Disney Cruise Line is adding two ships to its four-ship fleet, the cruise line announced.
Disney typically has two or three of its four ships based at Port Canaveral. So it is likely that Port Canaveral will be in the running to get at least one of the new ships.
The company said it has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany to build the ships. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023.
“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,” Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., said in a statement.
Reacting to the Disney Cruise Line news, Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said: “We are proud to be the home port of Disney Cruise Line, and we share in our longtime partner’s excitement regarding expansion of their award-winning fleet.”
Each new ship will be slightly larger in tonnage than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream, which was launched in 2011, and Disney Fantasy, which was launched in 2012.
Each is planned to have about 1,250 guest staterooms, the same as the Dream and Fantasy.
The Dream and Fantasy each have a guest capacity of 4,000.
Disney did not disclose the passenger capacities of the new ships. The company said design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development, and it would not be releasing additional details at this time.
Disney Cruise Line began sailing in 1998, with the launching of the Disney Magic. The Disney Wonder joined the fleet a year later. The Magic and Wonder each have 877 staterooms and a guest capacity of 2,700.
Disney’s Dream, Fantasy and Magic all currently are based at Port Canaveral.
Disney said in its announcement that “the Walt Disney Imagineering team is already dreaming up exciting new ways to create the world’s most magical oceangoing adventures” for its new ships.
With the launch of the Dream and Fantasy, the company introduced several firsts for the cruise industry, including AquaDuck, which disney describes as “a water coaster at sea,” and the Magical Portholes, which are virtual portholes in interior staterooms that provide real-time views of the sea, as well as sightings of animated Disney characters.
In a statement, Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said: “The expansion of Disney Cruise Line only adds to our excitement for the unprecedented growth taking place across our vacation destinations”
Chapek cited the new Star Wars experiences coming to Walt Disney World near Orlando and Disneyland in California; the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris; and the planned grand opening in June of Disney’s newest park,of Shanghai Disney Resort in China.
Iger announced the cruise line expansion at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago.
“Collectively, all of our investments, acquisitions and efforts are part of our long-term strategy designed to differentiate Disney as the world’s premier storytelling company, and they are paying off with historic results and generating great value,” Iger told shareholders.