This would make a good Evil Paragraph, wouldn't it...
Hmm, this could be a tricky EyeSpy...
Jen trying on a lovely sombrero in Adventureland.
The VAB (NASA Vehicle Assembly Building) visible in the hazy distance from our balcony on the Magic.
Another shot from the balcony before departure from Port Canaveral.
Jen in the cabin, preparing to go up on deck for the sail-away party.
The empty stage at Rockin' Bar "D".
Cruise Staff members Oscar and Claire.
We won Magic Quest! (This is also a great example of why I don't wear ball caps)
This barge came alongside the ship as we prepared to enter the Canal.
It's 5:00 AM and we're on deck. The idea is to make sure we get a good spot at the rail for the Canal entry. It worked until people started shoving their way in!
A cargo ship waiting to enter the Canal.
Cargo cranes around the eastern Canal entry.
Sailboats make the transit, too.
This is the "Fly Bridge" -- the windows in the floor let the officers see how close the ship is to docks... or barges... or lock walls.
The smaller flag above left is the Panama flag, a courtesy from the ship since we were in Panamanian territory. The large flag in the middle is of the Bahamas, since the ship is registered there. And of course the third is the Disney Cruise Line flag.
See previous -- flags.
This was suddenly exciting -- a US Navy submarine was going to transit the Canal right in front of us!
Actually it turned out to be a little bit of a pain, because the sub got priority (as they should) over the cruise ship, which put us a bit behind schedule entering the first locks.
Lots more photos of the submarine follow...
Two officers observing from the fly bridge.
Some submarine crew were up on the outer deck as smaller support ships joined the sub for their transit.
Security camera. There were many and most of them were pretty well-hidden.
Navy support boat shadowing the submarine up until the sub entered the first locks.
Canal pilot boat.
The pennants to the lower left signify the Canal pilot has boarded for the transit.
Another cargo ship waits its turn.
Former Canal pilot Captain Ken Puckett, who gave several great presentations about the history and operation of the Canal, got to watch the transit from the bridge. Along with some other people I don't know, but who obviously know someone.
A buoy guiding the way into the first locks.
This one has been waiting a while.
A car carrier.
Another car carrier out in the distance.
Former US Army buildings, now Canal operations.
The lighthouse marks the entrance to the Canal's forebay.
ACP - Panama Canal Authority
Captain Thord looking pensive.
The view off to starboard as we approach the locks.
A huge, fully-loaded cargo ship preceeded us through the port locks. The submarine is approaching the starboard locks.
Canal Authority service boats docked.
Off to port is the beginning of the new Canal, which will accomodate ships much larger than the current "Panamax".
The first lock doors are closing behind the cargo ship, as the submarine enters the starboard lock.
Around the Canal entrance is basically wilderness.
The cargo ship is starting to rise in the first port lock.
Two ACP support boats come out for a look.
The gap to the left is the entrance to the ill-fated "French Canal".
The cargo ship is at full elevation in the first lock and is moving forward into the second, as the first lock doors begin to close behind the sub.
That's a vehicle bridge over the French Canal.
Closer view of the bridge over the French Canal.
The cargo ship moves forward while the submarine rises.
Interesting note: When the lower lock doors are closed, a bridge drops down to allow vehicles to cross. Until the Bridge of the Americas and the Centennial Bridge were built, this and its equivalent on the Pacific side were the only way vehicles could cross the canal and thus drive from Central to South America.
The submarine proceeds through the second set of lock doors.
The second set of lock doors begin to close behind the cargo ship as the submarine proceeds into the second lock accompanied by its support boats.
The first port lock drains into the Atlantic.
Cars and trucks cross the lock door bridge.
The submarine has entered the second set of starboard locks and the first set begins to drain.
The tiny gray boxes along the pier are actually very large locomotives which guide ships through the locks.
Fresh water from the Gatun Lake mixes with salt water.
We finally approach the center pier between the two sets of locks. Note the line of locomotives waiting to hook up to the ship.
A Panamanian Navy (?) boat off to our starboard side as we get close to the lock entrance.
Two guys in a rowboat bring a line out to the ship. They've apparently tried more modern ways of doing this, but two guys in a rowboat wins every time.
The submarine is entering the third lock.
The cargo ship, which we can now tell is the OLUF MAERSK, enters the third lock just ahead of us.
"Look over here!"
One of the guide locomotives waiting to hook up to the ship.
A bus crossing the vehicle bridge at the base of the lower lock doors.
The vehicle bridge opens outward before the lock doors open.
The starboard lock is fully drained and the doors are opening.
The OLUF MAERSK enters the third lock.
ACP workers on the pier.
The first lock doors are opening for the Magic.
These large wheels serve to align the ship into the lock, which has only around two feet of clearance on either side.
Highway signage just outside the Canal lock complex.
Watching the Magic enter the locks.
The OLUF MAERSK moves out of the third lock into Gatun Lake.
The Magic is almost all the way into the first lock.
