Panama Cruises With Adventuresmith
Panama small ship cruises highlight colonial cities, indigenous cultures, lush rainforest, white-sand beaches and emerald waters. Transit or visit the Panama Canal by small ship, alongside explorations of neighboring Colombia or Costa Rica. Why book your Panama cruise with AdventureSmith?
Experience Panama and the Central America coast via kayak, paddleboard, snorkeling and hiking.
Our Panama small ship cruises benefit the communities and environments along their routes.
Our experience traveling in Panama ensures you book your optimal Panama small ship cruise.
Take advantage of our Panama cruise deals for discounts, complimentary extensions & other benefits.
Panama Canal Cruises on Small Ships
The Panama Canal acts as a vital link between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, shepherding some 14,000 ships each year through its more than 50 miles of locks. Panama small ships combine small ship cruises through the Panama Canal with unique access to dazzling national parks, pristine coastline and over 1,500 islands with daily opportunities for shore landings in this melting pot of world cultures.
Consider options for a full transit at night or day, or a day tour off of your Panama small ship. Our award-winning Adventure Specialists can help you experience the Panama Canal in the best way and we remain a resource while youre packing and abroad.
Colombia, Costa Rica & Panama Cruises
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Panama Canal 2022 / 2023 / 2024 Cruises
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Cruise and Stay
These include several nights stay in a hotel or a land tour before or after your cruise.
These cruises require a flight. On some of these cruises you have the option to book just the cruise only.
No Fly Cruise
No Fly Cruises start and end in the UK. No flights are needed.
Panama Canal Cruise Routes
Most cruises are 10 to 15 nights, sailing between Florida and cities in California, or round trip from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Panama Canal itineraries generally include five, six or seven days at sea. There are various combinations of these itineraries, as ships travel between seasons in Alaska and the Caribbean. Here are two of the most common:
14-Day One Way:The 14-day route sails between Fort Lauderdale or Miami and San Diego or Los Angeles and typically visits Puerto Quetzal or Santo Tomas, Guatemala Puerto Caldera or Puntarenas, Costa Rica Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and some combination of the San Blas Islands or Colon, Panama plus Aruba and Cartagena, Colombia.
Good For: History buffs will love the canal transit and the 2,000-year-old Mayan ruins at Guatemalas Tikal. Outdoorsy types will like the rain forest treks in Costa Rica and the beauty of rock formations off the coast of Cabo. Arubas white sand makes beach lovers happy.
11-Day Round Trip:The 11-day route conveniently sails round trip from Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Ports are Limon, Costa Rica Colon, Panama Cartagena, Colombia Aruba and Grand Cayman.
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Panoramic Drive And A Visit To Panama City
Departing by motor coach from Colon or Gatun, this full-day tour visits the vibrant capital of Panama, Panama City.
Highlights of the excursion include a visit to the ruins of Old Panama or Panama la Vieja. The Spaniards built the city in 1519 Welsh Captain Henry Morgan sacked and destroyed it in 1671. Learn the story behind monuments like the Golden Altar. Jesuit priests painted black this significant piece of history and hid it from pirates before moving it to a new church in Casco Viejo.
Casco Viejo or the Old Town was the next capital city built in Panama and was founded in 1673 by French colonists after La Vieja was destroyed. Today it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also referred to as Casco Antiguo or the French Quarter for its French origins. The guided walking tour will take you through the cobblestone streets of this small district lined with colorful pastel-painted buildings.
Notable sites to visit and photograph in Old Town are the National Theater and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary. In addition to the historic sites, Casco Viejo is also an eclectic neighborhood with chic hotels, lively bars and fashionable boutiques. Be sure to pick up a Panama hat while in town. These famous woven white hats from Ecuador garnered their name after being shipped to Panama before being exported to other countries around the world.
Gatun Lake And Colon Panama
Colon is the Atlantic Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. You may be here for a couple of hours, but your Norwegian ship is the perfect vantage point to snap photos of the Panama Canal as you sail on a partial transit. Consider booking an overland journey that allows you to leave the ship in Gatun Lake to take pictures and explore the beautiful scenery nearby. You will be transported to Colon where you will rejoin the ship and continue on your cruise.
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Experience Miraflores And Gatun Locks
Even if your Panama Canal cruise takes you through the entire canal, be sure to visit the two Panama Canal visitors center where you will be able to see the two locks – Miraflores and Gatun. Here, the locks are responsible for raising the ships coming from one ocean and then lowering them as they enter the other ocean.
Miraflores locks are quite popular as they are close to Panama City. It also has a shaded and raised viewing platform. At the visitors center of Miraflores locks, you will be able to visit a museum to find out more about the canals construction and history. You can also visit the gift shop for souvenirs.
