Colon (Cristobal) Panama Canal Tour Excursion Reviews

Take an unforgettable tour of the 48-mile architectural triumph -- the Panama Canal is a one-of-a-kind experience!
This was the one via ferry.
This was the one via ferry. I gave it a very good, because of what you do— but NOT how it is organized. It is an hour an a half bus ride to the ferry and the same amount of time back to port. The bus has no bathroom, so go before ... Read More
This was the one via ferry. I gave it a very good, because of what you do— but NOT how it is organized. It is an hour an a half bus ride to the ferry and the same amount of time back to port. The bus has no bathroom, so go before getting on the bus, although they do stop at a gas station with good facilities. The tour guides were very evasive with regard to the schedule for the day. I dont understand why. We just wanted to know how long, generally, it takes to get through the canal. They could have given a range, like 2-4 hours. But they just wouldnt. There were 5 buses, so about 250 people. The guide talked a bit in the way to the canal, providing some info, but no map or handouts. They insisted wed have something in our stateroom when we got back, but of course we didnt. NCL provided no info on the Panama Canal. When we got to the ferry, we were unsure where to go for best viewing. Let me tell you, snag a covered seat. I suggest the top deck because you wont get fumes from the ship. Covered is good for sun, but also for rain! And it poured on us. There is a guide on the ferry who also provides info. There is a souvenir shop and beer and mixed drinks to purchase, on the top deck.there are bathrooms on the bottom deck. For some stupid reason, they decided to serve lunch right when we were entering the locks. I also dont know why it needed to be a warm lunch...it would have been easier and quicker with sandwiches. The food was ok, but serving over 200 people took a while. You go through three sets of locks, but you have to wait for other ships to join you because they wont go through the process just for a ferry. So, at each lock we had to wait for this big tanker to catch up with us. I really enjoyed seeing the water level change, and touching the wall of the canal. Yes, it got a bit monotonous, and it took a long time; but thats what we came to see, so it was worth it to us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Long excursion, very hot due to waiting 2 hours at the first lock waiting for large ship to go ...
Long excursion, very hot due to waiting 2 hours at the first lock waiting for large ship to go through with us. The boat was very old and uncomfortable. Not worth the money
Long excursion, very hot due to waiting 2 hours at the first lock waiting for large ship to go through with us. The boat was very old and uncomfortable. Not worth the money Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: MSC Cruises
Great Guide.
Great Guide. We visited the New Locks as well as the Miraflores Locks and the Guide explained everything in detail giving a lot of history of the Canal and the building of the Canal.
Great Guide. We visited the New Locks as well as the Miraflores Locks and the Guide explained everything in detail giving a lot of history of the Canal and the building of the Canal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Panama canal transit by boat good tour except boat you ride through the pacific locks is ...
Panama canal transit by boat good tour except boat you ride through the pacific locks is overcrowded.
Panama canal transit by boat good tour except boat you ride through the pacific locks is overcrowded. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
I’ve only knocked it down one because I felt the boat we went on was very crowded with uncomfy ...
I’ve only knocked it down one because I felt the boat we went on was very crowded with uncomfy plastic chairs which you stuck to. The lunch was so so and ‘free’ soft drinks were just bottles of sugery awefulness. The Panama Canal ... Read More
I’ve only knocked it down one because I felt the boat we went on was very crowded with uncomfy plastic chairs which you stuck to. The lunch was so so and ‘free’ soft drinks were just bottles of sugery awefulness. The Panama Canal though was awesome. A brilliant thing to see/do. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises)
Colon Town is a dump!
Colon Town is a dump! You need to take a tour to get away from it. Tour was good, a very long hot day but interesting. Lots of soft drinks/water provided on small ferry ship thru canal, lunch on board was rather poor though. An hour or ... Read More
Colon Town is a dump! You need to take a tour to get away from it. Tour was good, a very long hot day but interesting. Lots of soft drinks/water provided on small ferry ship thru canal, lunch on board was rather poor though. An hour or mores trip back from Panama city by coach. Would have liked time to see Panama City but it took so long going thru locks due to 2 huge container ships we just made it back in time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: MSC Cruises
Wanted to have experience of transiting to Pacific via the canal since ship only did a partial ...
Wanted to have experience of transiting to Pacific via the canal since ship only did a partial transit so paid $$$ for this. Overall, was not a good experience because of the poor quality of the bus, guide on the bus, the boat and time ... Read More
Wanted to have experience of transiting to Pacific via the canal since ship only did a partial transit so paid $$$ for this. Overall, was not a good experience because of the poor quality of the bus, guide on the bus, the boat and time needed for the transit. Couldn't hear or understand guides on the bus or boat! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
This was why we took this cruise.
