Colon (Cristobal) Gatun Locks Excursion Reviews

Colon (Cristobal) Gatun Locks cruise excursion
Overall Rating
Take a trip through the famous and extremely interesting Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal to see how ships uniquely pass through -- you will be amazed!
Member Image Pennypop
2 reviews
Jan 2017
This tour went to BOTH the NEW and OLD locks on the canal and was very well organized.
Read Pennypop's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image kidfree&cruising
1 review
Jan 2017
We did a ship tour here and it was slightly above average. Nothing special about it. The operator was per functionary. The city was filthy, which we luckily didn't stay long in, but the fort and Gatun Locks were neat to see.
Read kidfree&cruising's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image MAtravelbug
3 reviews
Jan 2017
we had a private tour with Mario and our guide was incredible. we first went to Gatun Locks, and spent about an hour there, then we went into the rain forest and even took a small walk. Our tour guide Alex was amazing. he was so knowledgable. Saw sloths, monkeys and birds. van was airconditioned too! last stop was Ft.San Lorenzo and our guide told us the history! would definitely recommend this to anyone.
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Provider: tours by Mario
Member Image celebrity74
1 review
Dec 2016
A good view of how the ships are lifted up to the lake.
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Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image EmsMom
4 reviews
Dec 2016
Great excursion. Enjoyed the tour guide.
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Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Greymeowsr
5 reviews
Dec 2016
Gaton locks were fabulous. We had read a history of the Panama Canal and watched the shipboard lectures. Then to see it, WoW! It was awesome.
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Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image susanatdotcom
1 review
Dec 2016
This was what we had really been looking forward to. The description in the brochure suggests that this is a 6 hour excursion. Our tickets said that the tour could range from 7 – 11 hours. Actual transit time is dependent on the Panama Canal Authority. In fact, the Coral Princess departure from Panama was delayed because we were so late returning from this excursion. The bus trip from the tender departure to the Gatun Lake location where we boarded the ferry was longer than I expected. There were 7 busses that transported passengers to the ferry. The ferry was packed. Chairs were lined up in tight rows. You really didn’t have room to walk around to see different views of the canal. There was a mediocre lunch served on board. You had to go through a buffet line and return to your seat to eat. Bottom line, I’m glad to have seen the canal, but the day was long. The excursion description says that the return bus trip is 1 hour 15 minutes. It was much longer than that. Traffic in Panama City was terrible.
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Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Workinless
9 reviews
Nov 2016
Went on a Robtad's tour with Roberto as our guide. Very good tour of the locks and Roberto was an excellent guide. I do wish he had used the sound system on the bus instead of talking mid-way back ( maybe it was out of order). Really enjoyed the old Gatun locks and got to see a complete cycle of a ship passing through. I will have a much better appreciation when we do a transit in the future. The new Agua Clara locks are interesting but a bit boring. They have a nice 30 min. film on the canal's history. Roberto had to get our Gatun tickets from a third party because the large tour companies a getting exclusive access to the tickets. That is a shame because the Gatun locks are definitely the main event; everyone should have access.
Read Workinless's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Robtad's
Member Image bethiecc77
2 reviews
Nov 2016
A 5-6 hour excursion to the old & new locks. Fascinating! Thanks for an excellent tour Mike (Adventure 2000 Tours). This tour was just the right amount of time as we didn't fancy the length of time required for partial transit of the canal. We saw & learned so much! :)
Read bethiecc77's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Mdurso
1 review
Oct 2016
Just great we learned so much great history about the canal.
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Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image NJWeddingPlanner
2 reviews
Oct 2016
This was an eco-tour along with a tour of the Gatun Locks. We started at the port and walked a few steps to a fully air-conditioned bus. Bus took us through the city of Colon (during rush hour) to a Melia hotel where we could use the restrooms before walking out past their beautiful pool and down several steps to their dock where an open air boat awaited us. We toured in a circle around the lake nearest the hotel. We were disappointed not to go out to the main lake of the canal to get to the Gatun Locks. We saw a sloth, monkeys and birds. No crocodiles. After an hour it was off the boat, back up the stairs, one more bathroom break and back on the bus for the short drive to the locks. We drove over the new bypass lock for the panamax ships (saw one in the top lock) to the visitor center for the Gaton Locks. It is a hike to get up the stairs but well worth it. The guide in the visitors center was very knowledgeable and we were fortunate to see 2 ships in the east bound locks (one on its way out and the other right in front of us) and 1 in the westbound lock. Stayed there about 45 minutes and then back over the new lock to the ship.
Read NJWeddingPlanner's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Lorzy
1 review
Apr 2016
We had an excellent tour guide for this tour and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Colon, though, was an education. What a desolate, poor, depressing city.
Read Lorzy's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Clark cruisers
1 review
Apr 2016
Our guide was very Knowledgeable, we had time to look around on our own which is what we like, gave us some insight of how the locks were built before we actually went through it. A good tour to get the history of this great wonder
Read Clark cruisers's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Gator75
6 reviews
Apr 2016
Our excursion took us to the Gatun Locks and Fort San Lorenzo. We visited the Gatun Locks and watched ships transit the locks. We also drove across the new canal. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the locks. Our guide "Al" did an excellent job explaining the importance of the locks to the people of Panama. The 400 year old Fort San Lorenzo was also impressive and provided a great view of the river. Al provided a brief history of the fort. Our time in the old U.S. Canal Zone was a highlight of the cruise. We were surprised to see how many of the building in the zone that had not been maintained. A small shopping area was located at the pier with reasonably priced souvenirs.
Read Gator75's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Etoc
1 review
Jan 2016
Wonderful visit to the locks. We were lucky enough to have three ships go through during our visit.
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Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image GWSUBARU
1 review
Nov 2015
This part of the tour was a bit long but interesting.
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Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image GINNY L
1 review
Nov 2015
Way too long and just too much sitting around.
Read GINNY L's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image trubarry
1 review
Apr 2015
There isn't much to see in Colon. It looks like other poor Caribbean cities. The Gatun locks, both the old ones and new, are fascinating. You really get very close to the ships. In fact you can talk to the ship's crew as they are passing by in the old locks.
Read trubarry's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Straightlinespeed
1 review
Feb 2015
So much fun to watch the ships enter and go thru the 3 locks. You stand on a platform right next to the ships and tugs that are helping the ships thru the locks.
Read Straightlinespeed's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image PoetPete
1 review
Feb 2015

