Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are joined by (from left to right) Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, Captain Wolfgang Thos, also from Meyer Werft, Captain Tom Forberg and Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line as they celebrate Disney Cruise Line taking possession of its newest ship.
Mickey Mouse turns out to be a better sailor than he is a movie star. The Disney Cruise Line is reportedly booked to 75% for 2012, even with the Disney Fantasy about to add 40% more capacity to the fleet. Thinks are looking good, even though bookings have softened recently after the Coast Concordia accident. Disney CEO Bob Iger still says, “Generally speaking, we’re looking at a very, very healthy year ahead for that business.”
In fact, just this week, Disney Cruise Line took possession of its fourth and newest ship, the Disney Fantasy, from the Meyer Werft shipyard in a traditional maritime ceremony aboard the ship. The Meyer Werft flag was lowered, while the Disney Cruise Line flag was raised, transferring ownership from the shipbuilder to Disney.
Captain Tom Forberg will officially take the helm of the Disney Fantasy for Disney Cruise Line. As part of the Disney Cruise Line ship construction team, Captain Forberg has been with the company for more than 15 years and was responsible for launching Disney’s first three ships, the Disney Dream, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. You can be assured the ship is in the very best hands with Captain Tom at the helm.
“Today we celebrate the culmination of a wonderful partnership, as we take possession of the Disney Fantasy and prepare for the journey home to Florida. This ship is the result of the superb craftsmanship from the master shipbuilders at Meyer Werft and the innovation, imagination and ingenuity of the Disney team, who have partnered together so beautifully to bring this ship to life,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “We are eagerly anticipating our guests, who will experience storytelling in enchanting new ways onboard the Disney Fantasy while making magical memories that will last a lifetime.”
The hand-off closes the book on the ship’s construction journey and signals her readiness to welcome guests on her maiden voyage, set for March 31, 2012, from Port Canaveral, Florida. The Disney Fantasy is the second of two newly designed Disney ships that take the family cruise experience to new heights and features many of the innovations found on her sister ship, Disney Dream.
“The Disney Fantasy, along with her sister ship, the Disney Dream, are the largest ships that Meyer Werft has ever built,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft. “Over the last five years we have developed an outstanding partnership working with Disney, and together, we have seen two magnificent ships become reality. The collaboration among Disney Cruise Line, Meyer Werft and its suppliers has been exemplary.”
Meyer Werft and Disney first signed a contract to build two new ships in April of 2007. Shortly thereafter, planning for the design of the ships began and construction started on the Disney Dream, the first of the two new ships, with the first steel cutting on March 2, 2009. Since the recent completion of the ship’s float out and conveyance on the River Ems, the test-and-adjust period has been in full swing.
The ship will remain in Bremerhaven for another week while additional crew members board, and supplies and provisions are loaded. The Disney Fantasy is scheduled to depart on Feb. 16 for its transatlantic voyage to the U.S., with an expected arrival to its homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida on March 6.
Are you traveling on the Disney Fantasy, or any of Disney’s ships, in 2012? What are you most looking forward to? I will be on the Disney Fantasy for a 3 night cruise beginning March 23rd. Let me know if there is anything in particular you want me to photograph or check out for you.