We took Princess' shore excursion for the Panama Canal Railway. By choice we selected to go in the refurbished old cars. This was a quick decision we made on board ship. Our first choice (Monkey Watch & Canal Nature Cruise), which we had booked pre-cruise, had been canceled by the operator and we learned of this upon boarding. So we went to what had been our second choice.
We boarded the bus which was waiting right near the tender stop. Short drive took us to the railroad terminal. Everyone boarding was given a bottle of water. I was one of the first into our car and chose a seat on the left side of the car since I knew that would be the side the canal was on.
The train left at 10:00 a.m. and the ride lasted a bit over an hour. It was very pleasant and we got to see some very nice scenery and, of course, the canal. During the entire ride, my husband was out on the open air platform that is at the end of the car, taking his pictures from that vantage point.
In Colon we reboarded our bus and were taken to the observation area at the Gatun locks. It was very interesting watching the locks working from that vantage point, with the electric mules moving practically within touching distance right in front of us.
The bus ride back took us through the old part of Panama City where buildings used during the construction of the canal, and monuments to the builders, were pointed out to us and then were returned to Fuerte Amador to reboard the tenders.