Completed nearly 100 years ago, the Panama Canal took more than three decades to build — at a cost of 30,000 lives. Transiting this “path between the seas,” cruise ships move at a snail’s pace, waiting one behind the other to enter the enormous locks that flood with water to raise and lower ships.
Once the water fills the concrete locks, ships progress to the next set of locks. There may be a container ship in front of you, a sailboat behind on your panama cruise.This engineering marvel is best savored from the comfort of a cruise ship. Panama cruises typically run for full 14 days between San Juan and Acapulco. Several cruise lines, however, offer 10-day partial transits to Gatun Lake sailing roundtrip from Florida. Either way is recommended to cruise the panama canal.
The canal is lined in a lush jungle canopy, juxtaposed with the machinery of the locks that raises and lowers the ships making the transit possible. With numerous cruises in panama during the traditional spring and fall repositioning seasons, as well as both full and partial transits, this special passage continues to be an awe-inspiring favorite.
The Panama Canal isn’t just the quickest link between the Atlantic and the Pacific. It’s also among the most beautiful trips you can make anywhere.