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Panama Canal - Oct or Nov?

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Thinking on cruising the Panama Canal.  I have a cruise booked for March 2022 so it needs to be in the fall.


Which month is better October or November?

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IMO, November would be better.

That part of the world is verrrrry hot and humid, and the further away from summer, the better. 

 

Plan on hot,  humid,  and daily rain any time of the year (it is rain forest, after all), but there is a small bit of relief in the winter months. 

 

 

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October is still in hurricane season.

Late Nov usually has great pricing.

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We went in Oct and then again in Nov, remember it is more like a tropical jungle and not a caribbean Island. Very hot and very very humid both times we went. We loved it and you will too. Research the building of the canal and you will enjoy it more, it’s a marvel, man overcomes unforgiving hardship. 

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While November is still within the hurricane season, it historically has been past peak season. I would choose November, or even early December.

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We've cruised Panama both during Thanksgiving week (late November) and Christmas week (late December). Both were outstanding cruises despite all the rain & muggy weather. Really no temperature difference between the 2 months. Remember it's a tropical rain forest, so it rains a lot no matter when you visit.

 

If you can, try to book one of the cruises that goes all the way through the Canal (Atlantic-to-Pacific or Pacific-to-Atlantic). It's much more interesting than just entering one side of the Canal & then turning around to go back out the same side. 

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Or you could take the Partial Transit and then take the ferry excursion the rest of the way to the Pacific Ocean for a totally different experience. Saves a lot on return flights.

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2 minutes ago, Potstech said:

Or you could take the Partial Transit and then take the ferry excursion the rest of the way to the Pacific Ocean for a totally different experience. Saves a lot on return flights.

that's what we did - long day ...

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1 hour ago, EatonDoolittle said:

IMO, November would be better.

That part of the world is verrrrry hot and humid, and the further away from summer, the better. 

 

Plan on hot,  humid,  and daily rain any time of the year (it is rain forest, after all), but there is a small bit of relief in the winter months. 

 

 

 

We've done the canal twice and never had any rain. The OP didn't ask be we also never saw a mosquito.

Edited by Thrak

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Since you are from Canada, (we are from the Pacific Northwest) I would wait

until there is a year when you could go in January. We went in January and let me tell you,

it was HOT and HUMID even then. When I would go from our cabin out to our balcony,

my camera lens would instantly fog up. The only rain we experienced was a slight mist

for a bit when we went through the canal.

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Pick the cruise with the best price and ship you like.  As you can tell  from the responses  it will be hot.

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So I gather it will be hot no matter when you go?   I want to do a big 14 day cruise for my 60th birthday.  I was thinking maybe a panama cruise too, but in February.  Good luck and have fun on whichever cruise you choose!!

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We have done a couple of 14/15 day cruises and we prefer Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles.  No long flight home   

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I like FLL-LA better, too, even with the long flight home (but then I love long airplane rides) -- because I prefer getting to turn the clocks back  versus turning them forward during the cruise.  

 

OP, you're near the equator:  it's going to be hot, humid, and with a high potential for rain showers pretty much all year round.  Even when it's wringing wet with humidity or sun blazing down or amidst a tropical downpour, it's still one of the most memorable destinations ever.  Make sure to the The Path Between the Seas before you go. 

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1 hour ago, rdsqrl said:

I like FLL-LA better, too, even with the long flight home (but then I love long airplane rides) -- because I prefer getting to turn the clocks back  versus turning them forward during the cruise.

 

We haven't done the east to west transit. I'd like to give that direction a try. Flights from FLL to SMF (Sacramento) tend to take an insane amount of time. There's no such thing as a non-stop flight and I've had it take 13 hours. I'd much rather fly to Florida and sail back. A flight from LAX to SMF is short and not a problem.

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We loved our 19 Day partial transit round trip from Los Angeles in November 2016 - the weather was fine - and it's 19 DAYS!

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We went in early December for my birthday and the weather was perfect!

I'd pick Novembrr over October because of hurricane season but I'd really consider December over either one

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16 hours ago, Thrak said:

 

We haven't done the east to west transit. I'd like to give that direction a try. Flights from FLL to SMF (Sacramento) tend to take an insane amount of time. There's no such thing as a non-stop flight and I've had it take 13 hours. I'd much rather fly to Florida and sail back. A flight from LAX to SMF is short and not a problem.

The first time we did the canal, we were lucky to find a B2B (LA-FLL-LA) on the Pacific Princess. The only way to go. It was great!!

 

PS: plus it was in Nov/Dec/Jan. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year on a ship. Yummy.

Edited by JF - retired RRT

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12 hours ago, Ferd Berfle said:

 

We loved our 19 Day partial transit round trip from Los Angeles in November 2016 - the weather was fine - and it's 19 DAYS!

 

We did that one in 2018. Loved it. Got to meet and hang out with Renmar (Theo) and his wife Anke. Great folks. We also did a 17 day full transit out of San Francisco. We booked the same cabin both times. The 17 day out of SF was in late September into early October. The 19 day was late November into early December. Weather was fine both trips.

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Go in November.   I was there last November and suffered from dehydration from the profuse sweating.   October would be worse.

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The weather on the cruise is a crap shoot. Either month is fine. Pick the date that works best for you.

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8 hours ago, JF - retired RRT said:

The first time we did the canal, we were lucky to find a B2B (LA-FLL-LA) on the Pacific Princess. The only way to go. It was great!!

 

PS: plus it was in Nov/Dec/Jan. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year on a ship. Yummy.

 

We were with you on the Star when you said you were doing a b2b - we were so jealous!

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9 hours ago, Ferd Berfle said:

 

We were with you on the Star when you said you were doing a b2b - we were so jealous!

:classic_love::classic_love: B2Bs.

(We were jealous and amazed that you live full time in a RV).

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