Guests aboard the Carnival Conquest were met with unexpected news as their eagerly anticipated stop in Colón, Panama, was cancelled. The decision, spurred by ongoing protests in the region, led to a mix of disappointment and concern among the passengers.

Protests have been ongoing in the immediate area around Colon for several weeks now, resulting in road closures and violent clashes between the authorities and protestors, resulting from a new mining agreement between the government and a mining company. 

Colón, a must-visit destination on the Carnival Conquest‘s cruise that departed from PortMiami on November 10, is known for its strategic location at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal and its rich historical significance. 

The city, also celebrated for its expansive Colón Free Trade Zone and the Canal Expansion Observation Center, attracts thousands of tourists annually. However, the recent surge in protests within the city, centered around a contract between the State and Minera Panamá, prompted Carnival Conquest to bypass this popular port for the safety of its guests.

Carnival Conquest cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

The protests in Colón have led to significant disruptions, including road closures at critical points, violent clashes, and shortages in food supply, as reported by local sources. The primary issue of the protesters revolves around Law 406, a mining contract issued to the mining company despite an indefinite mining moratorium. 

The escalation of these protests has raised security concerns, compelling Carnival to reassess Carnival Conquest‘s scheduled stop in Colón, leading to the cancellation of the stop.

Originally, the nine-day cruise onboard Carnival Conquest included stops at George Town, Grand Cayman; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama; and Cartagena, Colombia, interspersed with fun days at sea. 

With the recent changes, the 110,000 gross tons Carnival Conquest, will now head directly to Cartagena, Colombia from Puerto Limon, according to tracking data of the vessel, thus replacing the day in Colón with an additional day at sea.

Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship (Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)

The change in itinerary evoked varied reactions from the guests aboard the Carnival Conquest. One guest expressed disappointment but understanding, stating: 

“On the Conquest 9-day to Panama Canal this week and were just notified the security team determined it unsafe to stop in Colon, Panama tomorrow due to protests and political unrest. Headed straight to Columbia from our stop today in Costa Rica. 

“Disappointing as we took this itinerary to see the canal and booked an excursion to go through, but we have never seen such cause for cancellation before so Carnival must believe this is the best decision.”

In contrast, other guests have been less than understanding, stating that Carnival could have known beforehand that Carnival Conquest would be unable to visit Colon this week, as the protests have been ongoing for weeks now. 

Guests planning cruise vacations should always be prepared for potential changes to their itineraries. Cruise lines retain the right to modify cruises, primarily to ensure the safety and security of their guests and crew. 

In cases like the Carnival Conquest‘s rerouting away from Colón, Panama, the decision is made with the conditions at the destination in mind. The inherent unpredictability of sea travel means guests are encouraged to embrace the dynamic nature of cruising, where changes, though sometimes disappointing, are made with their best interests in mind.

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