As far as the boat tour itself, I couldn't be happier! I think it's a must-visit for first-timers in Panama, and a really great way to see a lot of the area by water. My on-board tour guide was fantastic, giving a really dynamic overview of EVERYTHING you could ask for - from the history and engineering of the actual canal to the nature around, the animals you spot along the way (lots of pelicans waiting for fish!), information about the large ships coming in, the recent expansion, etc. Everything! He spoke for all of the tour's hours in both English and Spanish and I was so impressed by his knowledge and delivery.
For the rest, I wanted to share my experiences just in case someone else is looking into booking this exact tour. I bought this ticket on this exact TripAdvisor link, and set my hotel pickup and everything. I didn't hear from the tour organizer about any pickup specifics by the evening before, and I was concerned because the tour could apparently go out anytime between 6-11am and that's a huge window obviously. (It is important to share, I know the transit authority sets when the boats are able to go out daily and they coordinate with tours, to my understanding.) I was able to contact TripAdvisor and have them check in with the tour company on my behalf to get a better pickup window. (They were great and then it was seamless!) But it seems like a lot of pickup vans go out in the morning and gather different groups and drop them off at the same boat - which makes sense for sure, but it wasn't clear that I wasn't going to be with the driver and tour guide on board. When we arrived at the dock, it looked like we were about 3 hours early for the actual boat departure, which was jarring - but then we boarded and head off like 30 mins later, so it was inconsistent and the communication wasn't there. To me, this is very much just part of the adventure, and the unknown that comes with all travel. I planned on a full day taking in the canal, so I didn't have anywhere else to be!! But there were definitely others in my group who thought they could hop on board for a little bit and then continue on exploring Panama later in the day - I would just highly advise against that, give this trip your full day and attention and really go with it!