Disney Cruise Line announces it’s holiday festivities

Disney Cruise  Lines
Beginning in early November, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship, through the new year, with traditional “Turkey Day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries,” New Year’s Eve galas and Disney characters dressed for the occasion.

Special holiday events include a nightly tree lighting in the atrium lobby, visits from Santa Claus and his elves, traditional holiday feasts, family holiday crafts, holiday storytellers and more. When the ships stop during the holidays at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and holiday island music.

Guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast, with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire. On Christmas Eve, guests can leave milk and cookies for Santa when he visits the ship at midnight. Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and Hanukkah services will be held each day, Nov. 28-Dec. 5. To celebrate the new year, voyages include a special New Year’s Eve party to ring in 2014, complete with music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown with balloon drops.

If you are interested, you will want to book as soon as possible. They do book up fast for their holiday cruises.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

Disney Cruise Line greets NYC with world’s largest bumper sticker

Yesterday morning, Disney Cruise Line’s flagship vessel, the Disney Magic, arrived in New York Harbor donning the world’s largest bumper sticker. Usually found on the back of family minivans, the 50-foot-long by 11-foot-wide super-sized sticker is larger than a city bus. The ship set sail yesterday afternoon, marking the beginning of Disney’s first-ever consumer sailings out of Manhattan – allowing local residents to experience a Disney vacation in their own backyard.

The Disney Magic will sail a total of 20 cruises from New York – including eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast to Canada plus two-night cruises that will give a sampling of the Disney Cruise Line experience over a weekend:

The eight Bahamas cruises will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay; Nassau, Bahamas; and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., giving guests an opportunity to visit the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. Departure Dates: June 2, 22, 30, July 20, 28, Aug. 17, 25

The nine five-night cruises up the New England coast will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In these popular Canadian ports, guests can soak in splendid natural vistas, explore historic sites, visit quaint cafes and charming shops, and browse Canada’s oldest farmer’s market. Departure Dates: June 10, 17, July 8, 15, Aug. 5, 12, Sept. 2, 7, 12

Rates for two-night cruises start at $996 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Departure Dates: June 15, July 13 and Aug. 10

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Follow us aboard the Disney Fantasy and Silver Spirit

We’re back and headed to two different ships this next week. This weekend we’ll be previewing Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Fantasy. And over the next week we’ll be posting updates from SilverSea’s Silver Spirit.

We’ll have our full reviews and posts here, but to follow us live from the ship, you’ll want to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page.

You can find us on Twitter at Twitter.com/CruiseGuide

You can like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CruiseNews

Disney’s Fantasy to live up to its name

Animator's Palate on the Disney Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show. The dinner show allows families to create and participate in a whole new way. Guests‚ drawings are magically animated to skip, skate and dance side-by-side with Disney characters. Image courtesy Disney Cruise Line

By Michael Coleman

Disney Fantasy, the new Disney Cruise Line ship set to debut next spring, will bring to life many of the innovative features guests have been enjoying aboard the recently launched Disney Dream including AquaDuck – the world’s first shipboard water coaster.

New design elements and guest experiences, however, will give the Fantasy an identity all its own.

Fantasy is the second of two newly-designed Disney Cruise Line ships that take the family cruise experience to new heights. Sister ship to the Dream, which entered service in January 2011, the 4,000-passenger Fantasy will sail week-long Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral with its maiden voyage scheduled for March 31, 2012.

Animation Magic
Animator’s Palate on the Fantasy brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room with a new show called “Animation Magic.” The dinner show celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in a whole new way.

Nighttime Fun
On the Fantasy, adult guests step into a world that’s all their own at Europa — a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests 18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges inspired by the very best in European travel.

Aladdin Debuts at Sea
A new ship means new main stage entertainment at the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. New to Disney Cruise Line, “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular” takes the stage on Fantasy. During this Broadway-style production, guests laugh along with the wise-cracking Genie and the cast from the classic animated Disney film, “Aladdin.”

Fairy Tales Alive
At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Fantasy, aspiring young princesses and pirates receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon.

On the web: www.disneycruise.com

Disney Dream launches with fanfare and flair

Fireworks light the sky over the Disney Dream Jan. 19 as the newest Disney Cruise Line ship is christened in a gala ceremony held at Port Canaveral. Walt Disney Company president and CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Staggs joined a host of Disney characters to officially christen the 130,000-ton ship. Photo by Disney/David Roark

By Matt Roseboom

Those of you familiar with Disney theme parks wouldn’t expect their cruise line to launch their third ship with just a boring speech and a small bottle of champagne. The grandest of expectations were met recently during the christening of the Disney Dream with characters, celebrities, singers, dancers, fireworks and a 16-foot-tall champagne bottle.

