Venice Italy passed new regulations which limit the size of the cruise ships which may sail up the Grand Canal. No vessel over 96,000 tons are permitted after January 2015. Cruise lines are scrambling to move some of their non compliant ships out of the Med and replace them with vessel that meet the new regulations. Today I noticed 3 significant changes for the summer of 2015 in our local waters. Royal Caribbean is not bringing Rhapsody of the Seas back from Australia which has been the rotation for several years now; she is heading via the Suez to the Med. A replacement has not been announced. Celebrity Century will not return in 2015 and she too is headed via the Suez to Italy. A replacement has not been announced, but we know the new Solstice class are too high for the power wires at Seymour, so that is not an option. Princess is taking the Island Princess over to the Med, and replacing her with another of their largest Grand Class vessels, Ruby Princess; and owing to the stopped work on the new Panama Canal, she will have to sail around South America. More deployment changes will occur!
Crown Princess has an "air draft" of 60.0 M. Celebrity Solstice was 64.0 M but they have recently hinged a piece of her structure in order for her to pass under Lions Gate. I was lead to believe it was the main mast or stern light atop the funnel. She is now listed at 61.0M
First Narrows at Lions Gate has 61.0 clearance, but you must remember this is for maximum high tide.
The power wires at Seymour Narrows have a clearance of 58.0M; but Crown Princess can schedule her passing to avoid the high water obstacle. Solsltice remains too high for this passage.
So far Royal Caribbean have not changed any bookings from Rhapsody to Jewel, but I do see that earlier this week Celebrity altered their bookings from Century to Infinity; joining Millennium and Solstice on the Alaskan runs.