Cruise aficianados will know that itineraries don't come much more fascinating than the Panama Canal. Combining beautiful Central American scenery, cosmopolitan ports and a man-made wonder, Panama cruises are a must for the bucket list of any big ship enthusiast. Don't miss your chance to get on board with our Bucket List Sale.
A feat of ship engineering
A cruise through the Panama Canal reveals the incredible lock technology and construction which allows large vessels to pass from sea level, through the Gatun Lake which is 26 metres above sea level, and back to the ocean on the other side. Construction started on the Canal in 1881 and finished in 1914 after a few delays, allowing shipping routes to avoid the hazardous journey on Cape Horn. Nowadays around 15,000 ships pass through every year, carrying both cargo and people.
Panama Canal cruises are quite the experience, and it doesn't stop at the locks. Ships will also sail the beautiful Gatun Lake and pass through narrow waterways surrounded by mountain scenery and Central American jungle. Most lines run exciting shore and small boat tours so passengers can see everything up close. Partial transit and full transit itineraries are available, and both offer amazing vistas and a good look at the impressive engineering that allows the canal to function.
Panama Canal cruises 2015: Lines, ships, itineraries and deals
To access the locks and get through the Canal, a ship must fit Panamax standards. Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, NCL and Celebrity all offer itineraries which include full or partial transits, so there are plentiful options for your 2015 bucket list cruise. Here are a few favourites:
- Princess offer a classic Full Transit Panama Canal cruise, sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles over 15 nights.
- For something a little shorter, get onboard a stately and elegant Holland America vessel for the Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise lasting 10 nights. This is a partial transit during which you will enter Gatun Lake through the locks and see a little of the fabulous scenery. A benefit of this cruise is that it is a round-trip from Fort Lauderdale.
- Cruise the Canal like a star with Celebrity Cruises' 15-night Eastbound Panama Canal cruise, making a full transit and sailing between San Diego and Fort Lauderdale. This cruise incorporates many beautiful Mexican port stops.
- Cruise westwards on the fortnight-long Westbound Panama Canal cruise by Royal Caribbean. Departing San Juan, it is a great way to explore the Caribbean and Mexico - why not plan a few days in Puerto Rico before embarking?
Any cruise through the Panama Canal is a worthy addition to your bucket list. Take advantage of Cruise Sale Finder's Bucket List Sale and find the right one for you in 2015!