What are the best cruise lines to take thru the Panama Canal?
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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.
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)
Carnival Victory-November 2015
(Family Thanksgiving Cruise)
Star Princess-May 14, 2016
(1st Alaska Cruise!)
Carnival Conquest-November 19-25, 2017
(Family Thanksgiving Cruise#2)
NCL POA Hawaiian Cruise-Nov.3-10, 2018
(40th Anniversary Cruise)
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.
I guess I sound prejudice but when you find the perfect cruise you have to tell everyone! Good luck in your choice.
10/2017~Emerald Princess~~Hawaii, Samoa & Tahiti
3/2018~Norwegian Epic~~Eastern Caribbean
9/2016~Crown Princess~~Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez
4&5/2016~Allure of the Seas~~B2B Eastern Caribbean & Western Caribbean
8/2015~Royal Princess~~British Isles
1/2015~Crown Princess~B2B2B~~West Coast Getaways
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"
I heartly recommend this cruise!
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.
CCL Holiday 2000 Elation 2001 Ecstacy 2003
RCL Monarch 2005 Elation 2009, Radiance Baja 2009
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 Disney Dream 2015 RCCL Liberty Caribbean 2015 RCCL Independence of the Seas/Carnival Vista 2016
Golden Princess 2005
NCL Sun 2000, Diamond Princess 2009, Sapphire Princess 2012, Grand Princess 2014,Star Princess 2016
Sun Princess 2004 Sapphire Princess 2004
Coral Princess 2006
Crown Princess 2011
Viking Odin 2013
Sapphire Princess 2007
Azamara Journey 2007 Celebrity Summit 2016
Island Princess 2007
Silver Explorer 2012
Oceania Insignia 2012, Allure 2015
Oceania Marina 2014
Allure of the Seas, Eclipse Transatlantic, Harmony of the Seas, Avalon Tranquility II, Solstice
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!
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
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.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.
I heartly recommend this cruise!