Passing through the Panama Canal

I'm over a month due for this post, but I've been meaning to blog about my amazing trip through the Panama Canal on Princess Cruises since I returned.

Considered one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal continues to impact world trade and the shipping of goods and people between the two oceans. It took our cruise about eight hours to pass through the 48-mile man-made canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean. The canal itself consists of artificial lakes, several improved and artificial channels, and three sets of locks.

Our ship barely fit through the locks that raised and lowered us to the next section. At times we were only inches away from the sides of the canal. I could have literally jumped on to land easily. Here's a photo from our stateroom balcony of the tight squeeze:

At one of the locks, our ship's photographer went on land to take photos of the different passengers on board holding up signs with messages to their loved ones back home. Some of the signs were wishing happy birthday our announcing an anniversary. So, what did my sign read? Ever the PR person, I put my blog URL on mine. I'm expecting a huge influx of Panamanian traffic any minute now ;)

I was shocked to find out that it cost Princess Cruises about $300,000 to pass through the canal in tolls, just for this voyage alone. Tolls for the canal are decided by the Panama Canal Authority and are based on vessel type, size, and the type of cargo carried.

While on board, we watched the History Channel's program about America's struggle in creating this engineering marvel. If you'd also like to learn more about the canal's place in history, Netflix has an instant play PBS documentary available for streaming - American Experience: Panama Canal


  1. Isn't the canal amazing? I watched a program about how the locks are controlled (still using the original system of knobs!) and how they are widening the canal in places and upgrading to electrical controls to improve speed and allow bigger ships through... so cool that you got to see it in person!

  2. I can't believe how much it costs to pass through for the cruize ship. ouch.