Linking the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal provides one of the most unforgettable cruising experiences. More than 10 years were needed to complete canal's 51 miles in 1914 and thus to avoid the lengthy and dangerous cruise around Cape Horn. The ships are lifted by 'The Big Ditch' through a fascinating feat of mechanics that is aided by onshore 'mule' locomotives via 3 great locks, traversing artificial lakes, channels blasted through rock, and dense jungle. This unique narrow waterway has become a route between oceans for seabirds like cormorants and pelicans, as well as ships.
The Panama Canal was a culmination of a dream that begins in 1513 with Spanish conquistador Balboa who was the first European to travel the 43 mile wide isthmus. In 1880 the French Canal company started construction of Panama Canal but, plagued by financial burdens, engineering problems and disease, sold its rights to the United States for US$40 million, with a loss of US$240 million. The US began construction in 1904. The monumental project was completed in 10 years at a cost of nearly US$387 million. Currently the United States still oversee operations of the canal, though it signed a treaty during the late 1970s to transfer it back to Panama by the 21st century.
Although many cruise lines already feature Panama Canal on their itineraries, such as Holland America, Disney, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, among others, they are restricted to using their smaller ships. The expansion will allow for larger cruise ships to traverse canal's 49-mile stretch, though height restrictions because of the Bridge of the Americas still limit the size of the vessels. Princess Cruises currently offers sailings on the 2,214-passenger Island Princess and 1,970-passenger Coral Princess on the Panama Canal. The expansion will allow the line to sail the 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess, launched in 2004, on the canal.
The canal operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 35 to 40 ships are expected to pass through every day. Each trip takes about eight to 10 hours.
Panama Canal alternatives for ship crossings between Atlantic and Pacific oceans are the Strait of Magellan (between South America and Antarctca) and the Northwest Passage (in the Canadian Arctic territories).
Highlights: Gatun Lake, giant locks, Gaillard Cut
Panama Canal cruise terminal
A complete Panama canal transit is comprised of sailing through 3 sets of locks. Gatun Locks are located on the Caribbean side of Continental Divide while Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks are situated on the Pacific side. Vessels transiting the canal are being raised and lowered 85 ft in this 3-lock system. Other special highlights of Panama canal are the Gaillard cut and Gatun Lake. Gatun Lake is among the largest man-made lakes in the world covering 163 sq.miles. Gaillard Cut is 8 miles long channel built through solid rock that was the most difficult excavation in canal construction.
The new Panama Canal locks were officially inaugurated on June 26, 2016 following the completion of a 9-year USD 5,2 billion construction project. Originally scheduled for completion October 2014, a hundred years after it first opened, the expansion of the canal will provide an additional lane of traffic through construction of two new locks, each with three slots, this way doubling the capacity of the waterway.
The Panama Canal cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Panama Canal.
If you lose the Panama Canal location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
Port Panama Canal cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Panama Canal. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|Day||Ships in port|
5 March, 2017
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28 March, 2017
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