October 20, 2008
Disney Wonder will wander to Europe in 2010 for the longest season overseas yet for family-friendly Disney Cruise Lines, including Baltic itineraries.
Disney Cruise Line just announced that in 2010, the Disney Magic will be sail in Europe for an extended April through September season. While Disney Magic cruised the Mediterranean during the summer of 2007, the line will inaugurate a new European itinerary with four 12-night sailings in Northern Europe. These will be bookended with 10 and 11-night Mediterranean cruises.
Family-friendly Scandinavian and Baltic Ports
Departing from Dover, England, the Disney Magic will sail 12-night itineraries in June and July 2010, calling at the Scandinavian ports of Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. The ship will also call at Warnemunde, Germany, which is the gateway to Berlin; and St. Petersburg, Russia, where the ship will overnight for those who want to take a full day excursion to Moscow.
During the press conference in New York City announcing this new itinerary, footage was shown of a Disney Cruise Line employee, Jim Urry, and Mickey Mouse in Moscow's Red Square, explaining that the excursions will be very family-friendly. DCL plans to offer a wide variety of shore excursions called "Port Adventures" -- that appeal to children and their parents in Northern European ports by combining local Viking and fairytale lore in the excursions.
For example, some of the possible offerings may include: children can dress up as a prince or princess and go to a castle ball; fairytales will come to life while in Northern Germany, home of the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales; kids will be "edutained" about Vikings while in Scandinavia, followed by a visit to the Vasa Museum with its replica Viking ship; and family visits to Meyerwerf shipyard in Germany to see the finishing touches being put on the new Disney ships (the first ship will launch in early 2011).
Other Itinerary Options
Before and after the June and July Northern European itineraries, the Disney Magic will cruise 10- and 11-day Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona. However, the itineraries are a bit different from last summer's Mediterranean cruises since DCL will offer three new ports of call: Malta, Tunis, and Corsica. These sailings will be in April, May, August and September.
Additionally, while the Magic is in Europe, the Disney Wonder will sail new configurations of Bahamas itineraries in the summer of 2010. Instead of its usual three- and four-night sailings, the Disney Wonder will shift to four- and five-night cruises from Port Canaveral to Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay. According to Tom McAlpin, DCL President, this is to accommodate guests looking for slightly longer summer cruises during the time while children are on vacation. He noted that Disney has not had a seven-night ship in the Caribbean/Bahamas for the past two summers, when the Magic was deployed on the West Coast and Mediterranean.
Both the four- and five-day itinerary options as well as the new European offerings are especially important to Disney because it boasts a very strong repeat passenger rate -- which is in the 35 to 45% range, according to McAlpin looking to sail again with Disney but on new itineraries.
Travel Channel's Samantha Brown
Much of Disney's news was presented to New York City press via the Travel Channel's Samantha Brown. She noted she's been on six cruises in the past four years and her most recent was a Disney cruise with her husband and 11-year-old niece. Brown and her family was looking to experience what McAlpin called a "no compromise" vacation. McAlpin explained that Disney cruises offer fun for all ages including its youth program; teen club aboard ship; adults-only pools and Italian restaurant; teen beach on Castaway Cay; and adults-only beach also on Castaway Cay, the line's private Bahamian island.
Brown noted that while her 11-year-old niece was "wowed" by the family-friendly stage shows and youth programming, what made the biggest impression was a small touch. Her niece was deemed the "Pin Trading Ambassador" on their cruise and she received a certificate with her name on it, hand-delivered to her door.
"I'm excited because family travel is here to stay. It's gratifying for me to see parents expose children to cultures around the world at such a young age. This is a wonderful way to celebrate our differences around the world," Brown noted. "My goal is to let folks know that Americans are welcome abroad and to give them the confidence to experience new lands and cultures," she continued.
"If I can encourage parents to travel to Malta with their kids, then I've done my job," she said.