This will be a record season for neo-Panamax transits, which means more passengers visiting the country, according to Albano Aguilar, international trade specialist in the Panama Canal Authority's office of corporate affairs.
44 neo-Panamax transits
A total of 44 neo-Panamax cruise transits are expected, including two by Norwegian Encore, sister of the largest cruise ship to ever go through the locks, Norwegian Bliss, in 2018.
Further vessels in the neo-Panamax lineup include Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, Celebrity Edge, Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Carnival Freedom, Ruby Princess, Carnival Glory and Carnival Freedom.
Smaller ships, too
Smaller ships are also booked, including Viking Star, Seabourn Quest, Star Legend and National Geographic Quest, among others.
Dozen maiden transits
During the 2022/23 season, 12 cruise ships will transit the Panama Canal for the first time: Fridtjof Nansen, Seabourn Venture, World Navigator, Celebrity Edge, Sea Cloud Spirit, World Voyager, Evrima, Le Bellot, Spirit of Adventure, Viking Neptune, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris.
Among the major Panama Canal cruise operators are Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, which operate full and partial transits.
On average, about 50% of the cruise ships on partial transits engage in some tourism activity in Panama, Aguilar said.