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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:23 AM
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Default Panama Canal Cruise: Full or partial? HELP!

I'm seriously considering taking a group on Coral Princese which is a partial transient one. Any advice would be apprecaited. After reading all teh engaitves re. Colon Panama, I would appreciate any first hand knowledge on what to do there; private tours operators to use, etc.
Many of my people have purchased "Future cruise credit which gives them $150. shpboard credit; that's why I'm favouring Princess line, plus a partial 10 day Panama cruise is a lot more reasonable for air than a 14 day one. Will I regret it? Thanks for any light you can give me on this subject.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Panama Canal Cruise: Full or partial? HELP!

mariburr,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I'm seriously considering taking a group on Coral Princese which is a partial transient one. Any advice would be apprecaited. After reading all teh engaitves re. Colon Panama, I would appreciate any first hand knowledge on what to do there; private tours operators to use, etc.
Many of my people have purchased "Future cruise credit which gives them $150. shpboard credit; that's why I'm favouring Princess line, plus a partial 10 day Panama cruise is a lot more reasonable for air than a 14 day one. Will I regret it? Thanks for any light you can give me on this subject.
I think that you would be better off with a full transit. The partial transit actually goes through one set of locks into Gatun Lake, where it turns around to return to the Caribbean. That set of locks is actually in a river, so you don't get to see any of the real canal, which extends from the other side of Gatun Lake to the Gulf of Panama on the Pacific Ocean. The scenery along the actual canal is quite interesting and the Bridge of the Americas at the eastern (Pacific) end is quite impressive.

BTW, the last sentence in the previous paragraph is NOT a typo. The geography plays tricks on you, but the eastern end of the Panama Canal is on the Pacific and the western terminus is on the Caribbean.

If you are looking for a great Panama Canal itinerary on a "premium" cruise line, Celebrity offers some of the best "Panama Canal" itineraries that I have seen. Celebrity's itineraries operate between Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and either San Diego or Los Angeles with ports of call along the Mexican Riviera and in the Caribbean.

Norm.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Panama Canal Cruise: Full or partial? HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
mariburr,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I'm seriously considering taking a group on Coral Princese which is a partial transient one. Any advice would be apprecaited. After reading all teh engaitves re. Colon Panama, I would appreciate any first hand knowledge on what to do there; private tours operators to use, etc.
Many of my people have purchased "Future cruise credit which gives them $150. shpboard credit; that's why I'm favouring Princess line, plus a partial 10 day Panama cruise is a lot more reasonable for air than a 14 day one. Will I regret it? Thanks for any light you can give me on this subject.
I think that you would be better off with a full transit. The partial transit actually goes through one set of locks into Gatun Lake, where it turns around to return to the Caribbean. That set of locks is actually in a river, so you don't get to see any of the real canal, which extends from the other side of Gatun Lake to the Gulf of Panama on the Pacific Ocean. The scenery along the actual canal is quite interesting and the Bridge of the Americas at the eastern (Pacific) end is quite impressive.

BTW, the last sentence in the previous paragraph is NOT a typo. The geography plays tricks on you, but the eastern end of the Panama Canal is on the Pacific and the [i]western terminus is no the Caribbean.

If you are looking for a great Panama Canal itinerary on a "premium" cruise line, Celebrity offers some of the best "Panama Canal" itineraries that I have seen. Celebrity's itineraries operate between Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and either San Diego or Los Angeles with ports of call along the Mexican Riviera and in the Caribbean.

Norm.


Thanks Norm; I reallly appreciated your input.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 01:59 PM
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I agree 100% with Norm. I have done a partial transit, full transit, and dock at Colon only cruises (all on Celebrity BTW). The full transit was by far the most interesting and thrilling, and as Norm said, you would miss all of the actual Canal with a partial transit (unless you go on a boat tour through the entire Canal). I understand your extra costs concerns, but this may be your only chance to see the Canal.

If you decide to stay with your preliminary plans of a cruise to Colon with a partial transit, there are several interesting tours available (at least there was when we were there). A couple popular ones are the Ocean to Ocean Train Tour, and a boat tour of the entire Canal. We did the Train Tour, which was very good, but this visit was a couple years after we did the full transit so seeing the Canal from the water was not important (we wanted to see more of the Country).
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sptrout
I agree 100% with Norm. I have done a partial transit, full transit, and dock at Colon only cruises (all on Celebrity BTW). The full transit was by far the most interesting and thrilling, and as Norm said, you would miss all of the actual Canal with a partial transit (unless you go on a boat tour through the entire Canal). I understand your extra costs concerns, but this may be your only chance to see the Canal.

