Princess Cruises announced the deployment of three ships on Panama Canal voyages for the 2024-25 winter season. The scheduled cruises, now open for bookings, offer both partial and full transits of the engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Ships to Offer 26 Departures of Full, Partial Cruises
Cruisers can experience the “world’s greatest shortcut,” the manmade Panama Canal with the Pacific Ocean to its west and the Atlantic to the east, on a series of winter season cruises in 2024-25.
Three ships will offer 26 departures of varying lengths aboard Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess, both with a capacity for 3,080 guests, and the 1,970-guest Coral Princess. The Coral Princess has a special connection to the canal: She was christened there in 2003.
“Three ships will transit the historic Panama Canal during our upcoming 2024-2025 season offering full transit sailings, ocean-to-ocean or roundtrip options from Fort Lauderdale,” said Princess Cruises President John Padgett.
“We’re excited to bring Coral Princess back to the region, returning the ship to her roots where she was christened in the Panama Canal in 2003, by then-president of Panama, Mireya Moscoso,” he added.
Princess Cruises began operating transits through the canal in 1967, and was the first cruise line to experience the 51-mile-long waterway that cuts across the Isthmus of Panama. Its first set of locks opened in 1914.
The 2024-25 season of Panama Canal sailings will enable cruise guests to visit 23 destinations in 12 countries. The three ships will operate 24 transits through the canal’s newer Neo-Panamax locks and 13 transits through the historic locks. Ships sailing partial transits will use the new locks, while those on ocean-to-ocean voyages will go through the historic locks.
The latest expansion of the canal was completed in 2016. Its newest locks allow ships up to 168 feet wide to transit the canal, while smaller vessels continue to use the historic locks, which accommodate ships up to 106 feet wide.
Line Unveils New 12-Day Partial Transit Itinerary
Princess Cruises is offering one new cruise itinerary, a 12-day partial transit roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale aboard Emerald Princess.
The cruise combines the transit with Southern Caribbean port calls such as Bonaire or Curacao, depending on the departure, plus Cartegena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Limon, Costa Rica; Grand Cayman; and a late-night stay in Aruba.
A 10-day partial transit also is offered roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Ruby Princess, for example, will sail the itinerary in January 2024, featuring the partial transit plus port calls in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Limon, Costa Rica; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
Guests on full transit sailings can choose among departures from Los Angeles and San Fransisco. A November 2024 cruise on Coral Princess is a 16-day voyage from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, with calls at Manzanillo and Huatulco, Mexico; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Fuerte Amador, Panama; and Aruba, plus the full transit.
The Panama Canal cruises include shore excursion options to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Spanish Fortifications at Portobelo-San Lorenzo (from Colón), the Archaeological Site and Historic District of Panama, and the Port Fortress in Cartagena.
A limited number of Panama Canal cruises is offered during the remainder of this year, with Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess each sailing two departures between August and December.
The line’s Princess Premier plan, a value-enhancing package, is offered on all Panama Canal cruises for a per-person fee. The plan, which was launched in May 2022, covers services and amenities like two nights of premium specialty dining, reserved seating in the ships’ theaters, wellness classes, and WiFi for up to four devices, among other bonuses.