Panama Canal on Monday welcomed Norwegian Cruise Line’s 168,000 gross ton Norwegian Bliss, the largest passenger vessel to ever transit the waterway.
“The Panama Canal is proud to welcome the Norwegian Bliss and recognizes that this distinct milestone is made possible by the Canal Expansion, as well as the experience and efforts gained in the two years since its inauguration,” said Deputy Canal Administrator, Manuel Benítez.
The Norwegian Bliss left Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard in March to begin a 15-day itinerary, sailing from Miami, Florida through the Panama Canal and up along the west coast of Central and North America before reaching its final destination at the Port of Los Angeles in California.
The ship will then service the Alaska region until the end of the cruise season, after which it will be repositioned in the Caribbean.
For the Panama Canal, May 24 marks the unofficial end to the 2017-18 cruise season when it will transit the Pacific Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, as part of a 17-day voyage from Los Angeles, California to its final destination at the port of Fort Lauderdale.
“By the end of its cruise season, the Panama Canal will have transited a total 248 passenger ships with a total of 312,304 passengers onboard,” Albano Aguilar, the Canal’s international trade specialist, said.
“Of this, a total of 20 cruises will be Neopanamax vessels, including the Caribbean Princess, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Splendor, Norwegian Bliss and Disney Wonder – all able to transit the waterway thanks to the Expansion of the Canal,” Aguilar added.
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