Monday, January 07, 2013

Cruising the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is an international waterway that that was built to shorten the distance that ships had to travel to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  A cruise through this world-famous canal offers up cultural, ecological and engineering wonders found nowhere else in the world!

Cruisers have two choices when selecting a Panama Canal itinerary. The first is the traditional, trans-canal experience. It takes a day to traverse the 50 miles of locks along the Canal. This is a full crossing, meaning that guests will actually cross from one ocean to the other.

The other option is a ""partial crossings,"" in which the ship enters the Canal, but never crosses to the other side. Partial transits are typically from the Atlantic side, and involve going up the set of Gatun locks, into Gatun Lake, then turning around and returning to the Atlantic side.

The Panama Canal cruise season is a short one, typically a couple of months in the spring, then again in the fall. The majority of these cruises sail between Fort Lauderdale or Miami and San Diego or Los Angeles.  Itineraries vary in length and ports-of-call, but ports are generally concentrated in Mexico and Central America.  If you're looking for a different type of cruise, a Panama Canal cruise is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

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