Transit the Suez Canal (scenic cruising)
The Suez Canal is the world’s greatest shortcut. Opened in 1869, it allowed ships to travel between Europe and Asia without having to navigate around Africa or traipse overland between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The canal’s northern terminus is Port Said.
The single-lane waterway is 192 kilometres long, with four passing places (north and south of the Great Bitter Lake), and links the Mediterranean with the Gulf of Suez on the Red Sea.
Constructed by the French over more than 11 years using 30,000-plus Egyptian slaves, the canal had an immediate, dramatic effect on world trade. But its history has been plagued by conflict, with the canal closed or in dispute for much of its life.
The Suez allows ships of up to 150,000 tons displacement and up to 16 metres draft to pass. Planned improvements will increase this to 22 metres by 2010, allowing the passage of fully-laden supertankers.
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