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Sneakie

Port of Call only, No Transit, need Celebrity excursion help.

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We are stopping in Colon as a Port of Call on Celebrity Reflection from 9 am to 7 pm.  The ship isn't doing any Canal transit at all.  Trying to decide on the best excursion to make the most of our visit so looking for some help.  We hope to do a partial or full transit cruise sometime in the future but for now want to take in as much of the canal as we can.   Has anyone done any Celebrity Excursions in Colon?  I'm trying to make sense of the choices and wrap my head around where they actually go.  I don't find the descriptions are the best.  Perhaps someone can help?

 

1. Panama City & Miraflores Lock (C052) - The description talks about visiting Panama City then says  "Then enjoy an up-close glimpse of the Panama Canal, with a visit to the Agua Clara Locks (Expansion Center)"   It doesn't even mention a visit to the Miraflores Locks even though it's in the title.  Does it go there at all?  If so, how much time would be spent there and at the Expansion Center?  How long would be spent in the City itself?  Is the City worth seeing?

 

2. Expansion of Panama Canal Present and Future (C072) - This one starts at Miraflores Locks then says you visit the "Expansion Observatory Deck"  Is this Observatory Deck at the Aqua Clara Lock / Expansion Center?  Has anyone does this tour?  Do you know how long you spend at each location?

 

We are very interested in learning as much as we can about the Locks and see them in action.  We'd enjoy any movies, history, etc available at the Locks Centers and have the time to take it all in while still take time to watch the Locks in action.  Just wondering if either of these excursion would offer us that opportunity.  We'd also like to see Panama City, Gatun Lake, Embera people, etc but we are only there the one day LOL. 

 

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My choice would be the second excursion, because it says it goes to the Miraflores locks.  But it is difficult to really know what it includes because Celebrity hasn't done this itinerary before, so noone can give you a review.  The Expansion Visitors Center is where the Agua Clara Locks exit into Gatun Lake.  I have been to that observation area, but it was in 2013, when the Agua Clara locks were still a big muddy ditch.  Five years later, and this is a view of the observation deck from my Carnival Splendor transit of the new locks:

 

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Unfortunately, the weather became heavy with liquid sunshine as we passed out into Gatun lake:

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This is a view of the center from the bridgecam of Caribbean Princess as she is about to enter the Agua Clara Locks

 

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Unfortunately, the pics are only as good as the cam...

 

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I hope this gives you some ideas...  EM

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Here is perhaps a clearer shot fro NCL Bliss:

 

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And this pic from the Canal website shows the location better:

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Have not done the tours you are referencing, so from the descriptions here's my  take.  Panama City is certainly worth a visit, has some great historical sites such as Panama Viejo, Casco Antiguo as well as mordern Panama City that fills in everywhere in between.  However based on what you said about learning as much as you can on the operation of the locks, I think the second tour would your best selection as well.

 

The Expansion Observatory "Deck" is the visitor's center at the Agua Clara Locks on the Atlantic side.  It provides an excellent view of the locks, a potion of Gatun Lake, the Atlantic approach channel along with the new Atlantic Bridge.  You  will also be able to see ships locking through Gatun Locks although you won't really be able to see much of Gatun Locks itself.

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Thank you very much for the replies and the pictures, they really helped me understand what it is like there!

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Hello Sneakie,  Please update on the excursion you chose as we are also on a Celebrity cruise with a port stop on Colon and wondering the exact same regarding the choice of excursions.

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We are on the cruise with Holland in October and they don’t even offer any cruises here

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7 hours ago, Sea-Bos said:

We are on the cruise with Holland in October and they don’t even offer any cruises here

 

What HAL ship will you be sailing?  Is it possible your ship is making a partial transit or a transit without a stop?  If it is a partial transit then there will be no tours offered in Colon, the tours at the Canal will originate from the ship once it reaches Gatun Lake.  If you provide us with the sailing date or at least the ship, I'm sure there is an explanation.

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They are on the roll call for the Zuiderdam partial transit Oct. 30.  

10 hours ago, Sea-Bos said:

We are on the cruise with Holland in October and they don’t even offer any cruises here

The only excursions for the canal will be those that tender ashore when you have passed through the Gatun Locks and are 'anchored' in Gatun Lake.  The stop in Colon is only to pick up those passengers that tendered ashore for excursions.  EM

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12 hours ago, BillB48 said:

 

What HAL ship will you be sailing?  Is it possible your ship is making a partial transit or a transit without a stop?  If it is a partial transit then there will be no tours offered in Colon, the tours at the Canal will originate from the ship once it reaches Gatun Lake.  If you provide us with the sailing date or at least the ship, I'm sure there is an explanation.

 

We are on the Zuirerdam leaving FLL on 10/20/2019

Aruba

 
 
Panama Canal (Partial Transit) (Cruising)
Gatun Lake, Panama (Cruising)
Colon, Panama
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
At Sea
At Sea
Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Tours at the Canal on partial transits are handled slightly different than at other port stops, tours will begin once the ship reaches Gatun Lake.  First of all you must purchase your excursion through the ship, no independent shore excursions are offered at the Gatun Lake stop and the stop at Colon is primarily to pick up the shorex passengers.  Passengers who do not have ship's excursion will not be permitted off the ship.  While the touring passengers are ashore the ship will lock back through Gatun Locks and proceed to Colon.  There is not enough time for excursions while the ship is in Colon.   If you remain on the ship for the trip back through Gatun Locks and the short sail to Colon to browse the mall connected to the pier to browse the mall that is connected to the pier.

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I came back a read what I wrote after it was cold... I guess I did not have enough caffeine🥴!  The last sentence should read... " If you remain on the ship for the trip back through Gatun Locks and the short sail to Colon, there is enough time to browse the mall connected to the pier to browse the mall that is connected to the pier." 

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29 minutes ago, BillB48 said:

I came back a read what I wrote after it was cold... I guess I did not have enough caffeine🥴!  The last sentence should read... " If you remain on the ship for the trip back through Gatun Locks and the short sail to Colon, there is enough time to browse the mall connected to the pier." 

 

Maybe it is fixed now!!!

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