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A Panama Canal Cruise has been on my bucket list, and for fun I priced out a DCL 14 day cruise in November 19. Not cheap, but surprisingly cheaper than the RCL Cruise I looked at. We would have two kids-10 and 13-who are both in Spanish Immersion, so the variety of Spanish speaking ports is appealing. They’ve never cruised, I’ve only cruised HALand Celebrity. What’s the best bang for your buck on this itinerary? Any tips?

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Disney is typically one of the more expensive large ship cruise lines. Have looked at HAL or anybody else?

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I’ve just looked at RCCL (as I’ve heard they are also great for kids)-surprisingly, they were 3K more!

 

 

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Is this the Wonder repositioning to Galveston? I did the same cruise this past year. We were just 2 old ladies and 14 days of Disney was a little too much. Surprisingly it wasn't the kids, it's the adults who are into the Cult of Mickey who were too much for us! That being said, with a a tween and a young teen in tow, I'd say, go for it! I've also done one cruise on Royal Caribbean and if you can get Disney for less than RC you really can't afford to pass on that opportunity.

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Yes it is! I am pretty into Disney myself-my husband, not so much.

 

 

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Put Disney at the bottom of your (bucket) list. Why? Because a bucket list cruise of the Panama Canal should involve passage through the historic old locks. Disney has to use the new locks. Interesting? Yes... but not as interesting or historic or fascinating as the old locks. I have done two full transits (west to east) in the old locks, one westbound in the new locks, and one partial transit in the old locks. I find the old locks endlessly fascinating. The new locks were interesting, amazing, different, but I don't feel the need to ever go through them again. Holland, Princess, NCL do regular full transits. Choose carefully. EM

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Put Disney at the bottom of your (bucket) list. Why? Because a bucket list cruise of the Panama Canal should involve passage through the historic old locks. Disney has to use the new locks. Interesting? Yes... but not as interesting or historic or fascinating as the old locks. I have done two full transits (west to east) in the old locks, one westbound in the new locks, and one partial transit in the old locks. I find the old locks endlessly fascinating. The new locks were interesting, amazing, different, but I don't feel the need to ever go through them again. Holland, Princess, NCL do regular full transits. Choose carefully. EM

 

Having done both the old and new locks I'd have to disagree with you, but, to each his own. In a perfect world I'd say do it twice and compare. This cruiser is taking their 10 and 13 year olds. Disney seems perfect.

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Oh man, EM. That’s a great point. I’d love to see the historic locks. Do you have thoughts about which other line with kids? Our kids are pretty self-sufficient and would love the trip regardless-but 14+ days is a long time for them.

 

 

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Yes it is! I am pretty into Disney myself-my husband, not so much.

 

 

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He'll survive. There is an adult only pool that is really adult only plus a few bars!

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Princess usually has two ships doing the canal. One does full transits between Fort Lauderdale and LA. The ship is either the Island or the Coral. They were constructed to fit thru the historic locks.

 

The other ship was the Caribbean this year. It did a partial transit, round trip Fort Lauderdale. It would go thru the new locks to Lake Gatun and then turnaround and go back out to Fort Lauderdale.

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I have done the full transit on Celebrity and HAL. Also Carnival Splendor, but that was new locks. I think you should look at the itineraries of the lines doing full transits. Go to http://www.cruisetimetables.com and from the Ports of Call list, choose Panama/Panama Canal(cruising). It will tell you who is doing the transit and the full itinerary. (It sometimes neglect to list NCL transits). You should be able to find lots of ports to practice Spanish...EM

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Thank you, EM! That is such a helpful tool. I notice that Disney has fewer ports (and therefore more sea days) than many of the other lines-but is also cheaper than many-very unusual for Disney. Hmmmm.

 

 

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Thank you, EM! That is such a helpful tool. I notice that Disney has fewer ports (and therefore more sea days) than many of the other lines-but is also cheaper than many-very unusual for Disney. Hmmmm.

 

 

Tough decision. Disney is quite an experience. We have been on 2 cruises with our grandchildren and enjoyed both. If the price is right you won't regret it.

