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Customer Reviews for The Canal Experience to Colon

The Canal Experience to Colon

Ride by bus to either the Gamboa Dredging Division Pier or the Cucaracha Pier inside the Panama Canal, and board a ferry that will transport you through the Panama Canal. You’ll pass through the Gaillard Cut—the most important and difficult part of the Panama Canal’s construction and home of legendary Continental Divide. Next you will enter the Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Lake. On the far side of the lake you will find the Miraflores Locks—your passage to the Pacific Ocean. Watch for the Centennial and Americas Bridges and you will end your adventure at the Pacific port at the entrance to the Panama Canal. A motor coach will transport you back to the ship.
Average Customer Rating:
3.857 out of 5
3.9
 out of 
5
(42 Reviews) 41
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (42 reviews)
5 stars
21
4 stars
8
3 stars
5
2 stars
2
1 star
6
31 out of 42(74%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Canal Experience to Colon
Review 21 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A fantastic opportunity to see and experience

Date:April 19, 2014
Chicsdofish
Location:Florida east coast
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a great opportunity to have the total Panama Canal experience, we did not want to visit the ports in Mexico and fly home from California so this was a great alternative. It may not be for everyone. We arrived to the dock by tender from the ship once were were in Lake Gatun. The bus trip was great having Jill for our guide. She was very informative. We did have a wait as the ferry captain was late . Finally we boarded the ferry and the guide was very informative. The lunch was mediocre as compared to our shipboard lunches. The unfortunate occurance was the doors were open during the lunch to allow the folks in the stern to file in for lunch. It seemed to be warmer inside after the lunch and most of the outdoor viewing was in the sun. Some of the older folks trying to keep cool inside were missing some of the view. The crew however encouraged hydrating and had plenty of water juices and soda cooled in tubs. It was a hot day. You really get to experience the gates up close and experience the changes in water depth. To me a worthwhile excursion. We did have some excitement watching a sailboat trying to ride with us as we navigated the canal. During the dry season small boats need to transit thru the canal with a large ship. There can be a wait for the larger ship so folks need to be prepared for the wait. the sailboat crew were inept at handling the sailboat and crashed into our ferry window. It was like watching an episode of the Keystone Cops. No one was injured but our group will be talking about it for a long time. We needed to wait after transversing till an incident reports were filed- a coast guard boat came close and they boarded our ferry. Finally were were able to head toward our ferry dock to board the bus back. The lights at night from Panama City were spectacular! Beautiful! We headed back by bus knowing the captain of our ship had been kept in the loop about our delays and dinner was waiting for us.
Our tour began at 9 A.M. And was supposed to end in 6-8 hours. We were returned after 12 hours. We were told on our trip that one group didn't get back till 10P.M. Diabetics need to be informed to bring a snack bar or something along and some elderly folks should have more info in the description so as to make an informed decision that the delays could be extensive. I loved our trip and felt it was a once in a lifetime experience but many of the folks looked spent after a hot day .
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 22 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Up Close and Personal

Date:March 26, 2014
gophers5
Location:Dallas,Texas
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I thought this was a highlight experience. Cruising thru the locks on a big ship, you barely see the locks from above. Taking the remaining locks thru to the Pacific on a ferry boat was entirely different experience. You see the huge gates in front of you--then they open up and close behind you. You share the lock with huge freighters which you see from a different perspective.
I totally recommend--you see the process from 2 perspectives, and you have then also made a full transit of the Panama Canal.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 23 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great experience

Date:February 17, 2014
Mackers
Location:Michigan
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This excursion was a highlight of our cruise to the Panama Canal. This is not just another lock, but the Locks of the Panama Canal - a wonder to beholdl. !! It was up close and personal going thru on a ferry and was all we had hoped it to be and more. The guide on the ferry and our guide on the bus trip were excellent and very informative. I would highly recommend this.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 24 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This is a 10 star not 5

