More ‘Star Wars’ and Ships for Disney Cruise Line: What to Expect on the Horizon
Photo by Jason Leppert
The force continues to be strong with the Disney Cruise Line as it announces that “Star Wars” Day at Sea will be reprised onboard in 2017 and a pair of new ships are set to arrive in 2021 and 2023.
“Star Wars” Day at Sea
The initial 2016 lineup of eight “Star Wars” theme cruises is still underway now through April aboard the Disney Fantasy, and already Disney has renewed the experience for 2017. Next time around, the film franchise will feature on 15 cruises on eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.
“Our guests keep telling us that ‘Star Wars’ Day at Sea is an experience they’ll never forget, that it’s a thrill of intergalactic proportions,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “In response to guest demand, we’re pleased to create even more ‘Star Wars’ memories aboard the Disney Fantasy in 2017 with an expanded schedule of these special sailings. Clearly, the Force is alive and well on the high seas!”
The same exciting programming I had a chance to experience on the inaugural “Star Wars” Day at Sea cruise this January will return including screenings of all seven movies plus “Rogue One: A ‘Star Wars’ Story,” an all new feature film set for release on December 16, 2016. The main event will still be a final dance party and grand fireworks deck show following character meet-and-greets and family-friendly interactions throughout the day. Guest cosplay will also be celebrated in the atrium.
Kids will once again have the chance to become Padawans and duel Darth Vader in “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple,” and “Star Wars” crafts and trivia games will further test the mind as themed food and beverages satiate the stomach. What’s more, exclusive merchandise will encompass everything from apparel to collectible pins.
The 2017 experience will be aboard seven-night Disney Fantasy cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida on Jan. 7, 21; Feb. 4, 18; March 4, 18; April 1 and 15, 2017 in the western Caribbean and Jan. 14, 28; Feb. 11, 25; March 11, 25; and April 8, 2017 in the eastern Caribbean. All itineraries also feature Disney Cruise Line’s private island of Castaway Cay.
A Pair of New Ships
The news that the Disney Cruise Line will construct another two ships to join the fleet in 2021 and 2023 respectively currently lacks much detail, but enough is already known to glean some further insight.
Rendering courtesy of Disney Cruise Line
First, the to-be-named ships (how about Disney Imagination for one?) will be constructed where the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy originated at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and they will begin to emerge nine years after the Fantasy set sail in 2012. Compare that to the 11 year span between the Disney Wonder (1999) and the Disney Dream (2011). Simply put, Disney’s fleet expansion is accelerating.
The new pair of vessels will measure in at 135,000 tons – slightly larger than their predecessors, 5,000 tons over the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy to be exact – but the guest capacity will remain the same as the last two with about 1,250 cabins planned for 2,500 double occupancy.
Rendering courtesy of Disney Cruise Line
As to where that extra space might be allocated, closer inspection of the released fleet rendering shows ships that look nearly identical to the Dream and Fantasy, but a bonus suite deck is perched above the spa facility. Suite accommodations might potentially be larger this time around or doubled in number with some other cabin categories making way for new venues elsewhere. Additionally, the former porthole windows at the aft superstructure appear to now be replaced in favor of more balconies behind an architectural swooping curve, maintaining the graceful lines.
Interestingly missing from the renderings is the AquaDuck water coaster, but the pool deck does display a new bowed-out section between the funnels, indicating an enlarged space for something fresh. Might there be both the AquaDuck and free-fall AquaDunk variety from the Disney Magic onboard or a hybridization of the two?
With Royal Caribbean International having introduced the North Star passenger pod crane on its Quantum-class ships and Carnival Cruise Line introducing the SkyRide suspended cycle track aboard its forthcoming Carnival Vista, the competition for appealing deck attractions has heated up recently. What the Disney Cruise Line will present to match or exceed the others in the family cruising segment is yet to be announced. These concept sketches are likely not a final depiction of what exactly is to come, but we will soon find out.
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