 

HAL and Princess are good choices for the Panama crossing and your kids will find enough to do onboard.We sailed the Panama with HAL last year with family, including a 13 year old who had a great time.

Forget about which lock you pass through, the experience is the same.

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I really enjoyed the 11 day southern Caribbean Cruise I did on HAL-thought the food was better than on a later celebrity cruise-but was hard to picture the kids having much to do. Any thoughts about that? How about Princess? I see they do a PC cruise over Christmas which would help with the school schedule.

 

 

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Princess on a canal crossing at Christmas is a good choice. No matter what ship you take the itinerary is much the same.

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A Panama Canal Cruise has been on my bucket list, and for fun I priced out a DCL 14 day cruise in November 19. Not cheap, but surprisingly cheaper than the RCL Cruise I looked at. We would have two kids-10 and 13-who are both in Spanish Immersion, so the variety of Spanish speaking ports is appealing. They’ve never cruised, I’ve only cruised HALand Celebrity. What’s the best bang for your buck on this itinerary? Any tips?

Thanks!

My guess for the price difference is that most families do not do 14 day cruises and the Panama Canal cruises I have read about normally have a much older adult crowd therefore would need something to draw them to the Disney name. I would expect a very small amount of children on that cruise.

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Personally I much prefer a full transit through the old locks if you are into the history of how the canal was built and the issues associated with that. If you are more a point to point cruiser then either set of locks should work. If you do traverse the old locks it is fun to watch as a true Panamax ship fits into the system. It that is your desire then either the Coral or the Island works on Princess. Most veteran Princess cruisers prefer the Coral after they chopped up part of the Island to add more rooms.

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I did a quick look at the RCL 16 night Panama Canal cruise is less expensive than the DCL - any reason you did not want them?

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When I looked, RCCL was about 15K and DCL about 12, for four in a balcony (I think that was the family verandah for DCL). I wonder if that was because RCCL considers our 13 year old an adult? Absolutely open to considering them.

 

 

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Having completed well over 20 Panama Canal transits, I also vote for the original locks. Seeing technology from over 100 years ago working flawlessly is amazing. The old locks also means the ship is probably smaller, as we have no desire to sail on the modern mega ships.

 

On all our trans-canals we have seen possibly a handful of kids. Since Disney customer base is probably predominantly families with kids, they have to reduce their rates to encourage the business. The other lines tend to fill their ships fairly easily.

 

Watching a true Panamax ship entering the old locks is definitely an impressive sight.

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Having completed well over 20 Panama Canal transits, I also vote for the original locks. Seeing technology from over 100 years ago working flawlessly is amazing. The old locks also means the ship is probably smaller, as we have no desire to sail on the modern mega ships.

 

On all our trans-canals we have seen possibly a handful of kids. Since Disney customer base is probably predominantly families with kids, they have to reduce their rates to encourage the business. The other lines tend to fill their ships fairly easily.

 

Watching a true Panamax ship entering the old locks is definitely an impressive sight.

 

Did the Panama Canal with Disney in Nov., 2016 through the new locks. There were 300 plus children on the cruise with a total of 1900 plus souls.

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Having completed well over 20 Panama Canal transits, I also vote for the original locks. Seeing technology from over 100 years ago working flawlessly is amazing. The old locks also means the ship is probably smaller, as we have no desire to sail on the modern mega ships.

 

On all our trans-canals we have seen possibly a handful of kids. Since Disney customer base is probably predominantly families with kids, they have to reduce their rates to encourage the business. The other lines tend to fill their ships fairly easily.

 

Watching a true Panamax ship entering the old locks is definitely an impressive sight.

 

 

FULL agreement. I sailed the old locks on Princess and two or three times o n HAL and loved each transit. Great cruises. The commentary during the transits ---- wonderful.

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That is so appealing to me! Which lines are still sailing the old locks?

 

 

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Just about all of them. HAL, NCL, Royal, Regent, Crystal, Seabourn, Oceania, Carnival Spirit and Fantasy class; Princess Pacific, Sun and Sea only; Celebrity...There are few ships doing full transits yet that require the new locks. EM

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