The Gatun locks can be awe-inspiring as you see the three locks raising ships to 85 feet. Here, the viewing platform is close to the canal. This lock is about an hour away from Panama City. Be sure to visit Fort Lorenzo and Gatun Dam while you are visiting Gatun locks.
Itinerary Shortened By Four Days
Carnival Legend Grand Cayman
Guests scheduled to sail on January 9th on Carnival Legend received a letter the day before informing them that the company wanted to provide them with an update regarding their itinerary.
Given the rapidly evolving COVID-related circumstances around the world, the letter explains, and in an abundance of caution, it will be necessary to modify the itinerary of your cruise. The voyage will now operate as a 10-day cruise returning to Baltimore 4 days early on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
Unfortunately, this also means we will not be able to operate the Panama Canal itinerary you were expecting.
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Keep An Eye On The Weather
While some cruise lines continue to operate in the Panama Canal throughout the summer, many close down in anticipation of hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th in the Atlantic and May 15th to November 30th in the Eastern Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you choose to book a cruise during this time frame, its important to pay close attention to any tropical storm warnings and sign up for weather alerts on a mobile device. Its unlikely that your cruise ship will be caught by a severe storm while its at sea, but preparing for the worst can give you significant peace of mind.
Panama Canal Partial Transit: Pros And Cons
Partial transits, tend to be shorter than full transits at 10 or 11 nights in length. Because they are round trip cruises, you can book round trip airfare to the Florida gateways and still travel to exotic destinations.
Most partial transits combine the stop in Panama with visits to Caribbean islands, Central American destinations and/or South American ports. Passengers who purchase ship-sold shore excursions can be dropped off at Gatun Lake after passing through the first three locks to continue touring on land, meeting up with the ship back in Colon.
This can be a pro or a con depending on your viewpoint. On the plus side, you get to combine sailing through the locks with a land tour to Panama City, a ride on the Panama Canal Railway or even a boat cruise through the Miraflores Locks. On the negative side, you must book a ships excursion to disembark, and if you do so, you wont be sailing onboard the cruise ship back through the locks .
Another potential drawback is that far fewer cruise lines offer partial transits. The main players here are Princess and Norwegian, who regularly offer these round trip sailings. If youre looking for a more luxury experience, youll need to choose a full transit.
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Where Is The Panama Canal And Why Is The Panama Canal Important
The construction of the Panama Canal took more than a decade and cost nearly $400 million. By the time it was completed in 1914, the Panama Canal had created a shorter and more economical shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, dissecting Central America to simplify the transportation of goods. Today, ships pass through the 48-mile-long waterway about 11,000 times each year without the need to navigate around Cape Horn or the Straight of Magellan. It was a bold project made possible by ground-breaking engineering, and theres still nothing else like it on earth.
The Panama Canal works by moving ships from one ocean to another through inland waterways. But because those waterways lead down to sea level, six lock chambers each work as elevators. Gatun Lake holds the massive amounts of water needed to operate this system that raises and lowers ships from sea level up to the level of this reservoir and then back down again.
Panama Canal Cruises Travel Tips
- Consider traveling during the off-season, as it is less packed and generally more affordable.
- Do not carry around your passport, but you should have an ID with you.
- Always use bug spray when you are there, the bugs can be tough to get through.
- Don’t be startled or alarmed to hear random fireworks go off.
- Do not go into unfamiliar places alone or during the nighttime hours.
- U.S. money is accepted throughout all of Panama.
- A lot of the beaches in Panama are remote.
- Make sure to pack shorts, sandals, and drink plenty of water.
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Panama Canal Cruise Highlights
Hike up to an active volcano. Raft one of the many rivers. Scuba dive in its beautiful seas, or zip along a cable through the rainforest tree tops. There are so many adventure sports such as kayaking, rafting, rappelling, and horseback riding.
Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers streets lined with old architecture plus modern amenities like restaurants and shops. The best historical structures are the churches, including the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, dating from 1619, and the Iglesia de San Jose, noted for its vaulted side chapels and golden altar.
Central America has breathtaking natural areas, perfect for spotting wildlife or hitting the trails. In fact, more than 25% of Costa Rica is protected land or national parks. With more than 900 species of birds in this region, bird watchers can be sure to check the Resplendent Quetzal off their list.
