Top 5 canal cruises
The world's great canals are some of the world's great engineering feats. Connecting seas and oceans, these iconic waterways have long held a fascination for cruisers.
The Panama Canal
The greatest of them all, this 51 mile long canal was opened in 1914, and expanded in 2016. Carrying ocean going vessels between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, cut through dense jungle and with a high point of 85 feet above sea level, the Panama Canal is often combined with time visiting the natural wonders of Costa Rica.
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Opened in 1869, Suez was the first of the great shipping canals. Connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal is 120 miles long but features no locks at all. There were several canals built in antiquity that had fallen into disrepair over the cenbturies.
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Completed in 1893 after many years of logistical and financial problems, the Corinth Canal was first proposed in the 1st century AD. Only 4 miles long and with no locks, the canal is only 70 feet wide and so is restricted to smaller vessels.
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Opened in 1822 after centuries of discussion the canal was given the go ahead to help with the war against Napoleon. After Napoleon's final defeat at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 the canal wasn't needed by the Royal Navy, and advances in ship-building meant most modern vessels were too large for the canal. Now mostly used by pleasure craft the Caledonian Canal includes the famous and stunning Loch Ness.
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Welland and Erie Canals
The Welland Canal connects Lakes Erie and Ontario and has had 4 different incarnations, opening respectively in 1833, 1854, 1887 and 1932. A 'short cut' was opened in 1973, and there are plans for a completely new canal, but this has not started.
The Erie Canal bopened in 1825 and runs for 363 miles, has 34 locks and lifts vessels some 565 feet on their journey between the Hudson River and Lake Erie.