Recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World,” a luxury Panama Canal Cruise provides a unique and unforgettable voyage. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-timer, this vacation transports guests in sublime style between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Once onboard you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine, exceptional service and delightful amenities.
Sailings are typically from Florida to the U.S. west coast. Ports of call along the way are in the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as the Mexican Riviera. These unique itineraries feature captivating excursions, natural wonders, remarkable wildlife, regional fare and more.
Luxury Panama Canal cruises are not only fascinating, but offer pampering at the highest level. Most of the luxury lines offer these itineraries on their six-star ships, such as Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Oceania Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Viking Ocean Cruises on its brand new Viking Sun. All boast exquisite spacious accommodations, fine dining, indulgent spas and state-of-the-art fitness centers. In addition, theater productions, lounges with live music, chic bars, relaxing pools and Jacuzzis will make your vacation delightful at every turn.
Typically featured in the fall and spring when ships reposition between the Caribbean and Alaska, Panama Canal voyages are offered one way on what is called a “full transit,” which may be part of a “repositioning” cruise between Alaska and the Caribbean. A highlight is when your cruise ship is “magically” lifted 85 feet above sea level in the locks at the man-made Gatun Lake. A “partial transit” sails round-trip from Florida when the ships also pass through the locks, turn around and return to their port of departure.
Panama Canal Highlights
Discover a myriad of captivating activities on your Panama Canal cruise, from ancient ruins and lush rainforests to remote fishing villages where time stands still. Gather on deck and enjoy the unique experience of the transit. Visit such fascinating destinations as Balboa, Colon and Panama City. Take a shore excursion including a city tour of historic Casco Viejo district. Adventure-seekers can “fly above the trees” on an exhilarating canopy ride on the Gamboa Rain Forest Aerial Tram, through one of Central America’s most famous rainforest canopies.
Highlighting any cruise here is the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Near Panama City you can enjoy bird-watching, hiking, scuba diving, whale watching or simply relaxing on a sun-kissed palm-lined beach. Witness firsthand the rare wildlife of Barro Colorado Island. The coast on either side of the canal’s Caribbean entrance has the remains of colonial fortresses hemmed by the jungle, half a dozen beaches and miles of coral reef. Majestic mountains to the east of the canal boast rare flora and fauna that will intrigue nature-lovers.
See the world-famous “cloud” forests in Costa Rica, including the Monteverde Cloud Forest/Santa Elena Reserve and the Corcovado Conservation Area, home to such endangered species as puma, tapir, poison dart frogs, crocodile, jaguar and marine turtles, plus the largest population of scarlet macaws in Costa Rica and over 400 species of birds. Explore Costa Rica’s Puntarenas volcanic terrain and lush rainforest where you will marvel at every thrilling step.
Well preserved historical sites may include the Mayan Ruins when in Puerto Quetzal, the Antilla shipwreck in Aruba and go shopping in the enticing boutiques in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A favorite shore excursion is “Monkey Watch,” wherein you enter the jungle-covered islands of Lake Gatun. This protected area is home to a host of animals, including Howler and capuchin monkeys, sloths, turtles, bats, several species of colorful macaws, over 1,000 species of birds, including the harpy eagle and hummingbirds.
Adventure travelers, history-buffs, animal-lovers, nature enthusiasts and anyone looking for an amazing vacation will want to experience a luxury Panama Canal cruise.