A helicopter hoisted a huge bottle full of “dreams” across the bow of the ship during a christening ceremony on Jan. 19 at Port Canaveral, officially welcoming the new 4,000-passenger Disney Dream.

Academy and Grammy award winner Jennifer Hudson performed at the ceremony, along with Disney characters and dancers. Hudson is the Godmother of the Disney Dream – a fitting choice, as she got her start as a singer aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship in 2003.

Some 3,000 people were gathered for the christening ceremony including celebrities, media and members of the public. The ceremony concluded with the bottle smash and fireworks shot from the portside ship.

Besides being a bigger version of Disney’s other two ships – Wonder and Magic – the Dream features a number of innovations including art that comes alive, a full-blown shipboard fireworks show, interactive video floors and gigantic video game screens.

Other new features include:

– Video “portholes” that provide inside staterooms with an ocean view. The screens allow guests to see a real-time view outside the ship. High-definition cameras placed on the exterior of the ship feed live video to each Magical Porthole. As guests observe the views, they may glimpse animated characters such as Peach the starfish from “Finding Nemo,” the flying balloon house from “UP” or even Mickey Mouse going by the “window”.

– Aquaduck is a cruise first: a shipboard water coaster featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids. Spanning four decks in height, AquaDuck utilizes high-powered water jets that push riders upward and forward — and at one jaw-dropping point – takes guests 12 feet over the side of the ship in a translucent “swing out” loop allowing them to look down on the ocean 150 feet below.

– An updated restaurant from Disney’s other two ships, Animator’s Palate seemingly becomes immersed in an undersea environment. Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from “Finding Nemo,” makes a special appearance, swimming around the restaurant and engaging in live impromptu interactions with diners.

– Remy, Disney Cruise Line’s first premier dining option, made its debut on the Dream. The French-inspired, gourmet restaurant offers a sophisticated new dining concept exclusively for adults.

– In addition to the many expected children’s areas and activities, adults can escape into The District, a nighttime entertainment area with five unique venues. There’s also Senses Spa & Salon, which offers 17 private treatment rooms, spa villas and Rainforest, a special section offering steam, heat and hydrotherapy.

In 2011, the Disney Dream will sail three, four and five night itineraries to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The Dream will be followed by a new sister ship, Disney Fantasy, in 2012.

Disney Dream coverage on Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show:

Disney’s newest cruise ship arrives at Port Canaveral with fireworks

Photos and video by Joe Moschinger

The newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream, sailed into her homeport of Port Canaveral this morning after a 16-night trans-Atlantic voyage from Germany, where it has been under construction for nearly two years. Beginning with a maiden voyage on Jan. 26, the Disney Dream will sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas, calling Port Canaveral home. Continue reading “Disney’s newest cruise ship arrives at Port Canaveral with fireworks”

Video: A look at what’s new on Disney’s private Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, has received a number of enhancements this year. They’ve added more water-based family-fun and additional conveniences such as another dining location in anticipation of the larger Disney Dream launching next year.

Here’s a video outlining all the enhancements.

In Port Today: Five ships in Nassau, Bahamas

Five ships are lined up in Nassau, Bahamas today, March 12, 2010. From left are the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, Carnival Destiny, Disney Wonder, Carnival Sensation and MSC Poesia.

Video: Disney Magic to get new ‘Villains Tonight!’ stage show

disney villains show

The malevolent world of the Disney villains takes a comical spin in “Villains Tonight!,” a musical spectacular that Disney Cruise Line is premiering in spring 2010. The revue-style show will debut during the March 27 voyage aboard the Disney Magic and will debut aboard the new Disney Dream cruise ship in early 2011.

“Villains Tonight!” is the first full-scale musical production dedicated to the Disney villains. The show is a family-friendly, fun-filled musical extravaganza that places these famous evil-doers in some irreverent funny moments.

“We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional entertainment and magnificent stage spectaculars aboard our ships,” said Jim Urry, vice president of entertainment for Disney Cruise Line. “With ‘Villains Tonight!’ we are bringing the lovable and loathsome Disney villains to life in a way never seen before — as the stars of the first musical comedy devoted to the anti-heroes of our films.”

Disney Cruise Line assembled an all-star creative team headlined by the Broadway writing duo of Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen. They are joined by director Allison Narver, choreographer Karma Camp and musical director Ben Cohn.

