The Canal Celebration will enliven the decks with Panamanian culture during a passage after dark, when it's cooler and lights illuminate the inner workings of the waterway. As the ship approaches the first locks in the early evening, a speaker from the Panama Canal Authority will come aboard to narrate the 40-mile transit.
Passengers will be invited to stroll the deck and sip local beverages, beers and cocktails from a mobile drink cart while regional music plays.
As evening falls, the deck will be transformed with festive decorations as passengers dine on a Panamanian menu curated by Windstar executive chef Michael Sabourin.
Following the passage, travelers will receive in their stateroom a certification of The Order of the Ditch, a tradition that recognizes 'sailors' who have passed through the Panama Canal.
Windstar’s 'Costa Rica & Panama Canal' itinerary visits Drake Bay, Balboa, Puerto Jimenez, Quepos and more. Highlights include stops near several national parks, including the isolated Corcovado National Park, an ecological gem that is home to scarlet macaws, howler monkeys and sloths.
At Isla de Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Windstar holds an Island Experience Private Event that gives the chance to view wildlife, take part in beach and sports activities from volleyball and snorkeling to bocce ball, and a barbecue. Conservationist and television personality Jeff Corwin will host this Private Event on the March 5 sailing.
Among new cruise-tour packages are Arenal Volcano, a two-night program offered pre- or post-cruise, that visits this active volcano outside San José, Costa Rica. The tour is priced starting at $1,149 per person.
Other cruise-tour options include hiking in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica, also a two-night program, and Tortuguero National Park, a four-night program that gives the chance to see leatherback and green turtle nesting sites.