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Old April 24th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Default panama canal newbie questions

We are considering a Panama Canal cruise in 2009..I would like some weather/climate info, best time of year to go, recommendations, etc...I think we want to do one with full transit..pros & cons?

thanks so much!

P.S. We live in Michigan & are in our early 50's
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Old April 24th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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I would do a Panama Canal between the late fall and winter seasons. You will have the best weather during that time.

I STRONGLY suggest doing a full transit of the canal. It is a wonder to see and just sailing into Gatun Lake and going back out does not give you the full experience.

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Mike
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:53 PM
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Default Panama Canal

Suggest you go after hurricane season, from November through Spring. Even in the winter it's hot and muggy in the canal so no one spends much time on deck (I suggest running for a lounge with window and staking out a seat early so you can sit in the air conditioning).

A 14-day itinerary lots of days at sea, if that's what you want. Once you're in the Pacific Ocean there isn't much to see. Of course airfare is higher than making a round-trip flight.

I personally love ten-day Partial transit of the canal, sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale. Ships go to Gatun Lake (the largest of the man-made lakes in the canal) and you can go ashore in Panama (I loved the hike in the rain forest). Then the ship turns around and returns to the Caribbean.

I had a fabulous cruise with Princess (I did both Island Princess and her sister ship, Ocean Princess).
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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:50 PM
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I've done the Coral Princess 4 times, the Island once and will be doing the Island again this November 6 - all of these were the 10 day round trip (one with Mike on the Island - that was a Halloween cruise). Late October, early November or April is my preferred time - Fall is less expensive (not spring break time). Also did one on the former Crown Princess San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale. The Coral and Island are the sister ships and I'd recommend either. One of the best locations is the middle bump out area on Caribe deck (502 area) - larger balcony ... 1/2 shaded and 1/2 sunny and much more privacy than other areas.

Much prefer the 10 day trips - saves that long flight.

There's one outstanding shore excursion that you take on a ferry which takes you through the other two locks and all the way over to the Pacific Coast so you see the entire Canal. Gives you a whole new perspective of the Canal from a little boat's angle. You also get a sub, fruit, soft drinks and water ... and can buy beer.

Do NOT take the train trip ... it goes so fast you can't even take pix. Lots of bus riding on both ends - and 2 pic opportunities. One from a little stand you can walk up and look down on the Miraflores Locks and the other one several miles from Panama City (bring your telephoto lens cuz that's the closest you get to it) - you also get snacks - plantains, fritos, etc. and can buy beer.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for everyone's input so far..

When you live in Michigan, you are going to have to fly quite a distance to get to any port, and Southwest has good prices on one way flights.

We've been to Alaska 3 times & the first time you go, I don't think you can pick a bad trip...Now when we think about going we are more picky about ports, times, etc..

It sounds like maybe this region is the same...

So, is January or February a good time to go?
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Old April 26th, 2008, 11:01 PM
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January and February are fine to go ... only thing is it's the height of the cruising season so you'll pay quite a bit more. I suggest you go to AAA and pick up some brochures for the various lines that go to the Canal. You do not have to be a member of AAA to take advantage of this service - plus it makes the trip more fun to plan.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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we did a full canal transit in January and it was fantastic.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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CruzNut,
Just FYI, I'm finding it very hard to read your posts. The bright blue oversized text just makes my head swim.
Cheers,
Marty
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