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What Cruise Ships Go Through The Panama Canal

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Itinerary Shortened By Four Days

Time-lapse Shows How Ships Get Through The Panama Canal

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.

Panama Canal And Central America Cruise Highlights

The Panama Canal LocksPanama Canal Cruises are available in a variety of itineraries. Partial transit itineraries are offered for those seeking the convenience of departing from and returning to the same port. Full transit Panama Canal cruises are also offered for those who prefer to sail coast to coast and can often be combined with back to back cruises to create a longer and more diverse cruise experience.

A Variety of ItinerariesPanama Canal Cruises are available in a variety of itineraries. Partial transit itineraries are offered for those seeking the convenience of departing from and returning to the same port. Full transit canal cruises are also offered for those who prefer to sail coast to coast. Full transit Panama Canal cruises can often be combined with back to back cruises to create a longer and more diverse cruise experience.

A Variety of Excursion OpportunitiesA variety of excursion opportunities are offered in the different ports on a Panama Canal cruise. In the Caribbean there are beautiful beaches and a variety of watersports and shopping. In Central and South America guests on a Panama Canal cruise can explore local markets, colonial towns and exotic surroundings.

Diverse PortsIn addition to the time spent transiting the canal, the itineraries include diverse ports throughout the region including beautiful Caribbean ports, Central America ports as well as stops in South America and Mexico.

Special Cruise Offers

Best For A Deep Dive Into The Canal

While many Panama cruises bring only a day of canal-related sightseeing, the seven-night Costa Rica & Panama Canal sailings that Windstar Cruises offers on its 212-passenger Star Pride promise a much deeper exploration. In addition to a day spent transiting the canal, the itinerary includes a day at Colón, Panama, on the Atlantic side of the waterway, where passengers can arrange tours to the giant new Agua Clara Locks a few miles away . The ship also docks for a night and day at Balboa, Panama, on the canals Pacific side, for tours to the nearby Miraflores Locks and related exhibit halls . The trips are rounded out by a beach day at Panamas pristine Isla Parida and two outdoorsy stops in Costa Rica where passengers have the opportunity to bird-watch and hike in rain forests or kayak through mangroves. Fares from $1,999 per person

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How Is The Weather On A Panama Canal Cruise

Since the Panama Canal is nestled between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, weather can vary greatly during Panama Canal cruises. With the varying climates of Panama and the mixing weather of two different oceans, it would be best to prepare for some rainy weather during the transit.

When I went on my Panama Canal cruise, there were plenty of clouds in the sky, however, it did not rain. That being said, make sure to bring your rain jacket as it could have just as easily gone the other way. It was also fairly humid, leading to fog during the morning hours of the Panama Canal transit.

Technically the Caribbean side of Panama Canal measures twice the amount of rain as Panama City, notable for short and unpredictable afternoon thunderstorms during the spring months.

Because of Panama’s strategic location, it is safe to assume that you will be enjoying warm temperatures during your Panama Canal cruise. The Panama Canal area has a tropical climate, meaning temperatures will range between 75 and 85 degrees on your Panama cruising adventure.

More About The Panama Canal & Central America

A Disney Cruise Ship Just Squeaked Through the New Panama ...

What is the best time to cruise to the Panama Canal & Central America?

Panama Canal and Central America cruise season is from October through April. The rainy season doesnt end until November, so cruises here are more popular from December onward. For more: Best Month to Cruise to the Panama Canal

Which cruise lines go to the Panama Canal & Central America?

Most major cruise lines, including Princess and Holland America, feature at least a few Panama Canal sailings in addition to expedition lines like Tauck and Lindblad. Cruisers can choose from a partial or full transit of the canal . Cruises that specifically explore countries like Costa Rica are on offer, from small-ship lines like Windstar Cruises.

What are some things to do in the Panama Canal & Central America?

In addition to either a full or partial crossing of the Panama Canal, most cruises in this region include stops in popular ports throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. That means you can do anything from lounge on the beach to explore ancient ruins or enjoy some duty-free shopping. If you can, trek Arenal Volcano from Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

Do you need a passport to take a cruise to the Panama Canal & Central America?

Yes, a passport is required for travel throughout Central America, including Panama.

What should I pack for a cruise to the Panama Canal & Central America?

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How Do I Plan A Panama Canal Cruise

If you have never been on a cruise before, you may have some questions about the logistics and how to plan your cruise.

