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Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Snow Queen,” Disney’s “Frozen,” which debuted in late 2013, is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The art director of the film and his team drew inspiration from a trip to Norway, where they studied the country’s culture and clothing, taking boat tours through the dramatic Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord. Oslo’s Akershus Castle and Tronheim’s Royal Palace inspired Arendelle’s castle in the film and the character Kristoff was based on Northern Norway’s Sami people.
“Frozen” has generated tremendous public interest in Norway and the north in general, and Adventures by Disney has responded with a tour of the Norwegian towns and fjords that appear in the movie, including Bergen, Flam, Geiranger and Oslo.
So it’s no surprise that Disney Cruise Line recently announced new itineraries for 2015 onboard Disney Magic in Norway and Northern Europe. Disney will send the 2,700-passenger Disney Magic into the Norwegian fjords and other areas in the region, including Iceland and the Faroe Islands; the ship also returns to the Baltic next year with new itineraries, including sailings from Copenhagen to Saint Petersburg. The seven- and nine-night cruises to Norway and a first-time 11-night cruise to Iceland and the Faroe Islands sail out of Copenhagen.
The seven-night itinerary departs June 6 and 13 roundtrip from Copenhagen, calling in the Norwegian towns of Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, while the June 20 nine-night route also includes visits to Molde and the fjord town of Olden. They are followed by an 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, from Copenhagen to Dover, England, making calls in Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger in Norway. The trip then moves on to Akureyri, Iceland and an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland before sailing to Torshavn in the Faroe Islands and Dover.
While it is deployed in the region, the Magic also sails four 12-night Northern European cruises, to ports including Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg. Two of the cruises depart from Copenhagen and two depart from Dover.
Some travel agents are speculating that the line is reaching out more to the international market, and that may be true, as “Frozen” was a hit worldwide. But others see the new routes as particularly attractive to U.S. travelers, especially clients west of the Mississippi. Michele Vieira, owner of Platinum Getaways in Lavon, Texas, sees this as an interesting opportunity for travel agents in the U.S.
“The relationship with ‘Frozen’ is a real draw,” she said. “I have clients with families who would be interested in this.”
According to Vieira, the greater challenge for families is the airfare, which can actually be more costly than the cruise fare.
In addition to new itineraries, the Magic received a new look last fall, when it was transformed by a comprehensive six-week refurbishment, which extended the ship’s length and added new features from the most recent Disney vessels.
Lindsey Kunzer, team leader of Liberty Travel in Los Angeles, thinks that the new Disney itineraries will sell particularly well on the West Coast, where consumers are looking for new ground. She sees the renovations as a selling point for a variety of customers — families, couples and older adults.
“It never ceases to surprise me that Disney vacations are our number-one honeymoon choice, and I think these Northern cruises will also have broad appeal,” she said.