Panama Canal Partial Transit

The narrow isthmus separating the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean had a colorful and turbulent history long before Ferdinand de Lesseps first dreamed of building a transcontinental canal.

Spanish conquistadors hauled Incan gold through the dense rainforest to ports on the Atlantic. English freebooters sought to ransack those ports and attack the treasure ships that sailed from Portobelo. And 49ers braved mosquitoes and yellow fever to get to the California gold fields. While the Panama Canal remains one of the great American engineering feats of the 20th century, visitors to Panama will discover a whole range of scenic wonders. Hike into the dense rainforest, home to over 1,000 species of animals. Or pay a visit to an Embera Indigenous village in the heart of Chagres National Park.

Disembarkation in Gatun Lake is restricted to passengers who have booked the following tours only: PC1-100, PC1-110, PC1-115, PC1-120, PC1-125, PC1-170, PC1-175, PC1-210, PC1-350, PC1-385, PC1-605, PC1-610, PC1-615. Passengers on these tours are taken ashore by tenders. Later in the day, the ship then retraces her route through the Gatun locks to dock at Pier 6 in Colon (or nearby port) in the Caribbean. The tours return to this point. All remaining passengers are able to disembark in Colon, where they may explore the dockside shops. There are no tours offered in Colon. Tours are not available on overnight calls in Gatun Lake.

Note: The Panama Canal Authority assigns specific time slots for the transit of a vessel through the locks. The ship will anchor in a designated area and will wait for instructions. Once clearance is transmitted to the ship, procedures begin to bring ship's tour passengers ashore. Therefore, tour departure times may vary and will be announced onboard.
**Please note that passengers may encounter numerous local vendors at various tourist locations and may find them to be persistent in their sales offers.**
In ports where guests utilize tender boats to go ashore, Princess staff will make every effort to assist but are not allowed to individually physically lift more than 50 lbs. (22kg). Guests requiring physical assistance must travel with an able-bodied companion. With your safety and comfort in mind, the final decision to permit or prohibit passengers from going ashore will be made on each occasion by the ship's Captain.

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Points of Interest

  • Panama Viejo / Casco Viejo
  • Canal Locks
  • Panama Canal Railway
  • Panama Canal Transit
  • Cruise Gatun Lake
  • Embera Indigenous People
  • Aerial Tram & Soberania National Park
  • Panama Canal Expansion
Learn about these Points of Interest

More about Panama Canal Partial Transit Points of Interest

  • Panama Viejo / Casco Viejo

    Central America's historic and cultural roots are celebrated and displayed in Panama's oldest settlements, where exceptional museums, archeological ruins, and Colonial streets, churches, and monuments tell the story of the city's tragic past.

  • Canal Locks

    On the Atlantic side, the three chambers of the Gatun Locks raise ships 87 feet above sea level, while the Miraflores Locks transfer 26 million gallons of water in under 7 minutes at its Pacific end.

  • Panama Canal Railway

    Ride the world's first transcontinental railway. Experience Panama's rainforest setting along the historic route originally built in 1855 during the heyday of the California gold rush.

  • Panama Canal Transit

    Experience the thrill of canal transit and the intricacy of the lock's system firsthand as your ferry is lifted over 85 feet above sea level, from one body of water to the next.

  • Cruise Gatun Lake

    A jungle boat excursion through the dense rainforest highlights the abundance of exotic wildlife and breathtaking scenery found along this vital waterway, a key component of the Panama Canal's intricate system.

  • Embera Indigenous People

    Experience traditional Embera hospitality when you are invited into a world of ancient ritual, native culture, and timeless wonder. Watch a ceremonial dance routine, explore the unspoiled grounds, and marvel at the exquisite handmade crafts.

  • Aerial Tram & Soberania National Park

    Nestled within the vast Soberania National Park, an aerial tram soars over the Gamboa Rainforest, a jungle paradise and complex ecological system that showcases some of the most spectacular vegetation and wildlife in the world.

  • Panama Canal Expansion

    Get a close-up view of the engineering and construction behind the canal's expansion. The massive project includes widening Gatun Lake and creating two new sets of locks in 2016.

14 EXCURSIONS

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New Locks & Former Panama Canal Zone

3.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-125

The ingenuity of man is on full display when you depart from port in Colon for a short, motorcoach drive to the Panama Canal Expansion Project Observation Center. Covering four hectares, this sprawling park-like setting offers multiple viewing platforms in which to take in the largest project in the canal since its construction. Upon arrival, view an extensive photographic display, learn the history of the canals and watch an informative movie. Step outside and, from partially covered terraces and roofed decks, you will have unobstructed views of the new lock system, which was created to allow larger vessels to pass. The expansion now doubles the waterway's capacity. Take in the views of the sparkling Gatún Lake and, if lucky, watch ships transit the chambers. There is also a nearby nature trail for up close exploration of the indigenous vegetation. At the completion of your visit, travel past the former Panama Canal. Relax on your drive back to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$69.95

Scenic Drive & Walking Tour of 'Old Panama City'

6 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-100
  • Panama Viejo / Casco Viejo

