Just a quick correction.... You will be traveling from SOUTH to NORTH
during your Canal Transit from the Pacific Ocean
to the Caribbean
As a Left Coast guy, it took me a while to wrap my head
around the fact the Panama Canal
doesn't run east-west and the locals will let you know it.
Hiring an Agent makes life a lot easier... Agents will not only handle your Canal Transit, they will also get you checked into the Country and handle all the Immigration and Port Captain
On the other hand, many cruisers do-it-themselves and save the $300-500 dollars in Agents fees
We are transiting the Canal this Thursday and are using Pete Stevens as our Agent. We are very happy with his services.