is it a gamble which canal (old or new) that our ship will travel through?
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Ships that can use the old locks will continue do so, the primary reason for this is for the most part they would pay the same basic toll regardless of which set of locks were used. Plans call for around 12 ships per day to use the new locks. The Canal can wring out more $$ from a ship that is too large for the old locks than they can from a ship that can still use the old locks. Just in round numbers the Westie would pay about $350K for a transit, whereas a ship that could only transit the new locks would probably pay $500K and up. The Canal will reserve the new locks for their deeper pocketed customers.
Just an aside to be more accurate, there are slight differences in the tolls depending on which locks are used. In the Westie's case the toll is $138/passenger berth (old locks) and $148/passenger berth in the new locks. Cargo ships have different rates for the various cargo... containers, grain, oil, LNG etc.
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S.S. Badger R/T from Manitowoc June 02
we scheduled a 14 trip on westerdam from san diego to ft launderdale thinking we would go through old canal unless it stated new canal on itinerary. Now travel agent tells us that there is no way we will know until the day of the canal passage and we may be going through new which kinda defeats my purpose of wanting to see old canals. Is this true.......Your travel agent is wrong. Only the ships that won't fit in the old locks will use the new locks.
The Westerdam will definitely fit --and use -- the old locks.
Platinum on NCL, 2-Star Mariner on HAL
Booked: NCL Sun April 19 - May 7, 2018.
Seattle to Port Canaveral via Panama Canal
Our third transit through the Canal.
1999-2016: 23 cruises
12 NCL, 2 HAL, 2 RCI, 2 Carnival, 2 Celebrity, 2 Oceania,
and 1 Radisson now Regent, around Italy (a sweepstakes prize!)
It is the larger ships that could not fit through the older ones that would use the new ones.