Cruise ship tours: Disney Dream, Fantasy compared
Disney and the bayou!
On Thursday, Disney Cruise Line announced new cruises setting sail during early 2020.
In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will establish a new home port in New Orleans. The cruise line also announced a highly anticipated return to the Hawaiian Islands; cruises out of Puerto Rico; and popular itineraries to tropical destinations from Florida and California.
Disney Cruise Line said its first-ever sailings out of New Orleans, starting in February 2020, will be on the Disney Wonder.
The cruise line also said it would continue to base its two largest ships — the Dream and the Fantasy — at Port Canaveral, Florida.
• The Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Disney's private island. The cruises will depart on Fridays and Mondays.
• The Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, plus two special sailings of six and eight nights each. The seven-night cruises will depart on Saturdays.
The sailing schedule announced Thursday extends from January through May 2020.
Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray noted that Disney has been a long-term cruise partner of the port.
He said the port officials are "excited to be continuing to be working with them well into the future."
Disney's fourth ship, the Disney Magic, will be based at the Port of Miami in early 2020, sailing three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.
Cruise ship tours: Inside the revamped Disney Wonder
Livestreaming from the Port Orleans Resort/French Quarter area of Walt Disney World near Orlando, host Mark Daniel revealed details of where the Disney ships are headed.
These are the takeaways:
• Disney will have three ships in Florida sailing to the Bahamas and the Caribbean from Port Canaveral and Miami, with ports of call that will include Disney's private getaway island, Castaway Key.
• After a five-year hiatus, Daniel said the Disney Wonder will return to Hawaii with ports of call at Nawiliwili, Kahului, Hilo and Honolulu.
• By far, the big announcement is Disney Cruise Line's new port — New Orleans. The Disney Wonder will embark on trips to the Caribbean — the first time Disney Cruise Line will sail from Louisiana.
Daniel called this announcement "bigger than big."
Disney performers sang "Goin' Down the Bayou" during the livestream announcement, with appearances from Disney princess Princess Tiana of "The Princess and the Frog."
The Disney Wonder will have six cruises during stay in New Orleans, including four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a 14-night Panama Canal voyage. The departures will occur Feb. 7 through March 6.
Among other itineraries involving the Wonder:
• The ship will offer Southern Caribbean sailings during two seven-night voyages departing Jan. 19 and 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a five-night Bahamian cruise.
• Beginning on March 20, the ship embarks on seven sailings from San Diego to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, ranging in length from two to seven nights,
• Disney will return to Hawaii after a five-year hiatus, with two cruises on the Wonder: a nine-night voyage to Honolulu from Vancouver, Canada, on April 29; and a 10-night sailing back to Vancouver on May 8.
Murray said it is a smart strategy for Disney to get a feel for different potential cruise markets, as it prepares for the addition of three new ship to its fleet in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Bookings open to the public on Oct. 4.