Thursday, January 3, 2013

Island Princess Christmas Cruise [Day 6] - Panama Canal Passage

We got up at 6:30 that morning to watch the ship go through the canal. It was foggy and raining lightly, but this is why we booked the cruise, so we were going to watch it!

We started on the top deck of the ship on the side, then decided to go down to the back of the ship on a lower deck.

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Gatun Lake

After going through the canal that morning, we ate breakfast and then headed to my parents' room to open Christmas presents. We then fell asleep while watching the Love Boat. Took a good hour nap. Then Dad went to work out, Rachel went to the spa for a full body massage, and I went to shower and get ready to go back through the canal.

I started watching us go back through the canal from the front of the ship. There's access on decks 8,9, and 10. It looks like you shouldn't go through there, but once you open the door, there is a door outside. I never would've found it if one of the ship photographers hadn't told me about it earlier.

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If you were wondering where the kids' staff was, I found them -

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After I attempted to teach a lady how to use the panoramic setting on her camera, I decided to check out the back of the ship.

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The back of the ship was more awesome than the front coming back because there wasn't any obstruction by the bow, and you could really tell you were sinking. It was so cool.

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This is when it started getting really awesome...

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I realized that this was really awesome, and I needed a photo of myself... selfie time.

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And then I remembered that I had my Gorilla Pod with me - so I set the timer and took a few less-selfie-looking selfies.

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After seeing the photographers walk by, I remembered that I should wave my Tiger Rag. So I went back to the stateroom to get it, then headed to the 7th deck.

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I got the attention of a photographer, and he took my picture with the rag. I bought it because it was a unique opportunity to be photographed on the ship from the outside.

I wanted to catch up with my family, and I figured they'd be at the front of the ship.

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Sure enough, they were on the deck above me.

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Rachel was having an awesome time going through the Panama Canal. She's a civil engineering major and geology minor, so this was fascinating to her. She was in our stateroom on the 5th deck when she looked out the window and saw the wall of the canal going by.

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Christmas decorations!

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After passing through the canal, we went to eat lunch in Horizons. It was the best dining in Horizons crowd-wise that we had, since over half of the passengers had left the ship with an excursion.

I was glad that we stayed on the ship because I enjoyed going back through the canal and having the entire ship to roam around to get different views, levels, and photos. If I went back through the canal on a partial transit again, I would consider taking an excursion on a smaller ship to go all the way to the Pacific. However, if (More like when... this is something I would want to share with my future family) I go back through the canal again, I might just do a full transit. Going through the canal definitely isn't something I'd do year after year, but it was a great experience and the highlight of the cruise (like it was intended to be).

We docked in Colon, which I have determined is just a port they constructed for the sole purpose of getting the cruisers who took excursions back to the ship.

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The souvenir shops were overcrowded and cramped, so after one, I was finished with that. We decided to check out another grocery store.

We picked up beer, alcoholic drinks, and champagne.

When we went to board the ship again, we noticed children below playing on bikes, rollerblades, and other rolling vehicles. It must've been the native children playing with their Christmas presents! Too cute. We stopped to watch for a bit.

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That evening was Christmas dinner!

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The appetizer was a little creepy-looking...

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And for dessert, we got gingerbread cookies!

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NEXT: Day 7 - Limon, Costa Rica