Go Back   Cruise Critic Message Board Forums > Ports of Call > Panama Canal
 
Register here!
Forgot Your Password?


Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 20th, 2007, 01:03 PM
Janiekins's Avatar
Janiekins Janiekins is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 91
Default What are the best cruise lines to take thru the Panama Canal?

My husband and I would like to take a cruise thru the Panama Canal? Is there such a things as a 7-8 day cruise thru that area? We would like to go in February 2008. We would also like to take our 16 and 17 year old boys. Would this be appropriate for them? Can you recommend a great but not too stuffy cruise line and specific ship for this? Thanks in advance.
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old March 20th, 2007, 03:09 PM
jff50 jff50 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,262
Default

If you have a cruise line that you really like, that would be the one to take through the Canal. Personally, I really like Princess. I think it would be a great trip for your kids. I don't think that you will find a 7-8 day cruise. I think you need a minimum of 10 days. You have a few choices--a complete transit or a round trip. A round trip will leave from and return to the same port (typically Caribbean). You go through the locks into Gatun Lake, people that have shore excursions tender to shore, and the ship turns around and goes back out the same locks it came in. The cruise ship does not sail all the way through the Canal. A complete transit will take you all the way through. If you start on the Caribbean side, you sail all the way through the Canal and end up on the Pacific side (and vice versa). While I enjoyed the round trip, I prefer the complete transit. One of the advantages of the round trip is that it can be easier to get low air fares to/from Florida. We are doing a complete transit from San Juan to Acapulco this December. That airfare is usually more that a Florida R/T, but we were able to get a pretty good deal for this December.
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old March 20th, 2007, 04:11 PM
Sue L's Avatar
Sue L Sue L is offline
20,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 23,054
Default

there are both 10 and 11 day versions of the round trip or partial transit on Royal Caribbean on the Brilliance of the Seas. I am leaving on the 11 day version in 6 days YOOOHOOOOO!!

As the above poster said we leave and return from Miami so the flights are really easy and I got 99$ each way from NY. We will visit Costa Rica, Panama, Labadee (RCCL's private island) Curacao and Aruba. The ship will enter the canal go through the first set of locks and enter Lake Gatun. At that point those who are going on tours will be tendered off the ship and go on their tours. The ship will hang out in the lake for a while and then turn around and go back through the same locks and dock at Cristobel Pier where there is a shopping area. At this point if you remained on the ship you can get off and tour around the pier area. This is also where the tours will return you to.

We would have loved to do the 14 day full transit but it didn't work with our schedule this year. The Coral Princess does a similar itinerary as above except they went to many of the island we have already been to.

Brilliance of the Seas also get wonderful reviews consistently.
__________________
Liberty Travel-Flight Centre USA
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old March 20th, 2007, 11:09 PM
sexyaznboy sexyaznboy is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 565
Default

Will be doing the canal March 31st, 14 night Celebrity Summit, it might be a bit long for what you are looking for but if you're interested I can let you know how it goes when I return...
__________________
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old March 21st, 2007, 09:24 AM
jff50 jff50 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,262
Default

You will find most complete transits will be transitioning cruises, which means that they will be westbound in the spring (as ships reposition from the Caribbean to Alaska) and eastbound in the fall (as they go from Alaska to the Caribbean). The Island Princess is doing continuous complete transits this winter (we are on the 12/4/07 cruise from San Juan to Acapulco). If you can get a reasonable airfare, I'd strongly suggest considering this ship. It adds something to the experience to be able to sail all the way from the Caribbean under the Bridge of the Americas (on the Pacific side) to the Pacific ocean, or vice versa. Also, the Pacific coast of Mexico gives you a different flavor than the Carribean. It's nice to get both on the same trip.
Reply With Quote

Ad Sponsored By
  #6  
Old March 21st, 2007, 11:12 AM
KLRDUKS's Avatar
KLRDUKS KLRDUKS is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 99
Thumbs up

Actually, the notable exception to that is the Windstar going from Costa Rica in the spring repositioning to the Mediterranean and back to Costa Rica in the Fall/Winter. We are going to be on the Windstar 3/31 going from CR to Barbados on a 14 day cruise. I can’t wait!!
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old March 22nd, 2007, 11:42 AM
sunlover5's Avatar
sunlover5 sunlover5 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,368
Default

Carnival has an 8 night that goes to Costa Rica, Panama, but DOES NOT go through the canal. You can take the excursion where you take the ferry through it. Might be the post in Panama will talk more about it. They say it is a long day, but worth it. Good Luck!!!
__________________
Big Red Boat-March 1997
RC Monarch of the Seas-March 2003
RC Enchantment of the Seas-June 2004
Carnival Liberty-March 2006
RC Adventures of the Sea-Feb. 2007
Carnival Liberty-March 2008
RC Grandeur of the Sea-Oct. 2008
Carnival Freedom-Feb. 2009
(Girls 50th Birthday Cruise!)
Carnival Dream-March 2010
Caribbean Princess-Oct. 12, 2013
(35th Wedding Anniversary)
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old March 22nd, 2007, 11:48 AM
lstoner lstoner is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 9
Question Full or Partial Transit?

