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Colon (Cristobal) Panama Canal Tour Excursion Reviews

Colon (Cristobal) Panama Canal Tour cruise excursion
Overall Rating
Take an unforgettable tour of the 48-mile architectural triumph -- the Panama Canal is a one-of-a-kind experience!
Member Image bellevillecruiser
1 review
Feb 2014

THis was an excursion to the MInaflores locks, then to the Albrook MAll for shopping, before being dropped off at the airport. The canal and locks are amazing, Albrook is HUGE if you like shopping ( we were at the mall for about 3 hours) and the cost of the tour is comparable to a straight airport transfer. This tour only works if yof you have a late afternoon flight.

Also, be aware, at the airport, we had to go through 2 security checks, one as per usual on the way to the gate, and then another, complete with metal detector and bag screening, at the gate itself. It seems , however, that as flight time approaches and they have to get the plane loaded, this get check becomes more cursory, and the line moves much more quickly.

Read bellevillecruiser's full Vision of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image HnJCruzrs
1 review
Feb 2014

Must go thru to Pacific Ocean on smaller boat. Great experience!! Food on ferry - not good. Bring some food, long trip.

Read HnJCruzrs's full Coral Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image corke
1 review
Jan 2014

Too slow.
Boring.
Took 9 hours.
Not enough food on the ferry.
The Men's toilet facilities were not acceptable.

Read corke's full Zuiderdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image LAPH
1 review
Dec 2013

Tour was just OK Colon is horrible Find another port

Read LAPH's full Coral Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image cruiserolina
3 reviews
Not Rated
Oct 2013

Panama Canal: Cruise ship transit through the Gatun Locks was awesome. Because this was just a partial transit, the cruise ship dropped anchor in Gatun Lake. You can only get off the ship onto a tender if you have booked a ship's excursion. At this point, we got off the ship on an excursion which would take us through the rest of the locks to the Pacific Ocean. After getting to shore on the tender, we boarded an air conditioned bus which took us to Gamboa. The bus ride was around an hour. In Gamboa, we boarded a smaller ferry. The ferry transported us across Gatun Lake and through both the Pedro Miguel and the Miraflores locks. We were able to see the new construction of the expanded locks, the Centennial Bridge, and the Bridge of the Americas by taking this tour. The ferry docked at the end of Panama City. Here we boarded an air conditioned bus which transported us back to Colon, Panama, which was about a 1.5 hour bus ride. The ship was docked close to the downtown and the main shopping areas in Colon.
Colon: The ship docked close to downtown late in the day. This was due to the fact that the ship had to go back through the Gatun Locks to the Caribbean, and to pick up the passengers that got off in Gatun Lake for excursions. (All excursions ended up in Colon). In this downtown area, there were numerous shops and restaurants.

