the excursion can also run in reverse. Makes no difference whatsoever, great either way. While I can't speak directly to the excursion you are looking at, in the past the ferry ended or started at Ft. Amador. Not to worry if the excursion ends in Balboa for some reason, you will be in the Pacific in any event. Nice scenery and a great view of Panama City if you wind up in Ft. Amador.

 

 

 

I tried to look at NCL's tour descriptions, but they were not sufficiently detailed for me to tell exactly to expect on the excursion. Don't worry about questions... ask away:D!

Again THANKS Bill!!! Did you live in Panama? You're a wealth of knowledge. And believe me on this cruise i need all the help i can get :) I hate the idea of all that riding. I'm not the best traveler in vans and buses. :(I'm now looking at shorter excursions. My guess is that if the ship is in Gatun Lake till 3pm then they would tender you back to the ship? Its not due in Colon till 5pm.

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Yes, lived there a loooong time! The bus ride is really not too much of an ordeal, it is largely over an interstate type toll road and part of that total time is for loading and unloading the buses.

 

 

What happens on this excursion (and the other excursions as well), you will tender off the ship shortly after clearing Gatun Locks. While you are on your excursion the ship will return through Gatun Locks and proceed to the dock in Colon. You will not return to the ship where you where you tendered off, you will rejoin the ship when it docks in Colon. The timing of the ship's arrival in Colon depends mainly on when it starts the return trip through Gatun Locks. Most of the time the return through the locks will start somewhere between noon and 2PM and it will take about 3 hours to get to Colon. Just bear in mind these times can be rather elastic, but most of the time the ship is at the dock by 5ish. Just a heads up, if you opt for one of the shorter tours at the Gatun Lake stop, there is a good chance you will arrive back at the dock before the ship arrives. That doesn't mean you will have to sit in a warehouse on a banana box, but there is a mall that you can peruse until you can re-board.

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2. Just about everyone would agree on McCullough's Path Between the Seas as the book of record for the Canal. Another book I liked is Panama Fever by Mathew Parker. In the world of video, McCullough narrated A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama a while back. While some of the "current" footage of the Canal is a bit dated, there is some great archival footage that is worth the look. Another more current video offering is from PBS's American Experience on the Panama Canal.

 

.....and with any luck you can avoid the art auction;p:D!

 

Any other questions, feel free....

 

McCullough's book came today, goodness, shall be a long read.

 

You are so right about the art auction 😬😬, although I've never been!

 

And thanks so much!

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BillB48

 

Desperately trying to contact you regarding photos of the old Panama Line ships you posted.

 

Please email me or message me back

 

 

my email is sstraveler at aol dot com

 

THANKS!

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McCullough's book came today, goodness, shall be a long read.

 

You are so right about the art auction 😬😬, although I've never been!

 

And thanks so much!

 

Yes, it is a formidable read... but it is straight forward and you certainly can do it in sections. Once you have finished it you will qualified to give the destination lectures!:D As long as you are interested in the Canal I think you will be glad you plowed your way through it.

 

Even when they offered "free" champagne... that wasn't enough to hook me:D.

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BillB48

 

Desperately trying to contact you regarding photos of the old Panama Line ships you posted.

 

Please email me or message me back

 

 

my email is sstraveler at aol dot com

 

THANKS!

 

You have mail... hopefully!

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PRICE INCREASE: HAL Zuiderdam EXC TOUR - "The Canal Experience from Gatun to Colon" has just increased from $169.95 to $184.95. I shoulda booked it a few weeks ago! I'll know now - if I book the cruise I better book excursions I really really want. I just never thought about a price increase on the excursions. Lesson learned, my friends.

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Last post July 2018 - our cruise was November 2018 - I cannot tell you folks how invaluable your help was @BillB48 and @Essiesmom - THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 

WE loved this trip. And if anyone else reads this - we did purchase the EXC Tour of Full Transit of the Canal - going to the Pacific.  DH drifted a few times, HAHA

The pluses:

--Ferry held 500 - only 250 on our trip

--The buffet was tasty - there's always something you can find to eat friends!

--We did have to wait for a larger ship to transit the locks with us, but did not have to wait too long!

--Yes, it rained - about 10 minutes hard, plenty of cover - then it stopped.

-- Fascinating - beautiful - the history was so interesting- and the engineering marvels for the time were phenomenal!

--The bus ride was a bit long, as others mentioned, but the bus was beautifully air-conditioned, the driver zipped right along - no problems!

--Return to ship - I think we returned around 8:00 and the Lido was open for us.  

 

We would love to do San Diego to Fort Lauderdale sometime......

Thank  you HAL!

Edited by CM1984

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On 6/5/2018 at 4:35 PM, SCcruiser123 said:

In reading the post from Essiesmom- Carnival does not do excursions. We are already booked for our Panama Canal trip in January on the Carnival Freedom. Our day is listed from 7:30 am to 7 pm. Does anyone know what happens on a Carnival cruise during this time if there are no excursions? Seems like an awful long day if we're mostly just sitting on the lake.

SCCruiser123 - Can you please share what happened on the transit day for your cruise since Carnival doesn't have excursions?  I just booked a Carnival partial transit for Jan 2021 to celebrate our early retirement and wondering if I made a big mistake.  

 

If you had a port day in Limon, what did you do there?

 

Appreciate any insight!

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I did a partial transit on Carnival Pride.  You lock up through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.  You float around in there for a couple of hours, then lock back out through the same locks.  In order to offer excursions, the ship would have to tender them from Gatun Lake to the Gatun Yacht Club, where they would be picked up by buses.  Then the ship would go back out and dock in Cristobal or Colon in order to pick up those returning from excursions.  Carnival has chosen not to do this, so the canal transit is you excursion.  If you want to go on excursions, you would need to book a different cruise line.  Princess, HAL, and NCL come to mind.  EM

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21 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

I did a partial transit on Carnival Pride.  You lock up through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.  You float around in there for a couple of hours, then lock back out through the same locks.  In order to offer excursions, the ship would have to tender them from Gatun Lake to the Gatun Yacht Club, where they would be picked up by buses.  Then the ship would go back out and dock in Cristobal or Colon in order to pick up those returning from excursions.  Carnival has chosen not to do this, so the canal transit is you excursion.  If you want to go on excursions, you would need to book a different cruise line.  Princess, HAL, and NCL come to mind.  EM

 

Thanks for confirming how Carnival Pride handles it!  Positive thing with going through the same locks twice is that we will have the opportunity to move around the ship and look for different viewpoints.  My husband will love the opportunity to take more pics.  Looking forward to it!

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Posted (edited)

And the big advantage is that there will be many fewer people on deck, making the ideal picture taking spots much more accessible!  EM

Edited by Essiesmom

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