Date:April 8, 2013
pete68
Location:New York City N.Y.
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
One of the greatest tours I have taken.The guide on the ferry was very informative. and the trip in the locks was special.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
-1point
4out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 25 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amazing Canal

Date:April 7, 2013
inlove123
Location:Florida
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The cruise on the Panama Canal was amazing. I got to watch the locks open and close and felt the water rising below the boat. There was an excellent narrator discussing what we would see as we approached the locks and as we proceded through.
The bus ride was long but we got see some of the country and the lunch onboard was adequite.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
3out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 26 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Amazing Day on the Panama Canal

Date:March 4, 2013
Travelersat81
Location:Western Kentucky
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We wern't going to take a tour in Panama (assuming entering and exiting Gatum locks would suffice) until we watched the promos for this Canal Tour.
One of the better tours we have taken when cruising. It was an interesting journey, especially when we entered the Pacific side of the canal and saw the amazing City of Panama. Enjoyed the locks and information shared along the way. Temperatures and long day left us a little exhausted, but we both were glad we made the tour of such an historic accomplishment.
A bucket list must!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 27 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Canal tour

Date:February 24, 2013
Alabama
Location:Huntsville, AL
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Going through the Panama Canal to the Pacific was a must. The tour included a land tour and information concerning was was the American zone. The guide was very knowlegeable and interesting. The ferry provided excellent food for lunch and plenty of water, fruit juices, soft drinks free of charge. The crew was very diligent in making sure everyone had plenty of water to drink. The weather was hot but not excessively and there was adequate shade on board.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
4out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 28 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent tour - a must!

Date:February 21, 2013
FLer
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Our entire cruise was terrific but this tour was the highlight of our vacation. Transiting the canal was a long-time dream and it was great! We were lucky, no delays, and good weather.
It was very hot however so visitors should prepare for that. Not all of the seats on the ferry are in the shade. Lunch was very good; lots of food and variety. Getting off the ferry was not well organized and for the elderly folks there was some steep walking up the gangway to the pier. Buses were comfortable and the drivers and guides were good, very informative.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 29 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wonderful experience!

Date:November 22, 2012
Decar
Location:Englewood, FL
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:November
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
We certainly did have a great time on this excursion. The ferry bathroom was clean, the food was actually better than I expected, the guide on the bus and the guide on the ferry were both knowledgable, friendly and did a very good job and the canal experience was wonderful! The bus trip back to Colon was great too because we got so see lots of the country besides just around the port. Yes, the trip was long, but you know going in that it is and that commercial ships have priority through the Canal, so it could take longer. Why someone would pick this cruise excursion that needs to take a nap is beyond me. The service on this excursion was better than what we experienced in the Vista dining room the first night of our cruise when it took 25 minutes to get our water refilled! The best part of this cruise was the shore excursions, not the time spent on the Zuiderdam which should have gone into dry dock before this cruise, not after it!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 30 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

GREAT

Date:March 24, 2012
Nonie
Location:Southern California
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My husband and I thought this tour was outstanding and a wonderful way to see the Panama Canal for the first time.
The tour guides were very knowledgeable and answered each and every question.
Plenty of liquids to keep you comfortable as you view tug boats and green algae on the walls.
Panama City and the causeway were a wonderful ending.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
-2points
6out of 14found this review helpful.
Review 31 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:March 22, 2012
Fern
Location:Maryland
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The tour was very interesting and informative, however, the lack of shaded area was a surprise to us. There are many older tourists that take advantage of this trip and we feel that there needs to be some consideration of what they need. I would recommend this tour but would warn anyone considering taking it that they need to be aware of the fact their ability to view the locks will be hampered if they cannot be out in the sun.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
5out of 6found this review helpful.
Review 32 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Panama Canal, all the way through

Date:March 19, 2012
tshark
Location:Minnetonka, MN
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
I 100% agree with the March 15 review - in fact we are probably reviewing the same shore excursion. Our ferry guide implied that he knew about some of the changes that would make this a much longer day than advertised. It was hot, conditions were crowded and the restrooms sitiatuion had to be a health code violation. We enjoyed all other aspects of our HAL cruise but think the shore excursion folks need to re-visit this particular offering.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
-1point
2out of 5found this review helpful.
Review 33 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

