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Old 12-03-2006, 10:46 AM
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Will be on the Volendam in January on a southern cruise which cruises into the Panama. Is it best to stay on the ship during the trip into the canal or does anyone have an excursion to recommend.

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Old 12-05-2006, 10:07 AM
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I do not recommend the Panama Railway excursion. We took this tour Nov'06 (Amsterdam). What should have been a half day tour (which is what we wanted) turned into a full day because we were sharing the train with another cruise ship. The train is very comfortable but there is not a lot to see while on the train. I had expected it to travel closer to the canal but it is more inside the forest. The trip includes a bus ride to the end of the causeway (actually into a dirty parking lot) which is interesting if there is a lot of ships traversing the canal that day. After that we ended up spending hours on the bus just driving around Balboa (a dirty city with nothing of note to see), killing time until the train returned to pick us up. There is nowhere to sit at the train station and handicapped travelers were very uncomfortable standing in the heat waiting for the train to arrive. Very poorly organized. The buses just should have driven us back to the ship. The snack/lunch we were served on the train was pitiful. Our dining friends took the tour of Panama City and raved about it. They saw so much and were thrilled with their tour guide. I suspect if you are the only cruise ship that day the Railway tour will run more smoothly. For us it was far too expensive and a complete disappointment.
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canal, cruise, day, excursion, panama, reviews, train, zuiderdam

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