The six-month countdown to the launch of Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy is about to begin. The 4,000-passenger ship sails its inaugural cruise March 31 roundtrip from Port Canaveral, with port calls at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Castaway Cay.
The final piece of Disney’s fourth ship was put into place a few weeks ago at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, when builders added a 265-ton portion of the vessel’s bow.
Designed to reflect the glamour of the golden age of cruising during the 1930s, the Disney Fantasy is seen as a “thematic extension of the Disney Cruise Line fleet,” said the line. The ship, it added, will feature “the same attention to detail Disney is known for, while introducing new and immersive, one-of-a-kind venues and experiences.”
The atmosphere will be decidedly art nouveau, Disney said, “where elegance and sophistication mingle with Disney storytelling and whimsy.”
The Fantasy, of course, sports the line’s signature bronze statue in the atrium lobby. On this ship, it’s Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse, dressed in 1920s fashion and with steamer luggage at her side.
On the Disney Dream, it’s Admiral Donald who welcomes passengers in the lobby. On the Disney Magic, it’s Helmsman Mickey, and on the Disney Wonder it’s Ariel, from the classic animated Disney film “The Little Mermaid.”
Following its launch cruise, the Disney Fantasy will be based at Port Canaveral, along with the Disney Dream, and operate seven-night Caribbean itineraries. The Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas.
In a much-publicized deployment, Disney set its sights on New York in 2012. Beginning May 25, the Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York, including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas, five-night cruises to New England and Canada and two-night weekend getaways.
The Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and Port Canaveral, with an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort.
Nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick.
Other new homeport destinations for Disney in 2012 include Galveston and Seattle.
From May 28 through early September, the Disney Wonder will sail 14 seven-night cruises from Seattle to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia.
And from Galveston, the Disney Magic will sail 12 seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean starting Sept. 22. Calls will be made to Grand Cayman and Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel.
The Mexican Riviera and the Pacific coast also are on Disney Cruise Line’s schedule next year.
The Disney Wonder will operate seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles throughout winter, spring and fall. It also will sail four seven-night Pacific Coast cruises from Los Angeles, in September and October, calling at San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico.
Hawaii is proving to be a winning destination for Disney. The line last week announced that demand for its one scheduled Hawaii cruise, from Los Angeles, has been so great that it added a second itinerary.
The original 15-night Hawaiian itinerary, which includes nine days at sea, departs April 29. The additional sailing, 14 nights with eight days at sea, departs Oct. 14.