Gates is a blogger … isn’t everyone? His personal blog is called GatesNotes.com. Among his interesting video posts is this one “Taking The Family to The Panama Canal” or “Between The Seas.”
Gates says, “Of all the interesting things around the world, I put the Panama Canal in one of the top 10. Because you’re there … it’s this unbelievably unique thing that has an amazing story behind it, so I wish everybody had the chance to go down and see it.”
One of the things that frustrated me on my last 2.5 month contract with a major cruise line doing the Panama Canal was all the misinformation about the Canal that was being presented. The cruise lines own video about the history of the Canal which it was selling onboard claimed that Gatun Lake is the “largest man-made lake in the world.” Well it WAS when the Canal was opened, 100 years ago, but today Gatun Lake doesn’t even make the top 30 list.
Some cruise lines insist on dragging out David McCullough’s old 1987 video, “A Man, A Plan, A Canal” produced for NOVA, which 28 years ago [!!!] was a great video, but a lot has changed since 1987! Reviewing the program in 1987 the NEW YORK TIMES said, “Mr. McCullough passes through the canal on a modern cruise ship, marveling as he goes.” The ship was the ROYAL VIKING SUN. Royal Viking went out of business in 1998, and the ROYAL VIKING SUN is still kicking as the Holland America PRINSENDAM. Although at 27 years old, even with major refurbishments, one has to wonder how long before it heads to the scrap yard. Ships have a 30-year life span and Carnival Corporation, parent company of Holland America, is not known for cruise ship nostalgia. Much of McCullough’s video is outdated and inaccurate in today’s world. Basically the Canal still operates the same, but there have been lots of technical improvements. McCullough was very impressed by the mechanical lock controls in the control house … Gates video shows the current method, with Bill at the controls using … but of course! … a Windows based program.