Thursday, February 22, 2007
Cool News for fans of Disney Cruises!
Disney Cruise Line plans big expansion
The small but successful Disney Cruise Line today ordered two massive new ships in a move that will more than double its passenger capacity.
Disney CEO Bob Iger says the company has contracted with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, to build the 2,500-passenger vessels, scheduled to launch in 2011 and 2012. At 122,000 tons, the ships will be nearly 50% larger than the line's two existing 1,750-passenger ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
"Disney Cruise Line has been a huge success for our guests and for our shareholders alike," Iger said in a statement that accompanied the annoucement. "It has brought our unparalleled family vacation experience to the high seas, and has also generated high margins and double digit returns on invested capital. We’re excited to announce the expansion of our fleet, which is a logical next step in what is a real growth business for us."
Disney played a critical role in creating the family market within the cruise industry when it debuted its first two ships in 1998 and 1999, but it never followed up with additional vessels. Those early ships were purpose built for families and boasted such innovative features as an entire deck dedicated to children's activities and an adults-only entertainment area for parents who wanted some alone time.
Disney says that like its current ships, the as-yet-unnamed newcomers will be a modern interpretation of classic ocean liners of the 1930s. But the company is mum on specifics for the design and itineraries.
The nine-year-old line has primarily offered trips in the Caribbean until now but has recently begun branching out. This summer it'll offer its first cruises in Europe aboard the Disney Magic. Disney has said the European trips have sold faster and at higher prices than its Caribbean offerings, a sign that there is strong demand for additional itineraries.
Cruise Loggers, tell us what you think about Disney's announcement HERE. Have you sailed on a Disney ship? What did you like about it and what should the line do differently?
Computer rendering of new Disney ships courtesy Disney Cruise Line