Panama Canal, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, captivates tourists’ attention worldwide. Exploring this man-made marvel on a cruise ship tops off the bucket list of most travelers. One can perceive this mesmerizing corner of the Earth straight from its core. Cruising through the Panama Canal lets you appreciate this sheer tech feat and allows you to enjoy exciting activities.
Best Time to Cruise to the Panama Canal
Being a tropical spot, Panama covers a temperature of an average of 86 degrees Fahrenheit yearlong. One can experience short yet heavy rain here during wet seasons. Thus, the dry period, November to mid-April, is the best time to cruise to the Panama Canal.
Itineraries of Panama Canal Cruise
In the past, Panama Canal cruises took approximately 14 days to reach the West Coast from Florida, with three stoppages at the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. Currently, cruise lengths can vary from 7 days to 16 days. There are three significant crossings to see the Panama Canal from a cruise ship:
1. Trans-canal Crossing:
This trans-canal crossing maintains the standard route. Cruises depart from either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and sail to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego on the West Coast. However, cruises depart from Vancouver or Seattle for extended transit. This crossing offers a comprehensive canal experience from one ocean to the other.
2. Partial Crossing:
Partial Crossing does not travel across the canal. Instead, ships pass through one lock and off-board all voyagers in Gamboa. Here, you can relish the shore life by enjoying excursions. However, one can still traverse the entire canal in a smaller boat, eye-witnessing Gaillard Cut, the Bridge of the Americas, and the Centennial Bridge.
3. Faux Crossing:
A few cruise lines also offer shore excursions without even entering the canal. They drop anchors at Colon, the Caribbean doorway of Panama.
Spots to Stop on a Panama Canal Cruise:
Following are the top five shore surroundings that deserve a visit while exploring this significant waterway:
1. Old Panama or Panama Viejo:
Panama Viejo is Panama’s former capital that carries a historical significance. This widely-known archaeological site has been preserved well for tourists. While here, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asunción and the city hall.
2. Panama Canal Railway:
This cruise’s first global intercontinental railway, the Panama Canal Railway, is another famous attraction. Relive history by riding on it to travel across the rainforest and Gatun Lake.
3. Soberania National Park’s Aerial Tram:
Home to over a hundred species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, the Soberania National Park is a true paradise for nature lovers. Sit on the aerial tram for a panoramic visual treat of this dense forest.
4. Gatun Locks:
Gatun Locks are the first pair of locks installed on the canal’s Atlantic side. The three chambers of it can raise ships over 85 ft. off the sea level. Make sure to add these locks to your watch list.
5. Costa Rica’s Lake Arenal:
As the cruise reaches Costa Rica, take the chance to see a real volcano. Packed with quaint hills and picturesque sceneries, Lake Arenal is a must-visit. It also offers a host of watersports, like windsurfing and sailboarding.
With this detailed guidebook, you can book a cruise to the Panama Canal any day now! While trans-canal crossing offers a complete voyage, a partial hub lets you enjoy shore life. On the other hand, Faux crossing gives you the taste of shore excursions without a canal tour. Opt for either one of these crossings as per your preference.
For countless options and the best deals, remember to visit boo-a-cruise.com.