The Panama Canal, a passageway that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, has been a key mode of transportation and trade since its opening in 1914 (celebrating its 100th birthday just last year). Adventurous cruisers set sail to see this manmade feat of engineering each year.
Transcanal crossings are usually the most popular itinerary, starting in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in the east or Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco in the west. On these itineraries, which run from October to April, cruisers will have the opportunity to stop in ports from Western Mexico to South America including: Puerto Limon or Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Popular cruise lines that traverse the Panama Canal are Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian and Holland America.
Panama Canal cruises are longer than your usual Caribbean cruise, typically running about 14 nights, and taxes are often higher to cover the canal transit cost.
Mexican Riviera cruises visit the West Coast of Mexico, and usually begin in Los Angeles. Some may begin in San Diego or San Francisco. These cruises stop in ports such as Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada and Mazatlán. Itineraries often range from three to seven nights on major cruise lines such as Carnival and Princess.