Disney Delays Launch Dates of 2 Ships by 2 Years

Disney Wish postponed.

Disney Cruise Line will be postponing the launch of its sixth and seventh ships from 2022 and 2023 to 2024 and 2025, respectively.

This was announced by CEO Bob Chapek during the question and answer part of the Nov. 12 financial results conference call.

Chapek blamed the delay on having to go through and adapt to “quite thorough” latest CDC guidelines.

“They really entail some really high hurdles in terms of not only testing by the potential guests that we host on the ships but also a process that has to happen in order to certify our first sailings,” he said. “Those will necessarily result in delays beyond what we had hoped in terms of getting our ships back in service and making magic for our guests.”

Chapek also reminded that the launch of the Disney Wish, the cruise line’s fifth ship, was postponed from the end of 2021 to summer 2022.

Pandemic-related issues at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany were cited as the reason for the six-month delay back in mid-October when it was first announced.

Chapek added that the cruise line sees a “very, very strong demand” for its new cruise ships.

“We hope and expect that the world will back to normal by then, and anticipate having a fine time trying to fill up the demand of those ships. And we think there’s going to be so much pent-up demand that we don’t expect to have many issues given the love that our guests have for Disney Cruise Lines,” Chapek said.

Disney Wonder on Her Way To Dry dock

The Disney Wonder in an previous dry dock. Taking advantage of the downtime in operations, Disney Cruise Line is performing routine regulatory class work and upgrades on its fleet, according to sources familiar with the work.

The Disney Wonder, built in 1999, is on her way to a dry dock in Brest, France and was in Ponta Delgada in the Azores for a technical stop last week where she took on fuel having sailed from Port Canaveral.

Disney has not released information on the details of the dry dock projects.

The Wonder, meanwhile, has seen sailings through Dec. 15 cancelled.

The ship is scheduled to sail her winter season of short cruises from Galveston before a short stint in New Orleans. Next spring, the ship is based in San Diego prior to her 2021 summer season in Alaska.

Disney CEO Confident on Cruise; New Ships Could Be Delayed

Disney Ship

Speaking on the company’s second-quarter earnings call, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek was bullish on the future of Disney Cruise Line but admitted cruises may be among the company’s last businesses to come back online.

“And in terms of the cruise ship business, we agree that that will probably be the last of our travel-oriented businesses to come back online,” Chapek said.

“Interestingly enough long term all of our data and our research shows that our guests will be just as interested in cruising with us long term. Obviously not in the next few months but much more resilient than any of the competitive businesses because of that love for Disney and assurance that they feel, that they trust our business to act in a responsible way to help to the extent possible protect them against some of the woes that have plagued the industry since COVID has hit.”

Disney Cruise Line operates four ships: the Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy.

The brand has three more ships on order for introductions in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The company is also anticipating delays to its newbuild schedule, according to an SEC filing.

“The company has credit facilities to finance three new cruise ships, which were to be delivered in 2021, 2022 and 2023 although delays are now expected as a result of the COVID-19 impact on the shipyard,” Disney stated.