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Sunrise over the Gatun Locks - Panama Canal

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We were on a 14-day Norwegian Panama Canal Cruise and rolled into the Panamanian coast on February 19, 2019. We got up super early to get a spot at the front of the boat. It ended up being worth it to get a great view of the new bridge spanning the canal and then eventually the Gatun Locks. I say eventually because it was a long wait! We had sat in chairs at the front of the boat and they were great seats, until people stood at the rail in front of us. Literally stood right in front of us and didn't say a word! Okay... so we had to stand at the rail with them. For a few hours. But it was so cool seeing the cargo ships in front of us going up the one side (and down the other side) of the Gatun Locks. I suggest taking photos of these ships going up and down with the locks and all the marvelous engineering that makes it happen now, because once your ship is in the locks themselves, it is hard to see much. 


But I do suggest going down to the lower outer deck (usually where your lifeboats are) to see some of the action along the sides. Admittedly this is more fun when you come out the other end of Gatun Lake and are sinking down to sea level. The gap between the ship and the canal is very noticeable here, with only 24 inches to spare on each side, holy crap! They literally have to pull in all the side lamps of the ship so it can fit through. It is incredible that they can get these massive ships across a continent! The views on the lake itself are also fun to watch go by. I was surprised at how lush and green everything is, the whole time. The ship gives you a pamphlet with facts and history of the canal. It is worth looking at beforehand or as you go through the locks to help you appreciate it that much more. The captain also talks about it over the loudspeaker. Make sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen if you are going to be out on the deck for a while. It gets hot early and the sun's rays are very strong here. All in all, it really was an incredible experience and a must do in my opinion! Get up early so you have a good view and then enjoy the ride!




Edited by Freyward_Cruiser

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And that is 24" when the ship is perfectly centered, sometimes it is not a perfect world!😉  Sounds like you enjoyed it, thanks for the report.

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