The Panama Canal authority said today that some 234 cruises will transit the route in the 2018-2019 season, which will start next Friday with the passage of the Seven Seas Mariner, which travels from the east coast towards the west coast of the United States.
“We hope to welcome more than 237,000 passengers through the Panama Canal,” said the trade’s international leader, Albano Aguilar, who recalled that this season will be “the second complete cruise with the Canal expanded in operation”, so they hope” to overcome recent milestones and successes”.
The Panama Canal Administration (ACP) said in a public statement on Wednesday that ten new cruises will transit for the first time through the panamax or neopanamax locks, operational since 1914 and 2016, respectively.
These are ships of the lines: Princess Cruise, Carnival Cruises, MSC, Norwegian Cruise, Viking Ocean Cruises, Hurtigruten, Iles Du Ponant and Blount Small Ship Adventure, according to official information.
It said that the Norwegian Bliss, the largest passenger ship to transit the Canal, will return to the neopanamax locks this season, along with the Caribbean Princess, the Carnival Freedom and the Disney Wonder.
“The Norwegian Bliss, which transited the Panama Canal for the first time in May 2018, weighs more than 168,000 gross tons and can transport almost 6,000 passengers,” said the Canal Authority.
Also, the Carnival Triumph, the Carnival Valor and the Emerald Princess will travel for the first time the neopanamax locks, through which ships with triple the capacity of those crossing the centennial lane can pass.
“As in previous years, major shipping companies such as Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, among others, offer itineraries this season with full and partial transits that include Panama and the interoceanic route,” said the ACP.
The smaller cruise ships, such as the Wind Star and the National Geographic Quest expedition cruise, include seven- and eight-day itineraries, respectively, with the west coast of Central America as their destination, it added.
The Panamanian interoceanic route, where about 6 percent of world trade passes, joins more than 140 maritime routes and 1,700 ports in 160 different countries.