approaching Gatun Locks

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is an 82 kilometre (51 mile) ship canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean

The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Construction of this snaking waterway started in 1882 and took 22 years to complete at an equivalent cost in today's terms of 10 billion dollars.

From the entrance channel in the Gulf of Panama (Pacific side), ships travel 13.2 km (8.2 mi) up the channel to the Miraflores locks, passing under the impressive Bridge of Americas. On the Caribbean side the Gatún locks, a three-stage flight of locks 1.9 km (1.2 mi) long, drop ships back down to sea level. The locks are 320 metres (1050 ft) long and 33.53metres (118 ft) wide and can accommodate small and mid-size cruise ships, typically up to 80,000 tonnes. Construction is in progress of 'the third lock lane project' allowing bigger ships to transit through deeper and wider channels.

The Panama Canal has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world. On a Panama Canal cruise you’ll find out why. How better to see this amazing spectacle than from your private balcony on board a luxury cruise ship.

Take a brief cruise (partial transit), exploring the canal’s colossal set of locks at Gatún. Or take a longer transit (eastbound or westbound), with itineraries that stop in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

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