If you decide to stay with your preliminary plans of a cruise to Colon with a partial transit, there are several interesting tours available (at least there was when we were there). A couple popular ones are the Ocean to Ocean Train Tour, and a boat tour of the entire Canal. We did the Train Tour, which was very good, but this visit was a couple years after we did the full transit so seeing the Canal from the water was not important (we wanted to see more of the Country).
Thanks; because of kind and thoughtful people like Norm and yourself who took the time to email me advice, I am now beginning to change my mind to the full transit cruise.
As for the boat tour of the Canal; can you do this privately (with whom) or did you do it through the ship excursion office? Thanks again for taking the time to advise me.
Marilyn
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 01:03 AM
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Marilyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Thanks; because of kind and thoughtful people like Norm and yourself who took the time to email me advice, I am now beginning to change my mind to the full transit cruise.
As for the boat tour of the Canal; can you do this privately (with whom) or did you do it through the ship excursion office? Thanks again for taking the time to advise me.
On a full transit cruise, you don't book that excursion at all because the ship itself takes you there as part of the transit, included in your cruise fare. And you actually have a better view of the locking operations, etc., from the ship, which is taller than the locks, than from a substantially lower tour boat that sits beween the walls of the locking chambers.

But it's always best to book any shore excursion that goes any distance from a port of call through the ship. That way, the cruise line handles arrangements to get you back aboard the ship if the excursion cannot return to the port of call before the ship's scheduled departure. This may mean that the ship waits until the excursion returns, that the ship meets the excursion in an alternate loction, or, in an extreme situation, that the cruise line arranges and provides transportation to the next port of call and accommodations until the ship gets there.

Norm.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Marilyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Thanks; because of kind and thoughtful people like Norm and yourself who took the time to email me advice, I am now beginning to change my mind to the full transit cruise.
As for the boat tour of the Canal; can you do this privately (with whom) or did you do it through the ship excursion office? Thanks again for taking the time to advise me.
On a full transit cruise, you don't book that excursion at all because the ship itself takes you there as part of the transit, included in your cruise fare. And you actually have a better view of the locking operations, etc., from the ship, which is taller than the locks, than from a substantially lower tour boat that sits beween the walls of the locking chambers.

But it's always best to book any shore excursion that goes any distance from a port of call through the ship. That way, the cruise line handles arrangements to get you back aboard the ship if the excursion cannot return to the port of call before the ship's scheduled departure. This may mean that the ship waits until the excursion returns, that the ship meets the excursion in an alternate loction, or, in an extreme situation, that the cruise line arranges and provides transportation to the next port of call and accommodations until the ship gets there.

Norm.
Thanks again for the info; very good points.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Again, I agree 100% with Norm. With a full transit, sit back and enjoy the ride, but I believe that there are some tours available when the ship reaches Gatun Lake. (That comment is based on things that I have read not actual firsthand knowledge.)

In any case, the two tours I mentioned are typically only available thought the ship. I personally would not want to go off by myself, especially in Colon.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 01:33 PM
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sptrout,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Again, I agree 100% with Norm. With a full transit, sit back and enjoy the ride, but I believe that there are some tours available when the ship reaches Gatun Lake. (That comment is based on things that I have read not actual firsthand knowledge.)
Rather, many ships now stop at either Colon (Caribbean side) or Fuerte Amador (Pacific side) for a few hours after the transit, and there are some tours available during these ports of call. Unfortunately, these ports of call occur during the dinner hours.

Norm.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Rather, many ships now stop at either Colon (Caribbean side) or Fuerte Amador (Pacific side) for a few hours after the transit, and there are some tours available during these ports of call. Unfortunately, these ports of call occur during the dinner hours.

Norm.[/quote]

Thanks Norm,

It has been 2 years since our last visit and I thought somethings had changed.

Steve
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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:55 AM
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I agree that it is probably better if you can take the full transit cruise so that you can see all of the locks. I just got back a few weeks ago from the Partial Transit on the Coral Princess with my family and really enjoyed it and are planning to do a Full Transit in the future.

Because we only did the Partial Transit we did book through the cruise lines the boat tour through the entire canal and did really enjoy the tour.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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After discussing full or partial with my friends, they said to be sure to do the full transit. That said, hubby and I are taking the Crystal Symphony this November throught the canal. If you have never sailed Crystal, it is absolutely wonderful. They treat you like royalty and the food quality is better, too. All rooms have a tub and two sinks in the bathroom. I highly recommend Crystal.
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