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In mid-July, Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, announced the company’s plan to add a seventh ship to Disney Cruise Line’s fleet. The statement was made during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., a biennial exposition event for D23, the official Disney fan club.
With two vessels already ordered for 2021 and 2023, the additional ship will debut in 2022, giving Disney Cruise Line a new vessel every year from 2021 to 2023.
At 135,000 tons, the new ships will be a little larger than Disney Dream (launched in 2011) and Disney Fantasy (launched in 2012), but will have approximately the same number of staterooms (1,250). The three new ships — which have yet to be named — will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas. Design plans and itineraries have not yet been announced, but each new vessel is expected to have signature unique experiences, according to Chapek.
“We decided two ships wouldn’t be enough to hold all of the exciting new experiences we have been dreaming up to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level with immersive Disney storytelling, world-class family entertainment and imaginative innovations that are fantastically fun and uniquely Disney,” Chapek said. “By the time all three new ships are sailing, we’ll have nearly doubled the size of our existing fleet.”
Christy Johnson, owner and manager of Escapes & Getaways Travel Company in Wildomar, Calif., specializes in Disneyland, cruises and groups, and said she found the news quite exciting.
She says she has a large group of clients who would like to sail with the line without flying to the Caribbean, and she hopes the additional capacity will allow Disney Cruise Line to place a year-round ship on the West Coast.
“They would be missing Castaway Cay, but there is so much opportunity here,” she said. “If Disney would give us a mix of itineraries — coastal cruises, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska — I could sell to so many West Coast clients, and once they have the Disney cruise experience, they may be ready to hop on a plane for more.”
Likewise, Kim Goldstein, a travel consultant specializing in Disney Destinations at Journey’s Travel Inc. in Richmond, Va., applauds the move.
“You can only send people to the Caribbean so many times,” she said. “I’m hoping Disney Cruise Line will offer more exotic itineraries. Adventures by Disney has taken off, and so have the AmaWaterways-partnered family sailings in Europe; that’s a good indicator that more adventurous cruises would be successful.”