Best Cruise Line for Cruises Through the Panama Canal

I decided to do some research on which is the best cruise line for cruises through the Panama Canal because there were many poor reviews online. I want to help you make the best decision for your cruise and good thing I stumbled upon a forum discussion which discusses this very same topic. I’m going to list down their thoughts and feedback and hopefully this article will save you some amount of time in looking for the best cruise line through the Panama Canal.

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Volendam (Holland America)

One member took a partial transit of Panama Canal on the Volendam last Spring 2002. All of the HAL ships have wraparound promenade decks as well as opening the bow which they did while in the Panama Canal. At that time HAL had only one or two shore excursions and they couldn’t get off the ship unless you went on them.


They went on a smaller ship and more mature people were on board. The food was really good and also pricey.

Regal Princess

They did a 10-day full transit on Regal Princess and they loved it. But unfortunately, Regal is no longer part of the fleet but they wouldn’t hesitate to sail on the Coral Princess or several of the Holland America ships.


One member had a great time on a Princess cruise that ended in Acapulco. The Princess ship was good but she usually likes bigger ships but they wouldn’t fit through the Panama Canal. She had an AA cabin, on the Caribbean Princess, but she wouldn’t choose that cabin again. 80% of the crowd were around 60-70 years old, 5% were older and the rest were in their 40’s and above.

The price was good but she would book a Holland American Balcony cabin sale in a heartbeat, as long as they went through the whole canal. She mentioned that Royal Caribbean has a cruise but it doesn’t go through the whole canal. They went in November for Thanksgiving and they said it was the perfect time of the year and you don’t get any flies. The food was fine but they didn’t have a very good buffet.

If you’re looking for the best cruise line for cruises through the Panama Canal, then determine what’s important to you. The reviews were mostly favoring on having a great time with Princess but everyone had their own favorites and it all depends on what’s important to you. One member shared his thoughts on choosing cruise lines based on priorities:

  • If having good food is your priority, then go with Oceania (Princess, HAL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and even Celebrity don’t come close).
  • Go with Royal Caribbean for entertainment. Remember that entertainment is usually short in smaller ships. Larger ships can only go up to the Panama Canal (then turn around), but cannot transit through the locks. In the future, this is supposed to change, as there is a project underway to modify the Panama Canal.
  • If you need the optimal service, then go with Celebrity or HAL.

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