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13 Disney Cruise Line Highlights of 2013

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

I love the lists that start popping up at the end of each year sharing highlights of the past 12 months, don’t you? It got me thinking how Disney Cruise Line had yet another big year, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our biggest moments in 2013.

I narrowed my list to 13 highlights, but I’d love to know what you’d add. Check it out and keep the list going in the comments!


Inaugural Miami Season
The Disney Wonder kicked off this year with our inaugural season from Miami, the newest US homeport for a Disney ship, marking our first time cruising from southern Florida. Voyages to the Bahamas and Caribbean from this iconic city will continue on the Disney Wonder or Disney Magic in 2014 and 2015.

New 2014 itineraries Unveiled
WIth the expansion of our fleet the past two years, this year we announced even more itinerary options, including voyages from Puerto Rico to the Southern Caribbean in 2014. We also unveiled Venice as a brand-new homeport and cruises that visit destinations in the Greek Isles and Sicily for the very first time.


First Calls on New European Ports
Our return to Europe this year was enhanced with exciting new destinations in the Mediterranean. During our summer season, we made first calls to Mykonos in the Greek Isles, Athens, Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Disney Magic’s call on Venice marked the ship’s first return to her birthplace since construction.

Captain Tom Named First Commodore
Captain Tom Forberg, our first and longest-serving captain, was named the first Commodore in the history of the company. With this honor, given to accomplished and distinguished leaders of military, commercial and cruise fleets, Commodore Tom now serves as the highest-ranking Disney captain.


Royal Court Royal Tea Introduced on the Disney Fantasy
We rolled out one of our newest family-friendly experiences, Royal Court Royal Tea, an exclusive event that gives Disney Fantasy cruisers the chance to interact with Disney princesses like never before. At this whimsical royal tea party, families are personally greeted by the princesses and entertained by lively hosts with stories, dancing and singing.

First Call on Jamaica
As part of our cruises from Galveston, Texas, this year, for the first time ever we called on Jamaica, home to beautiful beaches, lush green forests and mountain vistas. Stops at Falmouth, one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns, will continue in 2014 on 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.


Halloween on the High Seas Celebrated on the Disney Dream
Halloween festivities are always fun on our ships, but this year we took it to a whole new level on the Disney Dream. Our extra-spooky celebration, Halloween on the High Seas, treated cruisers to special experiences like Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, Haunted Stories of the Sea and much more.

Disney Magic Received Magical Transformation
Our flagship vessel got a massive makeover this fall, one of the largest transformations ever performed in the cruise industry. The majority of this project took place in dry dock at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, with work happening in shifts around the clock to bring to life a host of magical enhancements.


Re-imagined Disney Magic Set Sail
The re-imagined Disney Magic set sail from Miami with an extra dose of magic onboard, including brand-new spaces and experiences for kids, adults and families. Some of the highlights include the AquaDunk thrill slide, transformed Oceaneer Club and Lab, new fun just for adults, Carioca’s dining room and “Drawn to Magic” dinner show.

Kids Enter the Marvel Universe on a Disney Ship
The relaunch of the Disney Magic marked the first time the super hero icons of Marvel have been introduced on a Disney ship. Inside Marvel’s Avengers Academy, kids can be part of a multi-day training experience, which includes virtually putting on Iron Man’s suit and learning the “Avengers Assemble” call sign from Captain America himself.


Very Merrytime Cruises Brought Holiday Cheer Earlier Than Ever
More guests had the chance to celebrate the winter holidays onboard this year with our Very Merrytime Cruises kicking off in early November. All four ships were transformed with sparkling decor, families came together for special holiday events and Disney characters put on their best Christmas attire – for almost two full months!

Fans Award Disney Cruise Line with Prestigious Honors
We received several prestigious honors this year, thanks to our fans, including Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for Families, making it the fifth consecutive year to be ranked in the number one spot. Plus, Condé Nast Traveler readers named all four of our ships among the top large cruise ships in the world, with the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Dream highest on the list.


