Travel Agent Focus: Panama Canal Anniversary

Anniversaries give us a chance to reminisce as the world changes around us. In 2014, the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Panama Canal. This structure that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean revolutionized shipping and the world forever.

The Panama Canal is an engineering feat that took a decade and thousands of workers to complete. The canal itself is nearly 50 miles long with six locks, and allows ships to bypass a trip all the way down the coast of South America and around Cape Horn at the tip of the continent. The creation of this canal saves time and fuel, but it also provides an incredible experience as passengers get a first-hand look and feel for the lock system.

This attraction is a true experience on a cruise, as passengers rise early to gather on decks or on their balconies for the experience of sailing through history. While going through the locks many ships have crew that narrate each step, and often times the sailings come complete with lectures or special programs about the canal and its amazing history.

Opened in August of 1914, the Panama Canal took 10 years to be constructed. It was a special project for Theodore Roosevelt, who saw that if America was able to complete this task, which had been unsuccessfully attempted before, it would be something that would position the U.S. as a world power. Panama ceded control of the Canal and a small area around the canal to the U.S. who held sole control from 1903 to 1979. From 1979 to 1999 the U.S. jointly controlled the canal with Panama, and on December 31, 1999 it was returned to Panama in its entirety.

To commemorate and celebrate this milestone several cruise lines are focusing on this region of the world. 

•  Holland America Line will have six of their ships doing full transits of the Panama Canal starting in the fall of 2013 into the spring of 2014. These cruises will also leave from a variety of ports including, Boston, Vancouver, San Diego, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale among others.

•  Princess Cruises is set to offer nine different Panama Canal itineraries that range from 11 to 18 days. In total a Princess ship will traverse the Panama Canal 33 times in 2014.

•  Norwegian Cruise Line will be sailing the Panama Canal 42 times in 2014. Included on those journeys are a 27-day sailing from New Orleans, through the canal and then all the way up the coast to Alaska, ending in Seattle. To top that there is a 42-day journey from Copenhagen, across the Atlantic, visiting the Caribbean and sailing through the canal and ending in Los Angeles.

Have you sailed the Panama Canal, what was the best part of the experience. Do you prefer a Panama Canal cruise that includes stops during the crossing or one that takes you straight through?

Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation! Visit The Cruise Web for the best Panama Canal cruise deals.

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