Travel on the new modern highway connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific on an hour-long drive to the ruins of the old capital city. Arrive at Old Panama City. The place where the previously devastated city was located is still in ruins, and has become known as Panama Viejo, or "Old Panama." Relax and take in the sights, sounds, and shopping at this historic location. After visiting Panama Viejo, continue on to Casco Antiguo, the old colonial city. Casco Antiguo displays a mix of architectural styles, which in turn reflect the cultural diversity of the country. Continue on to your final destination, Las Bóvedas. Las Bovedas in Casco Viejo is the sea wall of the Spanish Fort on the point of the peninsula. A stroll along the top of the wall provides a unique view of Panama City across the bay. An extra 30 minutes as free time will be provided to further explore on you own the Casco Antiguo.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$74.95

Agua Clara Locks & Kayak in the Canal to Colon

4 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-880
  • Canal Locks

Perfect for active travelers who enjoy a little exercise with their sightseeing, this 4-hour adventure is an opportunity to see the wonders of Gatun Lake from the seat of a kayak. Travel through the rainforest on a 20-minute motorcoach drive to the Melia Resort on the Gatun Lake. Here, you'll board your lightweight kayak and set off on a serene adventure that takes in all the beauty of the surrounding rainforest. From an intimate vantage point, take in the abundant wildlife, including over 366 species of colorful birds and playful capuchin monkeys as you glide silently among the lush vegetation. Then, it's off to the Agua Clara Visitor Center (Canal Expansion Lookout) to witness the operation of the Panama Canal from expansive lookout points and take in panoramic views of the canal's expansion as well as engage in a series of interactive displays and a short rainforest trail. Return to port after this fascinating day.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$89.95

Fort San Lorenzo & New Locks of the Panama Canal Expansion

5.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-120
  • Canal Locks

Begin your journey with a scenic ride to join a ferry to Fort San Lorenzo. This 16th century fortress boasts panoramic vistas of the Chagres River and the Caribbean Sea. Learn about the history of the pirates and buccaneers that sailed these waters as you traverse this historic site. Proceed to the New Locks Observation center area to view the Canal's newest- set of locks.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$94.95

Rainforest & Gatun Lake and Locks Cruise

4.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-605
  • Canal Locks
  • Cruise Gatun Lake

Travel to Melia Panama Canal Resort and cruise through the jungle covered islands in Gatun Lake. Later, witness the mighty Agua Clara Locks in action. Board your air-conditioned transportation for the approximately 20-minute drive to the Melia Resort. From the resort, board your tour boat for an one hour- and-30-minute eco-cruise on Gatun Lake. Glide past lush rainforest to a secluded region of the lake and witness first-hand the splendor and excitement of the jungle. Exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and crocodiles are just a few of the animals that you may see in their native surroundings. After exploring the lake, board your air-conditioned transportation for a tour of the New Canal Locks (Agua Clara Visitor Center). Spend approximately one hour observing the locks in operation. Your guide explains the engineering feat required to move ships over a continental divide that separates two oceans.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$99.95

Monkey & Wildlife Nature Cruise on Gatun Lake

5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-610
  • Cruise Gatun Lake

Get ready for an active half-day journey through the rainforests of Panama. Board your air-conditioned transportation for the approximately 60-minute drive to the boat landing. After a break to stretch your legs, board your tour boat for a one hour- and-30-minute run through the canal to a labyrinth of jungle covered islands located in Gatun Lake. In this protected area, the wildlife is plentiful, and you are likely to encounter capuchin monkeys, three toed sloths, howler monkeys, various kinds of toucans and other bird life as well as caimans, crocodiles, turtles, and a wealth of butterflies. Your trained naturalist guides will ensure that you have an outstanding nature experience by not only pointing out the wildlife, but also educating you about the animals and their habitat. After approximately one hour of nature watching, cruise back to the resort where your transportation back to the ship will be waiting.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$99.95

Frank Gehry Museum & Museo del Canal

6 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-210

Enjoy a full-day excursion into Panama City that begins with a tour of the Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo, which pays homage to Panama's ancient history and diverse genetic, ecological and biological bounty. Located at the entrance to the Panama Canal, the museum's colorful façade reflects the country's rich flora and fauna. Inside, the eight exhibition halls hold a wealth of fascinating displays such as a six-million-year-old sandstone slab with mollusk fossils, barnacle plates and sea urchin fragments embedded in the rock, and fiberglass creatures like the extinct Texas glyptodont. Next, you'll tour the Museum del Canal. Housed in a three-story 140-year-old French colonial building, the museum's exhibits are dedicated solely to the history and construction of the Panama Canal. At the end of the day, you'll be treated to a panoramic tour of the modern area of Panama City en route back to your ship.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$99.95

Authentic Embera Native Village

6.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-385
  • Embera Indigenous People

Board your air-conditioned transportation for the drive to Chagres National Park. En route, your guide will discuss the history and heritage of these native people who call the rainforest home. Arrive at Chagres National Park and board your rustic dugout canoe for the journey to the Embera Village. Keep an eye out for monkeys, toucans, and sloths. As you enter the jungles of Chagres, you will encounter the Embera people. The Embera are a unique and beautiful people. This tribe still lives in harmony with their natural surroundings in the rainforest. Witness traditional song and dance along with music performed on handmade instruments. Stroll about the village and interact with these gentle people and browse for traditional crafts. A snack and beverage are served before your return trip to the ship.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$109.95