New Disney Friends Sailing
Several new Disney friends joined our fun this year, including our newest visitor, Princess Anna, who’s been visiting all four ships as a special holiday treat. Jack Skellington and Sally added to the spookiness of the Disney Dream’s festivities this Halloween, and Captain America is now sailing on the Disney Magic, making special appearances in Marvel’s Avengers Academy for the kids and around the ship for cruisers of all ages.

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New Women’s Apparel Makes Waves on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

posted on December 18th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


My fellow Disney Parks Blog author Jonathan Frontado has recently shared some great stories about the Disney Cruise Line. After reading them, I find myself daydreaming of tropical waves and warm sunshine (I really need another Disney cruise!). Since I have yet to move my office to a lounge chair on the top deck, I did the next best thing. I caught up with merchandiser Laura Caszatt in the Disney Cruise Line merchandise showroom at Disney Theme Park Merchandise headquarters. The room is lined with merchandise developed for the ships including a new line of women’s apparel called “The DCL Project.” Laura explained her inspiration for this new collection.


“For several years, I created merchandise for Tren-D, the stylish boutique at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida,” said Laura. “Now as a merchandiser for Disney Cruise Line, I wanted to add some similar unique and fashionable apparel to the ships. This collection was inspired by the latest marketplace trends and feature images of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, all with a nautical theme.”


The collection was recently added to the White Caps merchandise location on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Each item in the collection contains a specially designed hangtag with the DCL Project logo.


The cotton apparel items are super soft and have a natural free flowing feel to the designs (reminded me of waves on the ocean). I was particularly happy to see classic images of Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie and my favorite character, Donald Duck, riding a surfboard.

These items were developed especially for Disney Cruise Line, and are currently only available on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships. Items may be added to additional ship locations at a future date. They will not be available via mail order or online at this time.

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A Day in Nassau, Bahamas with Disney Cruise Line

posted on December 12th, 2013 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development

Nassau, Bahamas is a port Disney Cruise Line has called on every year since our inaugural sailing in 1998. Just one visit here, a city of Old World colonial charm mixed with unique Caribbean style, makes it easy to see why this tropical destination is a guest favorite.

With the Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Magic all calling on Nassau in the early part of next year, more and more guests are inquiring about the best things to do during a day in this port. We offer dozens of great Port Adventures and narrowing them down to the best is difficult, but here’s a look at some of my favorite activities.


Dolphin Swim at Atlantis Resort
It’s likely you’ve heard about Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, home to world’s largest open-air marine habitat and tons of other unique family-friendly activities. We offer numerous tours that allow you to spend the day here, but some of the most popular are ones that include playtime with dolphins. You can choose between a shallow water interaction and a deep water swim, combined with another adventure like an afternoon at the Aquaventure water park or a stroll through the underwater tunnel to see sharks and barracudas.


Journey to Blue Lagoon Island
Dolphin and sea lion encounters are also offered at the picturesque Blue Lagoon Island, a secluded destination only accessible by boat, boasting pristine beaches and an all-natural ocean habitat. Another popular choice is to have a relaxing beach day here, soaking up the sun in a lounge chair, swimming in the clear waters, exploring the lagoon by kayak or water bike, or just laying back in a hammock under the shade of palm trees. Often a favorite part of the day for guests is the catamaran ride through turquoise waters to get to the island.


Exploration of Local Culture and History
For culture and history lovers, there are several Port Adventures that it make it more convenient for you to experience island life, with visits to quirky shops and the straw market, and to see remnants of the island’s British colonial past, like historic government buildings and old forts. One excursion combines a visit to the beautiful Ardastra Gardens with a city tour, and another Port Adventure includes two fort visits and an inside look at the National Cultural Festival of the Bahamas. Or those who want to plan their own itinerary around the island can book a private vehicle with a driver/guide for a day completely customized to your family’s tastes.