First, you will want to get an idea of what your must-see attractions are. Most Panama Canal cruises will focus on either Caribbean islands, Central America, Mexican Rivera, or a combination of those destinations. Very few Panama Canal cruises are more than 14 days long, but if you are looking for a longer Panama Canal cruise, make sure to investigate repositioning cruises.

After you determine the itinerary you would like, then you need to focus on a specific cruise line for the best Panama Canal cruise ever. Each cruise line offers a unique experience for every type of cruiser. Then, you can select a date with that perfect cruise line and itinerary to book and mark in your calendar!

I highly recommend booking a balcony or higher stateroom on your cruise ship as you will not regret waking up to the breathtaking Panama Canal from your own private balcony. Just imagine waking up, stepping outside, and seeing all the fascinating locks and landscape surrounding the transit.

Also, it is important to make sure to avoid the loudest staterooms onboard to completely relax on your Panama Canal cruise.

Once booked, you will receive access to more booking options like onboard packages, shore excursions, and stateroom upgrades. I highly suggest taking advantage of these pre-travel opportunities to have your vacation planned out before you leave on your Panama cruise!

Largest Cruise Ship To Transit The Panama Canal

Norwegian Bliss is now in the record books as the largest cruise ship to transit the Panama Canal. The newest ship for Norwegian Cruise Line, the 4,004 passenger Norwegian Bliss made its North American debut in New York City on May 4-6. From there, Norwegian Bliss cruised the eastern seaboard for another inaugural debut in Miami on May 8-10.

Built with Alaska cruising in mind, Norwegian Bliss charted a course that would take it through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific Ocean.

As scheduled, there will be yet another inaugural event in Los Angeles on May 25-27. Afterwards, the ship will head up the west coast to Seattle. When Norwegian Bliss arrives in Seattle, the official naming ceremony and more festivities are planned for May 30-June 2.

We are very proud to showcase our newest ship and celebrate one more exciting milestone with Norwegian Bliss as the largest passenger ship to transit the new Panama Canal, said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. We are excited for this sixteenth ship in our young and modern fleet to begin welcoming guests in her home port of Seattle and provide them with the outstanding service, dining, entertainment and amenities for which we are recognized.

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How Much Does It Cost To Go Through Panama Canal


Regarding this, how much does it cost for a cruise ship to go through the Panama Canal?

The cost of moving a ship through the Panama Canal has tripled over the past five years to around $450,000 per passage for a vessel carrying 4,500 containers, and this figure is likely to go up upon completion of the expansion process.

Beside above, how much does it cost to go through the Suez Canal? Vessels sailing from Asia to the East Coast via the Suez Canal have to pay on average US$465,000 for passage, according to SeaIntel, which calculated that the South Africa route would save an average of US$235,000 per voyage.

People also ask, how long does it take to go through the Panama Canal?

eight to 10 hours

What is the toll to go through the Panama Canal?

Under the new toll structure, a 9,000-TEU ship carrying 6,500 loaded TEU, or 72.2 percent of capacity, would pay a regular $677,500 toll for its headhaul voyage. That same ship, carrying 4,000 TEU on the backhaul, would pay $550,000, a 6.8 percent reduction from the current $590,000 toll.

Panama Canal Partial Transit: Pros And Cons

Norwegian Bliss sets new record for cruise ships on Panama Canal

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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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.

Natural Beauty

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.

Which Panama Canal Cruise To Go On The Old Or New

The Panama Canal is a great cruise to go on but with now two canals to choose from which is the best Panama Canal cruise to go on the old or the new?

Once an upon a time only smaller cruise ships could only transit through the Panama Canal and then they built a bigger canal.

Now bigger cruise ships can transit through the new Panamax Canal.

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Types Of Panama Canal Cruise Lines

No matter what type of Panama cruising experience you are looking for, I guarantee you will find it through one of these main and not-so-main-stream cruise lines.

From 3-day weekend trips to 180-day world cruises, these Panama Canal cruises are worth every penny. There are plenty of Panama cruise deals available for eager cruisers booking through a travel agent or directly with the cruise line.

Make sure to research diligently to find the best Panama Canal cruise for you!

