Setting sail in 2022: Disney Wish, the first of the cruise line’s Triton class
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Cruising may be at a temporary halt during the pandemic but sunny skies are on the horizon as more would-be travelers get vaccinated against COVID-19. While most cruise lines don’t have a definitive return-to-the-seas date, industry insiders expect ships to begin sailing as early as this summer or a bit further out in the fall.
As soon as it’s safe, Disney Cruise Line will resume sailing but on Tuesday, March 9, during its 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, the Walt Disney Company made a splash with news about its forthcoming fifth ship. The company confirmed that Disney Wish will set sail during summer 2022.
Fans had eagerly awaited the ship’s delivery to Disney at the end of 2021 with the inaugural cruises slated for January 2022. But, then the coronavirus pandemic upended everything, including Disney Wish’s progress. The ship’s delivery was delayed due to the impact the novel coronavirus had at the Meyer Werft shipyard where Wish is being constructed.
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As you may recall, it’s been nine years since Disney Cruise Line debuted a new ship. Back then, it was the 4,000-passenger Disney Fantasy, and the ship — along with fleetmates Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Dream — continues to make magic on each and every sailing. Well, at least before the coronavirus put nearly the entire cruise industry on ice.
But, the coronavirus crisis will pass, and when ships start sailing again, you can also start counting down to when the Disney Cruise Line will finally have a new slate of ships in the fleet.
Here’s everything we know so far about Disney’s next trio of ships.
The three new ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. All three are part of what the line is calling its Triton class. Liquefied natural gas (a more environmentally friendly fuel) will power these 140,000-gross-ton ships that are slightly larger than Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. But like those predecessors, Triton ships will also accommodate 4,000 passengers in 1,250 staterooms and suites.
The delivery of the first ship has been delayed
Like most shipyards, Meyer Werft experienced work slowdowns as coronavirus became a reality. It has delayed the launch of Disney Wish, the first ship to set sail in the Triton series. Originally scheduled for an end-of-2021 delivery with inaugural sailings in January 2022, the new launch date is sometime in summer 2022.
Scant details about the ship’s design have been released but we know the atrium will be a stunner at three stories and reminiscent of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Disney Wish gives a nod to girl power
In a nod to smart and powerful women and girls everywhere, Rapunzel will be the first female character to grace the stern of a Disney Cruise Line ship. “Spirited, smart, curious and above all, adventurous, Rapunzel embodies the wish and desire to see and experience the world,” according to DCL. (Remember, as of 2019, Minnie Mouse has also now joined Mickey with the rank of captain on the ship!)
Lighthouse Point to be a second Bahamas port of call
Also in the works from Disney is a second private-island port of call in the Bahamas. Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera will be a sister private island to Disney’s Castaway Cay. Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who designed much of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, toured the Bahamas in summer 2019 to meet with local artists to learn about the culture.
The result of his research trips will inform his design aesthetic for the new Disney port of call. And, his time in the Bahamas led him to Kevin Cooper, an artist from Eleuthera, and Antonius Roberts, an artist from Nassau. Both will play a major role in the artistic evolution of Lighthouse Point.
Related: Guide to cruise private islands
Disney purchased the privately owned Lighthouse Point early in 2019 and signed an agreement with the Bahamian government that “guides the responsible and sustainable way the site will be developed.” Disney says it plans to develop less than 20% of the property and, through the Disney Conservation Fund, donated $13 million to marine conservation programs around the world — including some in the Bahamas.
An environmental impact assessment will be completed and an environmental management plan submitted to the government of the Bahamas soon. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the plan before construction begins. Disney is looking at breaking ground in 2020 — though we expect some coronavirus-related delays — with the island opening to tourists at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023.
Where will Disney Wish sail?
We just don’t know the answer yet. However, with the impending construction of Lighthouse Point, at least some itineraries will likely center on the Bahamas and other parts of the Caribbean at least during parts of the year.
When will reservations open?
We don’t yet know when reservations will open for Disney Wish, especially given the delay. While it’s almost always best to book a Disney cruise as soon as it goes on sale for the best prices and availability, that’s going to be especially true with the newest ship so we will keep you in the loop as we learn more.
Disney is keeping most of the details about Disney Wish and the entire Triton class of ships under wraps for now. But, we know that we will need to wait a little longer than we initially thought.
Want to learn more about cruise vacations? Here are some resources:
- Dreaming on the Seas: A Review of Disney Cruise Line’s Dream
- Interesting Way to Save Money on a Disney Cruise
- Early 2021 Disney Cruises Go On Sale This Week; Princes Only Go Up From Here
- How to Book a Cruise Using Points and Miles
- Which Cruise Ship Cabin Category Should Your Family Book?
- Cruising With a Family: Booking Two Staterooms for the Price of One
Featured image courtesy of Disney
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