Who is the fairest of them all? It’s a tough question for guests aboard the new Disney Fantasy cruise ship, who spend their days surrounded by dozens of Disney’s famed princesses. Flickr user David Lytle is one of the lucky few to experience the Disney Fantasy first-hand, snapping today’s featured photo of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White as they greeted guests. In addition to characters in costume, the Disney Cruise Line vessel, inaugurated in March, features art nouveau design, European-themed dining and nightlife options, and a 1,800-square-foot water play area with an AquaDuck water coaster.
When new Disney Fantasy comes out next year, Disney Cruise Line will have pretty much doubled their fleet of cruise ships in a very short time. Just like Disney, they have magical plans for each and every day all four ships are sailing. New voyages out of three new ports in 2012 is just the beginning. As America’s master of entertainment prepares to dominate the family cruise business, Disney puts their ships where their heart is.
New York, Seattle and Galveston, Texas will see their first Disney ships next year. The two newest ships, this year’s Disney Dream and upcoming Disney Fantasy will stay close to home, sailing a variety of sailings of varying lengths from bustling Port Canaveral in Florida. We knew that. That is good. Theme-park freaks can still get their fill at Walt Disney World in Florida before or after sailing with a shorter cruise while those with an eye for the sea can enjoy longer itineraries.
Great big fat good news: Now hear this: The Disney Wonder will offer a special 15-night voyage to Hawaii from Los Angeles, calling on Hilo; Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai and Ensenada, Mexico.
I can just hear the wheels turning as guests booked at the new massive new Disney Aulani Resort and Spa try to figure out some way to tack a Disney cruise on the front, back, middle or side of a land vacation.
Flipping back to the east coast for a bit, starting in May 2012, Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York. Included are eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada.
Not sure if a family-style casino-less Disney cruise is for you?
Two-night cruises will be offered to give a taste of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend. I’m betting you come back for seconds. Yes, even in New York.
But that’s not all. The hidden gem in the whole deal is that starting in September 2012, Disney Magic will sail 12 seven-night cruises from the Port of Galveston to the Western Caribbean. That’s huge.
That’s also joining new Carnival Magic (which Gadling will be on in just a few weeks) sailing from Galveston, a first for a new cruise ship, normally brought up in Florida before sent to venture out on its own.
But wait, we have another one new to Galveston too. Princess Cruises brings a Love Boat to town with the popular Crown Princess sailing in December 2012 and April 2013.
Galveston hits the jackpot, that’s just all there is to it.
I live in Orlando and if there’s one thing we know here it’s that when Disney does it, they do it right. This roll-out of ships and itineraries, this special deployment, will no doubt turn the cruise industry on it’s ear. All the preparation other lines have done, slapping B-grade animation studios on their ships to prepare for this day will be tested.
You can bet the other lines will have their best foot forward as Disney, quite appropriately, ushers in a new standard in family entertainment at sea. It’s a tall order, even for Disney, but a few simple words come to mind that will clearly define this moment for Disney Cruise Line:
At a ceremony in Pappenburg, Germany this week, Disney Cruise Lines marked another milestone in the expansion of it’s fleet of magical cruise ships.
Assisted by Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, Minnie Mouse presided over the keel laying ceremony at they Meyer-Werft shipyard where new Disney Fantasy, twin to recently launched Disney Dream will be constructed.
The keel laying ceremony is a significant milestone in the ship building process when the first block, or section of the ship, is lowered into the building dock and a coin is placed under the keel for good fortune.
Not to be a twin sister to Disney Dream, new Fantasy will have many of the same features but also some new design elements and guest experiences that will give the ship a unique identity all her own. Different from Disney Dream sailing 3 and 4-night sailings, the new Disney Fantasy will sail week-long itineraries. Both will sail from Florida’s Port Canaveral where guests can easily add on a stay at Walt Disney World either before or after sailing.
“Disney begins construction on a new ship in Pappenburg Germany” is not the only news about Disney. The company that represents quality family entertainment world-wide is also embracing social media as we see in this video.
When new Disney Dream arrived in Florida this week, crowds gathered to celebrate. New ships arriving are always a special event and this one was no exception. But beyond the first-look hoopla, the new ship will have some real-world financial impact that’s pretty cool to consider.
Buoyed by a nod from Wall Street analysts, shares in Walt Disney Co hit a 10-year high Wednesday, due in part to the arrival of Disney Dream. The new ship and sister-ship Disney Fantasy coming in 2012 represent a $1.8 billion investment that will increase the line’s guest capacity by nearly 150 percent.
Older and smaller ships Disney Magic and Wonder will be redeployed to make room for the new, larger ships that bring with them more jobs and more revenue for ports they visit too. The Bahamas will see an estimated $3 million additional spending and $900,000 in tax revenue the first year alone.
The cruise business has been a profitable venture for Disney, with ships sailing fuller and demanding higher prices than other major cruise lines. While other lines carry an average of two guests per cabin, Disney’s family focus gets them an average of 3 and that adds up to higher profits.
It’s no surprise that rival lines Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line have tried to capture that profit magic by adding Dreamworks and Nickelodeon characters to their on-board programming. It’s a bold attempt to stifle the effect of Disney’s increased capacity but side by side, it’s pretty hard to beat the mouse on his own turf.
“Oh, this line is all for kids?” you say? Not so fast.
Disney has gone out of its way to attract adults as well with new features on board that let adults ditch the kids, at night anyway, for features along the lines of the latest and greatest being offered by the newest of ships on other lines.
Wrap it all up, tie a bow on it and sing “Happy Birthday”, Disney Cruise Line’s new child may very well be the future of cruise vacations. Now that’s magical.
Photo- Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line Imagineers worked overtime looking for just the right mix of on-board features for the new Disney Dream, sailing January 26. The line has infused a spirt of imagination, grandeur and magical wonder that even Walt Disney himself might not have dreamed of.
“These new additions are near perfect moves for Disney,” says cruise industry expert, Stewart Chiron CEO, CruiseGuy.com. “Timing of their introductions couldn’t have been better. The biggest ships have been previously introduced and now all of the attention will be clearly focused on Disney’s newest class of ships.”
On board Disney Dream, the first new ship for the line since 1999, are more features, attractions and at-sea innovation than ever before.
The AquaDuck, a flashy on-board roller coaster unlike any attraction at sea, has twists, turns, drops, acceleration and river rapids – all while racing around the upper decks of the ship. Inside cabins with virtual “portholes” provide a real-time view outside of the ship via a live, high-def feed.
The 4000-guest Disney Dream combined with upcoming Disney Fantasy in 2012 will double the number of ships in the fleet and triple passenger capacity. But competition for guests has never been tougher and they will be up against new feature-heavy ships from other lines.
“As when Disney Magic was introduced, the cruising public had no idea how ‘fantastical’ these ships could be.” said Chiron adding “Now with about 13 years of ship operations and shipbuilding experience under their magical belt, hold on! Dreams will come true in ways made possible only by Disney.”
Hopes are high that new Disney Dream and upcoming Disney Fantasy will roll back the clock to a time wonder and magic when their existing ships were the latest and greatest at sea. Walt would like this.