Visiting the Panama Canal has been on our list forever and there was no way that we were going to go there without experiencing a full transit of the canal. We wanted to be on a boat that went from Pacific to Atlantic. It was a little difficult to find a tour as they do not go every day but through Your Friend Mario we got to go on the first Saturday of the month. We were collected from our hotel at 6am and taken to the pier where we had quite a wait while until our fellow passengers arrived. Close to an hour later we did get to board the boat on a first come first serve basis. We were lucky to be some of the first so our seats were perfect - late comers weren't so lucky. We were told that the Pacific Queen is the sister ship of the African Queen and has quite a history of its own The old wooden structure was charming, the seats were comfortable, toilets were kept clean and the breakfast, lunch & afternoon tea were more than adequate. Free soft drinks and tea & coffee were available all day. You could buy a beer if you wanted it. Our guide was perfect giving us all the facts and figures but also knowing when to keep quiet when we just wanted to enjoy the canal. If there was any complaint it would be that during the first half of the journey it was pretty crowded. That improved when the partial transit passengers left at Gamboa & we got to spread out. The second half was perfect. Yes it is a long day - we were snoozing on the coach home. Some say the $165 each price tag was expensive but given all the services we got we thought it good value. The memory of being in Gatun lock with that enormous building sized tanker almost within touching distance will remain forever. Try to go!
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