Rich in history, the 163 kilometer man made Suez Canal is a delight to transit by Cruise Ship; here is the step by step route.
The Egypt waterway, which connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean was constructed in the 1800’s to reduce travel time for ships. We have had the pleasure of transiting it 3 times by cruise ship, and we never grow tired of it! (See Suez Canal Photos) Come with me on this special voyage!
Each time is a little different, for example in the fall there were a lot of flies, where as this time, in the spring, there were no flies – but wind, lots of wind. Interesting fact: The average cost per ship to pass through the canal is $251,000.00.
On Wednesday, at 11:30 pm, our ship, the Celebrity Constellation dropped anchor in the Gulf of Suez in preparation for the north bound Canal entry. It was at this point in time our convoy was planned and eventually formed. Ships go through in convoys, which allows, in addition to protection, a smoother process due to the numerous ships and necessary by-passes.
At 4:30 am on Thursday, our convoy of 23 ships made it’s entry into the Suez Canal, 1.5 hours before sunrise; I was tucked in my bed fast asleep. By 8:30 am we were showered and out on the deck enjoying our breakfast. I think it was around 9 am when we made our entry into Small Bitter Lake which then logically continued into Great Bitter Lake.
The weather was fantastic, typical hot, dry desert heat, full sunshine and a great wind which made you forget the heat. The landscape was ever changing, small towns, farms, military posts (for security), cities and a lot of sand. We passed the El Ferdan Railway Bridge which holds the current record of having the largest swing bridge span in the world. Interesting fact: it spans 340 meters!
Around 12:45 pm the Suez Canal Bridge,also known as the Mubarak Peace Bridge came into view. This beautiful bridge was built in cooperation with the Japanese government in order to promote development in the area. Interesting fact: it connects Africa and Eurasia!
As we passed small boats, ferries and or populated areas, people were continuously looking up at us with big smiles and lots of waving. It was fun to wave back and bask in that cruise ship feeling. Interesting fact: there are 14 Ferry connections crossing the canal
At around 3 pm we approached the Port Said Fork. Our convoy had grown from the original 23 ships to 27 ships by now; we were 3rd in the unhurried moving line. The Suez Canal Container Terminal, with an lineup of trucks that went for kilometers came into view. I can only imagine how long those poor truckers had to wait for the Ferry.
Shortly after, we cruised by a very beautiful Port Said and the Port Authority. Interesting fact: Port Said is ranked second for Egyptian cities according to the very complex Human Development Index.
At 3:50 pm the Celebrity Constellation entered the Mediterranean Sea, en route to Piraeus, Greece.