By The Cruise Web, Inc.
A Panama Canal cruise is equal parts adventure and retreat. Transiting the canal itself is a process that requires patience, giving you time to reflect on the lock system and learn about the history and impact of the canal. When not transiting, the Panama Canal is bordered by exciting ports filled with natural spaces and attractions that will make you feel like an explorer.
Cruise Consultant Raquel G. had the opportunity to experience both the tranquil and the riveting aspects of a Panama Canal cruise.
“It was interesting,” she said. Raquel did a partial transit from Florida, which means her ship didn’t go from coast to coast, but instead went into Lake Gatun, which is the first lock to the Panama Canal on the Caribbean side, then turned around returning to Florida.
As you sail through the locks you can spend a full day onboard watching the ship either rise or lower, depending on whether you are traveling from east to west or vice versa. While in the locks you can enjoy an up close and personal view of the system.
Raquel’s husband got up at 4:30 to watch the ships get in line and to get a close look, but Raquel opted to stay in bed and catch the lock experience later that day when the ship turned around. “The decks were crowded with other guests trying to take photos. I’m glad that we opted to take a balcony so that we had our own private space right on the rail to make taking pictures of the locks very easy.” she added.
During this cruise, Raquel and her husband were able to experience some of the finer things the ship had to offer including an acupuncture treatment in the spa.
Even though they were sailing aboard Celebrity Cruises, a premium cruise line, Raquel thought everything just felt a step above. “It was more like a luxury type cruise,” she exclaimed, adding, “The food was phenomenal!”
Though her favorite memory about her Panama Canal cruise was an excursion in the jungle that was not more than 15 minutes from the canal.
“We were fascinated as our guide Carlos was pointing out the local flora and fauna,” Raquel said.
“While we were paused and the guide was telling a story about the two-toed sloths that are native to Panama, my husband was looking around and taking pictures and happened to glance right over our heads and saw a fuzzy ball. He asked Carlos, ‘Is that a sloth?’ and Carlos looked up and got very excited. ‘Yes, it is! You rarely see them right here on the trail!’ We would have loved to get photos of his face, but apparently the little guy was asleep, so we have a picture of a fuzzy ball in the leaves. It was just funny that my husband found it and not Carlos!”
She also recalls an exciting adventure going white water rafting in Costa Rica. She enjoyed beautiful views going though the jungles and banana fields on the island nation.
“In Puerto Limon there was a really cool open-air market,” she noted. At the market she remembered they were selling lots of wooden and leather goods made by the locals. They also had amazing displays of colorful mounted butterflies and other intricate insects local to the rainforest.
More Exciting Panama Canal Excursions
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
- Visit a coffee plantation
- Hike up the Pacaya Volcano
- Learn about the Emeralds found in Columbia and possibly make your own emerald jewelry
- Watch a show of the five folk dances of Columbia
- Visit an ostrich farm and get a chance to feed these exotic birds
- Explore the Hato Caves and the island’s floating markets