Read cruiserolina's full Island Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image ritz1030
1 review
Feb 2013
Hired a driver for private tour for about 15 p.p. very nice, informative, comfy a.c. van, went to Canal for about an hour, that was a nice site. Stopped and saw a yatch club and where the U.S. used to be for military housing. The big disappointment was the center of Colon and its shanty town, that was a gross site, and that the cruise took us on a Sunday which meant the Merchant zone was closed for shopping. Phone calls and internet is super cheap here and easy to find and use. Bought a calling card at the supermarket (super clean) and spoke to the U.S. for 1 hour for a dollar.
Read ritz1030's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image VAWCB
1 review
Jan 2013
The small boat gave a great prospective to the canal and contrasted nicely with the view we got from the Coral Princess going through the Gatun locks. The guide and his narrative was excellent.
Read VAWCB's full Coral Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Iamcookiea
1 review
Dec 2012
I recommend this tour highly! I felt like I was re-living history! To see the workmanship and craftsmanship that was introduced 100 years ago was awesome! At one point we could touch the walls of the canal -- almost took my breath away! Something to tell my grandchildren...
Read Iamcookiea's full Zuiderdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image Gojirart
1 review
Dec 2012
The Panama Canal was pretty much the reason we chose to go on this cruise. We really don't have the time (or money) to cruise for more than about 10 days, so we chose to take the excursion that goes all the way through the locks to the pacific ocean. After our ship passed through the Gatun locks, we were tendered ashore to pick up a motor coach to the ferry that would bring us all the way through the locks. Our tour guide was okay. She was an older woman who supplied us with some basic information about the area on the way to the ferry. It was an on again off again rainy day, so we chose seats on the ferry under the roof and directly on the back of the ferry. We were protected from the rain and had a great unobstructed view from the back. Some friends we had met on the cruise were calling the ferry "the African Queen". It really wasn't that bad. It was an older boat, the bathrooms had some issues, but it was clean and appeared to be completely safe, if a little "well loved". The ferry boat captain narrated the trip. a small buffet lunch was served and a local woman was selling molas and other souvenirs upstairs. (If you want to buy the molas, they reduced the price toward the end of the trip.) You were able to touch the sides of the locks on several occasions if you chose. It was very interesting getting a closer view of the locks than we got on the Island Princess. We were able to see much of the work being done to widen the canal for the future locks that are being constructed. It was amazing to pass under the two bridges that pass over the canal. Not bridges that I would want to drive over! We boarded our same motor coaches for the trip back to the ship. This time we traveled on the relatively new highway and arrived in about 40 minutes. Our coach's sound system went out and for some reason, our guide put on a Spanish sitcom instead. Many people grumbled about it, but she explained later that she thought all people enjoyed laughing and that she thought we might enjoy it. The Colon area was not somewhere I would feel comfortable wandering around. There is a small shopping mall about 5 minutes from the ship, but those I talked to who went there were not real impressed. I would definitely recommend this excursion.
Read Gojirart's full Island Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image anytrail
1 review
Dec 2012
Our tour stopped at Gatun Locks after the Eco Cruise and watched several ships going through. Could have used a little more time at the Gatun Locks.
Read anytrail's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image CalUrsus
1 review
Dec 2012
The port of Colon itself is a real dump, and you will be advised by both crew and tour guides to not wander outside the shopping center of the cruise port, since it's a really rough looking slum, no joke. The tours are necessary so you can get out of there to see the Canal visitors center from another view point, and perhaps go to Panama City. The tour descriptions offered through Celebrity are spotty, so it's not clear how long the various operators spend at which place. And they're also useless at being clear on where you're going when they say the "Old City"--do they mean series of ruins in a city park not worth a long visit, or the "Casco Viejo" which is the old colonial section of town being restored. Unfortunately, the tour I was on was represented as going to the UNESCO-protected colonial town, however once on the tour: 'Sorry, sir, our buses don't fit into that neighborhood'...
Read CalUrsus's full Celebrity Century cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image ercbman
1 review
Dec 2012
Long bus trip to Panama City side of Panama. Stopped and saw the Miraflores Locks, saw a movie on the construction of the locks, took photos. Got back on bus for trip to Old Panama city passing through some of the worst areas of Panama City you can imagine. Even the tour guide who was from Panama said he wouldn't walk in the area...he called it the red zone. Old Panama City was like a bombed out area of Germany after WW2 but they are doing reconstruction. Was similar to Cartagena but in total disrepair. Would go on Embera Indian tour Gatun Lock tour if we did this again. The city of Colon where the cruise port is sucked. A real sewer of a place with garbage all over the streets.
Read ercbman's full Island Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image first2flight
1 review
Dec 2012
Great Guide. Efficient company.
Read first2flight's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Mario
Member Image Eurovisionfan
1 review
Dec 2012
Went to the Miraflores locks and to see Panama City. The lunch included was a joke - a turkey sandwich (mine had something in it resembling a fingernail, and it was no good at all for my vegetarian husband - with no alternative). The lock is absolutely amazing, and the old part of Panama City will be great once fully restored.
Read Eurovisionfan's full Celebrity Century cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image cormike1
2 reviews
Nov 2012
We took the tour on the small boat through the rest of the Panama Canal and really enjoyed seeing the locks from a "small boat" perspective after going through on the first couple on the big ship. It was a long day but was an excellent tour. We really enjoyed seeing how the canal worked and hearing all the history.
Read cormike1's full Island Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image molly2kit
2 reviews
Nov 2012
This was a wonderful excursion to see the Panama Canal up close from a smaller boat and all the way to the Pacific. The bus takes you back to the port of Colon where the ship is docked - there is quite a large shopping area there - many stores with the similar items but different prices so check around. There was rioting in Colon a few weeks prior to our cruise and two ships skipped this stop so I was glad we were able to enjoy it
Read molly2kit's full Zuiderdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image Crusin Kelly
1 review
Apr 2012
This was the reason we took the trip - to see the Panama Canal. Panama -- a really long day that started too early. The time changed on the ship overnight, they forgot to set the wake-up call computer back... we were awakened an hour earlier that we had scheduled. Do not miss the Panama rolls served on all of the outside areas. We started watching the transit from our 5th floor forward portside balcony, and I couldn't take it anymore, I had to go to the bow to see the gates open - A really cool experience in the heat of Panama. Since we were scheduled on the Canal Experience excursion midway through the 2nd lock we had to go get breakfast -- after all, we had been up now for 5 hours. After scarfing that down, I was up on deck 10 by the time we entered Gatun Lake. EVERYONE was on a tour...therefore EVERYONE was in the Vista Lounge for their turn at the tenders. The tenders got us off to the yacht club and awaiting busses quickly and efficiently. Upon arrival at the ferry boat dock about an hour's bus ride away, we were told that they had to add a 2nd boat to accommodate all the passengers... we were assigned to the smaller boat -- only had 84 passengers and had a really great lunch... glad not to have had to fight for space on the larger ferry with over 200 folks fighting for a space. Started at the bridge of Americas and ended at the Pacific ocean through the Pedro Miguel lock and the 2 Miraflores locks -- got to touch the sides of the 100 year old locks... pretty cool. Panama City is quite the modern city compared to the other Panama, the 3rd world dirty trashy place I had expected. Panama is checked off the list -- no need to go back there.
Read Crusin Kelly's full Zuiderdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image tiller02
1 review
Mar 2012
All 3 locks and the Pacific Ocean to boot!
Read tiller02's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image bigmoromom
5 reviews
Not Rated
Feb 2012
Colon, Panama - the main reason we picked this cruise. This was Freedom's last cruise on this itinerary. Our whole group booked a Carnival excursion to tour the canal. Colon was decidedly 3rd world, lots of trash everywhere and nearly all the buildings were barred. We took a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to the Pacific side near Panama City, which from the mouth of the canal looked to have a skyline rivaling Chicago's or many other large cities. We then boarded an excursion boat to tour the locks. We went about 3/4 of the way through the canal, ending at Gatun Lake. The 8-hour tour was informative and interesting for about the first couple of hours, but then just became tedious and hot. The plastic chairs were uncomfortable and the lunch was awful. The debarkation from the excursion boat was extremely disorganized, with many elderly folks standing in the hot sun for 1/2 hour waiting to re-board the buses.
Read bigmoromom's full Carnival Freedom cruise review
Provider: Carnival Cruise Lines

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