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twangster

🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019

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I wanted to see what it was like looking out my deck 3 cabin window as we descended.  They were both pretty wet from the humidity but I managed to get some pictures working around the water droplets on the outside.

 

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Not bad for concrete work that is over a hundred years old in the Panama humidity.

 

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Yet another tanker was locking opposite us as we moved forward.

 

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Finally back at sea level as we prepare to let go the cables from the locomotives another tanker is approaching heading South.  They were pumping the Southbound ships through at this point. 

 

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Twangster, this brings back a lot of memories of our Panama Canal Trip we did for the 100 year anniversary of the Canal.   We did transit of the locks from the gulf into Gatun Lake, then did a transit through the other locks to the Pacific on a ferry.   It gives you a very different perspective to be in the locks from the level of a small boat.

 

I wish I would have posted more photos of that part of the transit in the report that I did. (I know I certainly took a lot).   There are al least a couple, if you wanted to take a look.  That was done on the Coral Princess.

 

Thanks again for doing this. 

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With that we've been lowered from 85 feet above sea level and we are now in Caribbean Sea at the level of the Atlantic ocean.  The gates close behind us and get ready to do it all again for another ship.

 

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From the aft looking towards the left you can see the new canal locks through the trees.

 

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Bill Benny our guest commentator had suggested we keep an eye out on the port side after leaving the Gatun locks.  This small inlet to the left was the area to look out for.

 

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This small canal that forks to the right is the only visibly remaining sign of the French effort of late 1800's.  

 

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That was the original width they were planning to make the canal.  It's become overgrown a little and in their defense he pointed out that ships were not that big back at the time.  He doubts anyone involved with the design or building of the original canal would have any idea how big the ships that use the canal today have become.

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Thanks so much, brings back so many memories from our trip through last December. Hoping you have a smoother transit to Florida than we did. After Cartagena we headed to New Orleans and it was nothing but rocking and rolling all the way to the Mississippi River. 

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The third and final bridge over the Panama Canal is the Atlantic Bridge.  This bridge was completed August 2019.  

 

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On 11/11/2019 at 5:39 AM, twangster said:

Here is a timelapse up to this point:

 

Outstanding Twangster!!! 

 

55 minutes ago, twangster said:

Pictures don't do it justice.  I've taken a series of video clips that I plan to stitch together that will hopefully capture the day. 

 

Thank you so very much for both of those phenomenal videos and all of your pictures. 👍

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Looking back towards the locks in the distance you can see the new locks to the left and the original locks to the right.

 

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New locks:

 

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Original locks:

 

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I am doing a partial transit in 2021 on Rhapsody. Your review is fascinating and I love the pictures!

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One of my dilemmas as I thought about how to capture this day was where to go on the ship for the best pictures.  I captured the timelapse on my GoPro while I waited on deck 10 forward for the morning approach and the first set of locks.  However I didn't want to stay there the whole day guarding my GoPro. 

 

At the same time I really wanted a full transit timelapse so I cheated a little bit.

 

Vision of the Seas has a TV channel dedicated to the forward facing bridge camera.  It's channel 41 on the TV system.   Hmmm.  What if I used my other phone to capture a timelapse of channel 41?

 

The full transit in 21 seconds.

 

 

 

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Finally into the Caribbean Sea.

 

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More ships at anchor waiting their turn.

 

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Our progress so far...

 

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What does it cost a for ship like Vision of the Seas to transit the Panama Canal?

 

Bill Benny admits he hasn't seen our bill but he can guestimate it pretty close.

 

Ship are charged based on capacity.  For cruise ships it's the number of berths regardless if they are being used or not.  For cargo ships it's based on their cargo capacity regardless of the amount of cargo actually being carried.  

 

Cruise ships pay $138 per berth.  To go through on a specific day they have to make a reservation.  This costs $35,000.  To go through in daylight hours also has a fee of $30,000.  The tugs come with a charge between $12,000 and $14,000.  The Panamanian sea men who come on board to handle the cables cost around $4,000.  Each cable on a locomotive has a $300 charge.  There are some other fees and charges that are pocket change in the bigger picture. 

 

Bill's guestimate for Vision is about $380,000.00.

 

Ship's are tagged with a new name when they transit.  We were N 29 Zulu.  Northbound, 29th ship of the day and zulu means preferential treatment (daytime reservation).

 

Remember the NCL Bliss that used the new locks last year?  They paid $880,000.00

Edited by twangster

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3 minutes ago, twangster said:

Bill's guestimate for Vision is about $380,000.00.

For context, we need to find out the fuel cost of going around South America.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Vision of the Seas has a TV channel dedicated to the forward facing bridge camera.  It's channel 41 on the TV system.   Hmmm.  What if I used my other phone to capture a timelapse of channel 41?

 

Brilliant!!!!!!  Superb video :)

 

1 minute ago, twangster said:

Remember the NCL Bliss that used the new locks last year?  They paid $880,000.00

 

Yep, I believe that's still a record held today

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3 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

For context, we need to find out the fuel cost of going around South America.

 

I googled this:

"(Oasis Class) At its cruising speed of 22.6 knots (26 mph), the Oasis of the Seas burns 11361 gallons of fuel each hour. The fuel efficiency, then, is 0.0023 mpg, or 12.08 feet per gallon"

 

Taken from another website which calculates nautical miles,

there's a difference of 8,640nm from Miami to Lima if you had to go around the Horn vs. through the Panama Canal.

