Panama Canal

Old Oct 5th, 2015, 06:28 AM
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Panama Canal

Would appreciate thoughts for best cruise line and best time of year for Panama Canal cruise. Thanks very much.
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 06:59 AM
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We went in the month of Feb. which was great as far as the weather goes as it was not too warm so really the winter months are pretty good

As for the cruise line do realize that all of them are limited by the size of the canal itself so you will not see the newer mega ships like the Oasis or NCL Breakaway class for example. So the ships will be older ones that were built smaller. That being said ask yourself what style of experience do you like. There is no best cruise line in that sense. What I like may not be for you. Generally speaking Princess and HAL have a more elegant feel vs. a more upbeat style on Carnival or RCI. So what would you like.

If you go in the winter but not during holiday break then expect mostly adults. A PC cruise is sort of the anti spring breaker crowd FYI.
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Are you looking at full transit? We picked an itinerary that had a stopover day in Panama Canal zone. In retrospect I probably wouldn't bother. You see it well enough during the full transit.

There is a lot of variety in the other port stops. I wanted one with Cartagena and with Puerto Quetzal (Antigua). I wanted the fewest possible Mexico stops.

I went with Royal Caribbean but they are not presently an option next year. I don't know if they are dropping it completely because they shifted Legend of the Seas to Asia, or if they are waiting for the new canal to open, and then they will program it?

I recently tried HAL to Alaska. Some things I liked (cabin comfort, overall oservice, the library, dining room food, lectures). Some things I didn't (buffet..awful!, entertainment (boring), strange circulation, covered walking track vs open one on top level).

I think they appeal to an older crowd, which can be good or bad depending on your demographic!

Bear in mind that a lot of PC travel is done during Norovirus & flu season. We had good weather in the first two weeks of April, but bad outbreaks of both.

Take extra precautions and get your flu shot!
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 01:12 AM
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This is the one cruise on which I would absolutely pay to have a balcony cabin. Go up to the front of any outside forward or rear deck viewing point and watch those people jostling for position so they can watch the locking operations and you'll see why.
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 06:12 AM
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We always get a balcony but unless yours is facing aft of fore then for PC cruise you get views of the locks by by going to the front or back that you can't get from a port or starboard balcony. In fact some recommend moving around while in the locks for this reason including the guest lecturer we had on board. We did not experience any hassles while doing so.
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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We did the full transition in January (or maybe February?). The weather was nice on the Pacific side and close to hot on the Atlantic.

Per advices of other travelers before us we went West to East, and I think it was a great decision to start transition with the Pacific side locks.

As for the best cruise line - who knows! Whatever you like and/or can afford.
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 02:15 PM
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My travelmate didn't want to pay for a balcony. She got up early and parked in a comfortable chair in the atrium.

I was the one running fore and aft. But probably would have done that even with a balcony.

The transit takes a loooooong time. Don't worry, you'll see all you need to.
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Old Oct 8th, 2015, 11:46 AM
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Transiting the Panama Canal is a little like the move "Groundhog Day" - you keep repeating the same thing. Once you traverse one lock, the others are just more of the same. We found the passage across the lake to be somewhat boring.
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Old Oct 12th, 2015, 06:04 PM
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Yeah, the lake is a good time to have lunch and a rest.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2015, 11:13 AM
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Hi Soc,

We'll be going in April in one of the forward cabins on Regatta.

Watch for my trip report.

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