Today we will transit through the Panama Canal. It’s always exciting to watch this engineering marvel in action. The new, wider locks are open and in service, but we will be using the original locks.
We arrived at the Gatun locks at 7 am and would spend the next 90 minutes going thru the various locks until we sailed into Gatun Lake where we would spend most of the day.
One advantage of transiting the Panama Canal on the World Cruise is that all the viewing spots around the ship, normally packed on a normal Panama Canal Cruise, are virtually empty. I wandered up to the Crows Nest around 8 am and there were still prime window seats available and all the extra chairs set up on the dance floor were unused.
I wanted to check out the other prime viewing spots to check on the crowds (or lack thereof). On the way to the bow, I passed thru the Lido which had a normal breakfast crowd and there were still plenty of window seats available. Walking out onto the bow, there were about 20 people there and about 20-30 or so up on the 6th level observation deck.
Panama Canal Rolls!
The famous Panama Canal Rolls – Recipe HERE – were available at most viewing venues until 9 AM. If anyone missed the Panama Canal Rolls, they will reappear as Sydney Opera House Rolls, Hong Kong Rolls and probably a few other harbor rolls before this cruise is over. I sampled one on the bow and they were as tasty as always.
Good game for me today as I finished in the money (second) for the first time this cruise.
Pinnacle Grill Lunch
The Pinnacle Grill is open for lunch – $10 is the normal charge before any mariner discounts. The service is always fantastic, and the menu has a lot of nice choices. Highly recommended for a nice change of pace.
We hosted Abba Fab for lunch today in the Pinnacle Grill along with our friends from Table 52 on the 2016 cruise. The same people who perform Abba Fab will also be performing their show called “The Piano Men” this evening, which features the music of Billy Joel and Elton John.
The Miraflores locks would be our final set of locks today before we entered the Pacific Ocean. I always enjoy these locks the most because they occur later in the day (no early morning wakeup) and the Canal’s main visitor center is here so you always have a crowd of people cheering and waving as you pass buy. As we were waiting to clear these locks we could see other ships using the new locks to our west, but there was small rise between our location and the other ships so all we could see from our vantage point was the upper parts of the other ships and the control tower that operates the new locks.
The Amsterdam dropped her anchor around 6pm or so and started to run tenders around 7pm. Based on the crowds and the shows and in the dining room, I don’t think that many people chose to go ashore this evening. Tenders will run until 1 am and start again at 6 AM tomorrow morning.
The food on the cruise continues to be exceptional with every meal to date being wonderful. Tonight Judy and I had the Grilled Kingfish with Roasted Corn Salsa. Our service is exceptional and even though we are at a table for 10, we are usually finished in about 90 minutes.
The Piano Men
Terry Davies performs in Abba Fab but he takes center stage for the groups presentation of “The Piano Men”, a tribute to the music of Elton John and Billy Joel. They play all the favorites including a very nice rendition of “Circle of Life”. A special treat was a performance by Nick of a Billy Joel favorite – We Didn’t Start the Fire” where he updated the lyrics to include more recent historical references. You will find Abba Fab and The Piano Man performing on a variety of different cruise lines and land venues. If you ever have a chance to catch their show live – don’t miss it.This entry was posted in Uncategorized