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Southwest Chief & Panama Canal Cruise


Set off for adventure on a 19-day rail-cruise vacation across America's west and through the Panama Canal.

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Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2022 Tour code: RW-SCPS-22

About the tour

Beginning in Chicago, board Amtrak's Southwest Chief for a 2-day trip across the colorful southwest to Los Angeles. After spending a day touring the City of Angels, embark on your 15-night cruise aboard the Coral Princess or Emerald Princess. Ports of call include beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, San Juan del Sur, the gorgeous Costa Rican town of Puntarenas and Colombia's old walled city of Cartagena.


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What’s included


Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the Southwest Chief

Arrive in Chicago and head to Union Station for your 3:00 pm departure aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief bound for Los Angeles. Once on the train, take time to meet your fellow travelers and take in the view from the Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. 

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Southwest Chief to Los Angeles

Continue your journey west as you spend the day aboard the train. Read a book in your comfortable onboard accommodations, enjoy the tasty food from the dining car, or just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Overnight train.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Los Angeles

You're scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at 8:15 am. Transfer on your own to your hotel and check in with the remainder of the day at leisure. You may wish to stroll through Little Tokyo and the Jewelry District or stop by Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum for a showcase of all the famous celebrities. Overnight Los Angeles.

Day 4 - Los Angeles & Panama Canal Cruise

Begin your day with a guided tour of the city on a Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Double Decker bus tour. Highlights include Grauman's Chinese Theatre, La Brea Tar Pits, Universal Studios, Chinatown and more. After the tour, transfer to the cruise terminal and board the Princess Cruise ship for your 15-night tropical cruise. Overnight ship.

  • Dinner
Day 5 - At Sea

Spend the day exploring the ship and indulging in its many amenities. Lounge poolside, visit the Spa, or play a game of chance at the casino. Overnight ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - At Sea

You have another day to relax before you arrive in Puerto Vallarta. Spend the day exploring the ship again, why not lounge by the poolside, visit the ship's casino and indulge in its many amenities onboard. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Warm, glamorous, and full of adventure, Puerto Vallarta is today's port of call. Stroll along the Malecon boardwalk and peruse the artists' wares, learn how tequila is made, or make some lively new aquatic friends at the Dolphin Adventure. There are endless opportunities for fun and exploration in Puerto Vallarta. Overnight Ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - At Sea

You have another full day to relax aboard the ship as you sail for Huatulco. Enjoy delicious meals, lively bars and lounges, and plenty of rest and relaxation. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Huatulco, Mexico

Located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sure mountains, the beautiful Bay of Huatulco is Mexico's largest ecological reserve and home to many unspoiled sandy beaches.

Explore the Copalita River which is home to precious trees including cedar, mahogany, and almond, or spend the day with a local chef who will demonstrate how to make delicious regional cuisine including tortillas and tamales. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - At Sea

Spend today relaxing onboard the ship as you travel to San Juan del Sur. Overnight ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest Central American nation and has stunning landscapes, vast cultural treasures, and an intriguing history. From strolling the cobblestone streets of colonial Granada on Lake Nicaragua, to exploring one of the many volcanoes, Nicaragua has something for even the most seasoned traveler. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Today discover beautiful Puntarenas, full of spectacular wildlife and nature. Since Puntarenas is a commercial fishing port, there is plenty of delicious fresh seafood to satisfy your taste buds. Overnight ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - At Sea

En-route to the Panama Canal, you have this day at sea to relax aboard the ship. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 - Fuerte Amador, Panama

Fuerte Amador, situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, is a man-made peninsula extending out into the Pacific Ocean.

The one-mile causeway was created by connecting four small islands with rocks excavated from the Panama Canal. There are several shops, restaurants, and other specialty stores centered around a large marina that serves as a tender dock. The causeway also affords a panoramic view of Panama City's impressive skyline and serves as the home for the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research.

Note: Fuerte Amador is an anchorage port, passengers transfer to shore via ship's tender. On complete transits of the Panama Canal, the ship typically arrives in Fuerte Amador in the morning, operates tours and spends the full day at anchor.

Day 15 - Panama Canal, Panama

Spend the day cruising the historic Panama Canal. At 48 miles long, this international waterway allows ships to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The Coral Princess/Emerald Princess was built to Panamax size, which means it is the maximum size to be able to journey through the canal. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16 - Cartagena, Colombia

Today's port of call is Cartagena. During Spanish occupation, Cartagena was the hub for political and economic activity, and travelers can visit several historical landmarks of that era such as the San Felipe de Barajas Castle, Santo Domingo and Palacio de la Inquisicion. Overnight ship. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 17 & 18 - At Sea

Begin your journey back to the United States with two days aboard the ship. Take this time to take part in all of the onboard activities you still want to experience. Overnight ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 19 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Your trip comes to an end as you arrive in Fort Lauderdale. Upon disembarkation, a transfer is provided to the airport. 

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Pricing Plans

Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette and Bedroom.

Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest.

Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night.

Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower.

Accommodations on board the ship are available in Oceanview and Balcony staterooms.

The Oceanview stateroom is approximately 146 to 206 square feet and features a picture window for memorable views.

The spacious approximately 179 to 279-square-foot (incl balcony). The Balcony stateroom is appointed with fine amenities and outstanding views from an approximately 35 to 72-square-foot private balcony.

Please Note

Port taxes of $375 per person are not included in the tour price.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Amtrak's Southwest Chief


Emerald Princess

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