To Panama , the canal and locks
Having left Colon docks
With tour guide (name sounds like Johnny Moe).
A man with not a lot say
And says it loudly anyway
Even our pre-ordered lunch was late, served slow.
Gatun locks were an interesting stop
It's just huge and 80 steps to the top.
Wheelchair access stops at the bottom.
I decided to have a go
But my progress was quite slow
And held up faster folks a lot/some.
“By coach” the trip was advertised
And “by coach” we had been advised
In a minibus they tried to cram my wheelchair.
When the guide refused to get it out
I didn’t scream, I didn’t shout.
I got it out myself, he didn’t care!
So I was then his best excuse
For being late – it’s no use
Trying to get it right- life’s just not fair.

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Member Image live4247
1 review
Jan 2015

Interesting and enlightening

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Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image RobTexas
3 reviews
Not Rated
Mar 2014

Everything we had read and heard about Colon told us it is not a safe place to try and do on your own. We opted to take an excursion that visited the visitor centers for the Panama Canal expansion and the existing locks. This turned out to be really interesting excursion. We went first to see the expansion. After a 20 minute video went to two observation points to see the work being done and the construction site for the new locks. Truly amazing. We then were bussed to the existing locks, and got great views of a fully loaded container ship and a cruise ship going through. We were fortunate that there were only two buses at these sites. When we actually came through the locks the next day, there were many more people there. Getting a good viewing spot would have been a lot more difficult.
Driving through Colon, you do have to travel through some of the poorest, most rundown neighborhoods I have ever seen. It is easy to understand why the cruise people warn you not to go out alone.
There is fairly large shopping area within the "safe" confines of the cruise port where you can find a number of bars and cafes (most of which seemed to provide Wi-Fi access). In addition there is a supermarket and a duty free electronics store. It didn't seem to me that there were any great deals there.

Read RobTexas's full Celebrity Infinity cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image hvbaskey
3 reviews
Dec 2013

Our final private tour (ie., just my husband and myself). Gonzalez Horna of Birding Pal picked us up promptly at 6:30 am in Colon, Panama. We were the first ones off the ship! He immediately drove us to the Gatun Locks whereby we were hoping to cross before any traffic. Unfortunately, a silly bus rushed the planks - bumped into a wall and had a flat tire, being stuck on the car path that crossed the locks. Our guide did not waste any time waiting in line though, we successfully birded the area around the locks and saw beautiful Toucans, amongst other gorgeous birds. Finally, we crossed the Dam and headed towards the Gatun Spillway (Dam) where we spotted additional birds. After the Dam, we headed towards our Target destination - San Lorenzo National Forest - Achiote Town/Road. SPECTACULAR scenery and birding! The people of Panama are very friendly and we were happy to have a private guide who lives in Colon, knows the area and knows the people.

I know many people have said stay away from Colon, be careful in Colon - but do your homework as it can be a great visit, if you hire the right person. Gonzalo grew up in Colon and we always felt safe with him. He was a great guide and I recommend him and his team of friends to anyone wanting a great excursion from the Colon port of call.

Gonzalo had us back in plenty of time for the ship. Cannot say the same for an "Official Celebrity Excursion" who were left behind and had to be flown to our next port of call, Cartagena. The ship did wait and we were an hour late arriving in Columbia - but, yes! they left behind a Celebrity Excursion!

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Member Image sabotlours
1 review
Dec 2013

This excursion seemed quite expensive for the things that were included. There was a brief tour of the present set of locks and then another brief tour of the construction site for the new set of locks. While it was interesting, it seemed that it would have been cheaper to just rent a taxi and go out to the sites on our own.

Colon itself reminded me of post-Katrina New Orleans. We talked to another couple who went off into the town on their own. They were picked up by the "tourist police" and brought back to the ship for their own safety.

It's worthwhile to check out the local 99 Supermarket. We picked up several bags of Panamanian coffee at a reasonable price. No need to worry about exchanging money since the good old greenback is still the official currency.

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Member Image tysona
4 reviews
Feb 2013
This was a great tour. The locks were amazing and the Indian village trip was excellent. But be warned you will get wet on the boat trip to the village.but an awsome experience.
Read tysona's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises

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