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Which ship thru panama canal

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How do you determine which locks a ship can go through? New locks or old locks? Max size for each locks?

I can't find the info I need. Help.

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Of the Princess ships that do this route only the Island, Coral and Pacific Princess fit in the old locks. The Island and Coral are Panamax ships. All the Grand Class ships would have to travel through the new locks. If I had to choose between the Island and Coral I would choose the Coral. The Island had the entire aft end changed into cabins adding 200+ additional passengers and removing the Universe Lounge plus some other passenger areas. 

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Royal class ships will fit in the new locks, but will not clear under the Bridge of the Americas which connects the Americas for vehicle traffic. Construction of a new bridge is underway. When completed, the old  bridge will be demolished.

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I would second of choosing the Coral

I did this cruise (again   #3 through the canal) last year and loved it

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1 hour ago, paul929207 said:

Royal class ships will fit in the new locks, but will not clear under the Bridge of the Americas which connects the Americas for vehicle traffic. Construction of a new bridge is underway. When completed, the old  bridge will be demolished.

Right on.  Bridge of the America's is 201 ft above water and Royal class ships are about 217 ft.

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I'll add my voice too for Coral.  There are other threads which talk about her merits.  

 

IMHO the best reasons to focus on her are:

 

She has amazing amounts of deck space, a real necessity for canal day when everyone wants to watch key moments.  

 

She is a "PANAMAX" ship which means she was literally designed for the old locks.  There are just a couple of feet of clearance on each side, about 10 feet fore and aft, it's a snug fit and that makes watching the process more interesting and intimate.

 

She has her buffet at the front of the ship with 180* views.  All (aside from her sister Island) Princess ships have the buffet aft.  You get forward views from here that just don't exist on other ships.  

 

She is slightly smaller than her Grand class cousins with a few hundred or more less people competing for views, shows and everything else.

 

Coral has a few slight negatives too, nothing in life is perfect, but she'd be my go to choice . . . . and in fact is our choice for April!

 

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We were on the Coral for a full transit. She is our least favorite Princess

ship but I would choose the old locks over the new ones!

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We just got off the Coral 2 weeks ago from a SF-FLL full transit and had a blast, food was fantastic in the MDR's. If your intent is to do the canal as the focus, you MUST do the old lock sets, the history of the locks and just seeing the engineering up front is really something.  The new locks are too neat and clean and more industrial and functional. 

 

Although the Coral is showing her age (cabins are showing some wear) the food was exceptional and the public areas were nice and clean.

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As an FYI, the Sun Princess also has a forward facing buffet area. Not sure I’ve ever seen the Sun on a Panama transit cruise through. She is 105 feet at the beam and max beam is 110 feet.

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For me, it was all about the timing of the cruise, so I'm fortunate to be on a ship going through the old locks.  I'm truly looking forward to being on Island Princess, despite many people seemingly unhappy with her looks....

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We did the Coral from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale on November 17th. We loved it. We had a starboard balcony so we saw a lot from our balcony.  The ship is beautiful. I loved the Universal Lounge. Spectacular. This was our first time through the Canal. We will do it again. I may want to try Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco next time. 

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We are sailing Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on the Pacific Princess in April, a segment of the world cruise. We have a port side balcony cabin, forward located. Very much looking forward to it. I visited Panama independently on a land trip in 2018 and visited the locks and the very good museum in Panama City, and really enjoyed it. 

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8 hours ago, K.T.B. said:

For me, it was all about the timing of the cruise, so I'm fortunate to be on a ship going through the old locks.  I'm truly looking forward to being on Island Princess, despite many people seemingly unhappy with her looks....

Me too!  Taking the Island Princess in January 2021 FLL to LA.  THis cruise is the only one that fits my teaching schedule and goes through the old locks.  I’m trying to focus on the good comments about the ship—I’m very excited for the cruise!

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2 hours ago, disneyochem said:

Me too!  Taking the Island Princess in January 2021 FLL to LA.  THis cruise is the only one that fits my teaching schedule and goes through the old locks.  I’m trying to focus on the good comments about the ship—I’m very excited for the cruise!

 

I hope you do a review!  I'm going from LA to FLL in May of 2021!  So I'd love to read/hear of your experience!

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I'm currently on a partial canal cruise on the Caribbean Princess. We took two partial canal cruises previous--once on the Island before the refurb and once on HAL's Zuiderdam. It was nice to have the experience of going through the old locks to inform my experience of going through the new locks on this cruise. 

 

Several people I've talked with who did excursions enjoyed the difference between the old and new locks (as well as the difference of seeing the locks from the point of view from a large ship versus a small excursion boat).

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BTW- We went in January (2018) and it was HOT and HUMID! So, just know that you may

not be used to that. I do not know where you live (your ID says USA).

