Ever since I sat through an educational film detailing the history of the Panama Canal during a 5th grade social studies class I have dreamed of visiting the iconic landmark. I even kept a travel brochure I saw years ago that reads: “Every self-respecting cruise fan must sail the stunning Panama Canal at least once in their lifetime.” I couldn’t agree more; though the price to do so is so exorbitant you would almost have to make it a trip of a lifetime because you may not be able to afford another after it. Still, if you look long and hard enough there are ways to cruise to Panama for under $2,000.
Take a look:
September 2008 Departure
CruisesOnly is offering an incredible deal on a Panama voyage that departs on September 21, 2008. The trip takes place on the new Norwegian Pearl and lasts 19-nights. The Panama Canal eastbound odyssey is on sale for only $1,579 for an interior cabin (just $2,149 in oceanview), which reflects a discount of 34% off rack rates. The ship departs from Seattle, Washington toward Miami. Along the way you’ll make stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles in California; Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco in Mexico; the Panama Canal; Colombia’s Cartagena; as well as the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao on the way back to Florida. You’ll also enjoy eight full days at sea.
December 2008 Departure
Orbitz is offering an incredible deal to the Panama Canal on Holland America Rotterdam for just $1,599 for in an interior cabin. (That’s 36% off of rack rates.) The 16-night cruise departs in December from San Diego and takes in five Mexican ports of call (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Huatulco, and Puerto Chiapas) as well as Puntarenas in Costa Rica and the island of Aruba. Seven days at sea and one day of sailing through the Panama Canal are also included. The trip ends in Fort Lauderdale. Oceanview units on this voyage are going for just $1,699.
February 2009 Departure
Vacation Outlet is currently offering an early-bird deal that saves you 48% off rack rates for an 11-night Panama Canal voyage that departs next February, aboard Crystal Symphony. The odyssey departs from Costa Rica toward Miami, and makes several stops including Aruba, St Maarten, St. Barths, and Tortola in the Caribbean, in addition to crossing the Panama Canal. The trip also includes five full days at sea. Oceanview staterooms on this luxury vessel have been reduced from a hefty $6,295 to just $3,300.