The Panama Canal Readies for Cruise Season

Cruise ship Coral Princess will transit the Panama Canal on a voyage from Los Angeles, CA to the U.S. east coast on October 4th, officially kicking off the Canal’s 2016-2017 cruise season.

The Coral Princess will be the first of many cruise ships to cross the Panama Canal this season, as the Panama Canal Authority estimates they will see more than 230 cruise ships pass through between the months of October and April. “We expect the major cruise lines will use the Panama Canal route during the cruise season, which lasts until April 2017,” said international trade specialist Albano Aguilar of the Vice Presidency for Planning and Business Development.

This season, there are increased opportunities to cruise the Canal thanks to lines like Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line and Noble Caludonia, who have ships offering new itineraries through the famed waterway. Much like previous years, the main cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, will offer itineraries with full or partial transits. Smaller cruise ships like the Voyager Safari and National Geographic Sea Lion will also travel through the Canal during their seven and eight-day itineraries along Central America’s west coast.

When the 2016-2017 cruise season starts to wind down in April, the Expanded Canal will be open to Neopanamax passenger vessels for transit. To date, the Panama Canal has completed more than 160 successful transits through the new locks since they began commercial operation last June.

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