Ferry excursion through Panama Canal?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 05:57 AM.
Sunny Cleveland, OHio
353 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Leaving in 13 days for a partial transit of the canal on ncl pearl.

We're booked for the ferry ride through the canal.

Anyone taken this excursion?

What to bring with me?

Also, no need to tell me not to book this, want to experience the locks since I'll never be in them again.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

NCL Getaway 7 D. West. Car 4/24, 2016 (Aft # 10914)
NCL Pearl 10 D Panama 4/3, 2017 (Balcony #10660)
NCL Escape 7 D East. Car 10/28, 2017 (Aft #12910)
NCL Epic 7 D West. Car 3/17, 2018 (Aft # 12310)
NCL Getaway 7D West. Car 11/4, 2018 (11136)
NCL Dawn 11 D South Car 1/27, 2019 (Balc #10176)

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. -Ferris Bueller

5,453 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Well I won't be the one to try and dissuade you from taking this shore excursion! As far as what to take other than stuff to protect you from the sun... glasses, hat, sun screen, maybe long sleeved shirt, camera etc. In 13 days Panama will still be in the Dry Season, all though towards the end of it, I doubt that you will have an issue with the rain. So if you want to real cautious perhaps a cheap poncho?? In the past they have provided a simple lunch as well as bottled water, beer has been available for purchase.

This is a great excursion when you are only doing a partial transit. While you won't have bragging rights that you have sailed from the Atlantic to Pacific, this excursion does offer you the chance to see a large part of the Canal by transiting the two Pacific Locks and Gaillard Cut on the ferry. Seeing the Canal operations from your Panamax cruise ship in the morning and then experiencing it from the smaller "ferry" gives you two complete perspectives.

Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"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
South Carolina
476 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We took that tour a month ago. I didn't realize it at the time, but you get off the ship and are bussed for about 3 hours to about the middle of the canal, where you get on the ferry. Then you "sail" on the ferry and go through the locks. Then back to the bus and about a 1 hour ride to the ship.
I would definitely do it again. They did have an air conditioned part on the ship...it was ok but we like warm weather so we were ok. Take sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and your camera. Also some snacks. The bus made a rest stop about half way through the trip but the lines for the bathrooms were long and the lines to purchase snacks were long. Everyone was able to use the bathroom but not every one made it through the snack line.
870 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
We did this excursion several years ago and it was a long, hot day. But I'm sure glad we did it! Besides the obvious (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, etc.), I agree that some snacks might be a good idea. I've heard that some people experience delays, so a book, cards, etc. might not be a bad idea -- just in case. ENJOY!!!
1,697 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
In our case it rained most of the transit. Lots of folks jammed into the cabin (AC) and under the tarp on the back. We sat in plastic chairs by the rail with ponchos. Hot under the plastic, but view was best. They did have some small packaged snacks and sodas free on our tour.
East Yorkshire, UK
1,568 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I'd say definitely do it. We did and it was great, and very different going through the locks on a smaller boat. The bus trip back was good too and we saw a sloth on a tree by the side of the road.

Sent from my iPad using Forums
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Azamara Journey - Athens to Dubai - Oct 2017
Azamara Quest - Costa Rica Port Intensive - Jan 2018

Katerina Line Fantzija - Split to Dubrovnik - 2016
Azamara Quest - New Orleans & Caribbean - 2016
Azamara Quest - Singapore to Hong Kong - 2015
Azamara Quest - Athens to Mumbai - 2014
Yasawa Princess - Maldives cruising - 2013
Azamara Journey - Athens to Dubai - 2013
Atoll Explorer - Maldives cruising - 2013 & 2012
HAL Veendam - South America - 2011
HAL Zuiderdam - Panama & Caribbean - 2009
HAL Oosterdam - Mexico (& Las Vegas) - 2008
HAL Maasdam - Caribbean - 2007
Royal Star - Zanzibar, Seychelles & Madagascar - 2006
HAL Ryndam - Alaska