Cruise along the Panama Canal for one of the greatest experiences of your lifetime. As you sail past the lush emerald-green rainforests that border this astonishing waterway, you encounter one of the great engineering feats of all time, voted one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Along the way, you discover extraordinary wildlife, awe-inspiring scenery and exotic indigenous cultures.
Full or Partial Transit
The season for Panama Canal cruises runs from October to April, the dry season in Central America, and cruises are available as either a one-way full transit, or a round-trip partial transit. With the full transit option, you spend a full day traversing the whole 50-mile length of the canal, either from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa, and taking in the complete lock experience. Most full transit cruises start from either Florida or California ports, and take about 15 days in total.
With the partial transit option, cruises usually start from Florida and go through the first set of locks, before turning round at Gatun Lake and going back the same way. Passengers on these cruises often enjoy more shore excursions and see more of the surrounding attractions than those on the full crossing. Some cruise lines also offer small boat excursions along the other part of the canal.
Among the most exciting experiences on both full-transit and partial-transit cruises is going through the series of gravity-powered locks, which raise the ship from sea-level to over 85 feet. Once raised, the ship sails through the man-made Gatun Lake, and is then lowered again to sea-level by another series of locks. The Miraflores and Gatun Locks have their own visitor centres and viewing platforms.
In Panama itself, there are usually shore excursions to Col?n and charming Panama City, but all the cruises offer a number of fascinating destinations in addition to the canal. A popular choice is a Panama Canal and Costa Rica cruise, which will include the fabulous ports of Puntarenas, with opportunities to visit active volcanoes, a cloud forest or one of the country's renowned luxuriant rainforests, and Puerto Lim?n, with the chance to try out the awe-inspiring aerial tramway above the forest canopy. Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala is the gateway to Mayan remains, and the lush valleys in the volcanic interior, and many cruises take in charming Aruba in the Caribbean, or the glamorous Mexican Riviera.
On a Panama Canal cruise the possibilities are endless. It takes you on a mesmerising journey amidst teeming wildlife, incredible nature, unique cities, and the mighty marvels of human ingenuity. A sail along this monumental waterway is guaranteed to be a life-transforming experience.
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