Disney unveils home for its largest cruise ship ever — and it might surprise you
It's official: Disney is making a play for the Asia cruise market.
The vacation giant's cruising arm, Disney Cruise Line, on Wednesday revealed that the massive, partly finished cruise ship it bought in November will eventually be based in Singapore for Southeast Asia voyages.
The vessel, which remains unfinished at a shipyard in Germany, was originally ordered for Asia-based Dream Cruises, which collapsed in early 2022. Disney bought it from liquidators for the brand and plans to have it ready to sail by 2025.
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The ship was designed by Dream Cruises to appeal specifically to Asian family travelers. It will be one of the world's largest cruise vessels when completed.
In a joint announcement with the Singapore Tourism Board, Disney said sailings on the vessel would begin in 2025. It was originally supposed to be called Global Dream, but Disney hasn't announced a new name for the ship.
Disney on Wednesday didn't release details about the itineraries planned for the vessel or onboard features; it said those would come at a later date. However, it said the vessel would remain based in Singapore for at least five years.
When it begins service, the ship will be the seventh in the Disney fleet. Disney currently operates five ships, with a sixth on the way in 2024.
“This is a very exciting year for The Walt Disney Company — 2023 marks our 100th anniversary,” Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “As part of this, Disney Cruise Line is currently undergoing an ambitious expansion with new ships and new destinations around the world. We are incredibly excited to make Singapore the home port to our seventh-launched ship, which will sail from [Singapore] year-round starting in 2025.”
The new vessel will be the biggest cruise ship ever for Disney — by far.
At 208,000 tons, it'll be about 44% larger than Disney's recently unveiled Disney Wish — the line's biggest vessel — and bigger than all but six cruise ships currently at sea.
Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Disney cruise
The ship's original design would have accommodated a record-breaking 9,000 passengers — something made possible by packing in a lot of cabins that could hold families of four. However, Disney has said it would reconfigure the ship to hold just 6,000 passengers.
Among the vessel features of Global Dream that were specifically designed for the Asian market was a massive one-and-a-half-deck casino. Until now, Disney has not had casinos on any of its five vessels, and the line is expected to alter the design of that part of the ship.
Disney has previously said its designers, called Imagineers, would work with the shipyard building the vessel to add Disney-themed features. Once completed, the vessel will have "innovative Disney experiences along with the dazzling entertainment, world-class dining and legendary guest service that set Disney Cruise Line apart," the line said.
Disney also has said the ship's exterior would be adorned in the iconic Mickey Mouse-inspired colors of the fleet, complete with the line's signature red funnels.
Related: The ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line
Purchasing a half-finished ship originally slated for another cruise brand is a notably unusual move for Disney. The company likes to control the design and construction process of its resorts both on land and sea from the moment of their conception.
That said, Disney Cruise Line is in expansion mode. The brand already has two more new vessels on order for delivery in 2024 and 2025. The ships will be sisters to the line's recently unveiled Disney Wish.
The ship is being completed at the former MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany, where it was originally under construction under the management of Meyer Werft. The shipbuilding company has built three of Disney's five existing vessels.
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