Choosing a Cruise
There are several voyages to the Panama Canal each year. Choosing the right tour can depend on a series of things, including the ship, the season, the cost, the length and the itinerary. There are several websites available where you can compare the various categories and what matters most to you.
Consider the carrier that best suits your style and occasion. There are casual vessels with easygoing accommodations and there are lavish ocean liners with six-star luxury benefits. Most ships offer services somewhere between the two.
The cruise season to the Panama Canal is from October through May. The best time to tour the canal is after the November rains. The climate is perfect then, with temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit.
Cruise fares vary according to the accommodations, the length of the trip and the cruise line itself. Depending on the voyage, you can find a Panama Canal cruise for as low as $599 per person. Some cruise lines offer deep discounts to fill the ship.
Length of Cruise
There are several itineraries available each season. You can take a seven-day cruise or an extended 21- or 28-day cruise. However, the most popular cruises run between 10 and 14 days.
The itinerary will primarily depend on the length of your cruise combined with the port of departure. East Coast departures will most likely make stops in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, ending in Southern California. A West Coast departure will take the same route only in reverse, landing in Florida. There are some extended cruises that go to Seattle and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia.