Saturday, January 24, 2009


Hi, My wife and I took a 14 day cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line's Infinity. The ship displaces about 93,000 tons of water, has 12 decks, carries about 2200 passengers and about 900 crew, and is about 950 feet long. We left Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday evening 12/7. six or seven cruise ships left port that day and we were next to last. Shown below is Celebrity'newest ship, Solstice.

After 3 nights at sea we arrived at Cartajena, Columbia, where the ship is shown docked below. All of the ports were working ports for fishing boats and commerce. None were true tourist destinations for cruise ships. This city and the port for Lima, Peru also hosted naval vessels.

The ship sailed in the late afternoon and we arrived at the Panama Canal early 2 mornings later. We started through the canal about 7:00 AM and completed our transit late in the afternoon. Below are a selection of photos taken as we transited the canal. Note that there were ships anchored at both ends, as well as in the Gatun Lake waiting for their turn.

After about an hour of very slow travel followed by careful positioning we arrived at and entered the Gatun Locks. This is a set of 6 locks set in 3 pairs side by side. The following photographs show us passing through the locks. Below we are approaching the lowest lock.

The next photo shows our ship waiting to enter the righthand lower lock while the ship ahead has just passed from the lowest to the middle lock. When the ship ahead is in the upper lock we will enter the lower lock. Clearance is about 3 feet on each side of the ship.

The ships entering the locks are assisted by tugs, such as the one below. They also are used for other chores in the canal.

Here a tanker prepares to enter the set of locks alongside the ones we were using. At this time all traffic through the locks was westbound. The photo was taken from the rear of the ship.

Behind us were at least 4 other ships. Below a pair of container ships are shown approaching the bottom locks.

Two of the electric mules used to guide the ships through the locks are assisting the tanker. They do not tow the ship. They merely keep it centered by tightening or loosening the cables and move with it through the locks. People on board communicate with the mules and guide their operations. Power is provided by a 3rd rail located between the outside rails; lionel style.

Here is one of the mules attached to the rear of our ship.

A freighter is entering Gatun Lake.

A container ship passes us in the Gaillard Cut.

Ships anchored in the Pacific outside Panama City waiting to transit the canal or for dock space.

Fishing boats drawn up on the shore in Manta, Ecuador.

I believe this old ship in Manta, Ecuador is a fishing factory ship. At any rate I thought it was interesting.

This container ship is about to pass through the breakwater and enter Lima's harbor. The photo was taken as we sailed.

Another container ship is unloading.

This small warship rode at anchor all day.

These old cranes were located in the port of Coquimbo, Chilee. I don't know if they were still in use.

As we left the port of Coquimbo a small freighter and a small container ship (the nearer vessel) lay at anchor.

We ended our trip in Valparaiso, Chile on December 21 where we disembarked and headed for the airport in Santiago about 8:00 AM. Those with evening departures had the opportunity to take shore excursions before leaving. Hope you enjoyed this non-rail blog.

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