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Partial Transit vs Full Transit on Panama Canal Cruise

Partial Transit vs Full Transit on Panama Canal Cruise

Oct 10th, 2014, 10:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,755
Partial Transit vs Full Transit on Panama Canal Cruise

We are contemplating the Princess Coral Island ship in March, which is a partial transit. Work colleagues have said it would be better to do full transit. Obviously more expensive. Not sure I want to spend 14 days at sea. Will partial transit yield any Panama Canal "experience"? Will we do any of the locks? Need some guidance/advice. Thanks!
LBloom is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I can't comment on the round-trip version, but we did the partial trip through the Panama Canal a few years ago on Holland America. Personally, I felt it was more than enough to get the Panama Canal experience. I can't remember how many locks we went through--perhaps it was three. HAL had a narrator giving us history and commentary on what was happening. I imagine Princess will do the same (we had a fabulous Alaska trip on the Golden Princess).

In my opinion, do the shorter trip and save money for your next cruise! - Diana, http://musingaboutcruising.blogspot.com
rjgdjg is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We did the partial transit on HAL, loved it.

We entered the canal at around 6AM, got up early and had a great view from the front interior of the ship.

If you forgo a Panama tour, you will be able to exit the canal on a fairly empty ship. The tours load up in the lake and passengers are transferred on tender boats to their tours.

Those on tour met the ship at the dock in Panama and missed the return trip leaving the canal.

We were glad we didn't take a tour.
Frank is offline  
Oct 12th, 2014, 09:46 AM
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I'd go with the partial transit. We did a full transit - from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side - and, quite frankly, after going through the first lock the rest of the locks was like being in the movie "Groundhog Day" - watching the water level go up/down is, to put it bluntly, about as exciting as watching paint dry. We didn't think the actual crossing of the lake to reach the opposite coast was particularly interesting or scenic.

No matter if you do a full or partial transit there are 2 locks to enter the canal and 2 locks when you exit the canal so you'll have the same "lock" experience. The only difference is it takes a longer time to cruise from one coast to the other.
RoamsAround is offline  
Oct 12th, 2014, 08:48 PM
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Have done both and both has it's advantage and disadvantage. You can see both sets of locks even with a partial transit, you just have to take an excursion to get to the other side.

Full transit offers the benefits of seeing the canal in its entirety, go under the bridges and through the narrow passages etc; but you will have to stay on the ship to enjoy it; and if you take on shore excursions, you will miss the benefits of the full transit as they will pick you up on the other side so you will miss the view.

Partial transit usually get you through the locks, station itself in Gautun Lake, tender you ashore for the day and once you are back on board, heading back out of the canal the same way.

Regardless of full transit or partial transit, they always have the cruise ships goes first, meaning if you want to see the approach, you better be up at 5 am and be outside by 6 am. We were at the front of the ship by 5:30 am and stay for the entire approach to the canal. By the time we went through the set of locks, it was almost 10 am.

Best place to see the approach is front of ship, deck 10 and 11. Small space and be there early. And it will be windy and cool. Dress warm, even for summer months.

The Canal is located in a tropical rain forest so rain is very much the norm so prepare for it.

While on the excursion within the canal zone, bring your own food or prepare to buy your own. Food provided by the tour operator was not so great. It is not the cruise ship, it's the tour operator. We are not picky eaters and we didn't eat what was provided to us: a juice box and a mystery sandwich, and a small apple (looks like an apple anyway). We bought potato chips and pop at a shop in the mall and ate that instead. Many people just tossed the food and drink after a sample.

Most people will get the "canal experience" with a partial transit.
Eschew is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Original Poster
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We have booked passage on the Coral Princess in March. Any suggestions on shore excursions? Thanks!
LBloom is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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What are the ports?
Eschew is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 129
We went on the Coral Princess for the Partial transit Panama Canal cruise. Take my word for it - do NOT take the tour to go all the way thru the locks. Tour is overcrowded on a very small ferry-type boat and you won't see that much more than you do on the Coral Princess ship itself. Hated it!
If you go to Costa Rica, check out Ricky Ricardo tours! Best part of our cruise.
(Look on tripadvisor.com).
Hope you have fun!
ebvacationer is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 92
Full is always better. East to West is also better.
Sally_Parker is offline  

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