Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line is a cruise line operation that is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The company was incorporated in 1996 as Magical Cruise Company Limited and is domiciled in London, England, with their operational headquarters located in Celebration, Florida. The President is Karl Holz.
Disney Cruise Line currently operates four ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. Two as-yet-unnamed ships will join the fleet in 2021 and 2023. Disney Cruise Line also owns Castaway Cay, a private island in the Bahamasde signed as an exclusive port of call for Disney’s ships. Disney Cruise Line operates the Disney Cruise Line Terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida.
In 2015, Disney Cruise Lines had 2.8% share of the worldwide cruise market by passenger and 2.4% by revenue. While in 2011, the company held a 1.95 market share.
The line pioneered the rotational dining concept, in which guest would rotate with their wait staff through three different main dining rooms.
With Disney’s negotiations with two major cruise lines, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, did not produce results, Disney had cruise ship designs drawn up by February 1994. Meanwhile Walt Disney Travel Company started signing up other cruise lines to offer packages that included Disney hotels and resorts. On May 3, 1994, the Disney Company announced that they intended to start its own cruise line with operations starting in 1998. Arthur Rodney was selected to serve as the first president of the cruise line, tentatively called Disney Vacation Cruises. Disney Cruise Line in 1995 commissioned Disney Magic and Disney Wonder from Fincantieri in Italy. The cruise line was incorporated as Devonson Cruise Company, Limited on February 6, 1996 in the United Kingdom, but soon was renamed Magical Cruise Company Limited on October 1, 1996. The cruise line cost as much a theme park to start up. In 1996, Magical Cruise Company purchase Gorda Cay as the line’s private island. The company spend $25 million over 18 months on the island and renamed it Castaway Cay.
The Disney Magic’s first cruise was postponed twice which was original scheduled for March 1998 while the Disney Wonder was scheduled for December 1998. On July 30, 1998 with the first voyage of Magic, the Disney Cruise Line was operational. Also, a 10 year contract was signed with Port Canaveral for its home terminal. With the August 31, 1999 resignation of Rodney as cruise line president, senior operating officer Matt Ouimet was named as his replacement in July. By 2002, the line added seven day cruises and western Caribbean cruises.
In June 2005, Disney Magic moved its port for the summer cruise season to the Port of Los Angeles. This was temporary for the company’s 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland and as a test for California expansion. The transfer cruise sold out quicker than expected. Bookings from first time Disney cruisers were up for these cruises by at least 60%. While Disney has wanted additional ships, ship building cost have increased by at least 33% since it built its first two ships. A ship was transferred to the Mediterranean for an extended stay in 2007 to reviewers’ acclaim.
In 2007, Disney announced the building of two new cruise ships. Disney Dream set sail in Jan 2011, followed closely by Disney Fantasy in 2012. Meyer Werft shipyard, based in Papenburg, Germany, built the new ships.
In February 2009, Tom McAlpin left the Disney Cruise Line presidency and was replaced by Karl Holz as president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. In early 2009, Disney and Canaveral Port Authority extended their agreement to 2022 with expansion to the terminal to handle the new class of ships. A re-posting of the Disney Magic to Europe in 2010 adding DCL’s first North European cruises with Mediterranean cruises.
With the arrival of Disney Dream in 2011, Disney Wonder was relocated to Los Angeles, and with the arrival of Disney Fantasy in 2012, Disney Magic was relocated to New York City in May 2012 for only the Summer season, before relocating to Galveston, Texas.
At the February 2016 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards, three of Disney’s ships won 11 category awards. On March 3, 2016 at the company annual meeting, Walt Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger announced that two new ships were planned to be built larger than the previous two ships. These ships are expected to join the line in 2021 and 2023
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