That rumor you may have heard is true. Disney Cruise Line has confirmed it is buying a partially complete mega cruise ship, Global Dream, that has been sitting in the Meyer Werft shipyard since Genting Hong Kong ceased operations early this year.
The purchase, at an undisclosed “favorable price,” finally ended speculation that the ship might have to be scrapped, despite the estimated 1.6 billion euros spent on it so far.
About 75% complete, the 208,000-gross-ton ship was being designed to sail under the Dream Cruises flag, in the Asian market. It holds 6,000 passengers and 2,800 crew, and is the first in the industry to be fueled by green methanol, one of the lowest-emission fuels available.
Some features of the ship will be reimagined by Disney before it sails in 2025. The company said, but the plan is definitely to launch it abroad, and the speculation is that it will remain in Asia, where Disney Cruise Line does not yet sail. Disney recently announced its first cruises for the Australia and New Zealand markets beginning in late 2023, and The Walt Disney Company has expressed interest in finding a home port closer to guests in Japan and China.
No matter where, travel advisors love the idea of selling—and sailing—a new Disney ship.
Homeporting a giant new ship in Asia “would be a big step for Disney” but a smart one, Dream Vacations franchise owner Shane Smartt told TRO. Even here in the United States, he believes he can sell it. “Disney has such a high following, I’m sure some US-based clients want to experience the ship in Asia; we had that happen with Royal Caribbean,” he noted. “There will be Disney fanatics that will want to go over there.”
“Hell, we’ll probably sail it,” added his partner Trapper Martin, noting the duo has “done the Disney parks over there,” and found the Shanghai park in particular to be a unique experience “totally different from Disney parks here.”
For the time being though, Disney Parks Experiences and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro seems focused on the international, if not the Asian, market. “Our cruise ships give us the unique opportunity to bring Disney magic to fans no matter where they are, and the addition of this ship will make a Disney Cruise Line vacation accessible to more families than ever before,” he said.
Onboard the Disney Fantasy, Erin Elliott Stennett of Majestic Memories Travel & Vacations in Paoli, Indiana, is “so excited to hear there is yet another new Disney ship coming. Disney Cruise Lines’ attention to detail is unsurpassed! From the carpeting, to fixtures, to the children’s areas, theaters, and all the very small details such as picture theming in the stairways, there is just nothing like a Disney cruise. I’m sure the new partially built ship will be like a floating palace. In general, I am not a huge fan of mega ships as they just seem so overwhelming and not as intimate, but I am positive this large ship will still feel intimate and inviting as it will have the special Disney touches. I cannot wait to sail on her!”
“This is such encouraging news for the future of travel and specifically cruising,” agreed Lainey Melnick, owner of a Dream Vacations franchise in Austin. “Disney consistently delivers the highest quality entertainment, dining and service for families looking for that magical touch. Capping passengers at 6,000 in this huge build means that public venues and cabins have the potential to be massive without feeling like you are in a crowd. While this opens up a new option for the Asian market, it follows Disney Parks global expansion which will continue to draw the attention of worldwide travel to a new audience. It’s exciting.”