Join My Panama Canal Full Transit Group Cruise in 2026

Join Me On An Iconic Panama Canal Full Transit On My 2026 Group Cruise

At the end of January 2026, I am delighted that I will be hosting a group cruise on one of my all-time favourite cruise experiences, a full transit of the Panama Canal. This bucket-list adventure will be on board Holland America Zuiderdam and lasts 15 nights cruising from Miami to San Diego.

The Panama Canal has been the most requested cruises for me to host a group cruise on, and after our incredible time as a group on Holland America Eurodam in April 2024, I am pleased to return to the line for this group cruise.

And as a side fact, I was on the Zuiderdam transiting the Panama Canal when it was announced in March 2020 that cruising was going to shut down “for a month”, although we did make one further port stop on our way back to Fort Lauderdale and into shutdown.

Group Cruise Must-Knows

  1. The cruise is currently only open to book by anyone who is either a Tips For Travellers Patron or YouTube Channel Member, and their friends and family that want to come along with them.
  2. The cruise is a 15-night Panama Canal cruise on Holland America Zuiderdam that departs from Miami on 31 January 2026 and arrives in San Diego on 15 February 2026.
    1. As well as a full transit of the Panama Canal, stops are scheduled in Cartagena (Colombia), Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica), Acajutla (El Salvador), Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Huatulco (Mexico), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), and Cabo San Lucas (Mexico).
    2. The Zuiderdam is a “Vista” Class ship and carries 1,964 guests. I made a ship tour during the shutdown that I realise I never made public, and you can watch that at, or at the end of this post (although the Lincoln Center Stage is no longer)
  3. The fare has a group discount, and I hope to include a range of Group Activities (subject to negotiation with the cruise line) as per past group cruises including:
    1. Cruise in cabin of your choice (any category subject to availability)
    2. Welcome Cocktail Party
    3. On-board meet ups with live Q&A, Trivia, and other activities
    4. Group Dinner Tables (at a time to be agreed with the line)
    5. Group Afternoon Tea
    6. Dinner on Gary’s Table one night
    7. Pre-cruise Private Facebook Group
    8. Group WhatsApp
    9. Plus, other surprises and extras to be announced before and during the cruise
  4. The group cruise will be informal, and you should feel free to join organised events as you wish and make whatever plans you like to make it an enjoyable vacation.
  5. If you book on this cruise separately, and not as part of the group booking via Sarah Bolton you will not be able to attend the organised events due to the way that Holland America provides these benefits to our group.
  6. In the unlikely event that I am unable to attend and host the group cruise due to illness or other significant reason, bookings will remain without refund or compensation offered, and any applicable cruise line cancellation terms will apply.

How to book?

  1. Bookings need to be made through Sarah Bolton of Travel Counsellors based in the UK to get the group rate, be linked as part of the group booking and to be able to join the group events.
  2. To start the booking process please email Sarah at [email protected] with the following details:

    1. eMail heading: Gary Panama Group Cruise
    2. Number of adults and children (plus dates of birth of any children)
    3. Country of residence.
    4. Cabin grade, or if not known, then preferred cabin type (inside, ocean view, balcony, suite) and any preferences for location.
    5. Whether you would like the Holland America “Have It All” and/or “Club Orange” package added.
    6. Any mobility requirements, and specify if an accessible cabin will be required.
    7. If you are likely to require extras booked by Sarah (flights, hotel etc) once those are available.
    8. Permission for her to let me know you have booked and that she can give me your email so I can add you to the Group email updates list.
  3. Sarah will process the bookings in the order she receives the emails.
  4. Note:
    1. Numbers are limited and once the allocation of cabins has gone it is unlikely that more can be added.
    2. The deposit is non-refundable, and it cannot be transferred to another Holland America booking due to the cruise line terms and conditions for this group cruise booking.

What are the fares?

  1. The cruise fare, along with any add-ons you want to book via Sarah (such as flights, pre- & post-stay hotels, Have-it-All and Club Orange package, etc) will be in British Pounds Sterling, and will be paid for with your usual local credit card online via a secure payment link in the myTC app or Travel Counsellors payment webpage. Details and a link will be given at time of booking.
    1. The one currency pricing and sole agent is a requirement of Holland America to fit with their cross-border selling policies and requirements.
    2. You can use online currency converters to get an indication of the fare in your local currency, but bear in mind the actual rate will be determined by the rate your credit card company is using on the day payments are made. Example of convertor:
  2. Any cancellations where refunds are due will be refunded in £ sterling, which due to exchange rate changes may not be the same as what you initially paid.
  3. The only cruise deposit option available is a non-refundable one and cannot be transferred to another Holland America booking if you need to cancel, so having travel insurance is recommended.
  4. The Have It All package can be added.
    1. A Have-It-All Plus package can be added up to 30 September 2024 at £60 per person per night. After this date it will revert to a standard Have-It-All Package. The Plus package includes Elite beverage package (15 drinks at $15 or less and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks), 2 speciality dining bookings, $200pp shore excursion credit, Premium WiFi and Crew appreciation (gratuities).
  5. The “Club Orange” package can be added for £12 per person per night.
    1. The benefits include complimentary stateroom upgrade, priority check in, priority access to speciality restaurant reservations, priority line at Guest Services desk & shore excursions desk, priority access to tender, priority disembarkation, expanded room service breakfast menu, priority seating in the dining room for breakfast & dinner with an expanded menu, dedicated concierge service, welcome glass of sparkling wine on embarkation day, premium bathrobes, exclusive tote bag and invitation to a special onboard event chosen by the ship’s Captain.
  6. Although there is a Group rate, if there is a Holland America UK-based promotion offering a better rate that Sarah has access to at the time of booking, Holland America have confirmed she will be able to use that for your group booking.
  7. Changes to bookings may incur a fee of up to £50 plus operator charges.

Group Cruise Fares

These are the current cruise-only fares excluding the “Have It All” and “Club Orange” packages.

NB: Non-refundable Deposit, and the deposit amount dependent on cabin grade booked, and will be advised at time of quotation.

Double OccupancySingle Occupancy
InsideFrom £2,023 PPFrom £3,260
OceanviewFrom £2,489 PPFrom £4,099
BalconyFrom £2,897 PPFrom £5,317
SuiteFrom £4,159 PPFrom £7,842

Still not sure about joining my group cruise?

Have a look at what my April 2024 Group Cruise on Holland America Eurodam was like in this video overview and highlights


Other considerations

  1. All Travellers
    1. The following standard Holland America UK terms and conditions will apply:
    2. The following standard Travel Counsellors terms and conditions will apply:
  2. Non-USA Travellers
    1. To enter the USA, you have either a valid ESTA or visa.
    2. If you have travelled to Cuba previously, you may be required to obtain a visa rather than an ESTA – please let Sarah know at time of booking


My Holland America Zuiderdam Ship Tour

My most recent Panama Canal Overview and Tips Video: “The Dos and Don’ts Of a Panama Canal Cruise”