Jump to content

Panama Canal Full Transit Experiences


Matman1215
 Share

Recommended Posts

I’m going to be sailing a full transit cruise from LA to Miami through the new set of locks on the Joy next month. I’ve read some reviews and watched many videos but I’m looking for personal experiences on what not to miss and the lecturers’ native to the area who come onboard (when and where they happen) - things of that nature.  What can I expect from this cruise that I would not experience on a typical 7-10 day cruise around the Caribbean? Thanks for your help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't answer all your questions but, we went on a full transit from Miami to Los Angeles on Carnival Spirit (I think).  That was a long time ago and my memory is horrible.  But I can tell you that was an amazing cruise.  The ship was so wide and the locks so narrow that people were reaching out to touch the sides.  If I were you I would plan to go out early and get a good seat on deck so you can watch all day.  Also, make sure to move to both sides for the views.  Sorry I can't give any more advise, but I would bet money that you are going to have a good cruise.

 

Also, for us it was the only time we've cruised in Pacific so those were all new stops up the Pacific coast.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did this sailing in March/April of this year on the Star, went through the old locks.  I did a review ...trying for this first time to copy and paste a link on my iPad.  Not sure if it will work.....

 

On every sea day before we entered the locks there was a lecture in the theatre giving history etc about the Canal.  Times and location was posted in the dailies.  If for some reason you could not make the lecture, it was available that night on the tv.  As lectures were given they were added to the tv and played in a loop continuously, even after you went through the Panama Canal if you wanted to, you could review them.

 

During the transit through the Canal someone from the Panama Canal transit authority is on board on the PA system explaining what you are seeing, history etc.  if you are in your room you just turn on your tv and put in on the channel that has the ncl announcements and you will hear her/him.   If you are in the public common areas you will have no trouble hearing the person.

 

A night (or 2-can’t recall) before entering the Canal a map and other information about the Crossing was left in our room.  And after the transit we got a certificate with our names saying we went through the Panama Canal.

 

Hopes this info is what you were looking for.

Loved the whole day....it flew by.  

 

Have an amazing time!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did a full transit just this past Spring on the Bliss.  Our cabin was a deck 8 mini-suite which gives you a really close up view (because these cabins jut out from the ship).  I wish I could give you exact times of things not to miss but my memory is not quite that good.  It was truly fascinating from start to finish.  Going through the locks, you definitely want to be somewhere you can see well from.  If you have a balcony cabin, you may be able to see just fine from there.  They do open up the helipad on the front of the ship for viewing and I believe that is where the guides were.  You'll be going the opposite route we went which was west to east and I know you'll hit this very early, but, make sure to get to the starboard side of the ship when you're coming up to the entrance of the canal.  There are some incredible views of the Panama City skyline.  Waaayyyy more urban than I had anticipated.  Move about the ship to get different perspectives of the crossing.  We ate lunch in Food Republic because of all the windows and didn't miss a thing.  Passing other ships in places where the canal was very narrow was fun as well but this is very hit or miss as to whether it happens or not.

 

Hope this helps some.  Any specific questions you might have, I'll be happy to answer if possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did it on the Sun in 2015 and Eddie Spaghetti did a video that was available to all passengers for a nominal fee.  If you like to read history I would advise there are several good books on the subject, including David McCullough's The Path Between The Seas, 617 pages.  Some skip the part about the early French failure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Matman1215 said:

I’m going to be sailing a full transit cruise from LA to Miami through the new set of locks on the Joy next month. I’ve read some reviews and watched many videos but I’m looking for personal experiences on what not to miss and the lecturers’ native to the area who come onboard (when and where they happen) - things of that nature.  What can I expect from this cruise that I would not experience on a typical 7-10 day cruise around the Caribbean? Thanks for your help!

