Pacific Queen Cruise Tour on Panama Canal
These Pacific Queen tours of the Panama Canal offer travelers an up-close look at the Panama Canal—its locks, cruise ships, islands, and wildlife. Both partial and full transits are available.
up to 10 days in advance
- Duration: 6 hrs
- Available Days: Sun, Thu, Fri, Sat
- Schedule: 7:00 AM, 9:00 AM
- Hotel Transportation Offered
- Free cancellation up to 10 days prior
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
The Pacific Queen is a large, 300-passenger cruise ship. It has two enclosed decks equipped with air conditioning, as well as a third open-air deck. There is a speaker system that allows the tour guide to narrate throughout the length of the cruise. Additionally, there are six restrooms, a souvenir shop, and a lounge/bar area where food and drinks are served.
The partial transit begins at the Flamenco Resort and Marina near Gamboa. To get here, passengers board motor coaches in Panama City and drive to Gamboa, which takes about 45 minutes.
Once in Gamboa, passengers board the Pacific Queen and head through the Gaillard Cut, which carves through the Continental Divide. This section of the canal is extremely interesting and is packed with both history and geology. While here, you’ll also observe the Panama Canal expansion project.
After traversing the Gaillard Cut’s 8.5 miles (13.5 km), you’ll see the Centennial Bridge, which crosses over the Canal. The Pacific Queen will then enter the Pedro Miguel Locks and be lowered 30 feet (9 m) in one step. You’ll continue into Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of fresh water, and eventually reach the Miraflores Locks. Here the ship is lowered 60 feet (18 m) in two steps.
The Pacific Queen then heads to the Flamenco Marina, where passengers will disembark. On the way you’ll pass under the Bridge of the Americas and enjoy views of the Panama City skyline and Bay of Panama. In total, the partial transit takes 4 to 5 hours.
The full transit runs the entire length of the canal—from the point of entry on the Pacific Ocean to the exit on the Caribbean coast. This is the best way to get a comprehensive look at the Panama Canal. This tour lasts 8 to 9 hours.
The ship departs from the Flamenco Marina in Panama City. While here you’ll enjoy views of the Bay of Panama and the city skyline before passing under the Bridge of the Americas. The ship will then transit the first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks, where it will rise 60 feet (18 m) in two distinct steps. The ship then enters Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of fresh water that separates the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks. The Pacific Queen will continue on to transit the Pedro Miguel lock, ascending 30 feet (9 m) in one step.
After exiting these locks, the Pacific Queen will pass through the Gaillard Cut, which carves through the Continental Divide. As you transit the Gaillard Cut you’ll be able to observe the canal expansion project. Your trip will continue on through Gatún Lake and pass by the Smithsonian Research Station at Barro Colorado. You’ll also experience the Gatún Locks, which are the only locks along the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Here the ship will be lowered 85 feet (26 m) in three steps.
Upon arriving in Colón you will disembark at the Colón 2000 port and take a motor coach back to Panama City.
The full transit begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends around 7:30 p.m.
Attraction VisitedPanama Canal
The Panama Canal is one of the world’s most impressive engineering feats. The canal extends 80 kilometers (50 mi) from Panama City on the Pacific Ocean to Colón on the Caribbean Sea. It’s built at one of the lowest and narrowest points in Panama, and runs right through the Continental Divide. More than 14,000 ships pass through the canal annually, carrying some 300 million tons of cargo. As such, the Panama Canal is one of the largest generators of income for Panama—in 2011, the canal generated $800 million, some two percent of the country’s GDP.
What to Bring
comfortable clothing and shoes, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, umbrella/raincoat, and money for souvenirs.
bilingual guide, soda/water, lunch, continental breakfast (full transit), snacks (full transit), and transportation.
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “More Time and Rates” for full details.
This tour introduces you to the Guna, one of Panama’s indigenous groups. They have full control of the white-sand islands and blue waters of San Blas and govern themselves independent of the rest of Panama. On this tour, you’ll visit two of the 365 islands that comprise the archipelago.
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