Silversea Luxury Cruises A Panama Canal Transit

The unique location of the Panama Canal at Central America's narrowest point between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean spawned the idea for a passageway between these two bodies of water. In 1880, the French made the first attempt to build a canal, but disease and financial problems defeated them. In 1903, Panama and the United States signed a treaty by which the United States agreed to take over the project. The following year, the U.S. purchased the rights and properties from the French Canal Company and construction began. View more

The project took ten years to complete at a cost of about $387 million. Over 200 million cubic yards of material were removed during the construction; over half of it was excavated from Gaillard (or Culebra) Cut. The official inauguration of the waterway took place on August 15, 1914, when the SS Ancon transited the canal. The construction of the canal has had far-reaching effects on the world's economic and commercial development. The principal trade routes using this waterway are from the East Coast of the United States to the Far East and the West Coast of South America, and from Europe to the West Coast of the United States and Canada. The Panama Canal was managed and operated by the Americans until December 31, 1999 when, according to a treaty signed in 1977 between the two countries, the Republic of Panama took over the administration, operation and maintenance of the canal. The canal is 50 miles long. It was cut through the narrowest point of the Isthmus of Panama and the American continent. Three sets of locks elevate ships 85 feet above sea level to Gatun Lake, where they cross the Continental Divide and then get lowered back to sea level on the other side of the Isthmus. The lock chambers are 110 feet wide, 1,000 feet long and 85 feet high. Fresh water flowing from rivers is used for their operation. During the transit of the canal, vessels move under their own power; in the locks ships are assisted by electric locomotives that align and tow the ships using cables. The most scenic part of the canal is the eight-mile-long Gaillard or Culebra Cut. It is the narrowest stretch in the Panama Canal, crossing the Continental Divide and extending from Gamboa to the Pedro Miguel Locks. The total canal transit time takes between eight to nine hours depending on traffic. During this time you will be able to enjoy this fantastic experience. The Panama Canal is considered to be one of the world's most remarkable engineering feats. To further enhance this experience, Silversea invites you to enjoy a few hours of fun and entertainment at the Gatun Yacht Club while the ship is anchored in Gatun Lake. In the early afternoon, the transit will resume and proceed toward the famous Gaillard Cut and the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks. The final stretch out of the canal and toward the Pacific Ocean will be under brilliant flood lighting and the glittering lights of Panama City, which adds a new dimension to your canal transit. Please Note: The climate in this area is generally hot and humid. Sun protection is a must when spending time ashore or on deck. Insect repellent will also come in handy.

An Introduction to Silversea Cruises

The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.

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Panama Canal Transit