Norwegian Gem to Traverse Panama Canal for the First Time

Norwegian, Gem, ship

Last week, Norwegian Gem embarked on her first Panama Canal cruise, calling to 10 new ports and debuting on the West Coast when she concludes her itinerary in Los Angeles.

On Jan. 10, Norwegian Gem will be the 10th ship of the modern Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to cross the Panama Canal, visiting 10 new port cities during that sailing.

Among the new ports Norwegian Gem is sailing this season is Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Willemstad, Curacao; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Los Angeles; Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Corinto, Nicaragua.

“We are very excited to showcase another one of our incredible ships on the West Coast, offering guests there a chance to experience our fleet and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with cruising Norwegian,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Gem is the final ship of the Jewel Class. She welcomes over 2,300 guests each sailing and features one of the largest suites in the fleet, the Garden Villas.

These suites are over 4,000 square feet and sleep up to eight guests. They include three spacious bedrooms, a living room and a private garden with a hot tub. The ship is also home to a kid’s aqua park, a climbing wall, an expansive casino, over 15 dining options and 14 bars and lounges.

Curacao Traffic Boosted by New Pier

The Britannia is joined by the Adventure of the Seas as two big ships dock in Curacao.

Traffic is skyrocketing in Curacao as the 2018 calendar year is set to see a 16 percent increase in passenger arrivals boosted by a second mega pier, which opened to ships in late 2017. Additional mooring dolphins added early this year allow for even bigger ships to dock, according to Raul Manotas, COO of Curacao Ports.

“With our new mega pier completed, we expect to see a continuation of the growing trend of the last decade. Our objective is to reach the million passenger mark,” Manotas told Cruise Industry News.

Summer traffic this year includes 63 calls and accounts for about 23 percent of passenger arrivals.

“The second mega pier was essential in driving additional growth opportunities in the industry,” continued Manotas. “Our primary objective is to further brand the destination and establish strategic partnerships that can promote the destination. Curacao offers a unique blend of culture, history, gastronomy and entertainment that we will capitalize on.”

Interporting is done primarily by niche and luxury lines, Manotas said. “The objective is to further promote this among the smaller lines,” he added.

Curacao opens second cruise pier


Adventure of the seas

The Curacao Ports Authority has opened Tula Pier, the second cruise pier in Curacao.

Tula Pier is in the Otrabanda area west of St. Anna Bay. The second pier was built to keep pace with increasing cruise calls and to accommodate the cruise industry’s largest ships.

For the first call, more than 3,000 passengers arrived at the pier on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas on Nov. 13.