A Taste Of Cruises To Panama Canal
Luxury Caribbean, Costa Rica & Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdAlternative Dates AvailableLuxury Caribbean, Costa Rica & Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdAlternative Dates AvailableLuxury Panama Canal, Costa Rica & Mexico With Full Panama Canal TransitFull Transit of The Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdAlternative Dates AvailableLuxury Panama Canal, Costa Rica & MexicoFull Transit of The Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdAlternative Dates Available Luxury Panama Canal, Costa Rica & MexicoFull Transit of The Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdLuxury Panama Canal to San FranciscoFull Transit of The Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdAlternative Dates AvailableExtend Your Stay in San Francisco!Luxury Panama Canal, Costa Rica & MexicoFull Transit of The Panama CanalPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdLuxury Panama Canal Festive Adventure with LA StayPrincess Plus Add Plus Drinks, Unlimited WiFi & Gratuities for £40pppdIncludes 2 Night Hotel Stay In Los Angeles!Why Not Add Nights In Miami/Fort Lauderdale?Panama Canal Forth Lauderdale to Los AngelesIncludes Pre-cruise hotel stay with the option to Extend!More Info
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Journey South On A Panama Canal Cruise In 2022
Embark on an unforgettable trip down to Central and South America on a Panama Canal cruise in 2022. This 15-night holiday sailing departs from Los Angeles, California and visits six port destinations along the way, including Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Puntarenas in Costa Rica Cartagena, Colombia and Colon, Panama. The highlight of this sailing includes a once-in-a-lifetime cruise through the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Spend Christmas and New Years Eve on a spectacular Panama Canal cruise in 2022. This special holiday itinerary aboard Celebrity Millennium is the perfect way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy restful days at sea, action-packed days on land, and the bucket-list experience of sailing through the magnificent Panama Canal.
Discover fascinating destinations in Central America and South America, where youll encounter stunning natural landscapes, outdoor adventure, and colonial architecture and history. Get a taste of the tropics during a stop in Costa Ricas Puntarenas, where you can explore its verdant jungle on a safari excursion, zipline through treetops, or go surfing at one of its dreamy beaches.
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Take The Worlds Greatest Shortcut With Our Panama Canal Cruise
Traversing the 40-mile Panama Canal is a rite of passage and something youll remember for a lifetime. Add in compelling ports like Cartagena, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta on your Panama Canal cruise vacation, and youre in for a unique adventure. Depart from various cities, including Miami or Los Angeles, and cruise to some of the most exotic and beautiful destinations on Earth. Discover for yourself why Norwegian is the Best Cruise Line in Panama Canal& Central America according to Cruise Critic.
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Check Out The View From Ancon Hill
If you are looking for spectacular views of Panama City, head to Ancon Hill. It is the citys highest point. It offers amazing views of the city as well as the Miraflores locks, the entrance of the Panama Canal, and the Bridge of the Americas. At the slopes of the hill, you will find the Panama Canal Administration Building which has murals on a rotunda that showcase the construction of the canal.
The murals were painted by William B. Van Ingen, an American artist. Just below the building, lower down the hill, you will find the village of Balboa, which is now a ghost town, and offers insights into the lives of Americans, who were responsible for running the canal.
Ial Panama Canal Crossing
A more affordable option is a partial Panama Canal cruise. These sailings are return trips or trips between ports one the same coast, either the Atlantic or Pacific coast. Theyre generally 10-12 days long.
Most common are Miami-to-Miami voyages , but you can also find Los Angeles-to-Los Angeles cruises that enter the Panama Canal. Carnival even offers partial Panama Canal cruises from less high-profile ports, such as Mobile, Alabama and Galveston, Texas.
On partial crossings, the cruise ship only enters one lock. Passengers can then leave the ship and join a variety of shore excursions. Even though, you wont see the entire canal this way, you will, however, be able to explore places that you wouldnt see on a full crossing.
Alternatively, some cruises do offer passengers the opportunity to see the rest of the canal in a smaller excursion boat. Even on partial cruises, youll still have the chance to see highlights such as Gatun Lake, the Bridge of the Americas, the Centennial Bridge, and the Gaillard Cut, which has literally been cut through the Continental Divide.
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Get The Best Price When You Book Your Panama Canal Cruise
The price you pay for your cruise will be different depending on who you book it with, even though what you get will be exactly the same.
Its generally always cheaper to use a specialist cruise travel agent that can access discounted rates.
Of course, not all travel agents are equal in terms of the service that they provide. If youd like to get a quote from a trusted travel agent that Ive used to book multiple cruises myself,.
Best Month To Cruise To The Panama Canal
A cruise through the Panama Canal, from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean, is a trip of a lifetime for many travelers, who geek out over modern engineering as well as thrill to the extraordinary biodiversity and lush landscapes and rainforests of Central America.
The height of Panama Canal cruise season runs October to April, but the best month to travel will depend on how much you expect to be active and outdoors. The year-round tropical climate of Panama and bordering countries of Costa Rica and Colombia get unbearably hot and humid, with a dry season and a rainy season.
Weve listed the pros and cons of travel by each month so that you can make the best of your Panama Canal cruise. Prices quoted are per person, double occupancy.
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