The Norwegian Joy has made her inaugural transit of the famed Panama Canal as the 2017-built ship was in the Canal on October 22.
It is the first of six transits for the ship this season, including two partial transits, part of 29 transits from neo-Panamax vessels scheduled for the 2019-2020 season, according to a statement.
The season kicked off earlier this month as the Island Princess was the first cruise ship through the Panama Canal to mark the start of the 2019-2020 season.
The Norwegian Joy is a sister ship to the 2018-built Norwegian Bliss, and both vessels are the largest cruise ships to have sailed through the Panama Canal at 333 meters long and with a beam of over 41 meters.
Following her debut in Alaska this summer, the Joy is offering Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020.
Ten more vessels will make their first Panama Canal transits this season, including the Norwegian Dawn, Ponant’s Le Dumont D’uwille, P&O’s Ventura, the Carnival Glory, Scenic Eclipse, Flying Clipper, Seven Seas Splendor, Hanseatic Inspiration, Hanseatic Nature and the Greg Mortimer.
Steel was cut last week for Carnival Corporation’s first-China built ship, now under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd facility., and due for delivery in the second half of 2023, according to Chinese news sources.
At the steel cutting ceremony, a rendering and vessel model was unveiled, which appear to show a Vista-class ship with a dual AIDA/Costa funnel, and sporting an AIDA livery.
Carnival’s China newbuild project is part of a joint venture, with the ships set to go to a yet-to-be-named domestic brand in which Carnival is a partner with China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Fincantieri is also involved, having licensed the Vista-class platform.
Further information about the domestic brand has yet to be revealed.
The joint venture calls for the transfer of existing vessels (two Costa ships) and then the newbuild project, with orders firmed up for a pair of 135,000-ton Vista-class ships, and an option for up to four more.
The contracted price is reported to be $770 million per new vessel.
Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises have signed an agreement to construct a new cruise terminal on the island and manage its existing facility.
The cruise giants signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saint Lucian government on Tuesday to form a joint venture for the project.
The cruise line brands account for 75% of all cruise ship deployment to the island.
The joint venture will manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries and design, finance, build and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island.
Prime minister of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet said the agreement marked “a major step towards enhancing” the country’s tourism offering.
He said: “Saint Lucia has had record-breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination.
“It is essential that we continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that Saint Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers; which means we have to improve our capacity.
“This signing is historic, as this project will have a major impact on the sustainability of the cruise sector and the reach of cruise tourism to the south of the island. This will also mean employment at several phases of the project, the expansion of existing businesses and the formation of new enterprises.”
Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation said: “This is an exciting day for our guests who already love the beauty and deep culture of Saint Lucia and an important step in sustaining cruise tourism growth for the island.”
Michael Bayley, president and chief executive of Royal Caribbean International said the cruise market is the fastest-growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean is anticipated to grow by 40%.