Crossing through the Panama Canal was one of the highlights of our 19-day sailing on the Island Princess. An engineering marvel, the live commentary elicited excitement and wonder as we spent the day traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.
Here is a photo recap of our day through the Panama Canal. Rocket scientist hubby added a bit of technical information below the photos:
The Island Princess was built to go through the canal, and she just fits. Ariel views of our crossing were available for purchase. Here are two of my favorites, used here with permission. The first in the Gatun Locks, the second, as we passed through Miraflores Locks. You can see the dredging for the new locks to the left.
A Bit of History from Rocket Scientist Hubby:
The modern Panama Canal crossing was first attempted by the French after their successful building of the Suez Canal in 1869. Engineering and medical science hurdles caused this attempt to fail in bankruptcy. The Suez Canal was a flat crossing excavated through sand. The Panama Canal would need to excavate the 110 meter mountainous spine of Central America consisting of rock. In addition, the Chagres River crosses the canal and flows strongly in the rainy season making navigation difficult.
These difficulties plus tropical mosquito born diseases doomed the French attempt. The French work was not in vain as a significant amount of excavation and dredging was completed. The Americans came in during the early 1900s under George Washington Goethal’s engineering direction to complete the task. The current canal uses a three level lock system that raises ships 25 meters prior to transiting through manmade lakes and a cut through the continental divide. The ships then arrive at the other side of Panama to lower down 25 meters through 3 final locks that lead out to sea.
- It cost the Island Princess in excess of $250,000 to cross the Panama Canal.
- Bookings for ships are made over 18 month in advance. Personal craft can book within 96 hours of arrival, but will have inspections and other hold ups prior to transit.
- The inaugural sailing of the new over five-billion dollar expansion of the Panama Canal will be on June 26, 2016.
- The Panama Canal crossing a once-in-a-lifetime, not to be missed experience. While it took all day, the live commentary provided by Princess Cruises kept it fascinating. It is a day we will not soon forget, and one which I would recommend.
Have you been through the Panama Canal? Is it something you would want to do someday?
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This post linked to: Photo Friday at Pierced Wanderings, and Sunday’s in My City at the Unknown Mami, Our World Tuesdays, and Trekking with Becky for Expat Tuesday.
Disclaimer: In addition to VIP treatment onboard the Island Princess we were provided with many complimentary extras. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.