PANAMA CANAL

Travelers may disagree on which sites deserve to be considered modern wonders of the world, but the Panama Canal would surely make most short lists. The shipping channel—which took 33 years to...

Top 5 Reasons to Cruise the Panama Canal

Feel your ship rise 85 feet as water fills the locks on the Panama Canal, then listen as your Canal historian shares tales of the incredible engineering feat that divided two continents. Explore the intriguing lands, cultures and peoples of this amazing region. From engineering marvels to exotic wildlife, there's so much to discover.


Reason #1: Wonder of the Modern World

Embark on the thrill of a lifetime–cruising through the famed series of locks that changed the course of history with a marvel of modern engineering. Secure a spot at the bow as you traverse the locks, then listen as your Canal historians expound on the history, culture and wildlife of the region.

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Reason #2: Diverse Ports of Call

Our carefully crafted itineraries blend the region’s most popular ports with less-visited gems, such as Puerto Caldera, Coast Rica; Cartagena, Puerto Vallarta; and Oranjestad, Aruba. 

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Reason #3: Perfectly-Sized Ships

Large enough to offer diverse amenities, yet never crowded, our ships are purposefully designed to accommodate fewer guests so there’s almost always a corner to call your own. You’ll also find coming and going from the ship is easy and convenient.

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Reason #4: Exceptional Cuisine and Entertainment

A team of world-class celebrity chefs is charting an exciting course and offering the most complete and immersive culinary experiences at sea. In the evening enjoy a variety of exclusive entertainment from Lincoln Center Stage to B.B. King’s Blues Club to America’s Test Kitchen’s live cooking shows.

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Reason #4: Extraordinary EXC Tours™

Our EXC Tours connect you to each fascinating destination. At Gatún Lake, board a motor launch for a one-hour cruise and get a water-level view of the Gatún Locks. Watch for monkeys, toucans and sloths on the shoreline while you kayak through the Gatún islands. Encounter the Emberá Native people, known for handcrafted goods in the rainforests of the Panama. 

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Featured Ports

In Partnership With

Fuerte Amador, Panama

Located west of Panama City at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is a gateway to exploring the many faces of this unique Central American country. The impressive engineering of the canal itself is a wonder to behold; a quick trip to the Miraflores Locks' visitor center with its panoramic observation decks offers the chance to watch behemoth barges thread their way through the legendary manmade waterway. Just minutes from the cruise port, the recently opened Biomuseo is a Frank Gehry–designed natural-history museum dedicated to Panama's ecological marvels. And Fuerte Amador sits within easy taxi distance of Panama City.

In Partnership With

Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica

One of the stops along the Panama Canal route, Puerto Caldera isn't your ordinary port of call, positioned as it is within easy day-trip distance of the country's multiple national parks. The town itself is small, but makes for an ideal base from which travelers can venture out to explore a variety of outdoor attractions and activities. These include visiting gushing waterfalls and active volcanoes, bird-watching in nature reserves and horseback riding on Pacific beaches. Visitors to the region also enjoy shopping for handicrafts, as well as sampling traditional Tico cuisine, especially gallo pinto—a combination of rice and beans.

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Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

The southernmost port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Chiapas is named for the state in which it is located. It is relatively new, built in 1975, and is the primary hub from which the region’s agricultural goods, including coffee, are sent abroad. For travelers arriving by cruise ship, the town of Puerto Chiapas is a jumping-off point to explore surrounding areas, including Tapachula, the second-largest city in the state of Chiapas. In addition to visiting the coffee estates and banana and cacao plantations of the area, day trips include excursions to Maya sites such as Izapa.

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Unlike some of Mexico’s beach resorts, Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Ocean, retains its colonial-era charm. Its town square, Plaza de Armas, and the gorgeous parish church topped with an ornate crown serve as the loveliest representations of bygone ages. Alongside them are an ambitious public art project along the seaside walkway (the malecón) and trendy restaurants. Round these out with outdoor activities on Banderas Bay (whale-watching! snorkeling! jet-skiing!) and a side trip to one of Mexico's pueblos mágicos (magical towns, a designation recognizing smaller towns that possess historical and cultural value), and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant port.

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