Around 234 cruises will travel through the Panama Canal during the 2018-2019 season, which will begin on Friday the 5th with the passage of the Seven Seas Mariner, in transit north, traveling from the west coast to the east coast of the United States. “This would be the second complete season of cruises with the Canal expanded in operation and we hope to surpass our recent milestones and successes. In the next year, we hope to welcome more than 237,000 passengers through the Panama Canal, “said Albano G. Aguilar, a leader in international trade of the Panama Canal.
Ten new cruises will travel through the panamax or neopanamax locks for the first time this season, including vessels of the following lines: Princess Cruise, Carnival Cruises, MSC, Norwegian Cruise, Viking Ocean Cruises, Hurtigruten, Iles Du Ponant and Blount Small Ship Adventure.
The Norwegian Bliss, the largest passenger ship to transit the interoceanic route, will return to the neopanamax locks this season, along with the Caribbean Princess, the Carnival Freedom and the Disney Wonder. Norwegian Bliss, which transited the Panama Canal for the first time in May 2018, weighs more than 168,000 gross tons and can carry nearly 6,000 passengers. Also, the Carnival Triumph, the Carnival Valor and the Emerald Princess will travel for the first time the neopanamax locks.
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. 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.