Disney Cruise Line is announcing two new ships, bringing to six the number of Disney-branded floating theme parks on the high seas, the Orlando Sentinel is reporting.
The cruise line has entered into a “memorandum of agreement” with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels, with projected completion dates of 2021 and 2023. The two new Disney Cruise Line ships’ names and itineraries are still “in development.”
Already, the Disney Cruise Line boasts four ships. The original two ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, launched in 1998 and 1999, respectively. At 85,000 tons and boasting 877-staterooms, the original Disney Cruise Line ships are relatively small compared to the “megaships” of modern cruise lines. Two bigger ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, are considerably bigger, weighing in at 130,000 tons and boasting 1,250-staterooms.
At 135,000 tons and 1,250 staterooms, the two new planned vessels will be on par in size with modern cruise ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas (167,000 tons, 2,090 staterooms).
Since launching in the late 1990s, the Disney Cruise Line has been shaking up the cruise industry with innovations meant to bring Disney’s particular brand of magic to the seas, including segregated play areas for children, families, and adults, no casinos, and Disney-branded live entertainment at sea.
The Disney Wonder is awesome!
So far Palo is the highlight pic.twitter.com/i3aYhn9N9I
— Brian Carey (@BrianCarey_) February 28, 2016
Some Disney Cruise Line itineraries include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line passengers.
— Gossips RTNews (@GossipsRTNews) February 5, 2016
More innovations came with the release of the cruise line’s larger ships in the late 2000s, including first-of-their-kind virtual portholes in interior staterooms, which feature live streaming of the sea (the same view that guests with exterior staterooms would see) as well as Disney characters popping from time to time; as well as the cruise industry’s first shipboard water coaster, the Aqua Duck.
— The Social (@TheSocialCTV) February 6, 2016
— StorybookDestination (@StorybookD) January 31, 2016
In a statement via the Disney Parks website, Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, expressed his enthusiasm for the new vessels.
“We pride ourselves on the unforgettable vacation experiences we deliver to our guests each and every day, and the expansion of our Disney fleet will allow us to create even more magical memories for families at sea and in incredible cruise destinations around the world.”
The addition of the two new Disney Cruise Line ships as the Disney Parks brand – and you can think of Disney cruise ships as floating Disney Parks – is undergoing major expansion across the world. Construction continues on the upcoming Shanghai Disney Park, expected to open this June. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Mickey and his friends are hard at work in Orlando and Anaheim, bringing Star Wars lands to both parks, as well as an expanded Toy Story land to Orlando.
The ongoing expansion marks an exciting time for the Walt Disney Company, says Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
“The expansion of Disney Cruise Line only adds to our excitement for the unprecedented growth taking place across our vacation destinations, from new Star Wars experiences coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts to the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris and the grand opening of our newest park, Shanghai Disney Resort.”
Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise Line vacation? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/Chuck Wagner]