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Best Time for Panama Canal Cruises
By Sharon
Pushed April 23, 2017
Best Time for Panama Canal Cruises
Best Time for Panama Canal Cruises
Situated in the country of Panama in Central America is the Panama Canal - a man-made waterway connecting the great oceans of the Pacific and the Atlantic together. It is 49.7 mil / 80 km in length and is wide enough to accommodate a whole host of ocean-going vessels, including Panama cruise ships. The Panama canal marks the only point at which the landmass of the North American continent and South American continent are physically separated from each other - a fact that distinguishes the canal as a true wonder of the 20th-century engineering world.Whether you have never yet been on a cruise before, or whether you are cruise junkie, you need to take a cruise to Panama. There are few people on this planet who would not enjoy a Panama cruise.

The Panama Canal was initially designed to cut travel time for vessels that needed to cross between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. It first opened its commercial doors on 15 August 1914 and is now used by more than thirteen thousand vessels each year. Along the canal's length are three sets of locks. The locks act as 
water elevators, enabling vessels to traverse upslope/downslope across the canal terrain.

A Panama cruise takes in the full length of this magnificent canal, revealing some awe-inspiring views of an incredible feat of engineering, as well as offering a tantalizing selection of tour options along the canal. These include sailing or kayaking on Gatun Lake, through which the canal passes. Visitors can also book a tour of the Panama Canal railroad, which takes in dramatic views of the canal itself and the Central American rainforests.

Vibrant Panama City with its eclectic mix of architecture, people and culture is an essential excursion to take while on a Panama cruise. The historical district of Casco Viejo is well worth a visit if only to see the remnants of the 17th-century Spanish fortifications there. For sports-minded cruisers, there is a world-class golf course located just 20-minutes away from Panama City.

Panama cruises depart from many of the coastal seaports around the U.S. Anyone leaving from an eastern port such as Miami or Fort Lauderdale will typically visit one or two destinations in the Caribbean before entering the canal at Colon, drifting through the countryside to Panama City and then traveling up the western coasts of Central America, Mexico and the U.S. until reaching the end of the journey in places such as San Diego before flying home. Many cruisers consider a Panama Canal transit a bucket-list item, and for a long time, the itineraries drew mostly seniors, due to the length of a full-transit trip (which usually runs 14 days). Partial transits -- where the cruises only go halfway through the locks before turning around. 


People leaving from the west coast of the U.S. will simply do the opposite, although they are more likely to visit extra destinations on the western coasts of Mexico and Central America than anything in the Caribbean.

The most popular cruise routes are one-way cruises departing from one port on the Atlantic or Pacific side and ending at a U.S. port on the opposite coast. Round-trip cruises are available too. These provide passengers with more 'at sea' time and use the Panama Canal as the furthest destination point on the cruise.

Best Months To Go 
Panama has two seasons, the dry season (January to mid-April) and the rainy season (mid-April to December). It is best to keep these seasons in mind when planning your trip. I would also advise taking a small traveling umbrella just in case. They don't call it the rain forest for anything! Temperatures are around 80-90 F (25-30 C) and are fairly consistent year-round, although nights are usually cooler. The equatorial sun is intense in Panama and care should be taken to use sunscreen. You may even got a sunburn sitting under the canopy on the beach.

The Panama Canal cruise season usually lasts from October through April. But the best months to go are December and later. A cruise in October or November has a higher chance of heavy rains.

To find the best Panama cruise for you, it is best to talk with a travel agent. A travel agent will help you find exactly which cruise line fits your personality (and age) best. A travel agent will help you make sure that your Panama cruise hits all the destinations that you want to see, starts when and where you want it to, and is as long as you want it.

Life is in the journey, and that seems to be one of the themes of Panama cruises - the destination is perfect, but the journey of getting there is just as good.


Partial Crossing: On partial crossings, the ship doesn't actually cross the entire canal. Instead, the ship crosses through one lock, then lets passengers off in the town of Gamboa, along with the canal. From there, passengers can enjoy a myriad of shore excursions and take insights they otherwise wouldn't see on a daylong crossing. For those who still want to see the full canal, including Gaillard Cut, the Centennial Bridge and the Bridge of the Americas, excursions are available that will take you out in a smaller boat. This option is good for cruisers who want a taste of the canal, but who also want to see part of Panama, as most partial transit itineraries also stop at Colon. Because most partial transit cruises leave from Florida, other ports usually include islands in the Southern or Western Caribbean and Cartagena, Colombia.

