Disney Cruise Line's deployment and port call schedule for next year has several notable “firsts,” such as excursions to Milan via the port of Genoa, a port call at Cork in Ireland, a seven-night British Isles voyage, and cruises between Rome and Barcelona, which will enable guests to bookend a cruise in those destinations.
The changes, all happening on cruises aboard the 2,700-guest Disney Magic, drew applause from agents eager to offer repeat Disney clients several new experiences to choose from. Disney specialist Tracy Whipple is one of them.
“Disney has done longer British Isles cruises in the past and it was very popular but the pricing was higher because of the length of the cruise. The new 2018 itinerary is only seven nights, and with new ports of call like Cork, I think it will be very popular with cruisers,” she said.
Disney does have one British Isles cruise this year, in July, when Disney Magic will sail a 12-night British Isles cruise from Dover, England. It calls at four ports in Scotland, plus Liverpool, England, and Dublin, Ireland, but also goes farther afield, to Le Havre, France.
Whipple, who opened her de Forest, Wis.-based agency, Travel On a Dream, in 2010, is equally optimistic about the line's cruises between Barcelona and Rome.
“I think they will be a big hit. This will give cruisers a chance to explore both Barcelona and Rome. It also lets cruisers who want a longer sailing do back-to-back sailings as well, and experience more time in some of the ports. The drawback of course is going to be the one-way flights, though we can usually get some good prices for cruise flights through our vendors,” she said.
Whipple is a past member of Disney’s EarMarked Travel Advisory Council. While she does sell some non-Disney products, close to 90% of her sales are derived from bookings on Disney Cruise Line and from vacation packages to the Disney parks.
“Our Disney cruise bookings are strong, but noticeably down from a couple years ago,” Whipple said. “Many of our clients are long-time Disney cruisers and they feel the pricing is a bit more than what most of them want to pay.”
As a premium line offering the iconic Disney experience, the cruise line is able to charge fares higher than other lines in its category. Due to its one-of-a-kind experience, it's hard to compare Disney's prices to other lines offering a similar level of service.
Here's the schedule for Disney Magic's “firsts,” coming in 2018:
- On June 16 the Disney Magic will sail a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome). Ports of call include Marseilles and Villefranche, France; and Genoa (Milan), Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Naples, Italy.
- On June 23 it will offer a seven-night itinerary from Rome to Barcelona, calling at the same ports except for Villefranche. This cruise will visit Cannes, instead.
- A 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sailing from Barcelona on July 7 calls on Genoa, as well as other popular ports in Italy, France and Spain.
- All three voyages will allow guests to visit Milan, via Genoa, with its swanky designer stores, boutiques, open-air markets and art galleries.
- The Disney Magic will call at Cork on its first seven-night British Isles cruise, departing on Sept. 2. Cork is home to a vibrant culinary scene plus lots of pubs, shops and cafes. Clients can connect with Ireland’s ancient past at historic sites like Blarney Castle, where visitors can kiss the Blarney Stone.
- The castle and its famous stone are located in the village of Blarney, a few miles from Cork. According to sacredsites.com, some 300,000 people kiss the stone each year “in the hopes of gaining more eloquent speech.”
- Throughout the rest of the summer, the Disney Magic’s tour of Europe will continue with cruises in the Baltic, the Norwegian fjords and the Mediterranean.
Aside from Disney Magic's schedule in Europe, the 2018 deployments of the line's other ships have been revealed. Some highlights:
- The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, operating a series of five-, seven- and nine-night itineraries depart ingfrom Vancouver, British Columbia, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord.
- The Disney Fantasy will sail a special 11-night southern Caribbean itinerary departing from Port Canaveral, Fla., on June 30, visiting Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the Disney private island, Castaway Cay.
- In June and July, Disney Dream will homeport in Port Canaveral and operate four- and five-night sailings that call at Nassau, Bahamas, and at Castaway Cay.