This cruise was on the Meridian.  It was an 11-day cruise from San Juan to Venezuela,
Panama Canal (partial transit),  San Blas Islands, Cartagena (Colombia), Martinique and
St. Thomas.  It began December 11, 1995 and ended December 22nd.  
Cruise was with Ma and Lillian.
The ship docked in La Guiara, Venezuela.
This is Independence Park, Caracas.
Left - Ma and Lillian in Independence Park.  Right - Ma and Lillian with Chiqui, Alba's sister.  Caracas, Venezuela.
Left - Low income housing on the hills of Venezuela.   View from bus as we were headed back to La Guiara.
Right -  The view from the Meridian as we began to enter the Panama Canal.  There is a ship entering on both sides.

Above left, you can see the trains (mulas) that are used to pull the ships along from lock to lock.  Each lock is like
a gigantic swimming pool.  At right, you can see the slopes of the tracks.  On one side, the ships are taken
higher and higher (I think Atlantic to Gatun Lake), and on the other side lower and lower (from the lake back to
the ocean).  As the pools are filled with water, the ship rises.  The huge gates behind the ship is closed and
slowly the one in front is opened and the ship moves from one lock to the next.  This continues until the ship is
in the lake.  The tug boats below help line the ship up to enter the canal then help the ships leave the locks.
Left - Ma watching the movements of the ship as it was pulled through the locks.  A local guide on board explained
every movement of the ship, etc.  Right - Ma and Lee in the shade avoiding the hot sun as the ship went through the
locks.  The entire operation was an incredible sight!
08/16/06, 05/12/20
1995 Cruise, Page A
Left - Ma and Lee watching what was taking place.  Right, the front view of the Meridian.  Gatun Lake can be seen
in the distance.  We anchored in Gatun Lake and then at night exited back to the Atlantic.
An aerial view of the Panama Canal.  
Have no idea where this photo came from.

The first to try building the Panama Canal were the French.  The man who built the Suez Canal,
Ferdinand de Lesseps, was the first to make a serious attempt at building the Canal.  The project started in
1879 and by 1889 the project was bankrupt because it was poorly managed and under-financed.  
President Theodore Roosevelt revived the dream of having the Canal built after the French went bankrupt.  
The American put in charge of the project was Col. George Washington Goethals of the U..S. Army Corps
of Engineers.   The Canal was completed in 1913, ahead of schedule and under budget.    The first boat to
test the locks was the tugboat Gatún and it was done on September 16, 1913.  
The Canal was officially opened August 15, 1914.

Ships being built today are longer and/or wider than the locks now in place.  For that reason, new locks
are being added to accommodate the new larger ships (post-Panamax ships as they are called).   
The Panamanian government is building two enormous sets of single lane lock that are three-step each.  
They will be build on either side, Atlantic and Pacific.

During this cruise each ship was being charged about $2.90 per ton to cross the Canal.

Update 2013 - The Chinese are looking for a new location to make another canal that would accommodate
even bigger ships than  what is expected in the new locks of the Panama Canal.  One suggestion is to build
the new canal through Nicaragua.

April 19, 2020 - I began cleaning out my closets a while back since I decided to rent the small room of my apartment  
to a friend.  I had to shift things around which had been stored in the closets to make space.  In so doing, I decided
to get rid of the many photo albums I had stored in the foyer closet.  Damn, I did not know I had that many photo
albums.  Before shredding the photos/postcards and souvenirs, I looked at them and decided to keep a few.
I will post what I saved and scanned on various pages.   Some photos and postcards may be posted on other
pages.  Everything posted will be as scanned without adjusting the photo for color, clarity, etc.  
What you see is what you get.  Watermark will not be added.  No kallaloo here, just simplicity.

Below are the photos/postcards/souvenirs being added.  Keep in mind, some may be duplicates.  

Enjoy!!!
Lillian, Ma and Jorge