Cruising the Panama Canal in 10 Days

cruising the panama canal in 10 days

Can I see the entire Panama Canal on a 10-day cruise? The answer is Yes!

My husband and I left on January 14, 2016 for a 10-day Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. This cruise was round trip from Fort Lauderdale, and it was our third time cruising through the Panama Canal.

Eight years earlier, we sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on a 14-day Panama Canal cruise. I wasn’t all that excited to go that first time—I thought it was a cruise only my husband would appreciate. Little did I realize how much I would enjoy it, too. Before our first cruise, my husband bought the book The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough and we both read it. The history behind the building of the canal is amazing; the financial issues, disease, failed attempts, and the relatively simple design that still works today! If you don’t have a chance to read the book (which is also for sale on the ship, though it sells quickly and costs a few bucks more), you will still learn a lot about the history and construction of the canal during the cruise. A historian speaks over the ship intercom during most of the 50-mile long transit.

By Thomas Römer/OpenStreetMap data, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The difference between the 10-day and the 14-day cruise is that you cruise through the entire canal on the 14-day—because the journey continues to either the west coast or Florida, depending on where you embarked. The 10-day (or partial transit) turns around in Gatun Lake, but you still have the opportunity to transit the entire canal by way of a Princess shore excursion. A full-day shore excursion is on a small ship limited to only 90 passengers, so it’s very important to book your cruise early and sign up for this excursion as soon as it’s open for booking. Although I haven’t taken the canal shore excursion, I talked to shipmates who have. Other than it being a long day, they loved it!

1 - entering the first set of locks from the atlantic
Entering the first set of locks from the Atlantic Ocean.
2 - going through the locks
Going through the locks.
3 - gatun lake ahead
Gatun Lake ahead.
4 - heading west toward the pacific ocean
Heading west toward the Pacific Ocean
5 - Calebra Cut on the left and the Millenium Bridge
Calebra Cut on the left, and the Millennium Bridge.
6 - Passing under the Millenium Bridge heading west toward the pacific
Passing under the Millennium Bridge, heading west toward the Pacific Ocean.
7 - bridge of the americas entering the pacific ocean
The Bridge of the Americas– the entrance to the Pacific Ocean.

Ready to cross the Panama Canal off your bucket list? Join us for an 11-night cruise adventure along the engineering wonder that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Along the way, Caribbean, South and Central American ports offer a wide array of cultures and sites. Find the tour brochure and additional details here!

Princess Announces 2010 Alaska Cruise and Cruisetour Program

Season Features Widest Array of Cruise Itineraries, More Options to Visit Glacier Bay National Park, Simplified Cruisetour Choices, and Convenient New “Seattle Air Advantage” Package

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises’ 2010 Alaska program will offer the most diverse array of opportunities to experience the “Great Land,” with a simplified lineup of cruisetour options, more sailings that include the “must see” destination – Glacier Bay National Park – and a new “Seattle Air Advantage” package that turns every cruisetour into a convenient roundtrip journey.

The lineup will continue to offer passengers the company’s hallmark Alaska experience, whether at sea on board amenity-filled ships or on land with Princess’ signature wilderness lodges and exclusive Direct to the Wilderness program, where guests step right from their ship onto luxury railcars that transport them directly to magnificent Denali National Park.

Next summer the Princess fleet will offer a total of 112 Alaska sailings aboard seven ships offering four itinerary options during the May to September season. The lineup includes Diamond Princess, Coral Princess, and Island Princess traveling on the line’s popular “Voyage of the Glaciers” route through the scenic Gulf of Alaska; Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess sailing the Inside Passage from Seattle and San Francisco, and Royal Princess offering the line’s small ship experience on an extended 14-day Connoisseur voyage to some of the state’s less-visited ports.

Princess cruisetours will offer passengers the opportunity to enjoy an immersive Alaska experience, combining a seven-day “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruise with three to eight additional nights on land exploring Alaska’s interior. All Princess cruisetours include the company’s exclusive wilderness lodges, rail travel, plus the two top attractions in the state – Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park, where visitors spend at least two nights exploring the wonders of this area.

“Alaska is indeed ‘The Great Land’ with a myriad of ways to experience the state, so we wanted to simplify the choices, and make it easy for our passengers to find the perfect itinerary including the breathtaking scenery and wildlife they came to see,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours and senior vice president of Princess Cruises. “And we’re also making it easier than ever to travel to Alaska by introducing a new Seattle roundtrip package for cruisetours, eliminating the need for one-way airfare in or out of the state.”

Cruises – Princess offers four ways to experience the awe-inspiring glaciers, historic towns and scenic waters of Alaska, with sailings from seven to 14 days.

  • Voyage of the Glaciers – The line’s famed Gulf of Alaska route between Vancouver and Whittier features calls at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with daylight cruising in Glacier Bay and the 16 glaciers of College Fjord (or Hubbard Glacier on southbound sailings). Three ships, Diamond Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess, will sail on 54 sailings throughout the season.
  • Inside Passage from Seattle – Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess offer convenient seven-day roundtrip itineraries from Seattle with calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C. In addition, passengers will enjoy dramatic glacier viewing in Tracy Arm or Glacier Bay National Park. The two ships will sail on 37 departures.
  • Inside Passage from San Francisco – Sea Princess returns to the City by the Bay to offer 13 voyages from San Francisco on 10-day roundtrip cruises to Victoria, Juneau, Ketchikan, and either Skagway, Haines or Icy Strait Point, plus Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm.
  • Connoisseur Voyage – The intimate Royal Princess takes over this extended Alaska route featuring a small ship cruising experience on a 14-day voyage from Seattle, featuring the less visited ports of Kodiak, Icy Strait Point and Seward, plus Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C., with daylight cruising of Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Royal Princess will sail on eight Connoisseur voyages.

Cruisetours – Princess introduces a new simplified cruisetour lineup, making it easy for passengers tochoose the perfect land/sea Alaska experience with itineraries ranging from three to eight nights. All tour options feature at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, stays at Princess’ own riverside wilderness lodges, and a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers sailing including Glacier Bay National Park.

  • Direct to the Wilderness – Princess’ exclusive direct rail service between the Whittier cruise terminal and the dramatic Denali wilderness features seven itinerary options offering multiple nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
  • Explorer – These itineraries enable travelers to explore both Denali and other scenic areas, including the Kenai Peninsula at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park with stays at Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. Passengers can even choose to venture to the state’s far north into the Arctic Circle and Prudhoe Bay.
  • Deluxe Escorted – Three cruisetour options offer the services of a professional tour director and additional time for passengers to experience the Great Land. Most meals are also included in these extended vacations.

New Seattle Air Advantage– With this new package, any Princess cruisetour can become a convenient roundtrip vacation from Seattle. This package includesmotorcoach transportation between Seattle and Vancouver, airfare between Alaska and Seattle, and an overnight stay in a Seattle-area hotel. All passengers will need to do is make arrangements to get themselves to and from Seattle.
Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2010 are available for reservations on May 7, 2009. Launch Fares begin at $749 for seven-day voyages, and $1,649 for cruisetours.