Disney Cruise Line has revealed the name of the first of its three new ships on order. Coming in 2021 will be the Disney Wish, the company announced recently at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif.
"I mean the Disney Wish, what a fitting name," said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. "And that's because making wishes come true is part of our DNA."
Chapek said that while delivery will be in late 2021, the first sailing won't take place until January 2022. He also revealed the ship character on the stern will be Rapunzel, "whose story represents the desire to explore the world," he said.
Also, the interior three-story atrium "will be inspired by the beauty of an enchanted fairytale," Chapek said.
The cruise line announced the new ships in 2016, initially just two, but then augmenting the order in 2017 to three so that the fleet would grow to seven ships with them coming online in 2021, 2022 and 2023, all to be built at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.
Very little, though, had been revealed about the ships since the initial announcements.
A rendering released in 2018 showed the vessels will have a very similar look to what's currently at sea. The cruise line sails four ships: the smaller 2,713-passenger sister ships Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, which debuted in 1998 and 1999, and the larger 4,000-passenger vessels Dream and Fantasy, which began sailing in 2011 and 2012.
The new ships will feature the same black-white-and-red color scheme with golden flair. Unlike either the Dream and Fantasy's popular AquaDuck water coaster, some new tube-like feature is on display.
"In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own," read an earlier press release from the cruise line. "The new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before."
The ships will be approximately 144,000 gross tons, which is larger than the 130,000 gross tons of Dream and Fantasy, but will have the same number of staterooms: 1,250.
The new ships will also be powered by liquefied natural gas, which is the cleanest fuel the cruise industry has begun to embrace as more stringent maritime emission laws begin to take effect.
Two of the three ships including the first one will call Port Canaveral home. The cruise line and the port recently signed a new 20-year agreement that will bump up the number of sailings from the port.
Port Canaveral documents show the new ship's size will be 1,119.19 feet in length, 127.95 feet in width and to have a maximum draft of 28.22 feet. Using those numbers, the new class of ships would be very similar in size to Dream and Fantasy. For comparison, Disney Dream is 1,115 feet in length, 121 feet wide and has a draft of 28 feet, according to the cruise line's fact sheet.
While the cruise line has kept Disney Dream and Fantasy at the port since their debuts, and has seasonally sailed Magic and Wonder from the port in recent years, the new agreement will see the cruise line parking three of its ships at Port Canaveral more often as it increases its guaranteed annual sailings from 150 to at least 216 by 2024.
The new agreement gives Disney Cruise Line continued exclusive use of Terminal 8, the current terminal DCL uses, and also preferential use of Terminal 10.
Both cruise terminals are in the midst of a nearly $46.5 million of budgeted improvements to be completed before Disney's first new ship debuts in 2021.
With more sailings out of Port Canaveral, the cruise line is also investing in a new private destination in the Bahamas as an alternative to Castaway Cay.
The new 700-acre property set to be open between 2022 and 2023 is located on Lighthouse Point on the southern end of the island of Eleuthera. Envisioned to be similar to how Disney's Aulani resort in Hawaii incorporates local culture, the cruise line will theme the destination with Bahamas inspiration, not only in design, but experiences.
"We want to draw attention to the natural beauty of lighthouse point," said Imagineer Joe Rohde, who worked on the design for Aulani as well as Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom among other projects. He is making trips to the island to cull inspiration for the new destination, saying it will be "saturated with Bahamian culture and then imbued with Disney magic."