Mainstream Cruise Lines for Panama Canal Cruises

Just about all the main cruise lines offer sailings to and through the Panama Canal:

  • Royal Caribbean International — Royal Caribbean offers spectacular itineraries up through the Panama Canal and to the Caribbean’s most popular cruise ports at extraordinarily low prices. With this cruise line offering countless amenities for all types of cruisers, Royal Caribbean offers dozens of Panama Canal cruises every year.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line — Norwegian offers plenty of unique itineraries visiting the Panama Canal, boasting new discoveries around every turn. NCL prides themselves on offering exhilarating wildlife and cultural shore excursions during their NCL Panama Canal cruises.
  • Smaller Lines Cruising through the Panama Canal

    Active travelers may be looking for expedition-style voyages or cruises on a smaller ship to enjoy more time exploring the Panama Canal.

    How Many Locks Are In The Panama Canal

    Travel on a cruise ship through the locks in Panama ...

    12 locksThe Panama Water Lock System consists of a total of three sets of locks-12 locks- to help vessels transit between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans via artificial lakes and channels. Before the canal expansion, which was completed in 2016, the canal had two lines with two sets of the lock at both ends of the canal.Sep 7, 2021

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    Why A Panama Canal Cruise Should Be On Your Bucket List

    Enjoy 50 Miles Of Slow Cruising Through the Panama Canal

    Before the Panama Canal was officially opened to oceangoing traffic in the year 1914, seafaring vessels wishing to sail around the world had to go nearly to the bottom of the Earth to Cape Horn. Although that area possesses a stark beauty, wind and stormy seas were the norm, making it less than desirable for trade routes. The canal came into existence to shorten global commerce routes and to minimize the amount of time the ships spent navigating through rough waters. The French first attempted to create the canal in the late 19th century, but that project was unsuccessful. The United States took on the job in 1904, and 10 years later, a new world trade route that cut over 8,000 miles from the former option was born.

    At the time that the canal was finished, however, no one realized the potential it had or cruise ship traffic. It wasn’t until the year 1967 that a Princess cruise ship made the 50-mile trek down the length of the canal, and it wasn’t long afterward that many others followed suit thanks to the firsthand accounts of the awed passengers on that first ship.

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    Will The Expanded Panama Canal Accept Mega Cruise Ships

    Cruise Line & Cruise ShipCelebrity CruisesJason Leppert December 18, 2015

    The Panama Canal is a marvel of engineering that allows cruise and cargo ships to efficiently cross Central America instead of skirting the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn. For years, most cruise ships could pass through the locks, but as they got increasingly bigger over time, they outgrew the canal. Now the canal is expanding with a third lane of larger locks and will be able to accept many bigger cruise ships in the near future.

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    Anyone who has taken a Panama Canal cruise knows just how fascinating it is to be on a ship of around 90,000 tons in size as it effectively rides an aquatic escalator up the continent, over a central lake and back down again on the other side. Clearances are often super snug, as ships steel hulls glide gracefully past concrete walls as close as inches away, guided by mule trains tied to the mooring lines. Just go down to a lower deck to see the locks immediately outside a window to really perceive the staggering scale.


    You Shall Not Pass

    So once completed, will the Harmony of the Seas be able to fit through? Well, not quite. The new lane of locks, under construction in parallel with the existing ones, will measure in at 1,400 by 180 feet with a 60-foot draft, but the maximum allowed ship size will be capped to 1,200 by 161 feet and a 50 foot draft.

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    Want To Cruise Through The New Panama Canal Locks Here’s How

    The official opening of the 48-mile-long waterway’s massive new locks on Sunday will add a new twist to what long has been a bucket list item for cruising fans. Some lines will begin using the new locks for canal sailings. Others will stick with the older locks. Cruisers who want a specific experience will need to choose their ship wisely.

    Princess Cruises, which offers more voyages into the canal than any other line, recently became the first line to announce plans to use the new locks. The line said its 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess would operate partial transits of the canal using the new locks starting in late 2017.

    The Caribbean Princess’ first canal sailing on Oct. 21, 2017 will be a milestone for the cruise industry. Barring a last-minute announcement from another line, it’ll mark the first time a “post-Panamax” cruise ship — one too big for the waterway’s original, smaller locks — has entered the canal. The Caribbean Princess’ beam is 118 feet. That’s 12 feet wider than the maximum allowed in the older locks.

    Disney Cruise Line also plans to use the new locks for its twice-a-year voyages through the canal starting in 2017, a spokeswoman tells USA TODAY. Disney’s canal sailings in 2017 are scheduled to take place on the Disney Wonder, which can fit in both the old and new locks.

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