Six of Carnival Corporation’s nine cruise lines offer cruises through the ingenious 105-year-old Panama Canal.
As your cruise ship slowly traverses the 50-mile manmade shortcut through the jungle between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, howler monkeys screech in the distance and electric “mules” (locomotives) with ropes guide your ship through a series of locks and gates and across manmade lakes. It is an innovation for the ages, and it is hard not to feel inspired.
Six of Carnival Corporation’s nine cruise line lines offer travelers plenty of options, with more ships sailing through the Panama Canal than any other cruise company. A total of 26 cruise ships from its Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises brands are scheduled to do more than 70 partial or full transits in the 2019-2020 season.
Panama Canal cruises embark from ports in Florida and California, such as Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, as well as from other ports in the U.S., Canada and Europe, in fall, winter (including popular holiday sailings) and spring. Most itineraries are 10 days or more.
Cruise guests can book either a one-way passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific (or vice versa) for what’s known as a full transit; or a round-trip partial crossing from Florida, which lets you experience some of the locks of the canal and beautiful manmade Gatun Lake, a waterway surrounded by rainforest and teaming with wildlife.
In 1967, Princess Cruises was the first cruise line through the Panama Canal, and today it carries more guests through the waterway than any other cruise line – this season with five ships, the line’s largest-ever deployment in the canal.
During the crossing, a Panama Canal expert will be on board your ship doing a narration of history and facts over the PA system.
Itineraries on either side of the Panama Canal vary, but guests have opportunities to enjoy the diverse cultures of Central and South America as well as some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
You might, for instance, zipline through a rainforest while spotting sloths and other wildlife in Costa Rica, hang out on the coral sands and crystal-clear waters of Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, and ogle the flamingoes and others among the 1,900 species of birds at the Colombia National Aviary.