Royal Treatment at the Graycliff Hotel
Originally built as a mansion in 1740 by a famous pirate of the Caribbean, the Graycliff Hotel is now one of the must-visit historical landmarks in the Bahamas. We give Disney cruisers special opportunities to experience it uniquely and be treated like royalty at this five-star oasis. Families can relax poolside in an enchanted garden setting, adults can browse one of the largest private collections of fine and rare wines in the world and chocolate lovers can learn the art of chocolate making. No matter which Graycliff Port Adventure you choose, you’re sure to leave with a full stomach from either a gourmet, multi-course meal or your delicious hand-crafted chocolates.

If you’ve joined us at Nassau before, tell us, what’s your favorite adventure here?

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It’s Disney Cruise Line Week on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

posted on December 9th, 2013 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing

Starting tonight, it’s “Disney Cruise Line Week on Wheel of Fortune” and we hope you’ll tune in, because there’s a lot of hijinks on the High Seas ahead!

To whet your appetite for what’s to come, we wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the preparation and the filming of this fantastic week of shows!

I always tell you that I have the best job at Disney and this latest adventure was no exception! I had the extremely difficult and arduous task of having to sail not once, but TWICE aboard the beautiful Disney Dream. (Okay – I lied. Sailing twice in a month? Awesome!)

First, we sailed with some of “Wheel’s” brilliant filmmakers to film scenes of both the spectacular ship and our breathtaking private island paradise, Castaway Cay. Look closely at the backgrounds – you’ll see behind the contestants all week on the show, and you’ll see their stunning work. Here’s a picture of their crew filming on the island.

Castaway Cay

I mentioned hijinks – well, when you hear that word, you probably think there were some, ahem, goofy things going on, and you’d be right. We filmed some very fun vignettes on our second sailing. (Here’s a shot of me giving some “direction” to the Boss – talk about intimidating!)

Tony directing MM

Then, of course, it was time to head out to Hollywood to film at “Wheel of Fortune’s” studio. You’ll see how we worked with their fantastic art director – a former Imagineer, by the way – to recreate Castaway Cay right on their Sound Stage!

We’re excited to share a few photos: First, the finished set – don’t these ships look ready to sail?

Disney Cruise Line on the Set of 'Wheel of Fortune' Disney Cruise Line on the Set of 'Wheel of Fortune'

Mickey “overseeing” the Production.

Goofy and Donald trying to steal “ears” from unsuspecting audience members…

And the gang arriving for work at the Sound Stage.

We were also thrilled that a number of cast members from Disneyland Resort attended the tapings, and here they are posing for a picture in front of the famous puzzle board.

Everything went flawlessly – except for a couple of not-to-be-named chipmunks who were late for their close-ups due to a post-lunch nap. But, we caught up, and we think you’ll love what you see.
Chip and Dale

Enjoy these behind-the scenes outtakes that never made the “final cut,” then tune in to “Wheel of Fortune” all this week – and, buy a vowel!

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Halloween on the High Seas with Disney Cruise Line

posted on October 22nd, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

All this month, Disney cruisers have joined Mickey, Minnie and friends in celebrating Halloween at sea with special activities, including haunted costume parties and spooky movies, along with frightfully delicious concoctions like spider cakes, “Spooky Juice” and lots of candy, of course!

Mickey, Minnie and friends, aboard the Disney Dream for Halloween on the High Seas Mickey, Minnie and friends, aboard the Disney Dream for Halloween on the High Seas

On the Disney Dream, guests are being treated to an extra-special celebration during our Halloween on the High Seas cruises. These sailings are loaded with spooky surprises, beginning when guests step aboard the ship to see a huge tree in the middle of the atrium lobby. It isn’t long before they learn the story of The Pumpkin Tree and use their imaginations (plus some magic pumpkin seeds) to bring this dead tree to life. Overnight, the tree is magically transformed with an enchanted personality and pumpkins sprouting from its branches. The Pumpkin Tree even talks and interacts with guests, and its pumpkins sparkle during a spectacular light show!

