We did this cruise same direction over one year ago. It was one of the best we have been on and we really enjoyed the Spirit. As for the canal. You cannot get off the ship during the passage, but enjoy the view from your balconey it's great! As for other ports...P.V. has a lot to do for the one day stop. Snorkling at Los Arcos or the new "rain forest" adventures for the more "fit".... shopping in the downtown, lying on the beach at one of the nearby hotels....lots to do. Ixtapa... Zia is one of our favorites just a wonderful leasure day in a most beautiful setting. Acupulco... join with a couple or two and hire your own van and guide... they are wonderful and you'll see all the highlights. The old town in right near the dock for the adventuresome. Puntarenas... at the end of the pier you can hire your own guide and head out for the volcanoes... the rain forest ... rafting or whatever. When you go into the highlands of the interior it is gorgeous (you may want to just stay in Costa Rica), but get out of Puntarenas and see the country... it's beautiful away from the docks. The passage through the docks is fascinating and the sun is ready to burn those who aren't careful as you are very close to the equator. Wish Panama City was on the itinerary but you can see it as you enter the canal zone. Cartenega is a wonderful magical city seeming sitting right on the water. Be sure and visit old town area very interesting. There are a lot of street hawkers, but you can get a great guide (taxi or van) right at a wonderful terminal at the end of the docks. We also really enjoyed the days at sea on this cruise... just a nice mix, though would have liked maybe one more caribean port to visit. We had a tropical storm in the Pacific and a hurricane in the Carribean, but the ship handled both wonderfully and even my wife who gets seasick easily was confortable in all sea conditions (65 knot winds and 12 foot + seas failed to effect our comfort on this cruise.) Hope you enjoy as much as we did and that this helps.