Posted June 22nd, 2011, 05:16 AM
If your focus is to see the Canal, I would recommend a full transit, now let me insert a "but" here! There are some great advantages in taking the a partial transit cruise. Nomally, once your ship reaches Gatun Lake after passing through Gatun Locks, a tour is offered that takes you on a partial transit of the Pacific Locks and Gaillard Cut. By taking this tour you will have been through a large portion of the Canal, plus you will have the benefit of seeing the operation from the vantage point of your Panamax ship and then from a smaller vessel as well. A great comparison and I believe that the Pacific Locks and Gaillard Cut have more of a visual impact.
Using weather as your only factor, probably the best time is January through mid February. This is when the temps and humidity are at their best... a word of caution, anyone coming from a temperate climate is going to think the humidity is high
! This would be particularly true coming from where it is cold and jumping right into the tropics. Use this as only a tie-breaker since the differences will only be slight
"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