Situated in the country of Panama in Central America
is the Panama Canal - a manmade waterway connecting
the great oceans of the Pacific and the Atlantic
together. It is 80 kilometers in length and is wide
enough to accommodate a whole host of ocean-going
vessels, including Panama cruise ships. The Panama
canal marks the only point at which the landmass
of the North American continent and South American
continent are physically separated from each other
- a fact that distinguishes the canal as a true
wonder of the 20th century engineering world.
The Panama Canal was initially designed to cut
travel time for vessels that needed to cross
between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans.
It first opened its commercial doors on 15 August,
1914 and is now used by more than thirteen
thousand vessels each year. Along the canal's
length are three sets of locks. The locks act as
water elevators, enabling vessels to traverse
upslope/downslope across the canal terrain.
A Panama cruise takes in the full length of this
magnificent canal, revealing some awe-inspiring
views of an incredible feat of engineering, as
well as offering a tantalizing selection of
tour options along the canal. These include
sailing or kayaking on Gatun Lake, through which
the canal passes. Visitors can also book a tour
of the Panama Canal railroad, which takes in
dramatic views of the canal itself and the Central
Vibrant Panama City with its eclectic mix of
architecture, people and culture is an essential
excursion to take while on a Panama cruise. The
historical district of Casco Viejo is well worth a
visit, if only to see the remnants of the 17th
century Spanish fortifications there. For
sports-minded cruisers there is a world-class
golf course located just 20-minutes away from
Panama cruises depart from many of the coastal
seaports around the U.S. The most popular cruise
routes are one-way cruises departing from one
port on the Atlantic or Pacific side and ending
at a U.S. port on the opposite coast. Round-trip
cruises are available too. These provide passengers
with more 'at sea' time, and use the Panama Canal
as the furthest destination point on the cruise.
Whether one-way or round-trip, Panama cruises
incorporate other stops en-route to the Panama Canal
and are often of between 10-20 nights in duration.
A typical 12-night round-trip Panama cruise itinerary
departing from Florida includes calls at Mexico,
Jamaica, Costa Rica and Columbia as well as taking
in the entire length of the Panama Canal. With so
much variety on offer, its no wonder a Panama Cruise
is top of the vacation wish list of many an American!
John Metcalfe is the author and web publisher of A to Z Cruises your #1
for cruise information, discounts and great deals! Visit
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