Gatun Lake, Panama
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Approximately 4¼ Hours
The Panama Canal Expansion has been the largest project undertaken on this waterway since its original construction. The expansion created a new lane of ship traffic along the Canal, with the construction of a new set of locks doubling the waterway’s capacity.
Today you will visit the New Locks of the Panama Canal, which will directly impact the economies of scale associated with international maritime trade. The Observation Center is a park-style concept based on open platforms and roofed terraces built over an area of 10 acres. If you're lucky, you may see new neo-Panamax vessels crossing. Look out across majestic Gatún Lake, where ships continue their transit through the waterway.
A panoramic drive through the former Panama Canal Zone, with its American military installations, is a gentle reminder of the area's strategic importance.
You will visit Fort Sherman -- a former US Army base at the Caribbean (north) end of the Panama Canal. It was both a defensive base and the center of America's jungle warfare training. Access to Fort Sherman is via the new cable-stay Atlantic Bridge -- the longest in the country at 579 yards. A snack is included here, consisting of a cheese pastry and fruit juice.
Take advantage of a short photo stop at Gatún Dam. This crucial landmark of the Panama Canal generates electricity to operate the locks and other equipment.
You'll also stop at Parque del Cristo before heading into Colón itself. There may be some extended free time in Colón before you meet up with the ship, as the ship will be transiting the Canal and is subject to traffic and/or canal authority delays.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. Depending on canal scheduling, you may or may not see vessels transiting the lock chambers. This excursion departs from Gatún Lake and ends in Colón, where you will re-join the ship. The Panama Canal Authority assigns specific time slots for the transit of a vessel through the locks. The ship anchors in a designated area at Gatún and awaits instructions. Once clearance is received, tour passengers are transferred ashore. Therefore, tour departure times may vary and will be announced on board. The ship's arrival in Colón may be delayed due to transit times through the locks. Be prepared for a delay by bringing any time-sensitive medication or essential items on tour with you. Facilities are available at the terminal in Colón for you to relax while waiting for the ship's arrival.