Starting from September 1, the Panama Cruise Terminal is set to kick off its 2023-2024 cruise season, marking its third consecutive year of operation. The forthcoming season is expected to be a bustling and prosperous time for both the terminal and Panama, offering numerous opportunities for cruise enthusiasts.
The third operational season of the Panama Cruise Terminal, slated to start on September 1, 2023, could bring a substantial financial boost to the local economy. The terminal, which first opened its doors on May 20, 2019, will host its third successive season for passenger vessels, facilitating both transit and port base operations.
Port base operations involve services and activities associated with cruise ships that are anchored or based at a particular port for a specific duration, such as day visits or homeporting, without passing through the renowned canal.
During the 2023-2024 season, a variety of cruise lines will visit the Panama Cruise Terminal, also known as Fuerte Amador. The terminal is located near the southern entry of the Panama Canal, adjacent to Panama City, on the Pacific side of the canal.
It should be noted that sometimes cruise lines or certain ships may modify or cancel their Panama Canal crossings, often due to local water levels, cargo operations, or changes in port schedules.
For the upcoming season, 49 calls have been scheduled. Of these, 31 are reserved for transit and 18 for base port activities. Around 69,600 passengers are expected to participate in transit operations, while nearly 13,000 passengers are projected to engage in base port events, which could double during embarkation and disembarkation.
The Panama Canal is a dream destination for many travelers, and they eagerly anticipate visiting it on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. This excitement and the large number of passengers make cruising a significant industry in Panama, particularly in the tourism and transport sectors.
Transit passengers are projected to spend a minimum of $100 on dining experiences, local excursions, and souvenir shopping. In contrast, expenditure for base port operations is expected to be considerably higher, at up to $350 per person, as travelers spend on local hotels, dining, and other activities before or after their cruises. This could contribute an estimated $11.5 million to the local economy.
Cruise lines scheduled to visit Fuerte Amador during the 2023-2024 season include Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Swan Hellenic, Viking Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, among others.
Cruise ship movement, base port activities, and guest expenditure generate significant revenue and job opportunities in this part of Panama. Consequently, the third operational season of the Panama Cruise Terminal is a crucial component of the economy.
Many travelers have long dreamed of visiting the Panama Canal and cruising through this engineering marvel. Apart from ship-related port activities, cruise ship guests can indulge in local experiences while spending time in Panama.
Excursions on offer include exploring historic Panama City, with guided tours to sites like Casco Viejo, the historic quarter, where travelers can enjoy colonial architecture, museums, and local cuisine. There are also eco-tours of the Panama Canal, guided hikes through Panama’s lush rainforests, visits to Emberá villages, and opportunities to relax by the Pacific Ocean, enjoy beach and water activities, indulge in delicious seafood, explore the region’s rich culture, and much more throughout the season.