Is it worth paying for a balcony for panama canal?

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North Carolina
652 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
We booked a balcony for the other 13 days. I don't plan on spending much time on it while going through the locks as I plan to run all over the ship and take a gazillion photos, but I love to sit there on sea days and there are nine sea days on our full transit.

As a rule, we usually get a balcony.
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Ontario - Canada
1,528 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We did the full transit with Oceanview, only. We were never in our room!

We were all over the ship and viewed the Canal from many different view points. I have NO regrets of not having a Balcony. The decks were our balconies and we were thrilled with the views.
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Heather & Anthony - We cruise and we bird
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480 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
We were just upgraded to a corner aft balcony 10 days out from sailing. We are looking forward to enjoying it immensely, thanks for all the positive comments!

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4,463 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
For us a balcony is an absolute. I booked aft cabins for our next five cruises so this will be our first aft, looking forward to it.
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4,411 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We did a full transit on the Legend in 1999 in an OV & were exhausted by the end of the day! While I agree it's nice to view the canal from different vantage points, you have to jockey for position at the rail every time you move.

We booked the Legend again next year & will be in a balcony so when we need a break from the crowd, we can relax on our balcony & still see what's going on. After our first experience, there was no way we'd consider going through the canal in an OV again.
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Joined Dec 2010
Anybody booked a premium balcony on the Coral princess for the Panama Canal? Please share your experience with us? Thanks.

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87 Posts
Joined May 2011
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. In the end we went with ocean view -couldn't justify paying $1900 per cabin to upgrade (that's a whole lot of cocktails)

Never know - the upgrade fairy might visit
5,563 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Thanks for the feedback. As long as you are on the cruise it will all be great!! Enjoy the cruise and the Canal!!!
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New Jersey
996 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by Pete69
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. In the end we went with ocean view -couldn't justify paying $1900 per cabin to upgrade (that's a whole lot of cocktails)

Never know - the upgrade fairy might visit

You will LOVE the cruise… a balcony for us would have cost more than $2000 so we stayed with OV… would have preferred not being on the lowest deck but the cabin size was fine and we really did not spend that much time in it---especially during the Panama canal transit. Just enjoy!!!
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203 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
We got our first balcony on canal cruise. We can't turn back, we love it the evenings and it gets me out of her way getting ready in the AM and PM.
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Joined Jul 2003
At that price difference, I would think twice, but we loved having a balcony for our Canal cruise. We did go topside for the approach to the Pan-American bridge, but I loved going through the locks from our cabin. We were in a deck 7 balcony on Serenade of the Seas, where the balconies are longer, and we had part of the balcony with an overhang, and part in the open air. At one lock, I was the same level as the people in the lock's control room.

There were some friends of ours who had an oceanview and they got to see the inside walls of the locks from their cabin window. I prefered having a closer view of the donkeys and the workings of the canal.

Keep in mind that during the crossing, there will be an announcer talking on the loud speaker about what you are seeing. We found all the talks about the canal to be fascinating, but we really liked hearing it from our own room, (Via the television), instead in the middle of a crowd, where not everyone was interested.

But only you can decide whether a balcony is worth it to you.
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Victoria, BC
354 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
As others have said, when we did the full transit on the Island Princess we were moved from bow to stern, upper decks to water level to get the full experience. We had one of the 700 series balcony cabins and as another poster mentioned above, we were very close to a rear viewing deck where we spent some of our time, but at dawn we were on the front of the upper decks to see the approach to the locks and stayed there through the first series. The mid-day heat did drive us into the air conditioning, but we popped in and out all day.

We loved having the balcony when sailing into ports in the early morning, or as a quiet place to read in the fresh air on sea days, enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine, or a nightcap later on. We are looking into a longer repositioning cruise that includes the canal for 2015 and are looking to do a balcony again.

Another factor is whether you are travelling with others or not. We tend to spend more time in our cabin when we travel by ourselves, but with friends, we often are meeting up around the ship.

There will be some who argue both ways. Consider how you like to travel!
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Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
1,194 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
If you are willing to pay the difference there is nothing better than a balcony for a cruise. However, in terms of the Canal Day itself, it's nice, but certainly not necessary. A lot of times when you are at sea it can be too windy to enjoy your balcony, but because you are going slowly through the Canal, it's nice. Nice, not necessary. If your ship offers breafast or lunch served on your balcony with champagne ... it's VERY nice!

Regards, Richard
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Richard Detrich - Port & Canal Lecturer & Author
10,809 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I have been checking prices for a Panama cruise, and the price of a balcony is more than double the price of an inside cabin.

I don't see the value since there are lots of places I can go outside to lounge and view the ocean. I also enjoy being around people and a balcony eliminates that.

As others have stated, the transit itself is much more enjoyable if you go to various areas of the ship to see and take pictures.
Victoria, BC
354 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
We looked at 4 different sailings on HAL for the within a one month period thru the Panama canal and found quite a difference in balcony prices. The smaller ships had fewer balconies and were significantly higher than OV. On the larger ships with more balcony categories, there was a much smaller gap in price. By choosing the larger ship (Westerdam rather than Amsterdam) we saved about $1000 per person on the price of a balcony.
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March 2019 - Western Caribbean from New Orleans (NCL Breakaway)
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146 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
We sometimes book balconies and sometimes interiors with either French Doors or walkway windowsso we get natural light. For our canalcruiseon the Miracle, we booked a bowling alley balcony(185 sq. Feet). The balcony isas big as the cabin. We plan to spend a lot of time on deck during the transit, but there are only 5 port days. We will enjoy the balcony on the 8 sea daysand will probably spend a little time on it during the transit. It cost double the price of a regular interior, but for this cruise we believe it will be worth the extra money.
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321 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
our cruises (8) have been based on itinerary and then we get cabin based on price and our budget.......we have always gotten a room with a balcony (sometimes bumped up to suites) but our decision on balcony would not be based on one day's event like the canal itself since you will want to ramble around ship to get a variety of views......our decision on balcony is simply as a relaxation place while sailing on sea days or place to unwind after long day or simply some private policy is to go with what you can afford in order to go on a great vacation!!