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Friday, May 5, 2017

Disney Vessel Becomes First Cruise Ship through New Panama Canal Locks

By Mark Edward Nero

Last weekend marked a milestone for the cruise industry when the Disney Wonder, transited the Panama Canal as the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks.

The Disney Wonder’s Panama Canal crossing, which took place April 29, was part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, Calif. The ship entered the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean, beginning its journey at the new Agua Clara Locks.

From there, it headed south through Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut, passing through the new Cocoli Locks and under the Bridge of Americas before exiting to the Pacific Ocean.

Before and after Disney’s summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder is expected to sail from San Diego to Baja, Calif., and the Mexican Riviera.

The ship departs the West Coast on October 27 and should pass through the Panama Canal again to begin Disney’s Halloween on the High Seas cruises from Galveston, Texas.

The $5.4 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, which started in the fall of 2007, officially opened to traffic in June 2016. The new set of locks feature sliding gates, doubled for safety. Each chamber measures 1,400 feet long, 180 feet wide, and 60 feet deep allowing vessels with a beam of up to 160 feet, an overall length of up to 1,200 feet and a draft of up to 49 feet.

The Disney Wonder has an overall length of 964 feet, a width of 106 feet, and a draft of 25.3 feet.

A video of the Disney Wonder transiting the locks can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB9s9gKtUxQ