In a months time we sail with the Liberty to the Panama Canal.
For the ones who already travelled to the PC, what are the options for tours.
Is it possible to rent a car and make our own tour? Could this be dangerous?
Is it possible to book a tour through the locks and Gatun lake ourselves?
I really have no clue how the conditions are at Colon. We are a company of 8 -15, maybe more.
Any info is welcome.
__________________ A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
We just returned from the Liberty and did the Panama Canal tour thru the ship. We ran into some ladies as we were leaving Panama who thought we were going to "now" go thru the canal. The did not believe us when we informed them we were not. They actuallly got mad at us!
I know the tour is expensive at $175/pp but we paid for it months in advance online thru the website so it didn't hurt as much. Just our opinion, it was a wonderful excursion. Yes it is a long bus ride, suppose to take 1 hour but we hit some traffic. Once there we boarded a 3 story ferry a bathrooms. Try to be on one of the first buses so you can get a good spot on the ferry. We had almost 500 ppl on this excursion.
We went thru 2 locks and our view and perspective are totally different than if you were on a cruise ship. We were down in the locks and raised 28" once then 31" the next time. We could touch the walls and watch the water rush in as were were raised. A totally awesome experience. We also saw a huge cargo ship on the opposite side going thru the locks.
Lunch consisted of 2 slices of turkey on a huge roll, a muffin and all the soda and water you wanted. Beer was $2. Others brought food with them. We have a great picture of us having lunch cruising down the Panama Canal! Because we were running late, we barely had time for shopping. Bring a rain poncho just in case. We experience rain for about 1 hour.
We saw many "solders" with machine guns on the streets on our way to the Canal so I don't know how safe it would be to do this on your own. We always book thru the ships because we have seen too many people left behind. On this trip alone, we had one 84 y/o lady left behind in Costa Rica. She was shopping and her watch was on the wrong time. She had to fly back to Ft Lauderdale because her passport was on the ship. Her 88 y/o was so upset. Another couple took care of him the rest of the trip. Then in Costa Maya, another elderly lady was left behind shipping and she had her husband's wallet with her.
Hope this info is helpful.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
My family leaves Friday for the Canal on RCI Brilliance. From what Ive been reading on here, the area is not very safe to go off on your own (same with Costa Rica if youre going there). Some of the tours wont even go into the big cities due to safety issues. I dont know what tours are offered through your cruise line, but I booked our tours on RCI website. They have a description of all the tours they offer.
Your best bet is to book something though the ship. I found that sometimes they are cheaper then doing it on your own, plus if you go through the ship, if for some reason the tour gets delayed they will be sure you get back on the ship (even if they have to fly you somewhere) and you can get a refund easily (if cancelled).
If youve never been through the canal and your ship doest go all the way through , check out the train tour if offered. Its long, but worth it from what Ive heard. The train runs alongside the canal.
We did the Legend two years ago We rented a car from hertz and they gave us a map to get to the canal . It was like a 20 minute drive from the rental place. We made a wrong turn and asked someone . They told us where to turn and they where right on , There is not problem there at all and you are really up close when the ship comes thru. There are sheletered grand stand there so you are not in the sun
Also the white water rafting in Costa Rica was the best