Karrie Williams – Cruise Contributor

You can give yourself the title of world-class cruiser once you have been on a Panama Canal cruise ship.

Indeed a cruise of the world famous Panama Canal changes your perception of what’s possible.

In addition the aura that you’ll experience passing through the Canal is spectacularly captivating and one that you simply must experience.
Here is a little history and features about the Panama Canal.

Picture courtesy of pocruises.com.

The Panama Canal essentially cuts the country of Panama into two and allows
ships to pass between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

In the past, the Panama Canal was owned and operated by the United States of America; however in 1999, the U.S. returned ownership of the Canal to the Panamanian people.

It takes approximately nine hours for a ship to pass through the Panama Canal. Besides a Panama Canal cruise ship, boat tours are also available and can be accessed from Panama City.

The largest ships to pass through the Canal are called Panamax; so named because they are built to the maximum capacity of the Canal. One such ship is the Island Princess.

Currently there is an expansion project underway to widen the Canal that will see some of the world’s largest ships being able to pass through.

Now let’s talk cruises!
A Panama Canal cruise ship brings you in full view of what is arguably earth’s most remarkable man-made wonder.

Your cruise vacation through the Panama Canal is easily accessible as there are several cruise liners that sail to this location on a regular basis.

The standard North American itinerary include departure ports in Canada or the United States, making port of call stops throughout the U.S., Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Columbia. In the case of Princess Cruises, other ports of call may include Aruba, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

Usually a Panama Canal cruise ship sets sail from one port and ends its cruise at another. If you are looking for a round trip cruise, Princess Cruises offer such opportunities from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The following cruise lines offer Panama Canal cruises.
Princess Cruises (Island Princess, Coral Princess), Carnival Cruise Line (Carnival Miracle), Royal Caribbean International (Vision of the Seas), Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl), Celebrity Cruises (Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Century), Windstar, Holland America, Cunard, Crystal, Silversea, Regent and Oceania cruises.

These cruise lines offer varying cruise vacation packages; therefore you need to apply due diligence in researching to see which one suits you best.
As an indicator, the average per person cost for a 15 day Panama Canal cruise is about US$1450.00. This is for accommodation in an interior stateroom. Higher up stateroom categories cost significantly more.

My personal favourite is Princess Cruises, simply because Princess offers a wider variety of ports of call that I like to visit. You may check some upcoming Panama Canal cruises from Princess right here.