“Villains Tonight!” begins as Hades and his faithful sidekicks, Pain and Panic (“Hercules”), welcome new souls (the audience) to the Underworld. But instead of a frightening realm, guests will discover that Hades has turned the Underworld into an upbeat and happier place. The lively fun comes to a halt when The Fates arrive and predict that Hades will lose his position as Lord of the Underworld if he doesn’t ramp up the evil factor.

Worried by the news, Hades checks his Evil-O-Meter and discovers it is running dangerously low. So he comes up with a plan: He’ll conjure up the very best of the worst — the most powerful Disney villains — to help him replenish the world of evil. What ensues is a comical journey as Hades, Pain and Panic embark on a quest filled with wacky antics and amusing musical numbers featuring Disney villains and their sidekicks.

“Villains Tonight!” features a “Who’s Who” of the Disney villains, including Disney’s newest crook, Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” The show also features classic divas and scoundrels like Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”), the Evil Queen (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), Captain Hook (“Peter Pan”) and Scar (“The Lion King”).

During “Villains Tonight!,” the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre becomes a hilariously wicked world through the use of elaborate sets and special effects, extravagant costumes and a fun-filled, contemporary musical score. The show’s scenery takes guests on a dazzling journey through many villainous worlds, from the deck of Captain Hook’s ship to Scar’s Elephant Graveyard to Ursula’s Undersea Lounge.

“Villains Tonight!” features irreverent versions of classic Disney villain tunes including a dance club version of “Cruella De Vil” (“101 Dalmatians”), a Copacabana-inspired take of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (“The Little Mermaid”) and an electrifying version of “Friends on the Other Side,” from Walt Disney Pictures’ newest animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog.” In addition, Bell and Bowen developed two original songs especially for the show, “Welcome to the Underworld” and “Villains Tonight.”

The show was produced by Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, which has received acclaim for its productions around the world, including “Finding Nemo — The Musical” (Walt Disney World Resort in Florida), “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular” (Disneyland Resort in California), “Twice Charmed” (Disney Cruise Line) and “The Golden Mickeys” (Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line).

“Villains Tonight!” joins the lineup of shipboard stage musicals as the Disney Magic gets ready to embark on an unprecedented five-month season of Mediterranean and Northern European cruises. Departing from Barcelona, Spain, Mediterranean cruises go from April 24 to May 26 and Aug. 7 to Sept. 8, visiting ports in Italy, France and North Africa. Departing out of Dover, England, the Northern European cruises will sail from June 12 to July 18, visiting St. Petersburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and other enchanting ports.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact your travel agent.

New guide helps you find hidden Mickeys at sea

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hms cover low resWhile Mickey Mouse has grown to be one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable icons, it is often forgotten that the first appearance of the character was at the helm of a riverboat in Steamboat Willie. So it’s not surprising that Mickey has stowed away on the Disney Cruise ships — in over one hundred places.

Steve Barrett, the author of the popular Hidden Mickeys series of books, has taken his quest for the mischievous mouse out to sea: Yes, it appears that Disney’s ships are nearly as packed with images of Mickey as Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Barrett’s newest book, “Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea: A Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secrets” (The Intrepid Traveler, $6.95), leads cruise passengers to the hiding places.

“I believe that most of the Hidden Mickeys on the Disney cruise ships were present from the initial ship construction,” said Barrett. “Some of these images are probably accidental, especially some of the classic, three-circle images, but others (such as the large classic Mickey on the bow of each ship) are purposeful. Disney often adds new images when ship areas are refurbished.”

“Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea” is Barrett’s third field guide to the phenomenon. The first, “Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets,” came out in 2003. Barrett followed it with “Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys” in 2007 and both guides have just come out in new editions.

The cruise ships are a different sort of experience from the theme parks, and this difference also applies to the experience of looking for Hidden Mickeys. Barrett notes, “One difference that’s helpful to the Hidden Mickey hunter is that the scavenger hunts on the ships and Castaway Cay can be accomplished leisurely. The cruise ship Hidden Mickeys can be located at the guest’s personal pace. Take as much time as you want on the ships and the island; there’s no rush to find Mickey! You’re not in line or on a ride.”

While Barrett may be the best known expert on Hidden Mickeys, he doesn’t do his work alone. The book, like the others in the series, acknowledges everyone who contributed their shipboard findings to his Web site, HiddenMickeysGuide.com.

“Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea” is available in bookstores nationwide, from online bookstores, or by visiting IntrepidTraveler.com. Disney is expected to also have them available for purchase in the cruise ship gift shops.