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Island Princess
Island Princess transitting the Panama Canal at the start of the new season

Island Princess first transit of Panama Canal 2019/20 season

The Panama Canal announced the transit of Princess Cruises’ Island Princess Thursday morning, marking the beginning of what is expected to be a busy cruise season.

Island Princess, which transited northbound, is continuing on a 21-day journey to Fort Lauderdale.

According to Senior International Trade Specialist Albano G. Aguilar, the Canal will facilitate approximately 258 transits over the next few months, including a record-breaking number by Neopanamax vessels.

‘We will see about a 10% increase in cruise ship transits at the Panama Canal this season in comparison to last year and are proud to play a role in Panama’s thriving tourism sector and look forward to showing off what our country has to offer to the more than 320,000 passengers visiting us from around the world this season,' he said.

29 Neopanamax transits

The Canal expects 29 transits by Neopanamax cruise ships this season, including at least one by Norwegian Bliss, which remains the largest cruise ship to pass through the waterway. It will be preceded by its sister ship, the 3,883-passenger Norwegian Joy, which will pass through for the first time later this month.

Ten 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 Cruises’ Seven Seas Splendor, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ Scenic Eclipse, Hapag-Lloyd’s Hanseatic inspiration and Hanseatic nature, and Aurora Expedition’s Greg Mortimer.

The Panama Canal alone attracts over 900,000 tourists each year. Its main draws include the Miraflores and Agua Clara Visitor Centers and Cocoli Pavilion, which boast exhibition halls, ship observation decks and guided tours.