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Panama City Pre or Post Cruise Planning

"The Land Divided, The World United." ― Panama Canal motto

 

In Panama City on Friday, I disembarked Explora I with a lump in my throat saying goodbye to new friends and the ship itself. For two weeks now I'm able to offer additional discounts, since I've just sailed with them. Don't wait to contact me to experience Explora Journeys! One of the current promotions also allows my clients to benefit from a reduced and REFUNDABLE 10% deposit on all new bookings. Secure your space now - risk free!

 

Most of the passengers stayed on for Explora I's next itinerary from Panama City to Miami including passage through the Panama Canal to Colombia and the Caribbean. From there, the ship continues to Barcelona, and many were staying on all the way to Spain too. Explora I is almost 10 months old, and already Explora II is about to join the fleet and set sail. Will you be on board next?

 

As I explored Panama City on my own, I remained tied to Explora I. From my 10th floor room at the Waldorf Astoria and through a sliver of space between high rises opening to an ocean view, what did I see? Explora I docked in the distance! The next day, I took a fun motorboat tour of Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal; it was like a safari as we spotted alligators and Panamanian howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys. As our little boat headed back, I couldn't believe my eyes. I spied Explora I transiting the canal at the same time! We approached each other nearer and nearer, and as we passed, I wanted to leap across the water and be back on board. It was hard to say goodbye all over again. I didn't expect Explora I to affect me so much emotionally!

 

I'm glad I stayed in Panama City for a few days on my own because it's a fascinating place. It's the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the Pacific coast of the Americas and was founded in 1519 - with a fascinating archaelogical area to visit. During my private tours, my history was refreshed on Noriega and the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. The canal was only fully transferred from the USA to Panama in 1999, and the city's modern skyline of high rise buildings was all built in the years following.

 

You too can visit the Miraflores locks in the canal, pictured above. At the visitor center, there's a worthwhile Imax film in 3D narrated by Morgan Freeman, and then you can relax in shaded viewing bleachers and watch tankers and cargo and cruise ships enter and exit the locks while listening to a worker explain the process unfolding in front of you. With 5% of the entire world's annual trade at stake, a Panamanian sailor steps on board each and every transiting vessel to help navigate.

 

Another great place to visit in Panama City is the Frank Gehry designed Biomuseo, the world's first biodiversity museum. Here I learned 70 million years ago Panama did not exist, and 45 million years ago it was an archipelago of volcanoes. As plates shifted and volcanic activity continued, eventually Panama became a land bridge between North and South America which forever changed the habitat and evolution of wildlife when species met across continents. And who knew Panama played a part in Scotland joining with England to create the United Kingdom? In 1699 Scotland tried to start a colony in Darien, Panama for a trade route to the Far East; but it was so badly planned almost everyone died, and the endeavor nearly bankrupted the country - leading to its 1707 union with England. I learned a lot here, plus it has aquariums inside with fish from the Pacific in one and Caribbean in the other.

 

My grandfather was an iron worker in the Panama Canal Zone, the area inside Panama that was officially part of the United States, and it was so interesting to visit bases and homes where the U.S. Army and Navy worked and lived with their families. During my long weekend in Panama City, I'd wonder if my grandfather stood on this corner or walked along that street in the 1940's. He was 26 when he left, and I really enjoyed touring the city and bringing the return of the Dybiecs to Panama.

 

Clearly I could just keep going on and on about all there is to appreciate with not only Explora I but also by extending any cruise journey with a pre or post stay. Port towns around the world hold so much history to uncover!

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Nine Muses Travel designs journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers and the culturally curious.

Danielle Dybiec

Founder & President

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