Cruising Through The Panama Canal

January, 2023

One of the highlights for us on the ATW cruise was sailing through the Panama Canal. While we had been through it before in 2012, we were still excited to go through it again and see the completion of the new locks.

The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. This saves ships over 7,000 miles and some really rough seas going through the Drake Passage. The French began construction in 1880 and lost 25% of their workforce due to malaria and yellow fever.

In 1904, President Roosevelt helped the new country of Panama by paying them 10 million in gold for the rights to the canal. For the following 99 years, along with a yearly payment of $250,000, the US had control of the canal.

Our journey through the locks started from the Atlantic Ocean. We will travel through a set of three locks and then cross Lake Gatun before passing through the final set of three locks, under the Bridge of Americas and out into the Pacific Ocean. We will be traveling through the old locks on our journey as our ship isn’t large enough for the new locks.

The Island Princess has been through the locks over 250 times and costs around $366,000 (paid in advance) and around 8-10 hours to complete this journey to the Pacific Ocean.

We enjoyed the canal at The Sanctuary on the top of our ship. Since our room was on the 7th floor, we could not use our balcony for safety reasons.
As boats prepare for their journey through the locks the tugs get them in position for the canal and the mules.
Mechanical mules are attached to every boat. The Captain turns over control of the boat and the mules pull us through the locks. We will rise 85’ through these locks to enter Lake Gatun.
With only inches to spare, our boat slides through the locks.
We watched the Texas Star go through the locks in the opposite direction.
As we enter the last set of locks, the new locks are on the left hand side of this picture.
Double locks at the end ensures that Lake Gatun doesn’t empty out into the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.
Looking back at the final set of locks.
We have made it through both sets of locks and are ready to go under the Bridge of Americas and out into the Pacific Ocean.


  1. Nice to hear from you. You are now almost a month into your adventure! Hard to believe. Look forward to following your cruise with your travel blog 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been great so far. I like to run a bit behind so people don’t really know when we will return home. We do have a house sitter but I still like to be a bit cautious. Hope you are enjoying SoCal.


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