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Guests on board the MS Braemar were so close to the stone walls of the giant canal, they could almost touch them.
Last week the ship belonging to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines became the largest ever to pass through the narrow shipping canal in Greece. At its narrowest point the Corinth passage is just 24metres, which makes the prospect of a vessel much larger than the Braemar completing the journey unlikely.
It was a challenge that the ship's crew and passengers were keen to see happen.
Pulled by a tugboat to safeguard the Braemar's 6.4km journey along the man made gorge, the 24,344 ton ship made history last week. 1200 passengers and crew were on board to witness it.
Passengers were quick to describe the navigation as "jaw dropping" and "Amazing to see" from the deck of the cruise.
Footage from Wednesday's sailing and photos show just how tight a squeeze it was.
The historic canal was completed in 1893 to link the Ionian Sea to the Aegean, via the narrow passage between the Gulf of Corinth. However the narrow passage and steep sides have often made it prone to landslides and a perilous route.
Clare Ward from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines called the sailing a "tremendous milestone".
"This is such an exciting sailing and tremendous milestone in Fred Olsen's 171-year history," she said. "We are thrilled to have been able to share it with our guests."
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Passengers were equally delighted by the smooth passage through the dramatic canal walls.
Dr Steph Yardley a physicist and guest lecturer on the ship praised the skilful sailing:
"It was a tight squeeze but the MS Braemar made it through the Corinth Canal unscathed."
While the cruise company were celebrating it as an historic sailing, it seems guests can't wait to repeat the experience.
"We have already had exceptionally high interest in our second Corinth Canal cruise, in Spring 2021, and we can't wait to do it all over again," said Ward.
Article originally published by nzherald.co.nz on 14 Oct, 2019