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Panama Canal full or partial transit

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BB, I found a post on another thread where you explained things some:

 

"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."

 

So I'm guessing IF our ship offered excursions on that day, then we would miss going through the locks back to the Caribbean. 😥

 

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Tim

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18 minutes ago, PlanoTim said:

Thanks, BB.  I have seen comments that some ships offer excursions (ship-sponsored only) while on Gatun Lake.  Is that right?  I assume these excursions depart from the ship or passengers are tendered to shore.  Will our 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM advertised time be too short for such excursions along with the time needed to transit in and out through the locks?

Tim

 

Yes, that is correct.  Passengers are tendered ashore where they meet their tours, after the tour they will rejoin the ship at Colon.  I think the 8-5 times are just marks on the wall as far as to the start and end of the partial transit.  It will just happen sometime around those times.  Timing of when things happen at the Canal is often just a best guess!

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4 minutes ago, PlanoTim said:

So I'm guessing IF our ship offered excursions on that day, then we would miss going through the locks back to the Caribbean. 😥

 

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Tim

 

That is exactly the way it works.

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On 1/8/2019 at 8:10 PM, Essiesmom said:

If you can only do a partial transit, the best is one Princess does on Island or Coral, from the west coast.  They transit the entire canal except the Gatun Locks at the Atlantic end.  Go through the Miraflores Locks, Pedro Miguel locks, through the cut, and spend the night in Gatun Lake.  EM

 

I've done two full canal transits as part of itineraries based on ports I wanted to see, the canal was an added bonus. This last March we did an intentional, 19 day round trip, Partial Transit and liked it far better than the full. We got to go through the Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks, overnight in Lake Gatun and go back through the Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks again. It was great for really getting the details down.

 

We also loved the ports, Huatulco, Puerto Chiapas and Manzanillo Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I find them much more interesting than the Caribbean islands.

 

On 1/9/2019 at 11:48 AM, marco said:

If you just want to experience the locks, a partial out of Fla is my 1st choice. 

 

This must be an East Coast/West Coast thing, because I can't imagine anything more boring than a partial out of FL. You don't go through the Cut, which is maybe the most miraculous part of the Panama Canal. You also miss all the old U.S. bases in the Canal Zone.

 

On 7/7/2019 at 10:11 PM, Sea-Bos said:

THANK YOU! My sister today was so disdainful that we booked partial (she has done neither). All the posts say “full-transit” and I was annoyed because I didn’t research. Guess what? We booked for Aruba and Curaçao. So the Locks, more of a bonus rather than the decider.  And, we are flying from Seattle... Mexican ports... like them, but they aren’t the Caribbean.

 

Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas aren't your typical Mexican Riviera ports, very different and great. Plus you have Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, all of which are fascinating in their own right.

 

On 9/9/2019 at 11:36 AM, PlanoTim said:

Thanks, BB.  I have seen comments that some ships offer excursions (ship-sponsored only) while on Gatun Lake.  Is that right?  I assume these excursions depart from the ship or passengers are tendered to shore.  Will our 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM advertised time be too short for such excursions along with the time needed to transit in and out through the locks?

Tim

 

There was a HAL ship anchored next to us. An excursion boat from them paralleled the Coral Princess as we went through the locks to the Pacific. My understanding was they were boarding a bus to Colon to meet up with their ship.

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On 9/9/2019 at 1:03 PM, BillB48 said:

 

Looks to me that you will have a port day in Colon on day 9 where you will be able to take tours.  Leave Colon at the designated time and wait for the arrival time at the Canal entrance the following day #10.  On your transit day there probably won't be any tours offered, just lock up and wait for a time to lock back down Gatun Locks.

 

What I meant about not being aware of anyone offering a partial transit and a eight hour stop in Colon... I was thinking transit and 8 hour stop in the same day.😀  Since writing that I noticed that Celebrity is also offering a partial transit and then a full stop in Colon on another day.  Think it is a good idea, that way the passenger doesn't have to give up part of the transit in order to see a little more of Panama.  No doubt the Canal transit and shore excursions will be a lot less hectic spread out over two days.

Bill,
The Panama excursions for our Viking Ocean partial-transit cruise have been posted and they are all on Day 10.  It seems odd to me that no excursions are listed for Day 9.  The Panama Canal excursions are on Day 10.  I think this is the day we do the partial transit.

 

Day 8 - San José (Puerto Limón), Costa Rica -- 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Day 9 - Colón, Panama from -- 9:00 AM - 11:59 PM  (no excursions listed on this day)
Day 10 - Cruising the Panama Canal -- 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Day 11 - Sea Day (on our way to Jamaica)

 

One excursion that I am interested in (Panama Canal by Ferry) has a start time of 6:30 AM on Day 10.  From what I have read here, most of the Panama Canal excursions on partial transits depart from Gatun Lake before the ship heads back out to the Caribbean.  But the 6:30 AM start time seemed odd.

 

I’m concerned that the excursion may depart before the ship transits the canals up to Gatun Lake from the Caribbean.  I may want to do this excursion, but don't really want to miss the transit from the Caribbean to the lake.  With your experience, do you have any insight on this?

 

Thanks,
Tim

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Have Viking done this before?  I believe all excursions must be through the cruise line, and they tender guests off the ship after they have locked up through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.  Then the ship locks back out and collects tour participants in Cristobal or Colon.  But your itinerary doesn't list another stop in Colon, so I would guess that all of your tours will be on day 9, when you are docked in Colon.  Cruise lines have a hard time admitting to mistakes/miscalculations...  If the excursion is through the cruise line, and you book it, they will figure it out...EM

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1 hour ago, PlanoTim said:

Bill,
The Panama excursions for our Viking Ocean partial-transit cruise have been posted and they are all on Day 10.  It seems odd to me that no excursions are listed for Day 9.  The Panama Canal excursions are on Day 10.  I think this is the day we do the partial transit.

