Panama Canal Photo Blog
Tour Name: Panama Canal
Dates: April 13-30, 2019
Tour Director: Patti Olson
Tour Director Highlight:
This was my second time transiting the Panama Canal, and it maintained its allure. The history of its building is so rich and fascinating. Besides the canal itself, we had many port stops, including Cartegena, Colombia; Panama City itself (first time there); and ports in Central America and the Mexican Riviera. Our group had great weather and many colorful encounters in the foreign ports. Cruising through the Panama Canal is on many people’s bucket list. What a privilege to make the journey this year from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to San Diego, California. The weather was perfect—no rain and lots of sunshine to thaw us out after a cold Pennsylvania winter! Each port had a unique character and special local craft and food to discover and enjoy. This is definitely a trip to consider if you have never done it!
[Click on any photo to view as slideshow and read full captions from TD Patti Olson!]
Our ship, the Oosterdam, towers over the local fishing fleet.
Our route map was updated each day with our current location and weather.
We had three formal “gala” dinners and enjoyed our fellowship at them.
Spanish colonial fortress in Cartegena, Colombia, built to protect the stores of gold and emeralds awaiting transport to Spain.
Colonial Cartegena, Colombia, has cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
As the gates opened, we were pulled into the lock by the tugs, then the water raised us up 85 feet from sea level.
What a beautiful day to go through the locks! Passengers could go out on the bow of the ship as we made our way into each lock.
The new locks on the Pacific end use sliding gates, and much of the water is transferred into holding basins to be recycled for another passage.
One of the tugs that pulls the ships into the locks at Gatun. They still use the same lock gates that have been in use since 1913.
The old locks have 2 parallel channels to transport the ships into Gatun Lake from the Atlantic. Several tugs guide the ship into the narrow canals. You can see how close the side of the ship is to the canal walls.
Our sister ship, the Zuiderdam, makes a round trip from Ft. Lauderdale through the Gatun locks, then back to Florida again. We were blessed to be able to go all the way through the Panama Canal from Atlantic to Pacific.
Panama City had to be reached with the ship’s tenders.
Riding the tender to Panama City was quite an experience, especially on the way back to the ship when the wind made the water pretty rough. Stepping from the tender to the ship had to be timed just right with the wave action.
We all chose to ride the Panama Railroad from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The canal could not have been built without the railroad to haul away all the rock and dirt that had to be excavated.
We visited 2 churches on Easter Sunday after our own Easter service onboard the ship.
The cathedral in Puerto Vallarta with its lacy crown at the top.
This front altar is pure silver! Notice the detailed, beautiful woodwork in the main altar.
What fun to see this flower in its natural habitat instead of a flower shop in the States.
These colorful dancers performed for us outside a church on Easter Sunday.
Many ports had local entertainers on the dock to greet us with their lively music and colorful costumes.
The stitchwork to make this quilt is amazing. The local craftwmen are so talented!
Just one of the many colorful shops selling locally made crafts.
Local, fresh fruit was available along all the roadsides and street corners in each port.
You can’t visit Central America without getting a photo of an iguana!
One of the excursions involved 4 suspension bridges over the top of the rain forest in Costa Rica. It wasn’t as scary as it looks.
The harbor in Manzanillo, Mexico.
Manzanilla’s blue sailfish graces the downtown harbor.
Iconic seahorse sculpture in Puerto Vallarta.
One of the many well-known sculptures along the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta.
This intricate sand sculpture was on the beach in Puerto Vallarta.
Afternoon tea onboard the ship is a Holland America tradition that we enjoyed.
Beautiful sunsets at sea were the perfect end to adventurous days.
Back in San Diego, we had the first rain in 18 days, but it was a beautiful entry back into the USA.
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