We are booked on the 10 day cruise into the canal and back on the Zuiderdam in November 2009. Has anyone taken excusions in the canal area? Is it better to stay on the ship and go through the Gatun locks both directions than take an excursion? It looks like a tender is used to disembark for excusions, is it from anchor in Gatun lake? Anyone with experience in any of these areas please respond.