The clever design of the canal system, is the locks, that raise each ship some 85ft above sea level. The captain of the ship isn’t allowed to transit the canal independently, a canal pilot who is specially trained, navigates and controls each ship to guide it through.

The reason for my blog, is that the Panama Canal, isn’t just used by cargo ships, its actually an attraction and a very popular option for people wanting to cruise and experience the canal in all its glory! Cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, offer various itineraries. A cruise on the Panama Canal sailing through Central America appeals to a wide range of passengers. The actual transit through the canal is an interesting experience, with cruise lines offering informative talks and lectures.

Looking into itineraries can be daunting for the Panama Canal, with some cruise lines offering full transits through and some cruise lines offering itineraries that go halfway, so a partial transit. A full transit cruise usually sails from the Caribbean to the Pacific, or Pacific to the Caribbean, transiting the full length of the canal. A partial transit are usually cruises that are a one way cruise that sails from Florida through to the Panama Canal and sail as far as Gatun Lake, then the ship will turn around and sail back towards Colon.  The majority of ships take around a day to transit the canal within daytime hours, and very often have a very early start to the day. Altogether the ship will transit through all of the six locks, which equates to three on each side, then onward sailing through to Gatun Lake.

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