The Panama Canal expects to receive 234 cruise ships and 237,000 passengers through the Panamax and Neopanamax locks during the upcoming 2018-2019 cruise season.
The first transit will occur on today (Friday) with the Seven Seas Mariner, on a northbound transit travelling from the U.S. West Coast to the U.S. East Coast.
“As the second full cruise season with the Expanded Canal, we aim to build off our recent milestones and success. In the next year, we look forward to welcoming more than 237,000 passengers through the Panama Canal,” said Panama Canal’s Senior International Trade Specialist Albano G. Aguilar.
Ten new cruise ships will transit either the canal’s Panamax or Neopanamax locks for the first time this season. The vessels include those owned by 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 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 Norwegian Bliss transited the Panama Canal for the first time in May 2018. The vessel weighs more than 168,000 gross tons and can carry nearly 6,000 passengers. In addition, the Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, Emerald Princess will transit for the first time the Neopanamax Locks.
As in previous years, cruise shipping lines such as Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line, 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 7 and 8 days, respectively, with the west coast of Central America as their destination, the canal authority said.