The Pumpkin Tree, aboard the Disney Dream for Halloween on the High Seas

The surprises don’t end there. During Haunted Stories of the Seas, the bravest cruisers gather beneath the stars as an eerie sea captain tells thrilling stories of ghosts and zombies that seem to come to life right before their eyes!

Haunted Stories of the Seas, aboard the Disney Dream for Halloween on the High Seas

Other special events include Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, where kids dance and play with favorite Disney friends, and the Creepy Cabaret adult costume party with those mischievous Disney villains. And during A Nightmare Before Christmas – Sing and Scream, guests join in a 3D sing-along showing of the creepy classic, complete with real fog and special effects. At the end of the movie, they even get a surprise meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington and Sally!

Check out the gallery on Disney Cruise Line’s Facebook page for some of the photos we’ve seen so far, and let us know in the comments which Disney cruiser you think deserves the best dressed award!

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Disney Cruise Line Unveils Brand-New Celebrations for Holidays on the High Seas

posted on July 17th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Today we unveiled some of the magical ways guests can celebrate the fall and winter holidays on a Disney cruise, with enhanced Halloween experiences and even more winter holiday sailings.

I’ll tell you all about winter holidays tomorrow, but first…

Get ready for a frightfully good time this Halloween with Disney Cruise Line!

New for 2013 is Halloween on the High Seas on the Disney Dream! The brand-new event includes tons of spooky fun, like mask-making, pumpkin-carving and a Disney villain takeover of the ship’s announcements. And while you’re there, don’t forget to…

  • Dress up in your best costume and dance the night away with Disney friends at Mickey’s Calling All The Monsters Mouse-Querade Deck Party.
  • Meet Jack Skellington and Sally after an interactive showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
  • Try not to scream as a mysterious sea captain storyteller tells Haunted Stories of the Sea.

Halloween on the High Seas will take place on most voyages aboard the Disney Dream from late September through October.

On all Disney ships, special Halloween voyages will bring you treats, tricks and lots of magical mischief! Party with all your favorite Disney characters at a fun-filled haunted Halloween costume party – complete with live music, dancing and lots of candy! For added thrills and chills, treat yourself to Halloween-themed movies and frightfully delicious Halloween concoctions, like chocolate cake with pumpkin filling, spider cakes and “Spooky Juice.”

So, what do you think? Tell us which Halloween offering you’re most excited about in the comments section below.

And stay tuned for details about the winter holiday celebrations… coming tomorrow!

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AquaDucky Derby on Disney Ships Benefits Make-A-Wish International

posted on June 6th, 2013 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs

Duckies, duckies everywhere! Thousands of ducks decorated by Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members on all four ships swirled through the ships’ pools and water coasters recently to take part in the first “AquaDucky Derby” rubber duck races to raise nearly $14,000 for Make-A-Wish International.

Aboard the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, rubber ducks were placed at the top of the AquaDuck and with the crowd counting down and the sounds of “Wipe Out” playing over the sound system, 10,000 gallons of water rushed into the flume sending the ducks racing through the water coaster’s tunnel and around the ship’s upper decks before splashing down at the finish line.

Aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, guests and crew voted using applause for the unofficial best decorated duck while One Direction’s song, “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” played in the background. For the official race, guests and crew splashed and kicked a current to carry the critters to the opposite side of the Goofy pool.

All funds raised from the duck sales are being donated to a very worthy cause – Make-A-Wish International, an organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions in 48 countries outside of the U.S. Since the first-ever official wish experience 32 years ago, Disney has helped grant more than 81,000 wishes globally and is involved in nearly 50 percent of the wishes granted each year.

The events saluted the 30th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program, which provides opportunities for Disney cast and crew members to donate their time to worthy causes around the world. Events like this are just a small part of Disney’s commitment to give back to local communities through in-kind donations and the efforts of Disney VoluntEARS. In 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members completed 75 community outreach projects and donated more than 4,500 hours of personal service to nonprofit organizations, working both onboard the ships and in communities across Central Florida, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line provided more than $640,000 in charitable and in-kind donations to organizations supporting children, families and the environment.

