This page includes Frequently Asked Questions about the IEEE Technical Tour to the Panama Canal.
This is the first ever IEEE Tech Tour, so we have no experience that speaks to our response to this question. However, we anticipate that most IEEE members will be accompanied by their spouses, or significant others. Consequently, the Tour group will be composed of half to somewhat more than half IEEE members; most of whom we believe will be Life Members. The tour group will be 20 to 25, but may be increased to 40 to 45 or 60 to 65. This will require approval of the Canal Authority and an available bus to accommodate the larger number of tour members. This suggests upwards of 10 to 13 Life Members, but possibly 20 to 26 or 30 to 39.
Indeed, that is expected. The tour will only include excursions, most meals, and accommodations from arrival in Panama City to departure from Panama City, including transfers between the airport and the hotel. All breakfasts and many, but not all, lunches and dinners are included. These are noted in the Tour brochure. Tour participants must make their own travel arrangements, for money or miles.
This is a statement that the Life Member Committee believed when it began to plan the tour. It was then learned that a transit is available only three days a week during the first three months of the year and only one transit in each month is a full (end-to-end) transit. Staff concluded, echoed by the advice of the tour provider, that the partial transit from Panama City to Gatun Lake, with the return by bus, would provide the experience of passage through views of the incredible engineering and construction challenges that were met, including Gatun Lake, in the creation of the Panama Canal.
The intention is for spouses to attend all of the activities included in the tour, including the more technically oriented activities. But, it is possible, if the Canal Authority limits the number of tour members that can visit the Control House, that we might divide the group into members and spouses. This would allow us to enroll a larger tour group while meeting the Canal Authority’s limit on the number visiting the Control House
With the tour providing a considerable number of excursions that explore the environment and illuminate the cultures of Panama, we anticipate that most IEEE members will be accompanied by one or more of their family members.
The daily excursions should not prove too strenuous, but if you should need a break, the dominant alternative will be to stay at the hotel, enjoying its courtyard and swimming pool, or strolling in the neighborhood of our hotel.
Recommendations for immunizations/vaccinations for entry to Panama are posted on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Click the Traveler’s Health button.
The level of interest in this tour is quite high. Consequently, we will not be able to accommodate partial participation at a reduced fee. We wish that this might be otherwise.
Staff are considering the possibility of increasing the tour group size as described in the response to the first question. However, the Canal Authority might cap the number of group participants allowed into the Control House at one time and the number of times. This would determine the limit on the size of the group or, to accommodate a larger group, it might require staff to limit entry to the Control House to just IEEE members.
In addition, availability of buses of the right capacity will limit the final group size. It is the case that the Canal Authority feels that repeating the one-time opportunity approved for this Tour would be contingent upon their finding their Canal services were not impaired by our time in the Control House. If this is the case, then they can imagine repeated tours, but most likely not less than a year apart. There is every reason to believe that this IEEE Tech Tour of the Panama Canal will become a regular event.
Though the tour is organized by the IEEE Live Member Committee and was initially reported in considerable detail in the recent IEEE Life Member Newsletter, the tour is open to any IEEE member and accompanying guests.