The Panama Canal is a great cruise to go on but with now two canals to choose from which is the best Panama Canal cruise to go on the old or the new?
Once an upon a time only smaller cruise ships could only transit through the Panama Canal and then they built a bigger canal.
Now bigger cruise ships can transit through the new Panamax Canal.
New Panama Canal
The new Panama Canal took 11 years to build and was built for larger container ships to transit. Helping the trade route get to the west coast of America quicker.
As the canal was made bigger, of course, they didn’t mind charging big cruise ships to transit too.
Old Panama Canal
Smaller cruise ships and container ships that can fit can still transit through the original canal.
Which gives you a choice of which Panama Canal cruise to go on the old or new canal.
Here I am going to tell you the difference between the two canal cruises.
Which Panama Canal Cruise to Go On Old or New?
There are a few factors you need to consider before you book a Panama Canal cruise.
- First what type of cruise ship do you like to travel on
- Have you ever been on a Panama Canal cruise
- Do you want to see the new Panama Canal
- Are you interested in the history of the canal and how the original canal was built
- Would you like to know how the new Panamax Canal was built
- Which cruise would you like to go on – transit through the whole canal – Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles or vice versa
- Are you going on a ten-day cruise which does a half transit
Which Panama Canal to Cruise?
Now you know what to consider it should make it easier which cruise to pick.
New Panamax Canal
The new Panamax Canal is a modern Panama Canal experience and the practicalities of this canal is interesting and a lot quicker to get through.
If you have been through the old Panama Canal you are probably interested to see how the new one differs.
This is the schedule for transiting through the new Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean:
- Pilot boards in Balboa
- Enter Cocoli Locks
- Depart Cocoli Locks
- Gamboa Cut
- Enter Agua Clara Locks
- Depart Agua Clara Locks
The new Panama Canal does not have the old features and the ship is helped through the canal with tug boats and the chamber walls slide to close.
The water lever does go up and down, but not in the capacity that is does in the original canal.
The chambers and lock walls are interesting to see from a modern engineering perspective.
You can transit through the Panama Canal on a large cruise ship.
Original Panama Canal
In the original Panama Canal, you are going to see the original locks. The mules pulling the ship through the locks, which is very interesting to see.
You will have the experience of the water level going up and down a lot, so on some decks, all you can see is the canal wall.
The ship gets very close to the canal wall, so much you hear the ship being squeezed through the canal.
This is how the original Panama Canal transit looks like from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean:
- Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea)
- Transit Cristobel
- Enter Gatun Locks
- Depart Gatun Locks
- Gatun Lake
- Passing Gamboa
- Passing Centenario Bridge
- Enter Pedro Miguel Locks
- Depart Pedro Miguel Locks
- Enter Miraflores Locks
- Depart Miraflores Locks
- Pass under the Bridge of Americas
- Passing Balboa Anchorages
- Enter the Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Panama)
Only small to medium-sized ships can transit through the original Panama Canal.
Which Panama Canal cruise will you book?
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I hope this article has helped you weigh up which Panama Canal cruise to book.
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Love Lucy x
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