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Panama Canal Cruises

 
There are two ways to cruise the Panama Canal, either by full transit or partial transit.
 


 
 
A full transit would be offered on a one-way itinerary that begins on one side of the canal and ends on the other. For instance, your cruise may depart from Acapulco, Mexico and end in San Juan, Puerto Rica. 

Full transit offers a daylong passage through the entire 82 kilometer (51 miles) long canal and each of its system of locks. Partial transit enters and exit the canal from the same direction, usually the Caribbean side, and therefore pass through the same set of locks twice. In the center of the canal there is a large natural lake, Gatun Lake, in which the ship can turn around amidst some of Panama's most beautiful scenery. Partial transits typically depart from Fort Lauderdale and offer the convenience of a round trip itinerary.


The actual transit of the Panama Canal typically begins the evening before the scheduled transit, when your cruise ship must get "in line" behind dozens and dozens of freighter tankers and any other boats or ship waiting to take their turn to enter the massive locks of the Panama Canal. Once your ship is cleared to enter, you'll be amazed at the precision and physics involved in raising and lowering a 100,000 ton cruise ship as the Panama Canal does.


Panama Canal Cruises are offered only during the winter months from November through April and are generally a minimum of 10 nights up to 14 nights in length. Panama Canal Cruises are also offered once in the spring from east to west, and again once in the autumn from west to east, by almost every cruise line as ships are moved from the Caribbean to Alaska for the summer. These repositioning cruises are a tremendous value for travelers available on those specific dates. Some repositioning voyages can take as long as three weeks and are sold in segments, of which one will be the Panama Canal portion.
 
 

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