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On Land

A NEW PORT IN PANAMA CITY On Panama’s Pacif ic coast, an even more ambitious construction project is underway – a new port. Currently, ships calling on Panama City must anchor and tender passengers to the Fuerte Amador marina. The situation is not ideal because the marina, which was never intended to be a proper cruise port, cannot accommodate larger ships. The new port, located one island over along the Amador Causeway that leads to Panama City, will solve for these problems and create the opportunity for an embarkation and debarkation port on the Pacific side of Panama. Each of two 380-meter-long piers, once completed, will accommodate one neo-Panamax-sized ship. The proposed terminal building will be able to handle homeport requirements (such as check-in and luggage han16 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

dling), as well as transportation facilities to accommodate tours. The huge space will also house retail stores and restaurants – as with Colon – to offer everything cruise visitors will need. Just 20 minutes to Casco Viejo, Panama City’s historic center, and a half hour to the Miraf lores Locks Visitor’s Center, the new port is well situated to bring cruise visitors to Panama’s top attractions. The first pier is expected to be completed before the start of the October cruise season, with the second pier and terminal facility slated to be finished over the following year. WHY HOMEPORT IN PANAMA? Currently, only a few cruise lines, such as Windstar and Norwegian Cruise Line, run cruises out of Panama. The combination of the new port facilities, government-based financial incen-

tives, and Panama’s rich cultural and ecological heritage should make cruise lines take another look at the itinerary possibilities of sailing out of Colon or Panama City. With the new port in place, the potential exists for a sailing that starts in Panama City, calls on ports on the Pacific Coast of Central America, then transits the Canal, visiting a few Caribbean islands before terminating in Colon. This type of unique itinerary allows cruise passengers to visit ports across two oceans and makes travel logistics easy with roundtrip flights into and out of the same airport. Tocumen International Airport has excellent airlift from the U.S., Europe, and Central and South America and is roughly an hour from either port. For cruise lines, the incentive is even greater. The Panamanian government has agreed to reimburse a