Panama Canal Cruises: Cross America
The Panama Canal is not a cruise port, but a waterway through which cruise ships, leisure boats and commercial shipping pass. It was built as a way for ships to cross the continent of America (comprising North, Central and South America) without having to round Cape Horn. A series of impressive locks allow ships to pass through the multiple levels of the canal and Gatun Lake, and it takes ships 8-10 hours to make the transit.
The scenery surrounding the Canal is wonderful, and the locks make an impressive sight also! At the Caribbean side of the Canal is the port of Colon, a city which is the gateway to the incredible Miraflores Locks. It is not a particularly safe city to walk around, but the two cruise docks have secure and good shopping facilities and eateries. On the Gulf of Panama side of the canal is Panama City, where ships dock at Fuerte Amador. The city is surrounded by tropical rainforest.
The Cruises: Who Goes Through the Canal?
Plenty of cruise lines offer cruises which pass through the canal. Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean ships are a very common sight in the Caribbean and run various itineraries which go through the canal. Azamara Club offers a bit of luxury to an intrepid Panama Canal cruiser.
The majority of Panama Canal cruises begin in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and explore the Caribbean a bit before passing through the canal and heading up the west coast of Central and Northern America to Los Angeles. There are also World Cruises which pass through the canal, and some Caribbean explorer itineraries which explore the canal and its scenery without passing through it completely to the other side, or which pass through and head south down the coast of South America.
Cruise Sale Finder has great prices and deals on a wide range of Panama Canal cruises. The site makes it easy to search for and book any particular itinerary.