With only five ships currently in operation, Disney Cruise Line is one of the smallest mainstream cruise lines, and each ship is part of one of three classes: Magic, Dream, and Triton. Disney does not have as long of a history, either. Disney Magic, the cruise line’s first ship, debuted in July 1998, followed by Disney Wonder in August 1999, Disney Dream in 2011, Disney Fantasy in 2012, and Disney Wish in 2022.
Brief History Of Disney Cruise Line
Prior to Disney branching out and introducing their own cruise line, they were actually partnered with Premier Cruise Line from 1985 until 1993. During this time, Disney characters were allowed to be onboard “The Big Red Boat,” and they were able to offer cruise, hotel, and theme park packages. In May of 1994, they announced that they were planning to start their own cruise line. It would not be until 1998 that their first ship, Disney Magic, would enter service. In 1996, Gorda Cay was purchased and transformed into Castaway Cay. This endeavor cost $25 million and took about eighteen months to complete.
For a little over ten years, Disney Cruise LIne operated a two ship fleet; it was not until 2011 that they expanded to three ships. From 1998 to 2011, major competitors, such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian, had an average of 13 ships enter service. Their competition, however, was unable to provide guests with the Disney magic that makes these cruises so special.
The Triton Class is currently the cruise line’s largest class of ships. Right now, there is only one operational ship in this class: Disney Wish. Disney plans to add two more Triton Class ships to their fleet by the end of 2025. At 144,000 gross registered tons with a passenger capacity of about 4,000, Disney Wish is not a small ship by any means; however, she certainly is not the largest at sea, either. Onboard, you will find a bunch of Disney firsts, including the 1,966 square foot Disney Concierge Tower Suite, the Marceline Market, three brand-new rotational main dining restaurants, the Star Wars’ themed Hyperspace Lounge, AquaMouse water coaster, redesigned staterooms, and two Broadway-style shows that are exclusive to the ship.
Disney Fantasy was Disney’s newest cruise ship for about a decade! She set sail on her maiden voyage on March 31, 2022, and Disney Wish did not enter service until July 2022. She is the second Dream Class ship, second to only Disney Dream and comes in at 130,000 gross registered tons. The ship carries around 4,000 passengers on any given sailing in 1,250 staterooms that are 150 inside cabins, 199 ocean view cabins, 880 verandah cabins, and 21 suites.
On the top decks, you will find the AquaDuck water coaster, as well as the AquaLab and Nemo’s Reef water play areas, Goofy’s Sports Deck, and two different pools. For those who want to focus on Caribbean sailings, Disney Fantasy offers guests different itineraries to choose from, with the shortest being a 5-night Bahamas cruise that includes two stops at Castaway Cay that departs from Port Canaveral on July 8, 2023. There are also 6-night Western Caribbean cruises that make stops at Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and, of course, Castaway Cay.
Disney Dream was the first Dream Class ship. She debuted a little over eleven years after Disney Wonder, the final Magic Class ship. Like her younger sister, she, too, weighs 130,000 gross registered tons and has a passenger capacity of 4,000 passengers. Disney Dream was the first ship to feature the AquaDuck water coaster, as well as the first-ever Disney Cruise Line live production of Beauty and the Beast in the Walt Disney Theatre. There are even two new musical numbers that were written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice for this exclusive production!
At only 85,000 gross registered tons, Disney Wonder is on the smaller side of cruise ships. Because of that, it can feel more intimate than today’s mega ships, especially since her passenger capacity is just a little over 2,700 guests. Despite the ship’s size, you will find that there are plenty of amenities and activities onboard, such as the Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide, two different swimming pools, and AquaLab and Dory’s Reef water play areas. While there are not any exclusive theater shows onboard the ship, you are sure to enjoy The Golden Mickeys, Disney Dreams — An Enchanted Classic, and Frozen shows. Disney Wonder also has numerous different sailings to choose from, and for the first-time, Disney Cruise Line is headed Down Under to Australia and the South Pacific starting in October 2023! You will not find this ship sailing to the Bahamas or Caribbean. Instead, cruises onboard Disney Wonder will take you all over the world, from Alaska to the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii, and Australia/New Zealand.
Making her much anticipated debut in 1998 was Disney Magic, the cruise line’s first cruise ship. Like her younger sister, she, too, is only 84,000 gross registered tons. In 875 staterooms, she can accommodate 2,700 passengers at full capacity. Unlike newer ships, Disney Magic offers a higher percentage of interior and ocean view staterooms for guests. There are, for instance, 262 interior staterooms, which make up 30% of all staterooms. Onboard Disney Wish, however, there are only 121 interior staterooms, or 10%! Additionally, there are 229 ocean view staterooms, 362 verandahs, and 22 suites on Disney Magic.
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