As of October 2017, it is expected that the first Panamax and Neopanamax vessel will initiate its first full cruise ship season to be welcoming vessels through the Expanded Panama Canal.
The existing looks are fully functional and will represent and option to cruise ship owners to include the Expanded Canal as part of their itineraries, according to Panama Canal authorities and trade experts
This new alternative in the Panama Canal crossings will open up additional schedule opportunities as well as repositioning throughout the industry for its larger cruise vessels.
In April 2017, Cruise ship Disney Wonder from Disney Cruise Line’s officially became the first cruise ship to undertake the transit through the Expanded Panama Canal. A new transit is expected during this season, Disney Wonder will transit again along with other cruise ships like Caribbean Princess, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor , among others .
Altogether, the four ships will make a total of 20 transits over the expanded Panama Canal , and it is expected that some 11 new cruise ships will transit the new expanded Canal’s Panamax or Neopanamax Locks for their first time.
The highlight of the season will for cruise ship Norwegian Bliss which will reposition its transit through the canal while en route to the US West Coast where it shall begin its cruise season to Alaska. Norwegian Bliss will have then became the largest cruise vessel to cross the Panama Canal.
The Panama Canal’s waterway 2017-2018 cruise season shall initiate on October 2, 2017, with a partial crossing of cruise ship Island Princess, owned by Princess Cruise Line’s on a complete roundtrip voyage to Los Angeles California and from Los Angeles California, with scheduled stops along the West Coast and Central America.