Once again, we’re looking at a cruise that’s above our $40 per night arbitrary threshold but, once again, this one is worth mentioning. Transiting the Panama Canal on a ship is not only a common bucket list item for cruisers but for travellers in general. Typically, a Panama Canal cruise starts at around $100 per night per person and goes nowhere but up, regardless of the cruise line. With Norwegian Cruise Lines at the start of January, 2014, this cruise can be had for as low as $57 per person per night.
Some Panama Canal cruises just go halfway, turning around at Gatun Lake and heading back home. This 14 night cruise on board the Norwegian Star does the whole deal from Panama City at the Pacific Ocean to Colon at the Caribbean/Atlantic side.
The ship embarks from Los Angeles, California at 4pm on Sunday, January 5, 2014 and reaches Miami, by way of the Canal, at 8am on Sunday, January 19, 2014. Along the way, she makes six port calls other than the Panama Canal, five on the Pacific coast and one in the Caribbean. Included are: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica and Cartagena, Colombia. All are full days on shore, ranging from 7 to 9 hours.
An interior stateroom on board the Norwegian Star can be had for as low as $799 per person. This equals around $57 per person per night. Unfortunately, any Panama Canal cruise, no matter the length or cruise line, costs dearly in government taxes and fees, in this case to the tune of $362 per person. Right now, with a $25 on board credit included, a couple can do this cruise for an all-in $2,322.
For other categories, the pricing goes as low as $1,249 per person for an Ocean View stateroom, $2,399 per person for a balcony and $2,499 per person for a suite.
If money is not an issue, you might want to try out the Garden Villa Suite. 6,694 square feet of living space on the 14th deck, at the back of the ship. Yes, I had to check that two or three times. 6,694 square feet of living space! This includes all inside and outside space. You have your own private garden, hot tub and room for eight people. There are three bedrooms with nothing less than a queen sized bed. Butler and concierge service comes included. The total price for two people? $27,722 or just under $14,000 per person!
Norwegian Star is barely within Panamax sized limits when it comes to width. Meaning, it just squeaks into the locks of the Panama Canal. Back in 2000, this ship was intended to be dubbed SuperStar Libra in the Star Cruises fleet. Instead, she made her maiden voyage on November 19, 2001 as Norwegian Star.
She is a NCL Dawn Class ship with just one younger sister. Norwegian Dawn came into service in 2002. Star has a gross tonnage of 91,740 and is 294 metres or 965 feet in length. There are 15 decks on board, eleven accessible to passengers. Guest capacity is 2,348 with a staff of 1,083 crew members.
The Small Print
·Because of the nature of last minute deals, the pricing printed here is fleeting and could change at any time.
·Prices are in Canadian dollars.
·Most meals are included in a typical cruise price but DRINKS ARE NOT!
·Also not included are gratuities.
·Cruise pricing does not include air fare, ground transfers and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise.