Best Videos About The Panama Canal

If you’ve transited the Panama Canal, or are planning a Panama Canal Cruise, you will definitely want to get a copy of my book PANAMA CANAL DAY.  The book is loosely based on the commentary I give from the bridge on ships transiting the Canal … but much expanded.  It’s great background, not just about the history of the Canal, but  how that history fits into the history of Panama and the Americas.

Most of the ships I’ve been on transiting the Panama Canal show old, outdated videos about the Canal, typically telling only the part of the story about the US construction, even, as in the case of the David McCullough video, questioning if Panama will be able to successfully manage the Canal! The gigantic mass-market cruise ships happily use the Canal as a sales toll to generate bookings, but once they get you onboard treat the Canal and Panama Canal day as a giant inconvenience to the main goal of getting you to spend money. Sometimes I think they forget the reason why people booked a Panama Canal Cruise in the first place.

So, first, buy my book and second watch these two great videos! The first is the best history of the Canal from the inception to the US turnover of the Canal to Panama. And the second is all about the Panama Canal Expansion program that was completed last summer, and what it means for the future of not just the Panama Canal but for worldwide shipping and the international economy. You’ll get to see behind the scenes of the construction and actually see inside the giant tunnels that feed water into the new locks.

These are the videos the cruise lines should show onboard. They are by far they far the best comprehensive videos about the Panama Canal.



This is information you won’t get on most gigantic cruise ships, but it will make your trip through the Canal so much more enjoyable!

Power of 55 Nuclear Bombs Coming to Panama


Lots and lots of equivalents to 50 atomic bombs!  They are in the Canal now and many more on their way bringing big money to Panama and hopefully no kaboom!

So just how safe are these potential bombs … and how is all that highly explosive gas kept safe and kept from blowing up half of Panama?

This is almost an hour long, but once you start watching you will be hooked.  This is a fun, very understandable explanation of just how these giant LNG tankers work and safely and cheaply deliver natural gas around the world through the new Panama Canal locks.  Really!  It is fascinating and very understandable and interesting even if you aren’t a scientific or mechanical nerd.

Click for the video


Just The Beginning

cocoli lockIn its first month of operation, the Panama Canal’s new neopanamax locks recorded a total of 55 vessel transits according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Of the 55 vessels to make the transit, there were 29 container ships, 22 LPG tankers, two “carriers”, and two LNG carriers. Looking ahead, the ACP said it has received reservations for more than 229 vessels.

“We are totally satisfied with what we have seen during the first month of operation of the expanded Canal,” said Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano.

There was one, relatively minor incident, when bad weather caused a ship to hit the side wall making a gash in the side of the ship. Panama Canal pilots and their union have continually questioned taking ships through the new locks with only tug boats and not the traditional engines or “mules” that have been used and are still used in the original locks to keep vessels centered.

Standard question on board … how much? The lowest toll was paid by adventurer Richard Halliburton who paid 36 cents to swim the Canal in a publicity stunt in 1928.

The highest toll for the original locks is quoted at $375,600 for the NORWEGIAN PEARL in 2010. That is a little misleading, however, because the “toll” is like the cost of an air ticket … and then you add on all the “fees.” The advance reservation fee is $25,000 to be sure you have a slot and to guarantee a daylight transit you add another $30,000 so we’re up to $430,000! Sometimes when I ask cruise ship captains what the transit costs, their numbers don’t add up with mine … until I factor in the advance reservation fee and daylight transit fees, which show up differently in the ship’s cost accounting.

But all those old records are smashed by the cost of taking ships through the new locks! The last “highest toll record” I heard of was $837,203 for a ship called the MOL BENEFACTOR on July 8th.

While shipping traffic is down worldwide, and a lot of cargo ships are in mothballs right now, the Panama Canal has consistently raised rates and made more money. The traffic Suez had siphoned off has returned.

The 76.8% of Panamanians who voted for the Panama Canal Expansion project made the right choice for Panama and it’s future.

expansion vote