Panama's Rainforest Aerial Tram

4.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-350
  • Aerial Tram & Soberania National Park

Board your air-conditioned transportation for the hour-long drive to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Located on the banks of the Chagres River in Soberania National Park, the Gamboa Rainforest Resort has 340 acres of luxurious pools, restaurants and gardens. Large tracts of lowland tropical rainforests that nourish thriving plants and harbor enchanting animal populations surround the resort. With over 50,000 acres of pristine rainforest, this natural gem hosts an incredible 105 species of mammals, 525 species of birds and 124 species of reptiles and amphibians. After exploring the rainforest from the ground, board your aerial tram for the approximately 20-minute ascent through the forest canopy as your guide provides a narrated tour. At the top of the summit, take an optional walk to the observation platform for views of the jungle and the canal. After your tram ride, return back to the ship in Colon.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$114.95

Colonial Panama, Miraflores Locks & Scenic Drive

6.5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-115
  • Panama Viejo / Casco Viejo
  • Canal Locks

Board your air-conditioned transportation and travel 90 minutes across the isthmus to the colonial area of Panama City. Head up the coastline to El Casco Antiguo and learn about the piracy that is part of this area's history. On a leisurely 45 minute walk, appreciate the many changes of the city by viewing its distinctive architecture, influenced by an interesting blend of French, Spanish and Italian styles. An extra 30 minutes of free time will be provided to further explore on your own in Casco Antiguo. Enjoy a light snack, as you proceed to the Miraflores Locks Observation Center for a close view of the passing ships and functioning of the locks from the top floor of the center. Miraflores Locks are part of the engineering marvel that makes up the Panama Canal. Board your transportation and head back to your ship. A shopping stop for arts and crafts is scheduled at Fort Amador.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$119.95

Gatun Lake and Locks Cruise & Embera Indians

5 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-110
  • Canal Locks
  • Cruise Gatun Lake

Cruise through the rainforest on a 20 minute drive to the Melia Hotel on the Gatun Lake. With over 50,000 acres of pristine rainforest, this natural gem hosts an incredible variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. After your trip arrive at Gatun Lake and board your catamaran boat. During the one hour cruise your guide explains the rainforest ecosystem and points out sights of interest. After your guided tour of the lake, you will encounter the Embera Indians. This tribe still lives in harmony with their natural surroundings in the rainforest. After meeting the Embera and witnessing their performances, you will have the opportunity to purchase native handcrafts. Leave the Embera village and continue to the New Panama Canal Locks & observation area. Your guide explains the engineering feat required to move ships over a continental divide that separates two oceans. After witnessing the locks in action, board your transportation for the drive to the ship.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$149.95

Panama Canal & Locks Transit by Boat

7 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-615
  • Panama Canal Transit
  • Cruise Gatun Lake

Experience the full wonder of the Panama Canal with a crossing of the canal by tour boat on this daylong adventure. Travel by ship's tender to the Gatun Yacht Club, where you will board an air-conditioned transportation for the narrated drive through the isthmus to the small village of Gamboa. From Gamboa, embark on your ferry tour boat for a transit of the canal through two more sets of locks. Cross the Gaillard Cut and enter the Pedro Miguel Locks, which lower your vessel 28 feet on its way to the Pacific. Your boat will settle on Miraflores Lake. Sail across Miraflores Lake to the Miraflores Locks. A light lunch is available during your scenic cruise of the lake and locks. Your cruise ends at the port of Balboa in Panama City, where you board your air-conditioned transportation for the return trip to the ship via the new four-lane highway.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$184.95

Panama Canal Railway & New Locks of the Canal Expansion

6 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-175
  • Panama Canal Railway

This is the same tour as PC1-170 however you will travel in a restored executive rail car with booth seating on one side and rows of two seats with small tables on the other. Your car has a rest-room and shares a small open-air observation deck with the dome car described in PC1-170. The Executive Car does not have the glass dome viewing area. Travel the hemisphere's first transcontinental railroad, built in 1855, and see the Panama Canal in style aboard a deluxe 1938 vintage executive railway car.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$199.95

Panama Canal Railway (Dome Car) & New Locks of the Canal Expansion

6 hours | Panama Canal Partial Transit | PC1-170
  • Panama Canal Railway

Enjoy a leisurely tour around the Panama Canal in a deluxe 1938 air-conditioned dome car. After boarding your air-conditioned transportation you'll make the short drive to the train station at Colon. Here, you'll board your unique dome car that features an upper deck with full-length observation windows and booth seating. Then, you'll leave the Colon station for an approximately one hour train trip to the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal, passing Gatun Lake and the isthmus' dense rainforest. During your railroad journey, you guide will provide commentary on the railroad, Panamanian history, and the canal. When your train arrives at Panama City's station, you'll transfer to the Aqua Clara Visitor Center. At the end of this fascinating adventure, you'll return to the pier.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$249.95