I'm looking at a Panama cruise for Feb.-Mar. 2008 with a disabled friend(wheel chair sometimes, limited mobility all the time.) We are debating between the 14 day full transit cruises and the 10-11 day partials. I'd like to hear from folks who have strong opinions on one vs. the other. My friend lives in FL so I know the 10-11 day beginning and end in FL would be easier for her...yet I don't want to feel like I've missed something significant in only doing a "partial" transit. Friend loves cruises...I'm not sure. This will be my first "big ship" experience (although I've done a fair amount of small ship and foreign river cruising) and that seems to points to the "shorter, try it out" partial transit rather than the longer "full." Help, please!
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old March 22nd, 2007, 01:10 PM
jff50 jff50 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,262
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lstoner View Post
I'm looking at a Panama cruise for Feb.-Mar. 2008 with a disabled friend(wheel chair sometimes, limited mobility all the time.) We are debating between the 14 day full transit cruises and the 10-11 day partials. I'd like to hear from folks who have strong opinions on one vs. the other. My friend lives in FL so I know the 10-11 day beginning and end in FL would be easier for her...yet I don't want to feel like I've missed something significant in only doing a "partial" transit. Friend loves cruises...I'm not sure. This will be my first "big ship" experience (although I've done a fair amount of small ship and foreign river cruising) and that seems to points to the "shorter, try it out" partial transit rather than the longer "full." Help, please!
If you are looking for 10-11 days rather than 14, you might want to look at the Island Princess. It is doing several 10-11 day full transits next winter. We are on an 11 day full transit on Dec 4, 2007. I have done both and would strongly recommend the full transit. The partial will generally go through the Gatun (Caribbean) locks into Gatun Lake, disembark those that have shore excursions, stay in Gatun Lake a while and then go back out into the Caribbean to dock (where people returning from the shore excursions will return). The cruise ship will not sail through the entire canal (it doesn't go through the Culebra cut, under the Bridge of the Americas, and through the Pacific locks). While I liked the partial transit, I think that you miss a lot. Like I said, we are on an 11 day from San Juan to Acapulco, on 12/4. You might want to look at something like that. Cruise fares tend to be at/near their lowest prices between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were also able to get pretty good airfares to San Juan and from Acapulco at that time--not much different than a round trip to Ft Lauderdale.
If you do a Canal cruise, I would recommend reading "The Path Between the Seas" first. It is about the building of the canal.
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old May 24th, 2007, 08:40 PM
Desert Cruizers's Avatar
Desert Cruizers Desert Cruizers is offline
30,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Palm Springs, Calif
Posts: 32,082
Default

If you decide to do a full transit, my DH & I did one April 2006, from Ft Lauderdale , FL to Seattle, WA 17 days, you may want to conside as a factor, the area you live. Example we live on the West Coast so preferred to end of the West Coast. Easier to fly East and sail home. <g> I highly recommend the full transit then you can fully appreciate the building of the Canal.
Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old May 26th, 2007, 10:00 PM
seacrystal's Avatar
seacrystal seacrystal is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Posts: 831
Default Just Returned

I want to give you my thoughts on the full transit cruise. I just returned from a repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Pedro two weeks ago. It was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. I don't think you can get the full picture of just what an amazing creation the Panama Canal is unless you see ALL of it. We began our transit at 7:00 a.m. and didn't finish until late afternoon. After coming through each of the locks the ship sails through the amazing rivers that make you think you are in the Amazon. It is peaceful and the bird sounds are unbelievable. I absolutely love the Coral Princess. We sailed on her to Alaska and she was made with the exact specifications for cruising the Panama Canal. She is beautiful and the food was wonderful. We ate in the dining room, the buffet and one of the specialty restaurants and we enjoyed every minute of our cruise. So much so that we are planning on doing it again in a couple of years.

I guess I sound prejudice but when you find the perfect cruise you have to tell everyone! Good luck in your choice.
__________________

1/2015~Crown Princess~B2B2B~~West Coast Getaways

8/1/2015~Royal Princess~~British Isles


9/2014~Crown Princess~~Wine Country CA Coastal
11/2013~Royal Princess~~Eastern Caribbean

4/2013~Caribbean Princess~~Southern Caribbean
4/2012~Crown Princess~~Southern Caribbean
3/2011~Grand Princess~~Caribbean Collection
9/2010~Crown Princess~~NY to Quebec
2/2010~Golden Princess~~LA to Hawaii
8/2008~Carnival Elation~~San Diego to Cabo~~Birthday Party Cruise
5/2008~AMA Amalegro~~Magnificent Europe~~Amsterdam to Budapest
12/2007~Crown Princess~~Classic Southern Caribbean
4/2007~Coral Princess~~Grand Panama Canal~~Ft. Lauderdale to LA
9/2006~Golden Princess~~Greek Isles/Mediterranean

10/2005~Golden Princess~~Canada/New England
6/2005~Coral Princess~~Heart of Alaska Cruisetour
1/2005~Carnival Paradise~~Baja "Test Jerry for Seasickness"
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old May 29th, 2007, 12:27 PM
PookyCat's Avatar
PookyCat PookyCat is online now
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 987
Default

I want to add my opinion to Seacrystal's. DH and I were on the same full-transit cruise she and her DH were on through the Panama Canal. I agree with her opinion whole-heartedly. Both DH and I would do that same cruise on the Coral Princess again. The itinerary was great - the only port I would skip would be Montego Bay. The rest of the shore excursions were fun, the Canal was awesome. The Coral Princess was exceptional. The ship was built for crusing the canal! The staff were great, everyone was very friendly and the service was super. The food was great - loved the anytime dining! The ship was very stable even in rough seas.

