Update on Viking Cruises set to dock in Panama City

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 8:11 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Viking Cruises was looking to drop anchor in Panama City as early as the first quarter of 2021 during a trial period.

“It’s still in the planning phases. Everything is still going as scheduled I would say,” President and CEO of Destination Panama City Jennifer Vigil said.

Due to COVID-19, developing new routes and programs for cruise lines is taking a little longer than usual.

“They’re really having to work closely with the CDC to make sure all passengers and ports are equally as safe,” Vigil continued.

Local businesses have been anticipating the arrival of the Viking Cruise, but Sunjammer owner Brad Stephens says a delay would actually benefit him.

“Are they coming are they not coming? But it gives us a little bit more time to get ready. A little bit more time to do a thought process. It was very rushed when we thought they would come here the first of January,” Stephens said.

The Viking Cruise along the Gulf Coast plans to be a 7-day trip departing from Tampa, carrying 930 passengers and 465 crew members.

Panama City will be a tender port for Viking Cruise Line, which means it won’t be docking at a pier. Instead, the ship will be floating out in the bay, where tenders will take passengers to either Grand Lagoon or St. Andrews Marina.

Vigil says she has not received an update on Viking Cruises’ progress.

“I think we’re all kind of in the same boat, all cruise lines around the world, all tourism, excursions and attractions around the world are kind of in the same boat. How do we make it safe enough for people to actually participate?” Vigil said.

Vigil believes once all the details with the CDC are cleared, everything will be on schedule to begin in the coming months.

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