Panama Canal passengers marvel at this dramatic transit through the Canal's locks, but often wish they could also explore the country's natural beauty and culture. To give travelers more time in Panama, Princess Cruises is introducing a new"Two-Day Canal Experience" on all 2009-20 Canal transits of 15 days or longer, featuring a secondday in port so passengers can enjoy both the engineering wonder of the Canal and further discover the country.
This new double dose of Panama will be offered on 23 sailings on four ships. In addition, Princess will also offer two other favorite itineraries, with a shorter 10-day full-transit option and the convenient 10-day roundtrip voyage from Ft. Lauderdale featuring a partial transit to Gatun Lake - giving passengers three distinct options for visiting the Panama Canal. In total, the season will feature 44 Canal sailings, with calls at 20 ports in 10 countries.
Passengers can take advantage of this day to enjoy a variety of shore excursion options including the Panama Canal Railway, Panama City, Soberania National Park Rainforest or a visit to an authentic Embera Indian Village. The intimate Royal Princess' 20-day sailing will also introduce a new port for Princess, Puerto Chiapas in Mexico, the gateway to the rich culture of the Mayan region featuring opportunities to explore coffee plantations and architectural landmarks.
"Panama is such a rich country with so much to see, and many passengers don't get the opportunity to experience it because they naturally want to savor the mavel of engineering that is the Panama Canal," said Jan Swartz, Princess Senior VP. "So we're now offering the opportunity to do both - spend one day on the ship as it is lifted and lowered through all three sets of locks, plus have a day in port to venture further into Panama."
Panama Canal Two-Day Experience - Coral Princess and Island Princess will feature 15 sailings on this 15-day Los Angelese/Ft Lauderdale route, with the two-day Canal experinece plus calls at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Costa Rican (Runtarenas), Cartagena, and Arub. In addition, Island Princess and Sea Princess will offer three similar sailings between San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale. Royal Princess will offer one 20-day itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle, offering the two-day Canal experience, plus calls at Aruba, Costa Rica (Puntarenas), new port Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and San Francisco. Coral Princess and Island Princess also offer longer 17-, 18- and 19-day options, sailing to and from Vancouver. Coral Princess sailings depart between September 21, 2009 and April 21, 2010. Island Princess sailings depart on September 14, 2009 and April 29, 2010; and Sea Princess sailings depart September 25, 2009 and May 7, 2010. Royal Princess sails on April 30, 2010.
Full Transit Sailings - The 10-day Panama Canal Adventurer route between Ft Lauderdale and Acalpulco offers a full Canal transit plus a focus on Central America with visits to Costa Rica (Puntarenas), Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur) and Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal), as well as Ocho Rios and Huatalco. Island Princess offers eight sailings on this route, with departures between December 10, 2009 and March 20, 2010.
Roundtrip Panama Canal - Island Princess will sail on this classic 10-day itinerary from Ft Lauderdale, which offers a partial Panama Canal transit to Gatun Lake followed by a call to Cristobal, plus calls in the Caribbean ports of Aruba, Cartegena, Limon (Costa Rica) and Ocho Rios. The ship offers 13 departures between October 1, 2009 and April 19, 2010.
Panama Canal cruises are available for booking on May 22, 2008. Escape Fares for 10-day sailings start at $1,199 per person, based on double occupancy. Past Princess passengers are eligible for up to $50 in Captain's Circle Launch Savings on bookings made by December 31, 2008.