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Princess Cruises to launch new sailings through new locks of Panama Canal

Princess cruises has revealed details of its sailing itineraries for the 2017 and 2018 Americas season which will include a new voyage in Panama. The Caribbean Princess will sail for 10 days and will go through the new Panama Canal locks at the Atlantic entrance, where passengers will learn about the history of the canal's construction and recent changes.

Princess Cruises to launch new sailings through new locks of Panama Canal

Princess Cruises has unveiled its itineraries for the 2017 and 2018 Americas season, which includes a new cruise down the Panama Canal. The cruise line will be one of the first to use the new locks as it sails down the famous 48-mile-long waterway.

The Caribbean Princess will take holidaymakers on 10-day cruises along parts of the Panama Canal from 2017, and the journey will go through the new huge locks at the Atlantic entrance. During the cruise, passengers on board the 3,080 vessel will learn about the history of the manmade canal and the ongoing massive expansion project.

The two new locks are located at both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean sides of the Panama Canal, and were added as part of a major project that will expand the width of the canal to allow large ships to pass through for world trade and tourism. The work has taken nearly 10 years to complete and the new locks will open in July, 2016. It’s the biggest construction project on the canal since it was first opened in 1914.

Princess Cruises will launch three other ships on the original smaller locks of Panama Canal over the 2017/2018 winter. The sailings will be operated by the Coral Princess, Island Princess and Pacific Princess cruise vessels. Passengers will stop off at ports in the Caribbean and Central America to visits sights and attractions including rainforests in Costa Rica and historic cities including Cartagena in Colombia.

The Panama Canal in Central America was first developed in 1881 by the French, but after eight years of construction, work was stopped due to the high costs and an unexpectedly high mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904, and on 15th August, 1914, the first ship, Ancon, officially sailed the length of the Panama Canal.

Since it opened, the canal has had more than a million ships sail along it, as well as a lone swimmer in 1928, Richard Halliburton, who swam its entire length. The locks at each end of the canal lift the ships to the Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that was created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal. Acting as a reservoir of water, the lake carries the ships 33km along the canal.

Holidaymakers can learn about the history of the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks at the Pacific entrance near Panama City.

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