Passage through the Panama Canal in Photos

Passage through the Panama Canal is on most maritime travelers’ bucket lists. And now after a recent cruise through the Caribbean I can check it off mine.

The canal itself is impressive, very impressive. It is a modern marvel approaching 100 years operation still with its original locks. “Panamex” compliant cruise ships (a max of approx. 960 ft long x 106 ft wide) offer passage to tourists as it is not just for cargo transport anymore.

On my passage through the Panama Canal I listened to on board presentations took an excursion to visit the Gatun Locks, and paddled across Lake Gatun on a kayak. I even had the opportunity and assisted in interviewing the Captain Emiel de Vries of the ms Zuiderdam (my Cruise Ship) about the passage. All amazing. But there is no substitute for experiencing the canal firsthand via passage on a ship. No substitute for standing there on deck soaking it all in.  I hope these pictures give it justice.

The Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal

On my partial passage from the Caribbean side, near Colon not Panama City, the Cruise ship passed through the three Gatun Locks en route to Gatun Lake. Early in the morning, this was my view.

approaching the gatun locks, panama canal

approaching the Gatun Locks before sunrise

the Gatun Lock opens, Panama Canal

the lock opens as the sun rises

inside the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal

inside the locks

viewing the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal from aboard the Holland America ms Zuiderdam

Almost halfway through...

Mules – The Electric Locomotives

The electronic locomotives known as Mules (or Mulas) are used to keep the ship straight in the canal locks. They don’t propel the ship forward just steady the ship in the tight locks.

the mule in action at the gatun locks, panama canal

the mule at work

the mule of the gatun locks, panama canal

the mule heads up the canal...

the mules of the gatun locks, panama canal

constant work of the electronic locomotives - mules

The Aft View of the Panama Canal

Looking back always provides a chance to reflect and appreciate what has happened. On this day, I passed through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. It is an experience I’ll always cherish.

workers walk over the Gatun Lock, Panama Canal

walking across the canal locks

view of the gatun locks of the panama canal from the aft of the ms Zuiderdam

looking at the locks from the aft of the ship

stay adventurous, Craig

I’d like to thanks Cruise Radio and Holland America for passage aboard the ms Zuiderdam through the Panama Canal. .

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  • http://mjdresselbooks.wordpress.com/ Mary

    Thanks for showing me something I may never get to see in person. Amazing in many different ways.

    • stayadventurous

      Mary, I agree, it was amazing in so many different ways… exactly.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://twitter.com/TravelDesigned Stephanie Diehl

    This is on ma bucket list.. yes, I have a FEW! 

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       So do I… and some day I plan to draft up a preliminary bucket list…
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • Maryann

    Great pictures of the voyage through the Canal. You are right, you appreciate it so much better when you see it first hand.  It is an awesome accomplishment.  

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       So true… there is something special about being aboard a ship on passage… it truly was an amazing experience and accomplishment.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • CruiseLegend

    Beautiful set of photos! Good article!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Xplore724 Anabela S. George

    I had the opportunity to go through both ways, back in 1991 when I was working as a crew member on sailing yachts. Thanks for being back memories with this great post & photos! :)

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       Wow, what a wonderful experience that must have been… and glad these photos brought back some good memories…
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • Charu

    I’ve heard so much about the construction of this canal—it was a monumental human feat and a lot of lives were sacrificed to make this happen. Wow, what a momentous journey! 

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       Yes, a monumental achievement… and true many lives were lost, most by disease, although one point in the passage did prove very dangerous to construct…
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://www.dottingthemap.com/ Hilarye

    These are some seriously cool pics. That is a goal of mine as well to cruise through the panama canal.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

       Definitely do it… It is impressive.
      stay adventurous, Craig

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