Holland America’s 2019 Panama Canal Cruises

September 20, 2018.

Travelers interested in transiting the famous lakes and locks of the Panama Canal will have five Holland America Line ships and 30 cruises to choose in 2019. In addition to the full transits, guest can embark on Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries that feature a partial transit in combination with southern Caribbean ports of call.

Connect Two Oceans on a Full Panama Canal Transit
From January through December 2019, Amsterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam and Volendam will make 17 transits between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from four departure cities. Guests can sail to or from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, California; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Each itinerary includes a diverse collection of ports along with the exploration of the Panama Canal. On full transits, guests will visit cities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and islands in the Caribbean. In addition, some of the sailings include a visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas.

Combine the Caribbean and Central America on a Partial Transit
In addition to the full transits, Zuiderdam and Eurodam will make 13 partial transits between January and December 2019. Conveniently cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, the 10- and 11-day Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries include an exploration of the Canal’s Gatún Lake with a combination of southern Caribbean calls in Aruba, Curaçao, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Half Moon Cay.

Full Panama Canal transit cruise fares start at $1,329 and Sunfarer cruise rates start at $949, all per person, double occupancy.

Several Panama Canal sailings are eligible for Holland America’s Explore4 promotion where travelers looking to plan ahead for next year or beyond can take advantage of perks to sip, dine, sail and save.

The Explore4 promotion for guests booking any category stateroom includes a Signature Beverage Package valued at $1,400 per stateroom (based on a 14-day cruise), dinner at the Pinnacle Grill for two, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom, and 50 percent reduced deposits. Guests receive all benefits when bookings are made by Nov. 19, 2018.

Explorations Central (EXC) Makes Panamanian Culture Come to Life on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Panama’s local customs, culinary creations and cultural experiences on board. Through the EXC Encounters program, guests can practice their language skills, learn about local traditions or enjoy the simple pleasure of storytelling. Those who want to immerse themselves even further can attend an EXC Talk where a Panama Canal expert recounts the history and drama of the historic construction of the waterway. The EXC Team provides further guidance in customizing each visit for the port calls, while the in-stateroom EXC Channel features a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring the destinations on the itinerary.

Princess Cruises Reveals 2019-2020 Panama Canal Itineraries

May 17, 2018.

Princess Cruises fall 2019 through spring 2020 season went on sale today, and it includes the line’s largest deployment ever to the Panama Canal, featuring the maiden season of Emerald Princess sailing through the new locks.  A bit of cruise trivia: In 1967, Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to sail through the Panama Canal locks.

Emerald Princess will be the cruise line’s second Neo-Panamax ship, after Caribbean Princess, to be modified during a scheduled spring 2019 drydock. The ship will traverse the new Agua Clara locks on the Atlantic side of the canal as well as the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific Side, that opened in June 2016, as part of the 10-year, $5.4 billion “Neo-Panamax” expansion.

Princess Cruises offers three ways to visit the Panama Canal – roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, roundtrip from Los Angeles, or a full transit that sails ocean between Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles or San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.

The 2019-2020 line-up features five ships, with 10- to 21-day options, also visiting other ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.

Each Princess Cruises transit of the Panama Canal includes live narration from the bridge offering a glimpse into the history and insight that went into this engineering feat, as well as a day of scenic cruising through Gatun Lake.

Program highlights for the 2019-2020 Panama Canal season include:

  • Five ships offering six itineraries and 36 departures onboard Caribean Princess, Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess and Pacific Princess.
  • Six unique itineraries from four departure ports – Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
  • Visits to 24 destinations in 12 countries, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Cartagena’s walled Old City.
  • Featuring 21 transits through the historic original locks on Coral, Island or Pacific Princess and 15 transits through the new locks on Caribbean or Emerald Princess.
  • Shore excursion offerings including the Animal Planet Exclusive tour of the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, where guests may even meet sloth superstars featured on the Animal Planet. (No autographs please, but selfies are fine)

3 Longer Length ‘Carnival Journeys’ Sailings Announced for 2019

May 15, 2018.

As Carnival Cruise Line continues to expand its itinerary offerings, the company today announced it will offer three special longer length Carnival Journeys cruises in 2019.

The voyages include a unique 24-day trans-Pacific crossing aboard Carnival Splendor from Long Beach to Singapore, as well as two voyages aboard Carnival Miracle – a 13-day Panama Canal transit from Tampa to Long Beach and a 14-day Hawaii cruise round-trip from Long Beach.

