The Panama Canal authority expects to see around 234 cruise ships through the Panamax and Neopanamax Locks during the upcoming 2018/2019 cruise season.
The first transit was due on 5th October with the ‘Seven Seas Mariner’, sailing northbound from the US West Coast to the US East Coast.
“As the second full cruise season with the expanded canal, we aim to build off our recent milestones and success,” said Panama Canal’s Senior International Trade Specialist, Albano Aguilar. “In the next year, we look forward to welcoming more than 237,000 passengers through the Panama Canal.”
Ten new cruise ships will transit either the Panamax or Neopanamax Locks for the first time this season, including vessels from Princess Cruise, Carnival Cruises, MSC, Norwegian Cruise, Viking Ocean Cruises, Hurtigruten, Iles Du Ponant and Blount Small Ship Adventure.
‘Norwegian Bliss’, the largest passenger vessel to ever transit the waterway, will return to the Neopanamax Locks again this season, along with the ‘Caribbean Princess’, ‘Carnival Freedom’ and ‘Disney Wonder’.
The 168,000 gt ‘Norwegian Bliss’ transited the Panama Canal for the first time in May, 2018. She can accommodate nearly 6,000 passengers.
In addition, the ‘Carnival Triumph’, ‘Carnival Valor’ and ‘Emerald Princess’ will transit for the first time using the Neopanamax Locks.
As in previous years, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line, among others, will offer itineraries this season with complete and partial transits that feature Panama and the waterway.
Smaller cruises, including the ‘Wind Star’ and the expedition cruiser ‘National Geographic Quest’, will include itineraries of seven and eight days, respectively, with the west coast of Central America as their destination.