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twangster last won the day on November 12

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About twangster

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    Can't cruise enough

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  1. It was the Wonders of Engineering: Panama Canal Locks and Culebra Cut Tour
  2. Day 12 - Colón, Panama Our progress... We sailed right past here yesterday, went to sea for the night then came back in the morning. 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. After it cleared a bit in the distance I could see the Atlantic Bridge. More ships at anchor waiting. 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. I did leave to ship to see what the area was like near the terminal. I noted a few scars from the canal. 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.
  3. It depends. The 'proper' answer is no. However this varies by terminal and ship. By the letter of policy the proper answer is that you are welcome to board with any guest at their level and boarding position. In some terminals this is enforced more strictly. For example in Miami in terminal A the suites area is a separate area with exclusive elevators. They can be pretty strict about enforcing the rules before getting on that elevator. You can always ask and see how it goes but don't be upset if the answer is no.
  4. 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.
  5. With respect, Royal never announced that. Some people interpreted the announcement to be that but that isn’t what they announced nor is it what they delivered. Time and again the guests I encounter who are long time Royal guests love the updates beyond the water park that occupies little space relatively. They really knocked it out the park.
  6. 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
  7. Finally into the Caribbean Sea. More ships at anchor waiting their turn. Our progress so far...
  8. 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.
  9. Clearance of 246 feet below so most ships will have no issue clearing it. The Bridge of the Americas on the Pacific side remains the challenge for shipping with a clearance of 201 feet.
  10. Looking back towards the locks in the distance you can see the new locks to the left and the original locks to the right. New locks: Original locks:
  11. The third and final bridge over the Panama Canal is the Atlantic Bridge. This bridge was completed August 2019.
  12. 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. This small canal that forks to the right is the only visibly remaining sign of the French effort of late 1800's. 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.
  13. 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. From the aft looking towards the left you can see the new canal locks through the trees.
  14. Yet another tanker was locking opposite us as we moved forward. 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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