The 24-day voyage is the longest single departure in Carnival Cruise Line’s history and marks the first time that the line will visit Guam, Vietnam and Malaysia on a North American departure.

The Carnival Splendor cruises at sea in the Bahamas. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

24-Day Transpacific Crossing on Carnival Splendor

The 3,012-passenger Carnival Splendor will operate an unprecedented 24-day trans-Pacific crossing that will depart Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 5 and arrive in Singapore Oct. 30, 2019.

The voyage will feature extended port calls at Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, before crossing the International Date Line, then visit Guam, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – the first time the line has visited these destinations on a ship departing from North America.

The 24-day voyage will also offer a traditional ceremony held when mariners cross the International Date Line which essentially adds an extra day to the cruise.  (This ceremony is better known as the Shellback Initiation)

13-day Panama Canal, 14-Day Hawaii Carnival Journeys Cruises

Carnival Miracle will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit that will depart Tampa Sept. 29 and arrive in Long Beach Oct. 12, 2019, positioning the vessel for a series of seven- and 14-day cruises from that port.

The 13-day cruise will include an overnight stay in Cartagena, Colombia; prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Carnival Miracle will also operate a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise to Hawaii round-trip from Long Beach Oct. 19 to Nov. 2, 2019, featuring stops at four destinations within the Aloha State – Maui, Honolulu, Kona and Hilo – along with a call at Ensenada, Mexico.

The ship will also offer a series of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach beginning Oct. 12, 2019.  The week-long voyages visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, all home to gorgeous white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling and a variety of water sports.

Disney Wonder Becomes First Passenger Vessel To Transit New Panama Canal Locks

 

April 30, 2017.

The Disney Wonder transited the Panama Canal on April 29, making it the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks, marking a milestone for the cruise industry.

I transited the original locks just a couple weeks ago and didn’t realize the new locks are just a few hundred feet east.  In the above photo you can see a red and white ship in the background preparing to enter the “old” Gatun Locks.

For some background on Disney Wonder, the ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet and accommodating 2713 guests.  Headlining the ship’s enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney’s “Frozen” –  a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney’s “Princess and the Frog,” and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.

The Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.

 

Caribbean Princess Getting Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

Caribbean Princess Bar Harbor, Maine

March 16, 2017 – Caribbean Princess will undergo an extensive two-week drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, March 26-April 6.  She will emerge with new features including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms.  The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.

New Caribbean Princess family-friendly features include:

Camp Discovery

For cruisers ages 3-17, Caribbean Princess will now offer a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, as part of the cruise line’s Discovery at Sea program. Catering to specific age groups, there are three themes where kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them Discover, Play, Create and Huddle, including:

  • The Treehouse, ages 3-7 (formerly Pelicans): A bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center including captivating creatures and hands-on activities for kids to focus on play time, creativity and the world around them.
  • The Lodge, ages 8-12 (formerly Shockwaves): Inspired by the great outdoors, this cozy center is filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.
  • The Beach House, for ages 13-17 (formerly Remix) offers a contemporary surf-themed lounge, featuring a cool place for teens to hang out and socialize.

New youth and teen center programming includes MythBusters science activities with new hands-on challenges, featuring show star, Tory Belleci. In addition, new Camp Discovery destination-themed programs focusing on Europe and the Caribbean will be offered.

Interconnecting Staterooms & Upgraded Accommodations

Caribbean Princess debuts 87 interconnecting staterooms, offering more room and comfort for all family members to enjoy.

A new HD Movies Under the Stars outdoor movie screen will offer a higher resolution picture with double the image quality of previous systems.

Caribbean Princess will receive 3,200 new Princess Luxury Beds and linens. Developed in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and HGTV designer Candice Olson, the bed combines the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design.

In addition, Caribbean Princess offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Europe 2017 and 2017 – 2018 Caribbean

The newly renovated Caribbean Princess will start her Europe season with a Transatlantic sailing on April 6th, continuing throughout the summer in the British Isles with sailings featuring ports in Scotland, Ireland, and Iceland.

She will then visit the Panama Canal in October, transiting the new Agua Clara locks, and spending the holiday season in the Caribbean.

Additionally, for the first time in four years, Princess Cruises offers Summer Caribbean cruises, including Panama Canal transits in 2018. The Caribbean Princess returns to sail on a full summer season of voyages ranging from seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean to a 20-day Caribbean and Panama Canal Explorer.

The 2018 April to October summer program features 47 departures, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including eight unique itineraries visiting 23 destinations in 22 countries. In addition, four ports offer late night stays so guests have more time to explore the evening offerings these destinations have to offer.