PANAMA CANAL TRANSIT
Enter the mighty Panama Canal, one of history’s most ambitious and spectacular stretches of waterway. Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and slicing through the heart of a continent, the canal is a staggering engineering triumph, eliminating the need to traverse the treacherous waters of South America and Cape Horn. Sail one of the world’s great canals to appreciate the true scale of this achievement, as your ship manoeuvres between its vast, gushing locks and huge lakes.
The French began construction in 1881, but the costly project was left abandoned and unfinished until the United States finally completed the work in 1914. Following the path of the Panama Railway of 1855, locks raise ships large and small 26 metres up above sea level to the canal’s elevated channel. New locks have recently been added, which allow the canal to accommodate ever bigger ships. Leaving the confinement of the locks, you will enter the canal’s channel, to sail through Panama’s core. Wide lakes are linked by painstakingly chiselled wedges of canal, which slice through the lush scenery. Look out for the Culebra Cut section, the most challenging stretch of the entire route to construct.
The Bridge of the Americas is a vast arched landmark, which sweeps across the Pacific Entrance and was completed in 1962. It’s one of several huge bridges that you will sail below on the 51-mile journey, including the much newer Centennial Bridge, and the Atlantic Bridge, which spans the entrance close to Colon.