Ahoy landlubbers! I’ve just returned from four days at sea on the illustrious Disney Dream with news that’s making its way across all decks. According to multiple sources onboard, Disney Cruise Line is expected to make some big announcements soon regarding its fleet of ships.
Take this information with a grain of sea salt. With no official confirmation or announcements, these specifics may not yet be accurate.
A Disney spokesperson has confirmed to me that they will be making a Disney Cruise Line announcement two weeks from now during Walt Disney World’s “Monstrous Summer” press event – but it definitely will not be two new ships.
Recent invitations for the event did specifically name “Disney Cruise Line news” is on the way, but didn’t elaborate further. It’s likely the announcement will be revealing the rumored upcoming upgrades of the Magic and Wonder cruise ships, detailed below.
The event will take place April 25 and 26 and we’ll be there to follow up.
If the at-sea talk is true (and that’s a big if), Disney Cruise Line is working on plans to add two new cruise ships, possibly launching one in 2015 and one in 2016. The ships will reportedly be sized between the existing offerings, larger than the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, but smaller than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
The staff aboard the Dream has been told there’s more to come from Disney Cruise Line soon. Every Cast Member I asked, from servers to cashiers to managers seemed to know something about it, some willing to elaborate on details, others only offering a smirk and a light-hearted, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” (I hear loose lips sink ships.) Many did ultimately give an affirming “yes” when asked if they knew of new ships coming to Disney Cruise Line.
The Magic and Wonder are reportedly slated for major makeovers, adding further enhancements, likely during their upcoming scheduled dry docks. The (unofficial) Disney Cruise Line blog shared renderings back in January of what the older ship updates may soon include. Rumored upgrades include sprucing up many of the ships’ restaurants and potentially even adding a new attraction like the AquaDuck.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time those two ships have been upgraded, having received a number of enhancements in the past, such as the addition of the Outlook Café to the Wonder in 2009. The Magic is scheduled for a short six-week refurbishment after the summer season ends with the Wonder’s update following next year. This may be the only announcement Disney Cruise Line has to share later this month.
Though Disney isn’t announcing any new ships this month, the possibility of more being added to their fleet some time in the future still exists.
If Disney is planning on two new ships to emerge within the next 3 years, the timeframe is tough, but feasible. It took less than two years from the time construction began in Germany on the Disney Dream to the time the ship sailed its maiden voyage from Florida (though it was ordered from builder Meyer Werft two years prior to building). So it’s not unthinkable that Disney could have a new ship built within the next two years, for delivery into service by 2015 with another following a year later, much like the Fantasy did a year after the Dream – as long as construction begins soon.
The possibility of two new Disney Cruise Line ships could make business sense on some level, with thousands of guests sailing aboard the newest two ships every week. Disney Parks and Resorts received a 3% revenue increase in 2011 over 2010 as a result of the launch of the Disney Dream. And last year’s successful completion of the Disney Fantasy leaves the stateroom door wide open for future fleet expansion.
Whenever more Disney ships are announced, the big question remains: What would Disney’s new ships be named? Following the tradition of Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, perhaps the Disney Wish? Disney Sorcerer? Or even the Disney Princess? (Not to be confused with Princess Cruises, of course…)
If Disney builds two new cruise ships, what do you think they should be called? Comment below and I’ll update this post with my favorites.
(Also, stay tuned for a few updates from the Disney Dream from my first sailing since its christening cruise.)