We booked this tour thru Celebrity Cruise Line as part of our Panama Canal cruise. We were picked up promptly by an air conditioned motor coach at the pier in Colon and driven through town during rush hour to a Melia hotel where we were able to use the restrooms before walking past their beautiful swimming pool to the dock where an open air boat awaited us. We were expecting to go out into the larger area of the lake that is the main thoroughfare for the ships passing thru the canal. Instead we hugged the coast of a small area as sloth, monkeys, and birds were pointed out to us. After about an hour it was off the boat, another bathroom break then boarding the bus again to go the the Gatun Locks. A brief drive and we were driving over one of the new locks for the Panamax ships while viewing a ship in its first lock. Quite impressive. The bus continued on to the visitors center at the Gatun Locks. There is no elevator here. The elevation is steep, the steps are plentiful, and the weather is miserably hot and humid at this time of year. It was worth it to have a birds eye view of the eastbound locks as ships wait for the water to fall so they can pass to the next lock then out to the Atlantic Ocean. We were fortunate to see a ship in both sides with more waiting. The tour guide and the visitor center guide were very knowledgeable.
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