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Gingerbread Houses Come to Life on Disney Cruise Line Ships

posted on December 7th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

How would you like a gingerbread house like this in your home for the holidays?
The 237-Square-Foot Gingerbread House on the Disney Dream

At 237 square feet, this gingerbread house on the Disney Dream is the largest holiday culinary creation in the Disney Cruise Line fleet! Each Disney ship features an oversized gingerbread house uniquely created by its own crew.

Baked, built and decorated onboard, the Disney Dream’s house took approximately 320 hours from beginning to end. While the ship’s culinary team baked the gingerbread cookies and prepared the other ingredients, the ship’s carpenters built the framework. Then, each brick was individually aligned and stuck to the frame with icing before the real fun began: adding lots of sweet treats and Disney-themed décor!

The 237-Square-Foot Gingerbread House on the Disney Dream The 237-Square-Foot Gingerbread House on the Disney Dream

If you are hoping to build your own gingerbread house this size, keep in mind you’ll need 650 pounds of gingerbread dough, 5,250 gingerbread bricks and 220 pounds of icing sugar, not to mention the candies, cookies and other fun decorations you’ll want to add to it!

Be sure to stop by and get a delicious whiff if you’re sailing with Disney this holiday season (Yes, the house smells as good as it looks!), and let us know in the comments if we’ve given you inspiration for the design of your own family’s holiday gingerbread house.

Read these posts for more news from Disney Cruise Line:

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New Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy

posted on October 25th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Do you love Remy as much as me? Well then I have some great news for you! In addition to dinner at this elegant restaurant aboard the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, you now have a second gourmet culinary option with the recently introduced Champagne brunch.


In this video, Disney Cruise Line Food and Beverage Manager Salah Chetbi takes us inside Remy to give us a look at the popular Champagne brunch experience, which falls into the same must-do category as dinner at Remy…

Offered on sea days during cruises four nights or longer, the Champagne brunch is $50 and begins with a complimentary glass of French bubbly. An optional pairing with three additional Champagnes (Taittinger Prestige Cuvée Rosé, Pommery Gold and Moët & Chandon Ice) is an additional $25.

While dinner at Remy is a lengthy experience, brunch is enjoyed in about an hour and a half, still with an unparalleled experience. And while the atmosphere is unquestionably elegant, brunch is a bit more relaxed. Dressy attire is required, but men do not have to wear a jacket as they do at dinner.

Let’s take a closer look at what the six-course meal includes…


Brunch starts in the private wine room with Champagne and pata negra – the finest Spanish ham in the world.

Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy

Once you’re seated, the first course is a fluffy gnocchi paired with a light-as-air chili foam. That’s followed by lobster cannelloni, topped with a dollop of caviar and baby vegetables.

Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy Champagne Brunch at Disney Cruise Line’s Remy

Next up, sea bass atop a bed of soft-cooked scrambled eggs, garnished with corn, and veal tenderloin with herb sauce accompanied by a potato croquette. A decadent chocolate duo dessert wraps up the extravaganza.

Is anyone else as hungry as I am now? Tell us in the comments which course you expect will become your favorite!

For more on Disney Cruise Line dining, check out the posts below:

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Which is Which? Disney Fantasy vs. Disney Dream: Adult Spaces

posted on August 16th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

We played a fun game last week finding the little design differences between the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream.

I want to put you to the test again today to see if you can spot which is which in the adult nightlife spaces, Europa (Disney Fantasy) and The District (Disney Dream).

Is it the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream? Bonus points if you can name the exact location! Gives us your answers in the comments and check back later today to see how well you know Disney Cruise Line’s two newest ships.

1. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?
2. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?
3. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?
4. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?
5. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?
6. Is This Adult Space Located on the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream?

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