Norwegian Cruise Line has become the first cruise line to offer Panama City, Panama as a homeport for cruises, with a variety of voyages on the Norwegian Jewel and other ships scheduled for 2022 and 2023. This will provide amazing roundtrip options to allow passengers to better explore all Panama has to offer, along with canal transit voyages.
Panama City Becomes NCL Homeport
NCL’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., signed a multi-year agreement on December 14, 2021 with the Panama Tourism Authority. This agreement allows the company to seasonally homeport at the Colon Cruise Terminal on the Caribbean Sea side and at the Fuerte Amador Cruise Terminal located on the Pacific Ocean side the country. Fuerte Amador Cruise Terminal is adjacent to Panama City, a convenient destination for travelers to set sail.
The new contract is part of an agreement that will provide Panama Canal transit benefits to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. from 2022 through 2024, while operating homeport turnarounds that permit roundtrip voyages rather than only one-way cruises.
“Part of our mission is to create unforgettable experiences in some of the most special places around the world,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “This new agreement enables nearly 24,000 guests to experience the beauty of Panama each year.”
Panama Canal cruises are once-in-a-lifetime dream voyages for many cruise travelers, but just transiting the canal doesn’t permit guests to truly experience the rich culture, history, and personality of this unique nation. With Panama City as a new homeport, guests may opt to arrive early before or stay late after their cruise, giving them more time to immerse themselves in the experience.
Cruise Options From Panama
In 2022 and 2023, Norwegian Cruise Line will offer 12 voyages from Panama, starting with Norwegian Jewel on March 20, 2022. That inaugural sailing is a nine-day itinerary traversing the Panama Canal and visiting incredible destinations including Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; and Cartagena, Colombia before arriving to the Caribbean side of Panama in the city of Colon.
Norwegian Jewel, the first of the line’s Jewel-class ships, is a 93,502-gross-ton vessel that can accommodate 2,376 passengers. The ship entered service in 2005.
Starting in January 2023, Norwegian Gem will feature select Panama Canal voyages including an 11-day journey visiting seven ports of call before ending in New York City. On December 6, 2023, Norwegian Joy will offer a 10-day voyage from Panama City and sailing to various Caribbean destinations, including Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas, before ending her journey in Miami.
Norwegian Gem, which first set sail in 2007, is also a Jewel-class vessel, and a sister ship to Norwegian Jewel. She is only slightly larger, with a gross tonnage of 93,530 and a guest capacity of 2,394.
Norwegian Joy is Breakaway-Plus class and is much larger than the Jewel class, with a gross tonnage of 167,725 and the ability to accommodate 3,883 guests. Norwegian Joy joined the NCL fleet in 2017.
While these initial sailings are seasonal only, if the voyages are a great success, it is possible that Norwegian Cruise Line will expand itinerary options for even more offerings.
It is also possible that because the homeport agreement is with NCL’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., other cruise lines that are part of the company may also begin sailings from homeports in Panama. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is also the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.