I am also sailing Full transit from LA to Miami October 11 on the NCL Joy. Looking forward to reading responses to your questions. If that is the same cruise that you are on come over to the Roll Call and meet others on that cruise. We have 115 passengers registered for the Meet & Greet with other events planned. Below is the link for the roll-call. LINK 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Jasonmom said:

Can't answer all your questions but, we went on a full transit from Miami to Los Angeles on Carnival Spirit (I think).  That was a long time ago and my memory is horrible.  But I can tell you that was an amazing cruise.  The ship was so wide and the locks so narrow that people were reaching out to touch the sides.  If I were you I would plan to go out early and get a good seat on deck so you can watch all day.  Also, make sure to move to both sides for the views.  Sorry I can't give any more advise, but I would bet money that you are going to have a good cruise.

 

Also, for us it was the only time we've cruised in Pacific so those were all new stops up the Pacific coast.

 

Thanks! Looking forward to it for sure. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, deefer said:

We did this sailing in March/April of this year on the Star, went through the old locks.  I did a review ...trying for this first time to copy and paste a link on my iPad.  Not sure if it will work.....

 

On every sea day before we entered the locks there was a lecture in the theatre giving history etc about the Canal.  Times and location was posted in the dailies.  If for some reason you could not make the lecture, it was available that night on the tv.  As lectures were given they were added to the tv and played in a loop continuously, even after you went through the Panama Canal if you wanted to, you could review them.

 

During the transit through the Canal someone from the Panama Canal transit authority is on board on the PA system explaining what you are seeing, history etc.  if you are in your room you just turn on your tv and put in on the channel that has the ncl announcements and you will hear her/him.   If you are in the public common areas you will have no trouble hearing the person.

 

A night (or 2-can’t recall) before entering the Canal a map and other information about the Crossing was left in our room.  And after the transit we got a certificate with our names saying we went through the Panama Canal.

 

Hopes this info is what you were looking for.

Loved the whole day....it flew by.  

 

Have an amazing time!

Thanks so much! Great info and your review was so helpful. Doing the camel excursion also. We have a Haven Aft Balcony so looking forward to taking your idea of an early transit breakfast on the balcony! 

 

How was the Suite lounge at the port in LA? I haven’t been able to find any photos or info really. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, tarps14 said:

We did a full transit just this past Spring on the Bliss.  Our cabin was a deck 8 mini-suite which gives you a really close up view (because these cabins jut out from the ship).  I wish I could give you exact times of things not to miss but my memory is not quite that good.  It was truly fascinating from start to finish.  Going through the locks, you definitely want to be somewhere you can see well from.  If you have a balcony cabin, you may be able to see just fine from there.  They do open up the helipad on the front of the ship for viewing and I believe that is where the guides were.  You'll be going the opposite route we went which was west to east and I know you'll hit this very early, but, make sure to get to the starboard side of the ship when you're coming up to the entrance of the canal.  There are some incredible views of the Panama City skyline.  Waaayyyy more urban than I had anticipated.  Move about the ship to get different perspectives of the crossing.  We ate lunch in Food Republic because of all the windows and didn't miss a thing.  Passing other ships in places where the canal was very narrow was fun as well but this is very hit or miss as to whether it happens or not.

 

Hope this helps some.  Any specific questions you might have, I'll be happy to answer if possible.

Definitely helps. Thanks for the info.! 

 

Was the ship still a tight fit even in the newer and larger locks? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, CardFanDubG said:

I am also sailing Full transit from LA to Miami October 11 on the NCL Joy. Looking forward to reading responses to your questions. If that is the same cruise that you are on come over to the Roll Call and meet others on that cruise. We have 115 passengers registered for the Meet & Greet with other events planned. Below is the link for the roll-call. LINK 

 

 

 

