More than 230 cruise ships will transit the Panama Canal during the 2016-2017 cruise season, which begins on October 4, 2016 and runs through April 2017. The new season begins with the transit of the Coral Princess, on a voyage from Los Angeles, California, to the U.S. East Coast, according to international trade specialist Albano Aguilar of the Vice Presidency for Planning and Business Development.
The main cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, will offer itineraries with full or partial transits through the Panama Canal.
Smaller cruise ships will also transit through the waterway, including the Voyager Safari and National Geographic Sea Lion, with shorter seven- and eight-day itineraries, respectively, along the west coast of Central America.
During this season, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line and Noble Calidonia will have ships transiting with new itineraries through the Canal.
After completing more than 160 successful transits through the new locks, the Panama Canal is now accepting booking requests for Neopanamax passenger vessels for transit dates beginning April 1, 2017. To date, 11 reservations have been made for passenger vessels to transit the Expanded Canal starting October 2017, for the 2017-2018 season.
About the Panama Canal Expansion
The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest enhancement project since the Canal’s opening in 1914.
After being considered and analyzed for a decade with more than 100 studies, the Expansion included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway, creating a third lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway.
While the Expanded locks are 70 feet wider and 18 feet deeper than those in the original Canal, they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit.