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idealsol

Help me chooose which Panama Canal Cruise 2020

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This will be our 1st Panama Canal Cruise. We’d like to go in 2020 and do a full transit from Florida to Los Angeles

I see 4 options. 1-17 or 3-15 on the Emerald ( new locks ) and 3-27 or 4-6 on the Coral ( old locks )

I really would like to do the old locks but the January 17 Emerald cruise works best date wise.

What would you do?

Will I be disappointed if I do the new locks and don’t get to experience the old locks?

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know how anyone on this forum can predict if you will be disappointed if you don't experience the old locks.  But rest assure, you in all likelihood will receive all the opinions you can handle.😃

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If it were me I would do the new locks on Emerald.  I like the bigger ships.  I haven’t been thru new locks yet but certainly on my list.  

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Really hard to provide info on this.  We have been through the old locks twice, so for us the new locks would be a good choice. Sorry.

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IF the January dates work best for you then there is no use in us telling us that you should try the Coral. Do what is best for you! I don't think going through old or new locks is a great deal breaker.

We don't love the bigger ships and had a good trip on the Coral this past December but in the end the dates might be more important than anything else.

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I was just through the new locks on Norwegian Bliss this pas November, my first Panamal Canal cruise and it was really interesting how a ship so big can go trough the locks. I will most likely book another Panama Canal cruise in the future crossing the old locks just to experience the old locks.

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Been through the old locks twice on Coral. Best ship for viewing the locks due to the fore and aft viewing decks on Baja and Caribe. Had the same cabin both times as we loved it. Like many, I would recommend doing the old locks on Coral but it seems as if that doesn't fit with your plans nearly as well as the new locks on Emerald. Only you can decide which cruise to take. (We will likely do the new locks the next time we transit the canal to see the difference.)

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I've been on multiple Panama Canal cruises and still haven't cruised through the new locks.  I'm hoping to one day, but my next Panama Canal cruise is roundtrip out of San Pedro, on the Coral, in April of 2020.

 

I went with the dates and pricing that worked the best for us, which canal is secondary.  If you do decide to go in April, it's really hot and humid then.  You will probably have more comfortable weather in January.  Also, April is the end of the dry season.  I think the scenery is prettier in January because it's more lush and green then. 

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4 hours ago, partybarbie said:

I've been on multiple Panama Canal cruises and still haven't cruised through the new locks.  I'm hoping to one day, but my next Panama Canal cruise is roundtrip out of San Pedro, on the Coral, in April of 2020.

 

I went with the dates and pricing that worked the best for us, which canal is secondary.  If you do decide to go in April, it's really hot and humid then.  You will probably have more comfortable weather in January.  Also, April is the end of the dry season.  I think the scenery is prettier in January because it's more lush and green then. 

We will be on that cruise too, in the same cabin as our last trip through the Canal. I was attracted, because it is a 19 day cruise, a short flight back and forth to LAX and there are a number of new ports we haven't been to. 

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I would do the old locks and also find one that's "ocean to ocean", the cruise that stops for the day at  Fuerte Amador,- Panama City.  I saw the new locks operating from the visitors' center and it was no way as interesting as the old locks.   Take the Coral if you can, it's just the right size.   

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We did the old locks on the Coral last month, Jan 2019.  I think that locks are locks, same idea, different sizes.  The Coral fits with about a foot on either side and that's a bit impressive.  You also get to see the mules instead of the tugs on the new locks.  The Coral is a great ship with lots of passenger friendly spaces like the Wheelhouse bar, card room, library and wraparound promenade deck.  The canal viewing is excellent.  Buffet is smaller but adequate.

Edited by hobbyfarmer2

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I've been through the historic locks several times...all on the Coral.  I did a partial through the new locks on the Caribbean Princess.  Felt that was a huge let down.  Given a choice: Coral Princess - full transit - minimum cabin category Baja Balcony (Baja 309/Baja 310).

 

In addition.  Take the midship bump out last balcony  (aft end bump out cabin).  It's hard to suggest a side since you will not know which channels you will go through.  I would also do the North to South transit from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles.  But do not stay in your cabin.

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12 hours ago, idealsol said:

This will be our 1st Panama Canal Cruise. We’d like to go in 2020 and do a full transit from Florida to Los Angeles

I see 4 options. 1-17 or 3-15 on the Emerald ( new locks ) and 3-27 or 4-6 on the Coral ( old locks )

I really would like to do the old locks but the January 17 Emerald cruise works best date wise.

What would you do?

Will I be disappointed if I do the new locks and don’t get to experience the old locks?

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I’ve been through the old locks several times Ive seen the construction of the new locks & a trip through the new locks would interest me. 

 

I’ve never traveled from East to West so that would be a plus. I also like the idea of traveling on a medallion cruise. 

 

Tom😎

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16 hours ago, billco said:

We will be on that cruise too, in the same cabin as our last trip through the Canal. I was attracted, because it is a 19 day cruise, a short flight back and forth to LAX and there are a number of new ports we haven't been to. 

We did this same cruise on the Island Princess.  We also enjoyed the short flight from Sacramento to LAX.  I liked the stop in Huatulco.  Lots of beautiful beaches and friendly people. 

