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Peachypooh

Full Panama transit vs partial

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A few years ago we did a partial Panama transit on the Pearl and loved it.

We picked the partial due to our time/money situation. We now have a little

more time to spend and maybe a touch more money to budget and I was

looking at the full transit. Has anybody done both and can comment?

Was it worth it for the longer trip and did you go east to west or the other

way around? thank you.

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I've never done a partial but I have done a full transit going both ways.  The only tip I can give you is a transit going from west to east will lose 3 hours due to time zones and naturally going from east to west your cruise will be 3 hours longer.  I don't like losing an hour of sleep even now that I'm in retirement.

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14 minutes ago, Peachypooh said:

A few years ago we did a partial Panama transit on the Pearl and loved it.

We picked the partial due to our time/money situation. We now have a little

more time to spend and maybe a touch more money to budget and I was

looking at the full transit. Has anybody done both and can comment?

Was it worth it for the longer trip and did you go east to west or the other

way around? thank you.

I have done it twice and i will continue to say i prefer full transit.

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6 minutes ago, Oakman58 said:

I've never done a partial but I have done a full transit going both ways.  The only tip I can give you is a transit going from west to east will lose 3 hours due to time zones and naturally going from east to west your cruise will be 3 hours longer.  I don't like losing an hour of sleep even now that I'm in retirement.

Thank you! Very helpful!

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I have done both multiple times,   including another full transit last week.    Of course it is "worth it",    if YOU have the interest?     Ports on  the itinerary are some that I can definitely skip.  :)  

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Definitely full transit to get the complete Panama Canal experience.  I have only done east to west, but I’m sure either direction would be great!

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We did a full transit on the NCL Jewel two years ago (east to west, which, when you get to the Canal, is really north to south :classic_smile:) and really enjoyed it.  We're booked for another full transit (on the Gem) in January.   I agree with a comment above that some of the ports on a full transit (depending on the itinerary) could be skipped (Puerto Chiapas and Corinto come to mind), but overall going through the entire Panama Canal is a fascinating experience.  Our day in Costa Rica was amazing, and we enjoyed the Mexican Riviera ports much more than we thought we would.

 

My detailed comments and photos from our full transit on the Jewel are here:

 

 

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We've taken full transits (both ways) and also a partial.

The full transits are much more enjoyable.  :classic_wink:

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I’m on the full 15 day Bliss transit from east to west right now ..... Been a wonderful experience so far. I can’t imagine only doing a partial now ..... Left Costa Rica yesterday for our Guatemala arrival tomorrow. 

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While the partial transit is a great cruise and I'll probably do another in the future, a full transit is the real deal.  Most partial transits only expose you to about 8 miles of a 50 mile waterway.  The Atlantic side locks (Gatun or  the new locks Agua Clara) are impressive and a important part of the Canal, there is just so much more to taking in the entire Canal.  A partial transit is like going to the theater and leaving after watching the previews twice... take in the whole show!

 

 The enjoyment of the Canal is the same in either direction, choosing east to west or west to east IMO has more to do with your preferences in travel arrangements pre cruise or post cruise. 

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East to west and west to east have different meanings when referencing the Panama Canal.  While in general the Atlantic Ocean is east of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic side of the Canal is actually to the West of the Pacific side because of the shape of the isthmus of Panama.  Colon (the Atlantic end of the Canal) is northwest of Panama City (the Pacific end)

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41 minutes ago, sailandcruise said:

East to west and west to east have different meanings when referencing the Panama Canal.  While in general the Atlantic Ocean is east of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic side of the Canal is actually to the West of the Pacific side because of the shape of the isthmus of Panama.  Colon (the Atlantic end of the Canal) is northwest of Panama City (the Pacific end)

Mia to LA is East to west....LA to Mia is west to east...

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3 hours ago, BillB48 said:

While the partial transit is a great cruise and I'll probably do another in the future, a full transit is the real deal.  Most partial transits only expose you to about 8 miles of a 50 mile waterway.  The Atlantic side locks (Gatun or  the new locks Agua Clara) are impressive and a important part of the Canal, there is just so much more to taking in the entire Canal.  A partial transit is like going to the theater and leaving after watching the previews twice... take in the whole show!

 

 The enjoyment of the Canal is the same in either direction, choosing east to west or west to east IMO has more to do with your preferences in travel arrangements pre cruise or post cruise. 