Yes, on this cruise. Not sure if I’ll make it to the meet and greet but looking forward to a great cruise! Thanks for organizing! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did the PC cruise on the Bliss in March/April of this year also. We were in a Aft Balcony Cabin - which was literally the BEST EVER. We had a complete view of every lock. We set our TV on the bow channel, so we could literally see everything. I agree with going to listen to the talks given about the Canal - they were all very interesting. The Bliss is a TIGHT fit!  We have hours of video of her going through the locks. (we were on the 11th deck, so smack in the middle of the back of the ship!) You can even see the tug operator jiggling his legs as he is steering us through them. 🙂  It was an experience we will never forget, and the extra money that aft balcony cost was priceless for the views we had. We ordered room service that day and invited folks we met on the ship up to have the opportunity to see the view too. They only sell the *Panama Canal* souvenirs while you're doing through the locks, you don't have to be there early when they open up to get them though - they  have plenty all day long. (they sell them up on the pool deck) Be aware that if you buy the VIDEO they sell, that it is NOT your crossing - it is the very first one the Bliss did. Buy the still photos though - those will be of your crossing. If you have any specific questions, just ask! Enjoy!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went thru the PC on the Bliss May 2018.  From looking at the deck plans of the Joy, it has an observation lounge which is similar to the Bliss.  We had an aft facing cabin, and as another poster mentioned, is an ideal place to be, but a balcony cabin would be fine as well.   We pretty much stayed in our cabin, turned on the TV so we got a forward view.  There was a man that came onboard to give us a run down/history of what we were looking at...it was much like a ship announcement. Also, the observation lounge would be a good place as well,  but will be crowded!  Another spot you might consider is the Waterfront.  It will be hot and humid, possibly some rain.  Also be aware, this is a full day passage.

Cruising thru the canal is a unique experience that you will not find on any Caribbean cruise other than a partial transit.  If you ever get a chance, go thru the canal on a smaller ship (Jewel class).  The original locks are another truly unique and amazing experience as well.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did the full transit of the canal in December 2011 and loved it.

 

The history of the building of the canal is well laid out in the book "The Path Between the Seas."    I read the book twice prior to the cruise and it made a huge difference.   

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I will suggest for one set of locks is going to the lowest deck (if it's public or your cabin is there) to experience the transition form daylight to darkness to daylight and getting a closeup view of the lock walls. 

 

Roy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Matman1215 said:

I’m going to be sailing a full transit cruise from LA to Miami through the new set of locks on the Joy next month. I’ve read some reviews and watched many videos but I’m looking for personal experiences on what not to miss and the lecturers’ native to the area who come onboard (when and where they happen) - things of that nature.  What can I expect from this cruise that I would not experience on a typical 7-10 day cruise around the Caribbean? Thanks for your help!

Is too bad you are going on one of the bigger ships. You will not be able to get the experience of going through the original locks. That was the only reason I went on a Panama cruise. To see the wonder of the originals that were built with old technology and equipment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Jasonmom said:

Can't answer all your questions but, we went on a full transit from Miami to Los Angeles on Carnival Spirit (I think).  That was a long time ago and my memory is horrible.  But I can tell you that was an amazing cruise.  The ship was so wide and the locks so narrow that people were reaching out to touch the sides.  If I were you I would plan to go out early and get a good seat on deck so you can watch all day.  Also, make sure to move to both sides for the views.  Sorry I can't give any more advise, but I would bet money that you are going to have a good cruise.

 

Also, for us it was the only time we've cruised in Pacific so those were all new stops up the Pacific coast.

 

It is too bad they are going on a new bigger ship; they wont get to see the original locks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Matman1215 said:

Thanks so much! Great info and your review was so helpful. Doing the camel excursion also. We have a Haven Aft Balcony so looking forward to taking your idea of an early transit breakfast on the balcony! 

 

How was the Suite lounge at the port in LA? I haven’t been able to find any photos or info really. 

 

We checked in with everyone else and were then escorted to the lounge area.  By the time we got to the port all lines were quite short, I really don’t remember if we had a dedicated line for suites.  Either way, check in was quick.....we arrived around 1p.  Lines may have been longer earlier.

 

We spent very little time in the lounge...arrived and were escorted almost immediately to the ship for lunch. I did not remember to snap a photo!  I’m not a seasoned blogger!  I do recall that the seats were the same as the seating in the general boarding area and they had coffee/tea/juice and some type of pastries/finger food out.  It seemed quite large, but it was quite empty when we arrived.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...