I heartly recommend this cruise!
__________________
Melanie
Walk in Balance on Mother Earth

Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old June 4th, 2007, 11:46 AM
12B@C 12B@C is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 267
Default I fully agree, look into Wind Star fleet

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRDUKS View Post
Actually, the notable exception to that is the Windstar going from Costa Rica in the spring repositioning to the Mediterranean and back to Costa Rica in the Fall/Winter. We are going to be on the Windstar 3/31 going from CR to Barbados on a 14 day cruise. I can’t wait!!
We did the canal crossing on the Wind Star, had a great experience before and after the Panama Canal, and liked the admosphere, service and congeniality of the passengers. The passengers are young folks in age and/or in spirit, and the shore excursions more interesting than you will get on large cruise ships.
I have pointed this our before and don't want to belabor it, but you might want to have a look at our web site about this trip.
http://www.********.com/panama.htm
Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old June 24th, 2007, 04:38 PM
mringenoldus mringenoldus is offline
5,000+ Club
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Mesa, Az
Posts: 5,636
Default jff50

We are on the Island Princess on December 28 (FFL to ACA) Since you have completed this itinerary before, what excursions do you suggest? Thanks!
Maureen
__________________
Mexico
CCL Holiday 2000 Elation 2001 Ecstacy 2003
RCL Monarch 2005 Elation 2009, Radiance Baja 2009

Carribbean
CCL Pride 2002 RCL AOS 2003 Golden Princess 2004
Enchantment OTS 2007 Costa Mediterrania 2008 Sovereign OTS 2008
Oceania 2010 Solstice 2010 CCL Triumph 2011 Allure of the Seas 2013

New England/Canada
Golden Princess 2005

Alaska
NCL Sun 2000, Diamond Princess 2009, Sapphire Princess 2012

Coastal
Sun Princess 2004 Sapphire Princess 2004
Coral Princess 2006

Europe
Voyager 2006,2008
Crown Princess 2011
Viking Odin 2013

Australia/NewZealand
Sapphire Princess 2007

Bermuda
Azamara Journey 2007

Panama Canal
Island Princess 2007

Antarctica
Silver Explorer 2012

TransAtlantic
Oceania Insignia 2012

Polynesia
Oceania Marina 2014

Upcoming
Oceania Nautica
Mediterranean May 2016
Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old June 29th, 2007, 11:42 AM
JstLv2Crz's Avatar
JstLv2Crz JstLv2Crz is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Simi Valley,CA
Posts: 306
Talking Serenade of the Seas

Hello,

My husband and I are doing our first full transit thru the Panama Canal in Oct/2008 on RCCL Serenade of the Seas. It is a 13 day cruise that starts in LA and end in Puerto Rico. We live in the LA area so this cruise worked out good for us!
__________________
Royal Caribbean Viking Serenade 11/94
Carnival Sensation 4/96
Carnival Jubilee 3/97
Carnival Destiny 5/98
Carnival Paradise 4/99
Grand Princess 5/00
Carnival Destiny 4/01
Carnival Ecstasy 12/01
Sea Princess 8/02
Carnival Pride 3/29/03
Carnival Ecstasy 2/04
Carnival Liberty 3/06
Carnival Paradise 2/07
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas 10/08
Ruby Princess 03/13
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old June 29th, 2007, 01:12 PM
jff50 jff50 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: minneapolis, mn
Posts: 2,262
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PookyCat View Post
I want to add my opinion to Seacrystal's. DH and I were on the same full-transit cruise she and her DH were on through the Panama Canal. I agree with her opinion whole-heartedly. Both DH and I would do that same cruise on the Coral Princess again. The itinerary was great - the only port I would skip would be Montego Bay. The rest of the shore excursions were fun, the Canal was awesome. The Coral Princess was exceptional. The ship was built for crusing the canal! The staff were great, everyone was very friendly and the service was super. The food was great - loved the anytime dining! The ship was very stable even in rough seas.

I heartly recommend this cruise!
It has been a long time (about 14 years) since my last full transit. Shore excursions have changed a lot since then. What shore excursions did you take that you especially liked? Did you stop in Cartegena, and do a shore excursion there? My first cruise was a canal transit about 24 years ago. I recall that I enjoyed the tour we took of Cartegena. We are scheduled to stop there on our 12/4/07 canal cruise, and I am hoping that we do.
Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks


Ad Sponsored By
Thread Tools
Display Modes

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
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:11 AM.


© 1995 - 2014, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved.
"A Community of People Who Love To Cruise"
All of the information contained within Cruise Critic is protected by copyright. You may, however, download a single copy only for your personal use.