The Panama Canal is very interesting - once that is. It's a technological marvel and if you're going to do this cruise would recommend that you pick up a copy of "The Path between the Seas" (don't know the author, read it many years ago. Shore excursions will depend entirely on the cruise you take, but there are many fascinating ones to consider with all the different cultures along the way. I am not a fan ofo hot weather cruising since I live in a hot climate, but the canal is fascinating.
This is the cruise I can go on and on about. We did it on Mercury in late November 2000.
!4 days, 8 sea, 5 ports and the one day transit of the canal. Do get the book recommended above. It is a facinating account of the building of the canal, from the first attempts by the French to completion by the US. Our Port stops included Acapulco. Cabo San Lucas , Costa Rica, Cartegena , Columbia( doubtful that any cruises, even ones scheduled here will make this stop in the near future due to political unrest). Too bad. wonderful place with 500 years of history. Final port stop was Aruba. We found all ports to be different and made the most out of each. I love sea days and the day or two between each port made this our best cruise ever. If you have specific questions please ask.
I am booked on the Infinity for Oct 20 to Nov 3, San Deigo to Fort Lauderdale. Meet me at the pier when I get off of the ship and I'll tell you all about it. Did a partial transit of Gatun Locks in March so we are really looking forward to going through the entire canal. We also chose this cruise because of the ports.
The canal cruise is great. I've done it twice, once in each direction and quite a few years apart (86 and 98). I opted for the longer 14 day ones so you get more sea days, which I enjoy. There are 10 and 11 day cruises. Definitely read up on the canal before you go, the recommended book is excellent. I would do it again, too, as I think it is very interesting and I learned new things the second time. Enjoy! Sue
I am currently on the Infinity as it passed thru the panama canal. The canal experience was wonderful, no question about it. However unless you are an old fart or obese and all you want to do is to eat, sleep and fart like many cruise passengers, this cruise has one major fatal flaw. It is too many days at sea without sufficient stops at islands of interest. Aruba was boring and leave it to Celebrity to pick the island the day the island was closed due to a holiday. They also stopped in puntenarous, Costa Rica, and it was nasty. A dirt poor stop that reeked of animal decaying carasses everywhere. The ship stops there and then charges you an arm and a leg to take a bus ride to one of the beautiful places in Costa Rica. For example the rainforest tour is 9 hours of which 7 were on a bus. That was $90. for a 7 hour bus ride. Kind of expensive.
After we passed thru the PC, we parked overnight in Balboa bay outside Panama City. Now go figure why the ship would not have stopped there for the night so passengers could get off and enjoy another stop.
By the way, on this cruise, celebrity canceled Cabo San Lucas so we have in our 13 dy cruise, only 3 stops.
But then again it depends on what your interest are....
We are cruising on the Mercury on Oct 4, 2002 on the same cruise you wrote about. We have a couple of questions on the dining arrangements. Is the buffet always open and what is the alternative dining we hear about? Do we stay on the ship throughout the canal or is there an excursion of any kind? What were your favorite excursions on your trip? If we are unable to go to Columbia do we go to another stop or is it an added sea day? How was the night time entertainment? This will be our 3rd cruise once with HAL and once with Royal CC how does this compare to them. Any information you have would be appreciated.