CANAL EXPERIENCE

Date:March 18, 2012
rusty86
Location:LONG ISLAND, NY
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS EXCURSION AT ALL. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A 7 HOUR TRIP BUT TURNED INTO AN 11 HOUR UNCOMFORTABLE DAY. WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT A HUGE CARGO SHIP FOLLOWED US INTO EVERY LOCK IN THE CANAL WHICH TOOK EXTRA TIME IN EACH LOCK. NOT HAL'S FAULT BUT THIS TOUR SHOULD NOT BE OFFERED IF THIS CAN HAPPEN. THE SHIP HAD TO WAIT FOR US TO RETURN FROM THIS HORRENDOUS DAY. PEOPLE WERE HUNGRY AND TIRED AND MADE A MAD RUSH FOR FOOD AT 8 PM. GOING THROUGH THE FIRST 3 LOCKS IN THE MORNING ON THE SHIP WAS ALL I NEEDED TO SEE. I DIDN'T EXPERIENCE ANYTHING MORE EXCITING ON THE OLD, WORN OUT FERRY. TAKE A DIFFERENT EXCURSION WHILE IN PANAMA. WE DID RECEIVE A 25% REFUND AFTER I COMPLAINED TO THE SHORE EXCURSION DESK.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
0points
2out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 34 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Canal good...Experience poor!

Date:March 15, 2012
Bella10
Location:Ontario, Canada
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Pros:
1. Mel great guide!
2. After a citizen threw a coconut thru a window on our bus, shattering a window and covering a passenger with glass, the replacement bus arrived within minutes. Also, the buses were comfortable, air conditioned and quite roomy.
3. Unlimited amount of water and pop for entire trip.
4. Experienced Panama Canal from start to finish earning a certificate of authenticity!
Cons:
1. Not enough seating for the number of participant guests, rsulting in passengers 'saving' and 'stealing' seats.
2. Signs in washrooms stated not to flush tissue, resulting in huge piles overflowing wastebaskets...hygiene highly questionable. It did not appear that the waste was emptied anytime during the day.
3. Not enough washrooms for number of passengers.
4. Door lock broken on main deck women's washroom.
5. Seats on back of boat broken; exposed nails and rotted wood under worn-out cushions.
6. Extremely hot with minimal shade cover...advance notice of boat condition; foreknowledge would have been very welcome, particularly for the elderly passengers on board. We may have still elected to participate and to 'rough it', highly unlikely though. At our ages, camping in tents is not our definition of comfortable travel and we expect the best when choosing a premium cruise line.
7. Questionable food of poor quality. Note: at end of trip, platters of meat and sandwiches remained on dining table.
8.. Tour began at 8:45 a.m. in Vista Lounge and ended at 8:00 p.m. as we re-boarded Zuiderdam.
9. Some unfriendly employees.
10. A forecast 7 to 8 hrs. morphed into 12 hrs.
11. The only seats we could find and keep were located at the back of the boat where the smell of diesel fuel was quite overwhelming at times. We all smelled of it when we returned to the Zuiderdam. Not healthy.
Beyond travelling through the locks and learning the history of the Panama Canal, we did not know what to expect of the trip. Knowing in advance that it could be as long as 8 hrs. did allow us to prepare to a certain degree. Based on the pristine, hygienic, up-to-date conditions on Holland America ships, that we have come to respect and admire, we believed the ferry would have been in much, much better condition. While HAL does not own "the Canal Experience", in our opinion, it remains responsible for the quality of the shore excursions. At the point where the tour operator said at 4:30 p.m. that we had approximately 3 more hours to go, my heart sank. Many of the passengers in my immediate vicinity were limp, wilted and exhaused and speaking for ourselves, we did not take in many details, historical or technical after that announcement. I was desperately relieved to finally see our Zuiderdam ship and to feel that we had finally returned home.
To see and witness the Panama Canal in such a personal way would score 4 starts, but to experience the agony of the accommodations reduces the rating to a 1. I made verbal complaints to our room steward, dining steward and hotel manager but not the shore excursion staff and have never submitted a review about anything before. However, I felt compelled to do so in this case. After recovery, I am very glad to have seen the Canal but would never participate in the ferry excursion again, nor would I recommend this to anyone for future cruises. Being extremly disappointed, I hold Holland America directly responsible for this horrific excursion. We don't usually partake in shore excursions and after this, it's doubtful that we ever will again.
I want to stress that we don't have anything negative to say about the Zuiderdam! I have told my family that our cruises continue to get better and better and that we will remain exclusive HAL fans. We love the suite amenities, the staff, the food, the pools, the art, etc. and can hardly wait to return.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+10points
13out of 16found this review helpful.
Review 35 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good Experience - Long, Hot Day!