This was why we took this cruise. Panama Canal is on my Bucket List, so "check"! The thrill of doing a partial locks, exiting the ship in Gatun Lake, traveling to the older locks, touring the strangly weird city of Colon and ... Read More
This was why we took this cruise. Panama Canal is on my Bucket List, so "check"! The thrill of doing a partial locks, exiting the ship in Gatun Lake, traveling to the older locks, touring the strangly weird city of Colon and spending 3 hours at the Observatory with its amazing view of our ship as it exited the locks and headed around the bend to pick us up was the hi-light of our cruise. If you go, GET OFF THE SHIP and watch this once-in-a-lifetime event. Our cruise mates did not join us--for whatever reason--and I truly believe they missed the best part of the trip.Colon is strange! They are in the process of displacing 6000 families and moving them away from the waterfront so they can build a huge mall and hotels. Graft and corruption at work, I fear. Our return bus ride to the ship was scary. Rush hour, no traffic lights and cars converging at intersections with pedestrians dashing in and out. Felt like we were in the middle od a demolition derby! No horns beeping, though. Just weird!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
We had purchased a different tour, the lake and locks.
We had purchased a different tour, the lake and locks. The tour was changed and the excursion desk would not acknowledge the change. It no longer included the locks. They said it never included the locks, which was not true. I brought ... Read More
We had purchased a different tour, the lake and locks. The tour was changed and the excursion desk would not acknowledge the change. It no longer included the locks. They said it never included the locks, which was not true. I brought proof to the excursion desk and she continued to be extremely unaccomodating. The tour we ended up with resulted in us having to pay more money, which made me angry. The tour was fine. Lots of propaganda against the US construction and running of the locks for years. Got to see a wild sloth and a coatimundi which was nice. Guide was nice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Tour was interesting.
Tour was interesting. went all the way to Panama City and the Pacific Ocean side of the locks. HOT, Humid and stuck in traffic. Colon was very poor and scary.
Tour was interesting. went all the way to Panama City and the Pacific Ocean side of the locks. HOT, Humid and stuck in traffic. Colon was very poor and scary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Called the Canal Experience.
Called the Canal Experience. It wasn't. If the had been Boat Ride through the Locks on the Pacific Side, I would have rated it highly. Didn't get to see any of Lake Gatun except from the cruise ship.
Called the Canal Experience. It wasn't. If the had been Boat Ride through the Locks on the Pacific Side, I would have rated it highly. Didn't get to see any of Lake Gatun except from the cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
There's no other option for this tour as everything in Panama must be booked through the cruise ...
There's no other option for this tour as everything in Panama must be booked through the cruise ship. The boat is old and offers little in the way of comfort. Chairs are black metal and there's not much shade. No view from the ... Read More
There's no other option for this tour as everything in Panama must be booked through the cruise ship. The boat is old and offers little in the way of comfort. Chairs are black metal and there's not much shade. No view from the front so it's best to sit at the back and turn the chairs around to get a view of the canal behind you. Lunch is miserable, portions are stingy (but who would want more Wonder bread and processed cheese anyway?) but at least the drinks are cold and the beer is cheap. Holland needs to find a better provider for this as it's the only water tour through the locks so there are no other options for guests. The reviews from the past are exactly the same. I'd hoped with a new cruise season they might've changed things up. Take your own food and lots of sunscreen, a hand fan, and wear a big hat. No shopping opportunities for souvenirs as we were very late back to the ship at 8:45 p.m. They kept the Lido open for us at least. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
Very interesting and helped to understand the workings of the canal before transit
Very interesting and helped to understand the workings of the canal before transit
Very interesting and helped to understand the workings of the canal before transit Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Celebrity Cruises
To many steps about the boat, but a great experience with the locks.
To many steps about the boat, but a great experience with the locks. The food was not exceptable
To many steps about the boat, but a great experience with the locks. The food was not exceptable Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
This was very interesting, but long.
This was very interesting, but long. we took a bus to the other side of the Lake and continued in a smaller boat, very intereresting. Done ones is good.
This was very interesting, but long. we took a bus to the other side of the Lake and continued in a smaller boat, very intereresting. Done ones is good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Great trip that took us right through the canal and out into the Pacific.
Great trip that took us right through the canal and out into the Pacific. Quite expensive but you don't visit the Panama Canal everyday !!
