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Ferry excursion through Panama Canal?

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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.

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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.

 

Enjoy!

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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

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Thank you everyone for your comments, it has almost made us decide to do this excursion. I realize your posts were a year ago, but could you please share the cost of this excursion? It doesn't matter what cruise line for I don't doubt they are close to the same. We are looking at HAL Zuiderdam.

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Thank you everyone for your comments, it has almost made us decide to do this excursion. I realize your posts were a year ago, but could you please share the cost of this excursion? It doesn't matter what cruise line for I don't doubt they are close to the same. We are looking at HAL Zuiderdam.

 

We went in April 2017 and did the "Panama Canal By Ferry" excursion through Norwegian Cruise Line. It was $179 per person at that time. It was 7 hours long and included a nice buffet lunch. It was worth every penny to be right there within the locks. The tour guide gave informative commentaries through a speaker periodically. It was HOT and not all seats are in the shade. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and a fan.

100_0366.jpg.e1f5d40b0d35c389eb361e070458d12f.jpg

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We went in April 2017 and did the "Panama Canal By Ferry" excursion through Norwegian Cruise Line. It was $179 per person at that time. It was 7 hours long and included a nice buffet lunch. It was worth every penny to be right there within the locks. The tour guide gave informative commentaries through a speaker periodically. It was HOT and not all seats are in the shade. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and a fan.

 

YOUR PICTURE IS INCREDIBLE! Thank you, that should be on a sale brochure!

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I agree with the statement about the picture....totally INCREDIBLE! I just want to know if you do this excursion, do you see the bridges on the other side while on this excursion? I'm trying to make the most out of a partial passage that we have booked that we are going on with friends in October. I don't know if it's going to necessarily proclude me from wanting to book a full passage in the future, but I was really interested in seeing the entire canal.

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I agree with the statement about the picture....totally INCREDIBLE! I just want to know if you do this excursion, do you see the bridges on the other side while on this excursion? I'm trying to make the most out of a partial passage that we have booked that we are going on with friends in October. I don't know if it's going to necessarily proclude me from wanting to book a full passage in the future, but I was really interested in seeing the entire canal.

The excursion took us through the entire canal, to the Pacific, and we went under the Bridge of Americas. Here is a picture of the bridge.

1683469751_BridgeofAmericas.jpg.33d6821939d1cd586078fa8a7bc25ad8.jpg

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Ir. I don't know if it's going to necessarily proclude me from wanting to book a full passage in the future, but I was really interested in seeing the entire canal.

 

By no means should the partial transit preclude you from booking a full transit cruise at a later date. IMO the partial transit cruise and a full transit cruise really compliment each other. While seeing the Canal from the deck of your cruise ship no doubt is the preferred way, seeing some of the Canal from a smaller vessel puts a completely different perspective on it as those couple of photos show.

 

Combining your cruise along with the partial transit through the Pacific Locks and Gaillard Cut gives you an opportunity to see a large portion of the Canal, you still are missing one very important part of the Canal. That is the Gatun Lake part. While there are not as many individual items of interest to point out (no bridges, locks or significant structures) sailing past many of the islands that dot the lake with old growth rain forest and passing other ships is a great experience.

 

The best part is a full transit cruise is just as rewarding even though you may have already completed a partial transit cruise. It can be done in any order, they build on each other.

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BillB48...thank you SO MUCH for your insight, pictures and adding to this thread so quickly! Amazing stuff there! My first choice would have been a full passage, however given that we are still working stiffs (8 years more for him, 10 for me), it's hard for us to be off of work the length of time the Panama itinerary requires...add to that my husband is on call for his job once every four weeks and right now is a little hard to make all the work out. We did purchase the shore excursion for the time present just because this has been one of our dreams....thanks for your perspective on the itinerary. It really helps me with deciding where else we would like to go. :D

 

By no means should the partial transit preclude you from booking a full transit cruise at a later date. IMO the partial transit cruise and a full transit cruise really compliment each other. While seeing the Canal from the deck of your cruise ship no doubt is the preferred way, seeing some of the Canal from a smaller vessel puts a completely different perspective on it as those couple of photos show.

 

Combining your cruise along with the partial transit through the Pacific Locks and Gaillard Cut gives you an opportunity to see a large portion of the Canal, you still are missing one very important part of the Canal. That is the Gatun Lake part. While there are not as many individual items of interest to point out (no bridges, locks or significant structures) sailing past many of the islands that dot the lake with old growth rain forest and passing other ships is a great experience.

 

The best part is a full transit cruise is just as rewarding even though you may have already completed a partial transit cruise. It can be done in any order, they build on each other.

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You're welcome. Even though the full transit is the way most people want to go... the partial transit and that excursion offer a great alternative. I would not even consider it a "second choice", it is an excellent way to see the Canal in a unique way.

 

 

Work certainly is the curse of the cruising class!

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Posted (edited)

Oh and JaysMom2, thank YOU for your pictures as well. All perspective on this subject helps! :) I just haven't been with it with planning on this cruise as my year was a rough one (three parents passed last year). I'm just starting to feel ok, but I'm running the office at my work this week and I really didn't look at names. I love your canal pictures!!

Edited by islandgirlejfan

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We are on a ship doing a full canal transit, then stopping in Colon for a day. We're considering doing the ferry partial transit as an alternative way of looking at things. Perhaps my biggest concern is being crowded on a ferry with 300 other people and being miserable. Perhaps since the ship has done a full transit, this excursion might not be as popular (and therefore less crowded). Anyone with experience on the ferry in conjunction with the cruise full transit and an idea of how many people might do this partial transit option?

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BillB48...thank you SO MUCH for your insight, pictures and adding to this thread so quickly! Amazing stuff there! My first choice would have been a full passage, however given that we are still working stiffs (8 years more for him, 10 for me), it's hard for us to be off of work the length of time the Panama itinerary requires...add to that my husband is on call for his job once every four weeks and right now is a little hard to make all the work out. We did purchase the shore excursion for the time present just because this has been one of our dreams....thanks for your perspective on the itinerary. It really helps me with deciding where else we would like to go. :D

 

We are in a similar situation with working (and husband is self employed), plus I hate leaving the dog for too long! I am excited to do the partial though, and plan to book the ferry excursion. We will definitely bring extra water and snacks!

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We have the partial Panama Canal cruise booked for November on the NCL Pearl. After reading all of this and seeing the pictures, I don't think I can wait! I am so excited to be doing this cruise!!! Thank you for the information on the ferry, I had read that it was the better choice between it and the railroad excursion and will be booking it soon. For the person that asked the price it is $189.

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