Looking straight down from deck 10 starboard. Clearance between the ship and the side of the lock is less than two feet.
As we entered the second lock, the heat and crowding on deck 10 became too much for me so I went down to the cabin for a bit.
Starting to pass under the Centennial Bridge. Foggy image due to bringing the camera out of the air-conditioned cabin into the broiling outside air without enough time to equalize humidity.
Trucks and other vehicle traffic on the Centennial Bridge.
This looks like a spanish mission that has seen better days.
The Canal isn't the only way to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific -- here is a train of the Panama Railway.
Cargo ships too large to transit the canal will unload at one end, their containers are loaded onto Panama Railway cars and picked up at the other end by another cargo ship to continue their journey.
Entering the Pacific locks, here again is the miniscule clearance between ship and lock.
The Centennial Bridge in the background as we enter the first set of locks on the Pacific side.
"If you don't want a big metal thing in your eye, use eye protection!"
We're sinking! Sort of. The lowering water level in the lock takes us down with it.
380 feet to that end of this lock.
This is one of those post-Panamax cargo ships that would never make it through the canal. I don't even know if the third set of locks would allow ships this huge.
Approaching the Bridge of the Americas and the end of our Canal transit.
This gives you a bit of scale.
Small sailboats moored in the harbor. A water taxi takes owners out to their boats.
The service building for the floating harbor.
Panama City in the distance.
Lots of construction going on in Panama City.
Observation post in the island near the Pacific entrance.
Lots of ships waiting to enter from this side.
Acapulco! From left: Tony (in tan hat), Betsy, Maryanne, AVP (in blue hat) wait for their shore excursion. We hadn't left the ship yet.
Have fun, guys!
This distracted me the whole time. Doesn't the lifeboat symbol look like a sandwich?
This intricate pattern is worked into the floor of one of the rooms in Fort San Diego.
I'm thinking I might like something like that when we take out the living room carpet...
Payphones of the World (and I did send it in to 2600).
We think it's a hotel. The bright blue awnings draw attention from across the harbor.
One of the towel animals left by our room steward, Wanee, every night.
Godwin (server) and Alvin (assistant server). These guys rocked.
I *think* this was "Rockstar" at Rockin Bar "D". Assistant Cruise Director Trent on the left, Cruise Director Brent on the right.
Waiting to enter the late-night dessert buffet at Lumiere's.
The desserts were certainly pretty...
...and might have been prettier if I'd managed to get pictures before the hordes descended...
...but were overall rather disappointing. Lots of cheesecake-y things with pretty decorations, some brownies and cookies, not much else. Oh, there was the chocolate fountain -- that was very good.
Our last day at sea, and our last room-service delivery. I discovered on Acapulco day (just by asking and assuming I'd get it) that it's possible to order a pitcher of iced tea from room service instead of individual glasses. This was on our lovely deck 7 balcony at around 4:30 pm.
A Royal Caribbean cruise ship shadows us back to Los Angeles.
Captain Mickey shows up at "'Til We Meet Again" in the Atrium Lobby.
Sailor Goofy in an extreme close-up.
Love the nautical character outfits! Dale prepares for "'Til We Meet Again".
Luau Stitch says "No Pictures!"
From left: Jennifer, Cruise Staff members Ed and Melita, me.
Pub Night in Rockin Bar "D" started crazy...
... I got picked to join the dance line ...
This is me doing some kind of jumping foot dance.
Was I any good?
Um... hippity hopping down the bunny trail? I honestly don't remember what's going on here.
Time to sit down.
"If I Were Not Upon the Sea" at Pub Night. From left: soldier Ponz (not pictured, sorry!), Natalie, Oscar the tennis pro, DJ Mike the cab driver, lighthouse-keeper Melita, Luke the undertaker, Emma the seamstress, ballerina Trent.
Ponz is in the upper-left corner, Claire and Ed in red shirts, Pubmaster Drew in the back right.
Jen, lighthouse-keeper Melita and me.
"with a quick flash here..."
"...and a quick flash there..."
Kenji, Melita and Karin.
Jen, undertaker Luke and me.
Karin, Emma the seamstress and Kenji. Why is Karin grabbing the scissors?
Me, ballerina Trent and Jen, with DJ Mike the cab driver in the background.
The sign-language interpreters who added a whole new dimension to the stage productions in the Walt Disney Theater post with AVP.
Ed finds his groove as the music kicks in.
Just before we went to sleep on the last night, I noticed this batch of luggage which must have been put out after the 11:00 PM deadline. I understand the luggage crew did sweeps all throughout the night, though, so I think these people ended up with their stuff after all.
Lots of stuff. I really hope they didn't have to carry it off by hand.
Trying for some artsy "infinite corridor" shots.
Our home for the last two weeks.
While we waited for Tony to come back with the car, AVP and Jen and I wandered around the port building taking pictures. Here, Jennifer demonstrates her disregard for posted regulations.