 

Day 8 - San José (Puerto Limón), Costa Rica -- 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Day 9 - Colón, Panama from -- 9:00 AM - 11:59 PM  (no excursions listed on this day)
Day 10 - Cruising the Panama Canal -- 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Day 11 - Sea Day (on our way to Jamaica)

 

One excursion that I am interested in (Panama Canal by Ferry) has a start time of 6:30 AM on Day 10.  From what I have read here, most of the Panama Canal excursions on partial transits depart from Gatun Lake before the ship heads back out to the Caribbean.  But the 6:30 AM start time seemed odd.

 

I’m concerned that the excursion may depart before the ship transits the canals up to Gatun Lake from the Caribbean.  I may want to do this excursion, but don't really want to miss the transit from the Caribbean to the lake.  With your experience, do you have any insight on this?

 

Thanks,
Tim

 

I really think what you are encountering is a major typo.  It would be pointless to be in Colon the entire day on day 9 and not have any excursions.  There is nothing for a cruise passenger to do in Colon on their own.  I would be willing to bet the partial transit will not have any tours offered on Day 10.

 

I went to Viking's web site which may not be the site you were looking at... it had excursions listed for Day 9 and no excursions on partial transit day 10

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9 minutes ago, BillB48 said:

 

I really think what you are encountering is a major typo.  It would be pointless to be in Colon the entire day on day 9 and not have any excursions.  There is nothing for a cruise passenger to do in Colon on their own.  I would be willing to bet the partial transit will not have any tours offered on Day 10.

 

I went to Viking's web site which may not be the site you were looking at... it had excursions listed for Day 9 and no excursions on partial transit day 10

Yes, on the Viking Ocean site it shows the excursions on Day 9 (Colon), but the Viking site where we manage our cruise, buy excursions, etc. has them on day 10 (Scenic Cruising: Panama Canal).  So I'm not really sure.  Perhaps they did list them on the wrong day.  I don't want to do an excursion to experience the Pacific transit and miss my own ship going through the Caribbean side.  I think I'll have my travel agent check with Viking.

 

Thanks for your help.  Tim

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55 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

Have Viking done this before?  I believe all excursions must be through the cruise line, and they tender guests off the ship after they have locked up through the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake.  Then the ship locks back out and collects tour participants in Cristobal or Colon.  But your itinerary doesn't list another stop in Colon, so I would guess that all of your tours will be on day 9, when you are docked in Colon.  Cruise lines have a hard time admitting to mistakes/miscalculations...  If the excursion is through the cruise line, and you book it, they will figure it out...EM

Yes, they do a few of these a year, but not tons.   I just don't want to be off doing an excursion to experience the Pacific transit and miss my own ship going through the Caribbean side.

 

Thanks. Tim

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5 minutes ago, PlanoTim said:

Yes, on the Viking Ocean site it shows the excursions on Day 9 (Colon), but the Viking site where we manage our cruise, buy excursions, etc. has them on day 10 (Scenic Cruising: Panama Canal).  So I'm not really sure.  Perhaps they did list them on the wrong day.  I don't want to do an excursion to experience the Pacific transit and miss my own ship going through the Caribbean side.  I think I'll have my travel agent check with Viking.

 

Thanks for your help.  Tim

 

I think you could safely book the ferry excursion through the Pacific Locks.  When everything shakes out the excursion you are looking at will take place during Colon Day.  Really having a stop in Colon one day and then just a partial transit on the other day makes for a much simpler, smoother operation.

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Just now, BillB48 said:

 

I think you could safely book the ferry excursion through the Pacific Locks.  When everything shakes out the excursion you are looking at will take place during Colon Day.  Really having a stop in Colon one day and then just a partial transit on the other day makes for a much simpler, smoother operation.

You're probably right.  Thanks, Bill.

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47 minutes ago, BillB48 said:

 

I think you could safely book the ferry excursion through the Pacific Locks.  When everything shakes out the excursion you are looking at will take place during Colon Day.  Really having a stop in Colon one day and then just a partial transit on the other day makes for a much simpler, smoother operation.

My travel Agent checked with Viking regarding my concern...

 

"The date of the excursion is correct.  The time of the excursion is correct.  You do not miss the Viking Sky going through the locks in addition to this excursion.  Still not sure of the logistics, but the Viking agent contacted the shore excursion department."

 

The timing doesn't make much sense to me either.  I guess I'll find out in a few months. Tim

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Posted (edited)
On 9/11/2019 at 9:53 AM, scottca075 said:

 

I've done two full canal transits as part of itineraries based on ports I wanted to see, the canal was an added bonus. This last March we did an intentional, 19 day round trip, Partial Transit and liked it far better than the full. We got to go through the Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks, overnight in Lake Gatun and go back through the Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks again. It was great for really getting the details down.

 

We also loved the ports, Huatulco, Puerto Chiapas and Manzanillo Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I find them much more interesting than the Caribbean islands.

 

Edited by Yehootu
Duplicate post

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Our first time through was a LA to FLL full transit. We later did the 19day from LA to LA. That has been our favorite cruise so far. We loved the night anchored in Gatun Lake watching the freighters transit, and then getting in line the next morning. Coming up we will do a 10 day FLL  to FLL partial B2B with the full 15 day FLL to LA. That way we've covered every option.😀 We actually planned this as my Mom was getting tired of Mexico and at 94 it was hard to get her from Hawaii to FLL. Unfortunately Mom passed in April. 7 continents, 50 states and 75 countries wasn't a bad run.

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