panama canal cruise

Jun 20th, 2005, 01:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 56
panama canal cruise

Are there cruises through the Panama Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean? How long does it take?
Best ships?
Or are the one-day tours through the canal (start on the Atlantic side and end on the Atlantic side) better?
Thank you in advance.
dadof3 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 453
Dadof3 - Yes, there are such cruises; anywhere from 11 days and longer (we sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to Acapulco on Princess). Most of the cruises are 2 weeks in length and disembark at a port in California. You can also take a partial transit cruise that begins and ends at the same port (ship sails into the canal and turns around at one of the lakes - Gatun, I think). Which cruise is better is pretty subjective.
sceneisle is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 01:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 470
Do most folks like the canal trips? Sounds nice in the abstract, but illustrated trip reports on the web make the canal passage look like a novelty that can wear a little thin, esp since you have to commit a couple weeks to it.

The one way trips seem to be spring/fall repositioning trips - is there a time and method for shopping for a big discount on some that may be running empty?
viking is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:24 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 17
Hi dadof3,
My husband and I just came back from a Panama Canal cruise in April. We did a round trip out of Ft. Lauderdale Florida it was a 12 day cruise. We did the "Coral Princess" (the largest cruise ship built to fit thru the locks),What this ship did is go thru the 1st set of locks to the Gatun lake, then if you were doing a shore excursion you were allowed to get off at the lake, if you were not taking their ships excursion you had to wait to get off in Cristobal and could then walk the town...the day that we were there the town had an uprising and the passengers were not allowed into the town.
We were doing a tour and got off in the lake, so to answer you question the tour we took was called "Ocean to Ocean", that was a small boat that held a 100 to 150 people and it traveled the distance of the Panama Canal...from the Atlantic side to the Pacific side(you did not get to see the pacific ocean) but we got to experience the next 2 sets of locks up and personal.It is a whole day trip and moves pretty slow on the canal and it is hot, hot, hot. The locks were interesting and when your onboard your cruise ship you don't really see that much. The viewing is very limited on the cruise ship.So in the small boat it was much better, It was really kinda cool you can reach out an touch the walls.
I hope this helps you a little, if there is anything else you have a question about maybe I can help.I also have pictures from the trip down the canal if you are interested.
Denii is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Personally, once you experience going through the first lock (which is interesting) the rest of the passage is rather boring. To make the complete passage there a 4 locks (watching the water level go up and down 4 different times is about exciting as watching paint dry) and the routine is the same - your boat waits to enter the lock, the gates close, you wait about 30 to 40 minutes while the water level goes up or down, the gates open, you move into the next lock and repeat the process. There are 2 locks when you enter and 2 when you leave. The trip across the lake is long (about 4 or 5 hours) and there is really not very much to see. Quite honestly, your better off watching a TV documentry or reading a book about the canal and spending your vacationtime elsewhere.
Jun 26th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 184
We sailed from San Juan through the canal to Acapulco on RCCL.

We thought the trip through the canal was very memorable. The scenery was lovely. A balcony is very worthwhile on this cruise. Sailing by Curacau with it's colorful buildings, then going under some unbelievably huge bridge near the Pacific was incredible.

We have been all around the world, to most every European country. We have been to Egypt, the middle east, south america and even Tahiti. To me, going all the way through the Panama Canal rates very highly!!
lindam is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 371
I'd have to challenge one of the earlier posts on this subject that said that there is really not very much to see. I found it very interesting. If you listen to the talk as you are going through you'll hear the story of how this canal was built and at the time was (and still is) one of the greatest acheivements of man, ever. The lifting and lowering of such massive vessels is really something to see, and the design of such a system really is a credit to mans ability to accomplish some pretty remarkable things.
In closing, I'd highly recommend you do this at least once, even if its only a partial transit.
Hold is offline  
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