The math is staggering... 

 

8640nm / 0.0023 miles per gallon = 3,756,521 gallons

At $3 per gallon = $11,269,565 saved by going through the Panama Canal!

 

So yes, paying $1mil to go through the canal vs. $11-$12 million, plus an extra 2 weeks of sailing around the horn, is a great deal it seems 😀

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hoopster95 said:

 

I googled this:

"(Oasis Class) At its cruising speed of 22.6 knots (26 mph), the Oasis of the Seas burns 11361 gallons of fuel each hour. The fuel efficiency, then, is 0.0023 mpg, or 12.08 feet per gallon"

 

Taken from another website which calculates nautical miles,

there's a difference of 8,640nm from Miami to Lima if you had to go around the Horn vs. through the Panama Canal.

The math is staggering... 

 

8640nm / 0.0023 miles per gallon = 3,756,521 gallons

At $3 per gallon = $11,269,565 saved by going through the Panama Canal!

 

So yes, paying $1mil to go through the canal vs. $11-$12 million, plus an extra 2 weeks of sailing around the horn, is a great deal it seems 😀

 

 

 

 


The time savings for cargo/tanker/container ships has value as well.  The quicker they are to to reach a destination port and unload means a new job can begin.  


Those saved sea days means more loads between different destinations can be carried in the same calendar year.  
 

Repeat a canal transit a few times each year and the saved time at sea can mean more revenue.  

Edited by twangster

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Ships use bunker fuel, about $340 per ton. 266 gallons/ ton =$1.28 per gallon. Your fuel cost is off by a factor of 2.3. But the time factor is still a huge cost saving.

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On both sides of the canal there have been ships at anchor waiting to transit the canal.  This leads to the question how long do they have to wait?  

 

Bill Benny offered that the typical wait time without a reservation can be up to ~ 36 hours.  Timing varies based on demand and how many ships have reservations.    Typical volume is forty ships per day.  

 

The new locks don't have locomotives.  Each ship is allocated two tugs, one forward, one aft.  They do all the control, forward or aft or lateral movements that the locomotives do in the original canal.

 

The entire Panama Canal system uses gravity.  There are no pumps.  Water flows from Gatun Lake into upper lock chambers then to the next lock chamber down to the ocean.  This area of the Americas receives a lot of rain, it always has.  The Chagres River which was dammed to create Gatun Lake flowed into the ocean.  The man made Gatun Lake is a reservoir that flows water into the locks as they operate replacing the natural draining of the Chagres River into the sea.  

 

Too much rain isn't a serious issue as spillways can dissipate excess water.  If nature changed rainfall amounts downwards there are concerns about a lack of rain impacting canal operations.  If there was a major change in weather patterns that denied the region the rain it normally receives it is conceivable the canal would reduce operations compared to how it operates today.  

 

Gatun Lake is freshwater.  It also supplies drinking water to millions of people.  Gatun Lake has Crocodiles and Caiman.  

 

The canal generates around 3 billion USD in revenue annually.  Roughly half of this goes to the Panamanian treasury and half is consumed by the canal for operational use and development.

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Full transit Panama Canal is on my bucket list.  It has now moved up on the list.  Thanks for you beautiful pictures and commentary.  

 

Pat

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On 11/11/2019 at 5:39 AM, twangster said:

Here is a timelapse up to this point:

 

Epic

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GatunLake has Crocodiles and Caiman.  

 

🤤  i used to regularly swim and snorkle in gatun lake. 

Remember your photo where you saw a small island and said it was the top of a hill. Well when they flooded the lake alot of stuff was left down there. One particular thing was a railroad with cars. Back in the day that was a popular dive spot. 

I was very surprised to see a bridge by gatun lakes. The only way across used to be a metal bridge attached to the doors on the ocean side. It was cool to see the ships approaching as you drove across. Also you would get "locked" out. And have to wait for a ship to enter to drive across. 

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The ship delivered certificates to our cabins:

 

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Edited by twangster

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Day 12 - Colón, Panama

 

Our progress...

 

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We sailed right past here yesterday, went to sea for the night then came back in the morning.

 

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At sea last night it felt like a storm was moving in.  Winds of change were in the air.   We've been very fortunate on this cruise during the rainy season since we've encountered very little rain.  This morning that changed.  We had rain, heavy at times.

 

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After it cleared a bit in the distance I could see the Atlantic Bridge.

 

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More ships at anchor waiting.  

 

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The night before I received notice my excursion for Colón had been modified and I was given an option of a 20% discount or a refund.  I was pretty tired from an active and long day running around the ship during our day transiting the Panama Canal so I decided to take the day to rest and I took the refund.

 

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I did leave to ship to see what the area was like near the terminal.  I noted a few scars from the canal.

 

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In a couple days time these would be painted over.

 

I took these pictures leaving the ship.  Of course it started raining while I was off but the walk back to the ship outside in the rain was brief.  

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Thanks for all the great info and photos. The time lapse was extraordinary. How long did the actual passage take (start to finish)? Also, I'm curious if you would repeat this cruise again and why/why not?

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