Great trip that took us right through the canal and out into the Pacific. Quite expensive but you don't visit the Panama Canal everyday !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
We disembarked on Gatun Lake, took a bus to a further park of the Lake and then continued on a ...
We disembarked on Gatun Lake, took a bus to a further park of the Lake and then continued on a smaller boat (about 250) through the remainder of the locks to the Pacific Ocean. Great to see how the process works, the countryside and a ... Read More
We disembarked on Gatun Lake, took a bus to a further park of the Lake and then continued on a smaller boat (about 250) through the remainder of the locks to the Pacific Ocean. Great to see how the process works, the countryside and a glimpse of Panama City! You take the bus back to meet the ship. Just a heads up - this took about 10 hours but it was worth it for us because this was our reason for picking this cruise - well worth the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
we transited the Panama Canal from Gatun Lake to the Pacific Ocean by Ferry Boat.
we transited the Panama Canal from Gatun Lake to the Pacific Ocean by Ferry Boat. Lunch was included and we learned a lot about the history of the canal. Went through the locks, and returned to the ship by bus.
we transited the Panama Canal from Gatun Lake to the Pacific Ocean by Ferry Boat. Lunch was included and we learned a lot about the history of the canal. Went through the locks, and returned to the ship by bus. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Did bus tour to Miraflores and Agua Clara locks.
Did bus tour to Miraflores and Agua Clara locks. Very good day!
Did bus tour to Miraflores and Agua Clara locks. Very good day! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Partially interesting.
Partially interesting. If you have been up the Danube or Rhine then this is just a large and older version of these canals and lock systems. Overall disappointment, as this was supposed to be the highlight of our cruise.
Partially interesting. If you have been up the Danube or Rhine then this is just a large and older version of these canals and lock systems. Overall disappointment, as this was supposed to be the highlight of our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises)
Only way to do the entire canal is to book a tour with the cruise line.
Only way to do the entire canal is to book a tour with the cruise line. It's expensive but well worth it in order to see the whole canal. It's a long day because you have to wait for a ship to go with you through the canal locks ... Read More
Only way to do the entire canal is to book a tour with the cruise line. It's expensive but well worth it in order to see the whole canal. It's a long day because you have to wait for a ship to go with you through the canal locks (the excursion boat is too small to go by itself). Fortunately we had clouds most of the day which helped with the heat. We tendered off of the cruise ship on Gatun Lake and then bused to Gamboa and then took a boat for the rest of the canal. Probably about 300 people on the boat. They served a good lunch and had free water and sodas. Great experience and worth the price, especially since there's not much to do on the cruise ship for the day (Colon is not a good port). Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
We did a tour from Robtads called two oceans and three locks.
We did a tour from Robtads called two oceans and three locks. It was excellent! Roberto was very professional and had so much information. He started with some general info and then asked for questions. It was a ton of history and he made ... Read More
We did a tour from Robtads called two oceans and three locks. It was excellent! Roberto was very professional and had so much information. He started with some general info and then asked for questions. It was a ton of history and he made it so interesting. Would certainly recommend a tour from him. We watched a ship going through the locks, saw a shot movie on the construction of the locks and then went on to Panama City and the little Islands near there. It was a six hour tour and the price will depend on how many are on the excursion. We had enough that it was $60 for the tour and a $15 fee for getting into the locks which is an entrance fee. Loved this tour! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: MSC Cruises
Wonderful tour going through canals via ferry!
Wonderful tour going through canals via ferry! Great experience!
Wonderful tour going through canals via ferry! Great experience! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: MSC Cruises
The canal is very interesting and our tour guide was very very knowledgable of the canal.
The canal is very interesting and our tour guide was very very knowledgable of the canal. it was a great day and the reason for taking this cruise in the first place.
The canal is very interesting and our tour guide was very very knowledgable of the canal. it was a great day and the reason for taking this cruise in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
We were greeted by Mario's rep Rey.
We were greeted by Mario's rep Rey. Now Rey was one of the best guides we have ever had, his knowledge of Caribbean history was incredible, and he really made our tour so memorable. Our tour took us on a ferry across the Canal, then ... Read More
We were greeted by Mario's rep Rey. Now Rey was one of the best guides we have ever had, his knowledge of Caribbean history was incredible, and he really made our tour so memorable. Our tour took us on a ferry across the Canal, then through a rain forest to an abandoned fort ~ good photo opportunities. The return journey took us to the Canal Locks (small entrance charge) which were very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises)