I have been to the Panama Canal 2 times. Both times I did something different. If you go with Holland America, take a tour excursion somewhere does not matter where. All the ship does is go through 1 set of locks anchors off shore and you must pay to go ashore. There is NOTHING to see or do anywhere near where they bring you ashore. If you go with Carnival, they have many different options and you do dock. We took the ocean to ocean excursion and really enjoyed seeing the Canal.
On our trip with Holland America, some of the passengers did do the Village excursion and said they liked it.