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41 minutes ago, partybarbie said:

We did this same cruise on the Island Princess.  We also enjoyed the short flight from Sacramento to LAX.  I liked the stop in Huatulco.  Lots of beautiful beaches and friendly people. 

We did it on the Island Princess from San Pedro to Fort Lauderdale  in 2008 and on the Coral Princess from Fort Lauderdale to San Pedro in 2011. Also, on the USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) from Seattle to Norfolk in 1964. 

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23 hours ago, partybarbie said:

. . . really hot and humid then.  You will probably have more comfortable weather in January.  Also, April is the end of the dry season.  I think the scenery is prettier in January because it's more lush and green then. 

It's hot and humid whenever you do it.  We did a full transit WB on Celebrity Zenith in 1/1999, full transit EB on Coral in 4/2013, and partial on Coral P in 1/2008.  We were supposed to do full transit thru new lock on Caribbean P a year ago, but had to cancel; on the 2013 cruise we could see the new canal construction from a distance.  I did not notice lack of lush greenery in April.  One of the high points of our 2013  transit out of LA was stopping at Panama City--our first and only visit there.  We did a walking tour of the old town there which was interesting.  Hualtuco is a "manufactured" port built by Carnival Corp. so nothing of historical interest there; snorkeling was so-so.  Puerto Vallarta is very pretty; however, I went snorkeling there and got bitten by jellyfish so would caution against doing that.

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1 hour ago, BarbinMich said:

It's hot and humid whenever you do it.  We did a full transit WB on Celebrity Zenith in 1/1999, full transit EB on Coral in 4/2013, and partial on Coral P in 1/2008.  We were supposed to do full transit thru new lock on Caribbean P a year ago, but had to cancel; on the 2013 cruise we could see the new canal construction from a distance.  I did not notice lack of lush greenery in April.  One of the high points of our 2013  transit out of LA was stopping at Panama City--our first and only visit there.  We did a walking tour of the old town there which was interesting.  Hualtuco is a "manufactured" port built by Carnival Corp. so nothing of historical interest there; snorkeling was so-so.  Puerto Vallarta is very pretty; however, I went snorkeling there and got bitten by jellyfish so would caution against doing that.

 

I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but Huatulco was not build by Carnival.  https://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=6092

 

A simple Google search will show that April is the hottest month in Panama. "Panama Canal, Panama: Annual Weather Averages. April is the hottest month in Panama Canal with an average temperature of 83°F (29°C) and the coldest is October at 79°F (26°C) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in February. The wettest month is November with an average of 401mm of rain."

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I have done two full eastbound transits (HAL & Celebrity) and a Partial on Carnival, all through the old locks.  Following that, a full westbound transit through the new locks on Carnival Splendor.  My feeling is the old an new locks compare like a historic neighborhood compared to a brand new development.  The new locks are not nearly as dramatic as the old.  A year ago, I started a thread on the Panama Canal forum here, showing ships in the canal.  If you scroll through it, you will be able to pick out which ships (usually Caribbean Princess via her bridgecam) are using the new locks.  EM

 

 

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21 hours ago, partybarbie said:

 

I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but Huatulco was not build by Carnival.  https://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=6092   Yes, I remembered incorrectly about who built Hualtuco, but my main point was that it was built to be a tourist destination.

 

A simple Google search will show that April is the hottest month in Panama. "Panama Canal, Panama: Annual Weather Averages. April is the hottest month in Panama Canal with an average temperature of 83°F (29°C) and the coldest is October at 79°F (26°C) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in February. The wettest month is November with an average of 401mm of rain."  IMHO, a range of 79-84 is a pretty constant temp year-round, especially combined with the high humidity in the area. For someone who's lived in the Great Lakes area all her life, the climate in the Canal Zone is uncomfortable, but I've been willing to put up with it three times to visit the PC.

 

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On 2/26/2019 at 4:49 PM, billco said:

We will be on that cruise too, in the same cabin as our last trip through the Canal. I was attracted, because it is a 19 day cruise, a short flight back and forth to LAX and there are a number of new ports we haven't been to. 

 

Just did the 19 day partial out of LA. Great cruise but you end up with no excursions in the lake. The partials from Florida have excursions to the Pacific side but, since you are coming from the Pacific side on this cruise, you just "park" in the lake overnight with no excursions. Oh well... We had a GREAT cruise and I think you will too.

 

We enjoyed going to ports we hadn't visited in the past and we were quite surprised by Nicaragua. We had been there before and I would have described it as a "total pit" the first time. This time the place was really cleaned up. They had an all new passenger center where the tenders dock with lots of vendors. Totally different. It was kind of funny though... One vendor had a 375 ml bottle of the local rum for something like $12. I bought a liter of the same rum in town at a grocery store for less. (Nobody said a word when I took it back on the ship!) We encountered a guy handing out vouchers for a bar in town with a free beer or shot of rum. It was a Canadian bar... In Nicaragua. We walked waaaaaaaay through town and found it. Nice folks. I got a good laugh when I asked for "Dos mas cervezas por favor, eh? The canuks liked it. 😎 The food was good. The beer was good. The people were friendly. Great little bar right on the beach.

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