is it a gamble which canal (old or new) that our ship will travel through?

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#1
305 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
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.......
#2
Florida
5,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
It might be a gamble on which locks you will use, however it would be a sucker bet The chance that the Westie will use the new locks is somewhere between slim and none and slim has already left town! Setting aside some very unusual circumstance you will use the old locks. The only doubt there would be is whether you use the east lane or the west lane at the old locks. That can't not be predicted with any accuracy... which lane your ship would use can easily change at the last minute. East lane, west lane makes no difference unless you are tied down to one spot.

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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#4
southern NM desert
11,491 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by creel5857
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.
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NM Lady (Mary Kay) & Joe
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.

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#5
88,449 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
My understanding is that the smaller ships that fit through the older locks will continue doing so since the charge is less then for the new locks.

It is the larger ships that could not fit through the older ones that would use the new ones.

Keith
#6
Saint Marys, PA
17 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Unless your ship's itinerary SPECIFICALLY (sp?) states that you are going through the New Locks (and there are a few that do), rest assured that it will be travelling through the Old Locks.