The traditional plaque and key exchange for Disney’s newest ship, the Disney Dream, took place today commemorating the ship’s inaugural call on the port with an official maritime ceremony onboard. Several elected and local officials participated in the event including Gov. Rick Scott and Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer J. Stanley “Stan” Payne, along with Captain Tom Forberg of the Disney Dream and Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz.
The launch of the Disney Dream is expected to bring sizable economic benefits to Port Canaveral and the region including nearly 450 jobs and thousands of additional cruise guests. The 130,000-ton ship will call Port Canaveral home and sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian itineraries beginning with the ship’s maiden voyage on Jan. 26.
“We are extremely proud of the Disney Dream and all its innovations, but we are even more excited to finally see this ship here at home in Port Canaveral,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “Port Canaveral has been our home since we launched our first ship here in 1998 and continues to provide our guests with an amazing cruise terminal facility which has been recently expanded and enhanced.”
In order to accommodate the new and larger Disney Dream, construction enhancements have been made to extend the dock facility and expand the terminal to allow for the additional guests. Port Canaveral also constructed a brand new multi-level parking structure that connects the terminal via a sky-bridge walkway.
In keeping with tradition, Karl and Captain Tom hosted port officials and community leaders onboard the 4,000-passenger ship as part of the inaugural call ceremony where plaques were exchanged amongst the leaders. The guests also had a chance to catch a sneak peek of some of the innovative features aboard the ship such as the AquaDuck – the first water coaster at sea, and the ship’s immaculate and art-deco inspired lobby, featuring a dazzling chandelier and Admiral Donald statue.
With the arrival of the Disney Dream in Port Canaveral, preparations are underway for its inaugural cruises and events, including the traditional christening of the vessel. Other Disney Dream inaugural events include a Benefit Preview Cruise in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, sailing Jan. 21-23.
Designed to build upon Disney’s commitment to delivering unparalleled family cruises, the Disney Dream, which was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, is the first of two new ships for Disney Cruise Line. A sister ship, the Disney Fantasy, which is currently under construction, will arrive in early 2012 to sail seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral.
The addition of two new ships allows Disney Cruise Line to offer more variety of itineraries and sail to more destinations around the world, including a permanent reposition of the Disney Wonder to the West Coast of the U.S., sailing Mexican Riviera and first-ever Alaskan itineraries, and another summer venture for the Disney Magic to sail Mediterranean itineraries. New ships Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will homeport in Port Canaveral, and sail Bahamian and Caribbean itineraries, respectively.
Photo courtesy Disney Cruise Line