Thank  you for the explanation as to the "8 miles of a 50 mile".  Due to time constraints, we are only able to be gone ten days and that is pushing it.  I am planning on booking a partial for 2020 fall when it opens on a particular line which offers ten days.  I am not interested in some of the ports for the full transit, but this clarifies what we will be missing.  Will have to make the best of the partial and perhaps do a full ONE day after dh retires.  

 

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1 hour ago, Seacreature101 said:

Thank  you for the explanation as to the "8 miles of a 50 mile".  Due to time constraints, we are only able to be gone ten days and that is pushing it.  I am planning on booking a partial for 2020 fall when it opens on a particular line which offers ten days.  I am not interested in some of the ports for the full transit, but this clarifies what we will be missing.  Will have to make the best of the partial and perhaps do a full ONE day after dh retires.  

 

 

If a partial best suits your needs absolutely go for it!  You can still see a major portion of the Canal if you elect the shore excursion that takes you to the Pacific side  where you lock through the two Pacific Locks and sail through Gaillard Cut.  This excursions provides you with the opportunity to view the lock operation from a smaller vessel as compared to seeing it from your cruise ship earlier that morning. It is a completely different perspective and experience.

 

Don't worry about the partial transit cruise taking anything away from when you are able to take the full transit... each cruise will compliment each other.  I don't even think if the partial transit cruise as a "second choice", but as a great alternative!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, sailandcruise said:

East to west and west to east have different meanings when referencing the Panama Canal.  While in general the Atlantic Ocean is east of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic side of the Canal is actually to the West of the Pacific side because of the shape of the isthmus of Panama.  Colon (the Atlantic end of the Canal) is northwest of Panama City (the Pacific end)

 

Can't quarrel with your facts whatsoever as the Atlantic entrance to the Canal, Colon is a little over 20 miles further west than Panama City.  In fact sunrise is even earlier in Panama City since it is further east.  Because of how Panama lies on a more of east west orientation, the Atlantic (Caribbean) is north of Panama and the Pacific in a general direction.  After Balboa first saw what was to become the Pacific, maps depicting the Pacific Ocean referred to the Pacific as Mar del Sur (South Sea).  Took a while before Magellan's descriptive moniker for that body of water to take hold.  At the Canal ships are referred as either as northbound or southbound.  Since the discussion was referencing the over all direction of the cruise, thought it would be clearer if I kept the east/west reference even though when someone mentions going east on their Canal cruise, I mentally change it to north at the Canal.

 

Partial, full, east, west, north or south... all good!

Edited by BillB48

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Posted (edited)

I have done both  partial on Holland  and full on NCL

 

It is probably just my view of my world   but I liked the partial best.

 

7 days verses 14 days was interesting  but after 14 days  I was more then anxious to go home to my bed and my cooking.

 

it was less money and enough time to satisfy me   enjoy your trip

Edited by Seawoff
spelling

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I have not yet done either partial or full transit and I would very much like to do both.  For fall 2020, I chose a partial because (1) I wanted to experience the Encore; (2) I am interested in seeing Aruba and Curacao; and (3) it is a good deal less expensive than the full transit (Studio cabin).  I hope in coming years to do an ocean-to-ocean transit. 

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We did the partial to Colon then an excursion on a much smaller vessel which took us through to the Pacific Ocean and returned by bus to Colon.

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I did a partial on big ship with an add on shore excursion going through to the end in smaller boat to Pacific. Joined the ship again via bus.

Then I did the Bliss in May 2018 but it was the newer channel going Atlantic to Pacific.

 

I preferred the partial with an excursion because in a smaller boat you get the full effect and can touch the sides.

On the Bliss I felt the new channel while Historic for the Bliss being the largest to go through, the sides and the transit were in a way kinda of boring.

The older channel has the mule trains the pull and was neat.  But the newer channel has very thick chamber locks with roads on top and you can look back and see the cars

 

In short either way but I would choose older channel first and as an excursion.

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We are booked on a partial out of Miami due to time constraints.  DH wants to do the Two Oceans by Train excursion; I'd like to do the Ferry.  Sigh... marriage is a compromise.  He loves trains.  

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We've never done a partial, but did a 15 day San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale on Celebrity some years ago.  The only negatives of the full trip were what seemed like too many days at sea and that the average age of the passengers was a bit high for my tastes, turns out that younger folks don't have as much time for longer cruises.  Still, I think we would have felt sort of ripped off if we hadn't done the full transit. 

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