Princess Cruises Releases 2011-12 Panama Canal Season

Land's End arch, Cabo San LucasStarting September 25, 2011, Princess Cruises will be offering 38 cruises through the Panama Canal, with five different itineraries, including the Two-Day Canal Experience, through the 2011-2012 season. Since its creation almost a century ago, Princess Cruises has been traveling through the 51-mile canal for more than 30 years.

Traveling through the canal, the sides of these ships nearly clear the locks that use on average 52 million gallons of water in each chamber as they eventually lift and lower vessels 170 feet as they go from the Caribbean to the Pacific during the nine-hour trip.

On the Two-Day Canal Experience, which is available on longer cruises, guests journey through the Canal, including the Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun Locks. During a second day in Panama at Fuerte Amador, guests can ride the Panama Canal Railway, visit the rainforest, explore an authentic Embera Indian village or tour Panama City's center.

In addition to the canal, guests can take advantage of itineraries calling in the Caribbean, Mexican Riveria resort town and several ports in Central America. In Costa Rica, passengers can see the tropical rain forests, visit coffee plantations and enjoy white sand coastlines in view of the mountains. In the fishing village of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, visitors can relax on the white-sand beaches and visit nearby Granada, the oldest city in Central America.

Panama Canal Two-Day Experience Cruises

Three itineraries aboard Coral Princess and Island Princess includes a full Panama Canal voyage and a full day at Fuerte Amador on the Pacific side of Panama. The 14-day itinerary travels between FortLauderdale and Los Angeles with calls at Aruba, Cartagena and Puntarenas in Costa Rica, following the Two-Day Canal Experience.

A 15-day option includes an additional call in Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. Another 15-day option takes passengers from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, calling at Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas, Cartagena and Aruba. Sailings on these itineraries depart between September 25, 2011, and April 27, 2012. Sailings on the two Canal ships also have trips of 17, 18 and 19 day to and from Vancouver.

Full Panama Canal Transit Sailings

Princess Cruises' new 14-day itinerary travels between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, including a full Panama Canal transit, as well as visits to Cabo San Lucas, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, Cartagena and Aruba. Aboard the Coral Princess, four sailings depart this upcoming season, including October 25, November 8, 2011, February 28, and March 13, 2012.

Roundtrip Panama Canal Cruises

Island Princess' 10-day will take guests from Fort Lauderdale on a partial Panama Canal trip to Gatun Lake, calling on Colon, Aruba and Cartagena before Limon in Costa Rica and Grand Cayman or Ocho Rio. Between October 10, 2011 and April 17, 2012, 20 departures are available.