Captain Minnie poses on board Disney’s newest cruise ship The Wish.
It has been a decade since Disney has expanded its cruise fleet. Its newest addition, set to launch in a pair weeks, is a 1,119-foot floating theme park.
The Disney Wish is one among greater than 30 ships from a wide range of leaders within the cruise space expected to debut before the tip of 2022, and dozens more are slated to hitch the seas through 2027.
The fifth addition to the corporate’s fleet of cruise liners, The Wish is scheduled to make its maiden voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island within the Bahamas, on July 14.
The Wish sets sail at a time of transition and recovery for the cruise industry, which was battered by the pandemic and health restrictions. Along with headwinds from guests, who’ve been slow to return to on-sea vacationing, the industry now faces economic pressures from rising fuel costs and inflation.
Disney is betting that franchises like Marvel and “Frozen,” in addition to progressive spins on classic cruise experiences, will entice travelers back to the high seas.
Beyond typical Disney flourishes on cupcakes and candy apples, the Wish’s Star Wars-inspired Hyperspace Lounge boasts a $5,000 Kaiburr Crystal drink served in a camtono, a container often utilized by bounty hunters within the space opera franchise. It’s unclear what’s within the drink, however it has develop into some of the talked-about facets of the Wish after members of the media got a test cruise of the ship this week.
Other, inexpensive experiences include a “Frozen” sing-along dinner and a Marvel dining experience. The ship also has the primary ever Disney attraction on board, the AquaMouse.
While overall passenger numbers are set to exceed pre-pandemic levels by the tip of 2023, the cruise industry has never had the identical pricing power as other travel and hospitality sectors, leading some analysts to boost concerns about short-term recoverability of the general business. Especially, as rival brands like Carnival are saddled with three-times as much a debt as that they had before the pandemic.
Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure is Disney’s first “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience, bringing the dominion of Arendelle to life through immersive live entertainment — featuring favorite characters like Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf — and world-class cuisine infused with Nordic influences.
Disney | Matt Stroshane
“Getting back to that financial position where you may play offense fairly and playing defense or being in survival mode, it’s just an extended climb,” said David Katz, an analyst at Jefferies.
Royal Caribbean’s stock is down around 61% in comparison with the identical time last 12 months and Carnival is down around 68%.
Disney has a little bit more wiggle room because its overall business is rather more diverse. The corporate operates a media empire in addition to hotels, theme parks and cruises.
Disney doesn’t separate out its cruise business when reporting earnings. As an alternative, it’s wrapped up in its parks, experiences and products segment, which saw revenues greater than double to $6.7 billion in the course of the fiscal second quarter, in comparison with the prior-year period. For comparison, this segment generated $6.2 billion in the course of the same quarter in 2019.
Shares of Disney are down around 66% in comparison with the identical time last 12 months.
Cruising the high seas
Katz, who only covers Carnival, said cruise corporations operate in opposition to the hotel business. Meaning, cruises will discount tickets the closer they get to the ship’s launch as a way to reach capability. For hotels, prices typically increase because the booking date nears.
“This recovery has been unlike another recovery that anyone else has experienced,” he said. Price doesn’t typically drive travelers’ willingness to go on cruises, so discounting may not increase the number of shoppers, he added.
Still, persons are cutting back the variety of days they’ll spend on a cruise due to rising costs.
Disney’s Wish has three-night cruises starting at $1,750 for 2 guest and four-night cruises starting at $2,250. These prices increase if travelers select cruises tied to Halloween or Christmas. Disney is taken into account barely costlier than Carnival and Royal Caribbean for base pricing, but when guests decide to upgrade to larger cabins or add food packages or experiences to their itineraries, the costs are quite similar.
Around 80% of travelers who’ve cruised before say they’ll cruise again, the identical percentage as before the pandemic, based on data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a world cruise industry trade group.
CLIA forecasts that 2022 shall be a transition 12 months for the cruise industry and 2023 shall be when a full recovery will happen. It also predicts that passenger volume get better in excess of 12% above 2019 levels by the tip of 2026.
For Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products, there’s “zero worry” that the cruise industry will bounce back.
“Could the road be a little bit bumpy within the short term? Yes,” he said. “But, do I do know where the destination is? Absolutely. I’m incredibly confident about that.”
The choice so as to add more ships to Disney’s fleet got here five years ago, before D’Amaro was head of the division. The expansion includes The Wish and two other vessels which have yet to be named, but are attributable to premiere in 2024 and 2025.
