Disney Acquires Its Biggest-Ever Cruise Ship

November 16, 2022, 7:49 PM · The Disney Cruise Line has acquired a partially completed cruise ship from the bankrupt Genting Hong Kong's former Dream Cruises. The ship, which was to be called the Global Dream, was the first of two ships slated to become the world's largest by capacity.

The 208,000-ton ships were reported to have been designed for 2,350 staterooms and a capacity of 9,000 passengers. The second ship, commonly called the Global Dream II, was sold for scrap before its completion, but Disney has acquired the first ship, which will be completed under the management of Meyer Werft, the shipbuilders in Germany that recently delivered the Disney Wish.

"The ship will be renamed with certain features reimagined under the world-renowned expertise of Walt Disney Imagineers and is expected to set sail in 2025," Disney said in a press release. Under its new design, the ship is expected to have a passenger capacity of approximately 6,000 with around 2,300 crew members. Disney also said that the ship "is expected to be among the first in the cruise industry to be fueled by green methanol, one of the lowest emission fuels available."

The former Global Dream, reimagined for the Disney Cruise Line
Artist concept courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Construction will be completed at the former MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany. Disney said that it acquired the ship "at a favorable price."

The ship will not be based in the United States, Disney said. Global Dream had been designed to serve Genting's Asian markets, so it doesn't take a lot of imagination to suspect that Disney Cruise Line will use this ship to launch operations in China, with vacation packages including Shanghai Disneyland or Hong Kong Disneyland. But Disney has not yet confirmed anything beyond the acquisition of the ship and its plans to redesign and rename it. DCL said it will announced specific itineraries and offerings at a later date.

"Our cruise ships give us the unique opportunity to bring Disney magic to fans no matter where they are, and the addition of this ship will make a Disney Cruise Line vacation accessible to more families than ever before," Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said.

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Replies (11)

November 16, 2022 at 7:52 PM

Am I the only one who wonders if the "favorable price" was "nothing," or very close to that? Disney taking this on appears to be a huge favor to Meyer Werft, who has been a strong partner for Disney Cruise Line, and the German shipbuilding industry. But I'm relatively new to covering cruises, so I will defer to others with more inside information.

November 16, 2022 at 8:08 PM

I am hoping this ship will be sent to the Pacific region. Robert mentions Asia, but I am also hoping it will be sent down under to Australia and New Zealand. Disney is launching their first Australian cruises in 2023/2024 with the Disney Wonder, but this is supposedly just a trial run. With this new ship, I am hoping it becomes more of a permanent fixture for the summer holiday season!

November 17, 2022 at 8:26 AM

I agree that the price for the ship must have been very low indeed, but big eniugh that only a company with a very big flow of Cash could take the chance. See what the Disney genie plus can do?? Puré magic!!.

November 17, 2022 at 8:42 AM

I think Disney is taking a pretty big risk here even if they got the boat on the cheap (DCL still has to outfit the ship to meet their standards, which isn't cheap). I think the cruise industry is in for a reckoning, and the pre-pandemic trend of "bigger is better" may not hold in the post-pandemic world. DCL is still a pretty small operation in the cruise industry, but they bring a very loyal and dedicated fanbase. However, it will be interesting to see if they are still able to stuff 5,000+ guests onto their newest mega-ships 3-5 years from now when revenge travel is no longer a thing and the current volatilization within the cruise industry is more settled.

While Royal Caribbean and MSC are still going bigger and bigger, they have a mature fleet of smaller vessels that allow them to pivot as the industry evolves. DCL doesn't have the flexibility right now, and could regret being stuck with a handful of mega-ships that are sailing at 60-80% capacity.

November 17, 2022 at 8:48 AM

I have been casually following the saga of the Global Dream this year, and I get the feeling Disney saved this ship from scrap.

Not sure what stake Meyer Werft has in the vessel. Genting owned the original ship builder, MV Werften, which went through bankruptcy and was broken up.

Seems like the deal and 'opportunity' of the cruising industry in Asia got Disney to jump. At a time when lines like Royal Caribbean are withdrawing, moving their Wonder of the seas from Asia to Florida. Although to be fair covid played a major role in that.

This deal concerns me. Disney really raised the bar with Wish, and I don't see how they can deliver a product of that caliber with an existing vessel designed for high passenger volume, in a little over 2 years. Even with the bargain, I think they will have to spend a lot to deliver what their consumer base expects, and protect their luxury price point.

We'll have to see how Disney can innovate and how fast. I can easily see this going south, and it could be yet another argument against Chapek in a couple years.

November 17, 2022 at 10:07 AM

I am getting "American film star makes commercial in Asia for a big payday with the understanding that it will never been shown in the West" vibes here.

November 17, 2022 at 11:15 AM

This will technically be WDW’s 5th gate, with an even more hard to obtain reservation system. If you miss out then the ship has literally sailed. Attractions will include the All-You-Can-“Ear-t” Magic Buffet* and the The Shaft, a relaxing elevator ride to and from the dining hole to your floor of choice.

*multiple buffet trips available with the Lightning Lunch+ upgrade, price pending due to demand for shrimp at any given time

November 17, 2022 at 11:52 AM

I got curious around what 'features' were originally planned for the Global Dream. It looks like they were advertising the world's longest roller coaster at sea- A 1,000ft Maurer spike coaster- and a 1.5 deck casino.

Not sure what will stay, but the idea of Disney inheriting a roller coaster is intriguing.

November 17, 2022 at 1:41 PM

I'm guessing a case of the line being in trouble so selling to Disney a good option. Opening to Pacific area can be good for Disney Cruises, especially linking it to Tokyo DisneySeas and such. Obviously a few years off but an interesting development.

November 18, 2022 at 11:00 AM

I agree with Robert — this seems like a project designed for a non-western audience that may be more amenable to compromises on the standard Disney Cruise Experience.

November 23, 2022 at 7:42 AM

Disney's smaller ships are cruise liners with features that Disney pioneered in the cruise industry. They are not cattle ships like this purchase and the horrible Wish.

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