Date:February 29, 2012
lamh
Location:Ohio
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Nice trip but it was extremely warm.
We left at 10 am and returned to ship at 6:30 pm due to traffic jam.
The experience of our cruise ship traveling through a lock was a sufficient experience. I would recommend another tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
-1point
1out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 36 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

LOCK THROUGH

Date:February 17, 2012
BeeBob
Location:Florida
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We were so excited to find this excursion option as we had wanted to transit the entire canal, but cruising through didn't work out for us. This is a long day, but a wonderful way to experience transiting the entire canal. Glad we did it.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 37 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The locks close-up

Date:October 25, 2011
jackieb1701
Location:Florida
Cruise Date Year:2011
Cruise Date Month:October
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Enjoyed this excursion. We really wanted to see the locks close-up and this delivered. The ferry had a restroom, served cold drinks and a light lunch. The tour guide was wonderful. Very knowledgeable and talked a lot about the history and the Panama Canal & surrounding cities. The bus ride to catch the ferry and the bus back to Colon to catch the ship were long, but the tour guide answered questions & talked a lot to keep us busy. Keep in mind, no restrooms on the bus and they didnt stop. This was the ONLY negative thing about the tour for me. You take the ferry from Gatun Lake through 2 more sets of locks to the Pacific. I would recommend it.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 38 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Long, hot and boring

Date:May 4, 2011
EclecticEd
Location:New Jer
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Passing through the lock was interesting for about 5 minutes in the midst of a 6 hour day. Otherwise there was nothing to see or do and the guide on the ferry had nothing to contribute.
The bus guide was even worse. His comments on the roughly 3 hours we spent on the bus were essentially asking us to guess the price of commodities in Panama: "Does anyone want to guess the price of bananas in Panama?"; "Does anyone want to guess the price of beer in Panama?" etc. etc. etc Aaaaargh!
Save your money.
Cruise Date Year:2011
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+1point
4out of 7found this review helpful.
Review 39 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

to long, to many locks , bus ride, cattle car

Date:April 17, 2011
lars
Location:ND
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Way to long to see the same things over and over, guide was iinformative and nice. but a bus ride is a bus ride, one lock is the same as the other , the boat was overcrowded and took all the time to feed everyone because only on one deck. If this tour was 1/2 the time and money the value and interest would be good. touching the lock is ok but not worth the time. Have traveled all ovet the world and done 10 druises in the last 6 years , always found 1/2 day or less fairly good products ,over that to much selling products and not enough things to interest a person for the money.
ps , bus had no bathroom
Cruise Date Year:2011
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
-2points
1out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 40 for The Canal Experience to Colon
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

WE HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE .

Date:November 29, 2010
mackie
Location:Vancouver, BC
Cruise Date Month:November
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
We had a wonderful time on the small ferry that took us through the other locks. My husband was able to touch the wall of the canal . You would not experience this in a cruise ship. Our guide was also very helpful and on the bus trip to and from the ship we learned alot about Panama. Its a long day , but well worth it.
Cruise Date Year:2010
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
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