While the typical cost of manufacturing a cruise liner is around $617 million, based on CLIA, larger vessels like Disney’s Wish are estimated to cost closer to $1 billion. Disney declined to say how much it invested in its recent fleet additions.
“I believe the Wish goes to be one other one among those beacons that calls to the world and reminds them that cruising is a special thing to do along with your family,” said D’Amaro. “We’re pretty bullish about it.”
While there are traditional amenities onboard the Wish which are staples on cruise lines — upscale restaurants, pools, spas and gaming rooms for youths — Disney has integrated storytelling into these services to raise them to the corporate’s standard for “magic.”
The Wish, captained by Minnie Mouse, offers a number of theatrical dining experiences, Broadway-style stage productions and the primary ever Disney attraction at sea.
“With the Wish we had a possibility to take into consideration, ‘What are the things we are able to do this might be recent and different and firsts?’ – and there is a protracted list,” D’Amaro said.
The 144,000 ton ship has greater than 1,500 crew members on board, 75% of which have served on a cruise vessel previously, and capability for 4,000 passengers.
“The ship is magnificent,” said Sharon Siskie, senior vp and general manager at Disney Cruise Line.. “Nevertheless it’s our crew that can bring the ship to life.”
Marvel, Star Wars and “Frozen” are ports of call aboard the Wish, acting as destination dining and themed play zones for youths and adults, alike.
While the cruise industry’s recovery has been slower than other entertainment industry’s, Siskie said offerings aboard the Wish will “help remind people why cruising is such a fantastic experience.”
Like Disney’s newest immersive hotel, the Galactic Starcruiser in Florida, the Disney Wish offers interactive and immersive storytelling at several of its restaurants.
It’s “Frozen”-based dining experience is basically a theater-in-the-round, with tables as an alternative of stadium seating. The dinner is a celebration of the engagement of Anna and Kristoff and features singing and dancing from the pair alongside Elsa, Olaf and Oaken. The menu is inspired by Nordic cuisine.
Worlds of Marvel is the first-ever Marvel cinematic dining adventure, where guests play an interactive role in an action-packed Avengers mission that unfolds around them, complete with a sophisticated menu inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney | Amy Smith
Its Worlds of Marvel cinematic dining adventure brings guests along on an Avengers mission centered around Ant-Man and the Wasp, who offer to point out diners the newest Pym technology. The Quantum Core enabled the shrinking and growing of things, however the demonstration doesn’t go based on plan and an unexpected villain arrives to steal the technology.
Ant-Man and the Wasp team up with other Avengers like Captain American and Captain Marvel to stop them.
For Star Wars fans of legal age, Disney’s Wish has the Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar designed to duplicate the luxurious yacht-class spaceship owned by Dryden Vos in “Solo.”
For the primary time on a Disney ship, guests embark on a space-jumping tour of the Star Wars galaxy at Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar styled as an opulent yacht-class spaceship aboard the Disney Wish.
Disney | Amy Smith
Here, guests are served signature beverages inspired by destinations within the Star Wars universe, including jungle planet Batuu, desert planet Tatooine and lava planet Mustafar – which can be often known as the house of Darth Vader. While they sip cocktails and test out the tasting menu, ships might be seen out the viewport jumping to lightspeed.
There are two funnels on the Disney Wish, one which operates and one which is “aesthetically pleasing,” said Siskie.
In that second funnel is the Wish Tower Suite, the primary suite to be situated in a cruise ship funnel. At nearly 2,000 square feet, the two-story penthouse accommodates eight guests and takes decor inspiration from “Moana.”
The Wish Tower Suite is a first-of-its-kind accommodation set high within the forward funnel of the ship. This 1,966-square-foot penthouse within the sky accommodates eight guests and features a sublime design inspired by Disney Animation’s “Moana,” incomparable ocean views and premium Disney service.
“The Wish Tower Suite really does provide such a fantastic example of what makes Disney different on this space,” said Siskie.
One other first for Disney is the AquaMouse, which at first appears to be just one other waterslide, but is definitely a totally fledged water attraction.
The 760-foot ride has lighting, audio and water effects, including video screens showcasing recent Mickey Mouse shorts, before turning into traditional waterslide. The attraction wraps across the top deck and takes about two minutes to travel.
Along with the AquaMouse, there are six pools staggered amongst several tiered decks.
“We all know we have now got something very powerful here,” said D’Amaro.
Guests immerse themselves in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts aboard the primary Disney attraction at sea, AquaMouse. Complete with show scenes, lighting and computer graphics, and splashtacular surprises, this wild water ride is bound to please everyone within the family as they zig, zag and zoom through 760 feet of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks.