From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Scott
From the Orlando Sentinel
Disney Cruise Line today announced it has pushed the debut of its new ship Disney Wish at Port Canaveral this summer.
The new class of ship was slated to make its first sailing on June 9 but citing delays at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenberg, Germany where the ship has been under construction since 2020, the line is now shifting to a July 14 debut.
“We know how much our guests are looking forward to sailing on the Disney Wish, and we understand the disappointment and inconvenience this will cause,” said cruise line President Thomas Mazloum in a press release. “We treasure the relationship we have with those who sail and make memories with us, and we will work closely with those affected to welcome them aboard in the future.”
The six-week push means the first 12 sailings planned have been canceled, and the line is working with customers now to either rebook or refund deposits. The line said it was offering impacted guests a 50% discount on a future cruise departing by December 31, 2023.
It’s set to take over from the Disney Dream the three- and four-night voyages to the Bahamas including stops at Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. The Dream is moving to Miami on June 7 while Disney Fantasy remains at Port Canaveral for seven-night sailings.
Shipyard delays in the era of COVID-19 are nothing new both to this ship or the cruise industry.
Disney Wish was originally supposed to be handed over to the line in December 2021 and make a January debut this year, but that was before the onset of the worldwide pandemic. The latest delay falls partly on how the omicron variant hit the shipyard in the last couple of months during what the cruise line stated was a “critical point in the production process.”
Several ships that debuted in 2021 were originally to have had construction completed in 2020 including Carnival’s Mardi Gras, Celebrity Apex, Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas and more.
“Despite this unavoidable adjustment to our plans, our team at Disney Cruise Line has never been more optimistic about the future and cannot wait to welcome families aboard the magnificent Disney Wish,” Mazloum said.
The shipbuilder, which also constructed Disney’s last two ships Dream and Fantasy, is prepared to give Disney Wish its first taste of water next week, depending on weather conditions. The float out will see the 144,000 gross tons vessel move to the next phase toward completion, leaving the enclosed building dock.
Similar ships built at Meyer Werft have had about six weeks between float out and the eventual conveyance on the Ems River to bring the ship to open water and then another month of testing including sea trials before arranging handover to the cruise line.
Disney’s timeline including the completion of many planned high-tech features cooked up by Disney Imagineering on board may mean a longer period before the ship will be ready for customers, although work on the interior outfitting and cabin installation of its 1,254 staterooms has been ongoing since summer 2021, when the last block of the exterior shape was put in place.
Still in the works, though, are the installation of the ship’s signature water ride attraction on the top deck, the AquaMouse, a mashup between a signature Disney dark ride and the popular water coaster found on Disney Dream and Fantasy.
Two more spaces that require intense behind-the-scenes work are the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge and the the Worlds of Marvel restaurant with interactive show “Avengers: Quantum Encounter.” The ship also features detailed work for main dining at “Arendelle,” a “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience and the restaurant 1923, adorned with memorabilia from Walt Disney’s early years as an animator.
The Oceaneer Club space geared for children 3-12 also will be home to intricate experiences including interactive spaces for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Princesses, Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as one dedicated to Disney Imagineering itself, including the ability to design and ride a simulated roller coaster.
The Disney Wish is the first of three new ships for the line with its yet-to-be-named sister vessels due in 2024 and 2025. Unlike the four ships currently in the fleet, Disney Wish will run on liquefied natural gas, joining Carnival’s Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral as the only two ships using the cleaner burning fuel than the diesel most ships use now.