This wonderful man made channel with its many locks joins the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

If you are a serious traveller a cruise through the Panama Canal should be near the top of your list with its wonderful man made channel and its many locks joining the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Unless you have experienced this trip it is hard to imagine how on earth these large ships manage to get through the series of locks unscathed with literally only inches to spare.

The Panama Canal

The country of Panama forms a land link between the North and South American continents. The Panama Canal, which cuts through the country joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is a vital link for international sea trade. Every year some 14,000 ships negotiate the locks of the Canal. First opened in 1914, the Canal is 82km (51 miles) long, with a minimum depth of 12m (39ft). There are three locks on either coast of the Canal; double lanes allow simultaneous passage of two ships. On the Caribbean side the ship is gradually raised a total of 85 ft and then continues through the Gutun Lake and the Canal itself. Most of the ‘Panamax’ type cruise ships (technical term for cruise ships that can negotiate the present canal) only allow a few inches on both sides of the ship to get through the locks – assistance is given by attaching heavy cables from the ship to mechanical ‘mules’; small locos which help to guide the ship safely through the series of locks. The same procedure is followed in reverse at the other end; through the Pedro and Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side. A third set of larger locks is being added to increase the capacity of the canal and to handle the largest of ships – opening 2015/2016.

 Professional Advice from Simon at Designer Travel

I can help you find the cruise that most suits your budget and taste. I can also come up with full listing of cruises that include the passage of the canal very quickly. So please don’t hesitate to contact me now for further information if at all interested.

All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking.

All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking

Photo: Holland America ship – Panama Canal (HAL) 141

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