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If you want to do a Panama Canal cruise, be sure to do a full transit.
These are usually 15-17 day cruise. Other ports will be in Central America, and stops in Mexico.
During the actual transit of the canal, the best place is to be on deck so you can see both sides front and back. It will take all day to go from ocean to ocean.
Read up on the building of the canal and watch some videos on you tube of the actual transit. Some are quite good.
whenever you go, know that Panama will be hot , humid and can have rain.
The first decision is whether to do a partial transit or a full transit. The partial transit is usually part of a Caribbean cruise. You go through the 3 Gatun locks and cruise Gatun Lake then return through the Gatun Locks.
The full transit is usually part of a longer cruise, say from Miami to Los Angeles.
We did a full transit, but the problem was the great number of sea days.
It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
We have done a full transit in January and found the weather to be perfect. Look at the various itineraries and research the various ports of call before making a decision. We found the Central American countries fascinating, we hope to make another full transit soon.
I responded to your question over on the Panama Canal board, but I would just add over here that most (maybe all ) Celebrity itineraries include a full day stop in Panama. Usually Celebrity stops in Colon as opposed to Panama City/Ft. Amador. Colon is the pits, but it doesn't take very long to whisk you over to the Pacific side where a good number of the sights of interest are located. While there are some good things about Ft. Amador, it is a tender port, where Colon is a dock.
"If the phone doesn't ring, it's me!"
"Is it ignorance or is it apathy? ... I don't know and I don't care!"
S.S. Badger R/T from Manitowoc June 02
We did a full-transit Miami to LA on NCL Pearl in mid-April this year and loved all the ports along the way. Our particular day going through the canal was overcast which made it nice for those who couldn't be out as long otherwise. Hot and humid, though.......especially Cartagena.