We decided on January because it was theoretically the coolest time of year. We are

weather wimps as we are from the Northwest. The hotel staff in Orlando were pretty

funny (our POV) as they were wanting to wear a sweater because it was in the upper 70's

(but it was still humid). We were uncomfortable.

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23 hours ago, Outerdog said:

I'm surprised to see Emerald Princess go unmentioned in this thread.

My wife and I will be on the Emerald in January 2021 that is why I wanted to know about how to determine which ships can go through the old or new locks.

Well here it is: The old locks max. length of a ship is 1200ft. the max beam is 93 1/2 ft.

so the Emerald will be going through the new locks because her beam is over the max allowed. The info came from the panama canal web site.

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1 hour ago, bobnfl said:

My wife and I will be on the Emerald in January 2021 that is why I wanted to know about how to determine which ships can go through the old or new locks.

Well here it is: The old locks max. length of a ship is 1200ft. the max beam is 93 1/2 ft.

so the Emerald will be going through the new locks because her beam is over the max allowed. The info came from the panama canal web site.

Which is the reason that we booked the January 2021 Emerald cruise.  We have cruised the old locks twice and we want to experience the new locks. I can tell you the old locks were awesome.

 

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Going on the Emerald in a couple weeks. Have inside cabin. Where on the ship is the best place to view the locks? Also, is there a must excursion? Lastly, Emerald not medallion as yet, correct?

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On 12/17/2019 at 10:57 PM, polmcs said:

As an FYI, the Sun Princess also has a forward facing buffet area. Not sure I’ve ever seen the Sun on a Panama transit cruise through. She is 105 feet at the beam and max beam is 110 feet.

World Cruise 2019:

enhance

 

enhance

 

enhance

 

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1 hour ago, Punkydog said:

Going on the Emerald in a couple weeks. Have inside cabin. Where on the ship is the best place to view the locks? Also, is there a must excursion? Lastly, Emerald not medallion as yet, correct?

 

I will be on the 1/17/2020 sailing on the Emerald. I plan to watch the locks from the Promenade deck (7) it looks like it goes all around the ship. 

 

Emerald isn't fully  medallion but does have the upgraded medallion net (internet). 

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The more significant question is which locks are more interesting - new or old.  I have not done the new ones but I would guess that the old ones are more interesting to see.  After all, they are still functioning 100 year old technology.  Does anyone really think that the new ones will be working 100 years from now.

 

DON

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On 12/17/2019 at 3:44 PM, paul929207 said:

Royal class ships will fit in the new locks, but will not clear under the Bridge of the Americas which connects the Americas for vehicle traffic. Construction of a new bridge is underway. When completed, the old  bridge will be demolished.

 

I believe the 217' figure for the height of the ship is the measurement from the keel to the upper most part of the ship.  When you subtract the draft from the 217, that will give you an air draft of approximately 190' well within the limits of the Bridge of Americas.  I have found on another website where the Royal Princess is placed on measurement grid and that does seem to support the 190 figure.  Another thing that makes me think the 217 figure is not the air draft is IIRC the RP has called at New York and spent a season in Alaska with round trips out of Vancouver .  The Verrazzano Narrows Bridge has a permitted clearance of 215' and the Lions Gate Bridge has even slightly less clearance than the BoA.

 

However,  I think it is quite possible that the Royal class of ships may not become Panama Canal customers for another reason.  That reason is the the walkway overhang around the dinning room about midships and the overhang just aft of the last lifeboat may not be high enough off the water.  Present Canal requirements are that there not be any overhangs (other than anchors) less than 55' above the water.  As best as I can tell the overhangs don't look to be 55' above the water, but I'm just estimating.

 

It looks like the BoA might be around for a lot longer than originally thought.  The new government in Panama has suspended any further work on the new bridge.  To date there has not been any significant construction started, just mostly right of way acquisition.  They did say it was just suspended but not cancelled.

 

On 12/17/2019 at 5:35 PM, hobbyfarmer2 said:

Right on.  Bridge of the America's is 201 ft above water and Royal class ships are about 217 ft.

 

The 201' figure is the clearance below the BoA at Mean High Water.  There is a significant tidal swing and the Canal does permit ships with an air draft of 205' on a case by case basis.

 

To the OP,  bobnfl... the maximum dimensions for a "Panamax" ship which are the largest permitted through the original locks is 965'x106' and a max draft of 39.5'.  This for container vessels and passenger ships.  All other ships are limited to 950'.  The nominal dimensions for the original locks is 1000'x110'. Just a footnote, the longest ship to transit the Canal (original locks) is the San Juan Prospector at 974'.  The widest ship(s) to transit were the Iowa Class battleships, the Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and New Jersey at 108'.

 

The neoPanamax ships which use the new locks are permitted up to 1200'x167' and presently a max draft of 46'.  The dimensions of the new locks are 1400'x180.

 

To date there has not been any ship that could pass through the original locks use the new locks instead

 

 

Edited by BillB48

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