Panama is most famously known for the groundbreaking Panama Canal, a feat of modern engineering that revolutionized world-wide trade. However, there is so much more to Panama's famous canal system than meets the eye. That's why it's at the very top of Jennifer Craig's wish list for when travel becomes an option again.
"I'm already looking into a Panama Canal cruise similar to the one we were supposed to embark on this past March. Going through the Panama Canal is one of those bucket list items I’d love to check off. Aside from that, I'd like to visit a place that is warm and green with plenty of open spaces to explore. Costa Rica also comes to mind, but there is a certain allure to cruising through the Panama Canal that I can't stop dreaming about. I'm confident that cruising remains an excellent way to travel, and when I can finally cruise through the Panama Canal, I can't wait to experience everything it has to offer!"
While we all patiently await the return of travel, here are five incredible reasons to add a Panama Canal cruise to your own bucket list:
It Connects Two Oceans:
The Panama Canal was originally built to make trade between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans more quick and efficient. Before it was built, ships were forced to travel an additional 12,874 km and a total of 66 days around the southern-most tip of South America. With the creation of the Panama Canal, a passage way between the Eastern and Western hemispheres meant that this trip was now shortened to just 21 days and changed the way the entire world navigated its oceans. A cruise along the Panama Canal is a great way to experience sailing both oceans with many ports of call and plenty of scenic cruising in between.
It's One of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of the World:
The Panama Canal is a feat of human engineering and a technical marvel as its series of locks raises and lowers massive ships to different sea levels. France started the project in 1881, and the United States took over in 1904. The Panama Canal was an extremely ambitious project, with 7.2 billion cubic feet of earth and rock needing to be excavated in an effort to cleave Panama in half and dig the canal. After 33 years of construction, it was officially opened on August 15, 1914. By the end, the United States had spent $375 million dollars to complete it, which is close to $11 billion dollars today.
It's Fascinating to Cruise Through:
Around 13-14 thousand vessels pass through the Panama Canal each year, with about 35-40 sailing through it each day. Since the Pacific Ocean has a higher sea level than the Atlantic, engineers determined that a series of locking gates can raise these massive ships up to 26 meters above sea level and into the man-made Gatun Lake. It takes each ship about eight to ten hours to pass through the canal’s series of locks, and it’s captivating to stand on deck and experience the lock process in person.
Its’ Scenery is Spectacular:
Cruising along the Panama Canal offers a panoramic landscape like no other. The view from the ship’s deck is green, vibrant and alive as the canal is lined with lush forests and beauty lies beyond each bend along the way. Two thirds of the Panama Canal’s watershed rainforest is protected land, and its' ecosystem is home to more than 650 different species of bird. These emerald green forests are also home to many different types of amphibians, sloths, and spider, capuchin and tamarin monkeys. The entire Panama Canal cruising experience is a photographer’s dream.
It Features Diverse Ports of Call:
There are many unique ways to combine the Panama Canal to an itinerary, adding plenty of variety to the type of cruise you can embark upon. For example, you can start by sailing the Pacific Ocean, and experience the South American cultures of Chile, Peru, and Ecuador before passing through the Panama Canal and entering the Atlantic. Crossing over to the other side suddenly opens up a whole new world of Caribbean ports of call, such as Aruba and the Bahamas. With so many different options, you can plan your Panama Canal cruise to be the experience of a lifetime.
Interested in witnessing this marvel of human ingenuity when cruising becomes available again? Contact us today to add a Panama Canal Cruise to your wish list!
Photo Credit: Holland America Line