Faux Crossing: Some lines offer the same "partial crossing" shore excursions without entering the canal at all; instead, ships dock for a day at the Caribbean entrance to the canal, at Colon, Panama. Look for Caribbean or Central America itineraries that call on Colon, and check the shore excursion offerings closely.

Whether one-way or round-trip, Panama cruises incorporate other stops en-route to the Panama Canal and are often of between 10-20 nights in duration. A typical 12-night round-trip Panama cruise itinerary departing from Florida includes calls at Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Columbia as well as taking in the entire length of the Panama Canal. With so much variety on offer, it's no wonder a Panama Cruise is top of the vacation wish list of many savvy cruisers!

Repositioning Cruises Panama Canal cruise ships transition infographics

 The Republic of Panama official website VisitPanama.com. Repositioning Panama Canal Cruises offer the best deals.

Repositioning Panama Canal cruises -2018-2019 schedule

Cruise Ships

cruise lines (links)

Spring 2019 SummerFall 2017 WinterSpring 2018 SummerFall 2018 Winter
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival MiracleJan 13 – 14day from Los Angeles to Tampa
Carnival SplendorJan 14 – 13day from Miami to Los Angeles
Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity InfinityOct 9 – 15day from Los Angeles to Fort LauderdaleMay 2 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to San DiegoSept 9 – 15day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale
Cunard
Queen Elizabeth 

Jan 17 19day from New York City to San Francisco CA

Queen Victoria 

 

 

Disney Cruise Lines
Disney Wonder 

Oct 27 – 14day from San Diego to Galveston TexasApr 8 – 14day from Port Canaveral to San Diego
Holland America
Amsterdam 

Dec 20 – 15day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Jan 4 – 28day from Fort Lauderdale to Auckland

May 10 – 17day from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle

EurodamOct 17 – 19day from Vancouver to Fort LauderdaleApr 18 – 17day from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco (19day to Vancouver BC, 20day to Seattle WA)
MaasdamSept 13 – 14day from Fort Lauderdale to San DiegoApr 22 – 20day from San Diego to Boston
Nieuw AmsterdamSept 30 – 21day from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale

Oct 5 – 16day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Apr 14 – 17day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (21day to Vancouver Canada)
OosterdamOct 21 – 14day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Nov 17 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

Mar 4 – 15day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale
WesterdamNov 8 – 16day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

Dec 8 – 14day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Jan 5 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

Jan 20 – 15day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Feb 4 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

Mar 9 – 15day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale

Mar 24 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

Zaandam 

Mar 17 – 16day from Valparaiso-Santiago to Fort Lauderdale

Apr 14 – 17day from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian BlissMar 30 – 15day from Miami to Los AngelesMay 10 – 15day from Miami to Los AngelesNov 3 – 14day from Los Angeles to Miami
Norwegian PearlOct 7 – 14day from Los Angeles to New OrleansApr 8 – 21day from New Orleans to Seattle WAOct 20 – 15day from Los Angeles to Tampa
Norwegian Star 

Dec 1 – 14day from Miami to Los AngelesApr 8 – 14day from Los Angeles to MiamiNov 30 – 14day from Miami to Los Angeles
Norwegian Sun 

Oct 5 – 15day from San Francisco to MiamiMar 16 – 15day from Miami to Los AngelesOct 4 – 15day from San Francisco to Miami

 

P&O Cruises (UK, Australia)
Aurora 

Princess Cruises
Coral PrincessSept 27 – 15day from Los Angeles to Fort LauderdaleApr 20 – 15day from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
Island Princess
Pacific Princess 

Jan 5 – 17day from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles 

CMV Cruise And Maritime Voyages
Astor 

Oct 15 – 42day Transatlantic& Panama Canal (from London to Auckland New Zealand (54day to Fremantle Australia)

Know that with time prices on Panama Canal repositioning cruise deals usually go down with time. Still, the economic law of “Supply And Demand” will always rule – cruise lines will price their deals and cabin categories accordingly. So good luck with those, and happy Panama Canal “reposition” vacations!






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