Transiting The Panama Canal with Windstar Cruises
My last day aboard Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze was all about Panama City and the nearby Panama Canal.
With our transit from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea expected to take place sometime this evening, I decided to maximise my Canal time by booking the $89-per-person tour that Windstar offers of the Miraflores Locks & Historic Panama City.
Disembarking via Star Breeze’s zodiac and tender boats at the bleary hour of 7:00 a.m., our four-hour excursion first ran into a little snag: it was so early in the morning that no one at the small marina had thought to unlock the dock gate.
When the chap with the key was finally located, we made our way onto a waiting motorcoach and set out into historic Panama City, known as Casco Veijo.
Casca Veijo was first founded in the late 1600’s, after the original city was brutally sacked by Welsh privateer Henry Morgan, loosely of Captain Morgan’s Rum-fame. A legendary drunkard and sadist, he accidentally burned down old Panama City after another binge of looting and pillaging in the name of England. However, Morgan bit off more than he could chew this time: he was recalled to England to answer for his crimes. For these, he received a knighthood and a plum post down in Jamaica. Such was the life of a 17th century privateer.
In Casca Veijo, we set out on an hour-long walking tour through this most historic district of Panama, which resembles a familiar cross between Havana, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s narrow, winding streets are fascinating, and I’d reckon it’s a must-see on any visit to Panama City.
Unsurprisingly, Casca Veijo includes some of the city’s oldest landmarks, from the National Theatre to the decidedly Spanish-influenced Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), which took a century to build between 1688 and 1796. It is here that the Declaration of Independence was signed on November 3, 1903, officially separating Panama from Colombia.
Our Live Voyage Report from onboard Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze has sadly come to a close, but stay tuned for an update of our Star Breeze Ship Profile and a full Voyage Recap to come. Be sure to follow along with our adventures on Twitter @deckchairblog.