The Island Princess has opened the Panama Canal's 2019-2020 cruise season.
The Canal will facilitate approximately 258 transits over the next few months, including a record-breaking number by Neopanamax vessels. This will be about a 10 percent increase on the previous season.
Princess Cruises’ Island Princess, which transited northbound on Thursday, originated from Vancouver and will continue on a 21-day journey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She will be followed by other ships from major cruise lines over the course of the year, including Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Smaller cruise ships, including Windstar’s Star Pride and Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Quest, are also expected to cross the Canal.
The Canal expects 29 transits by Neopanamax cruise ships this season, including at least one transit by the Norwegian Bliss, the largest cruise ship to pass through the waterway. She will be preceded by sister ship, the 3,883-passenger Norwegian Joy, which will pass through for the first time later this month.
10 other vessels will also make their inaugural transits this season, including the smaller, 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn, as well as Ponant’s Le Dumont D’uwille, P&O Cruises' Ventura, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Glory, Regent Seven Seas Cruise’s Seven Seas Splendor, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ Scenic Eclipse, Star Clipper’s Flying Clipper, Hapag- Lloyd’s Hanseatic Inspiration and Hanseatic Nature and Greg Mortimer’s Aurora Expedition.
Panama is expected to have over 320,000 cruise passengers visits. The Panama Canal alone attracts over 900,000 tourists each year. Its main attractions include the Miraflores and Agua Clara Visitor Centers and Cocoli Pavilion, which boast exhibition halls, ship observation decks and guided tours.