Disney Cruise Line acquires Global Dream, the unfinished world’s biggest cruise ship, for ‘favourable price’

The yet-to-be-completed world’s biggest cruise ship has been sold to Disney after nearly 10 months on the market.

On Wednesday, Disney confirmed its acquisition of the Global Dream, noting that it secured the mammoth ship for “a favourable price” due to its previous owner filing for bankruptcy prior to completion.

The final purchase price for the ship has not been disclosed by the administrator for MV Werften, though the liner reportedly cost $US1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to build.

Disney has revealed plans to rename and “reimagine” the ship before it joins the Disney Cruise Line fleet in 2025.

The record-breaking vessel hit the market following the insolvency of Dream Cruises’ parent company Genting Hong Kong in January after suffering combined blows from the pandemic and Hong Kong’s notoriously tough COVID-19 restrictions.

Disney has tapped German shipbuilding firm Meyer Werft to complete the build, which will take place in the former MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, the site where the ship is currently under construction, and secure employment for hundreds of its former employees.

The administrator for MV Werften, Christoph Morgen, said the sale is great news for the shipbuilders.

“Several hundred current and previous employees of MV Werften, colleagues from Meyer Group and numerous suppliers will complete the impressive shipbuilding project in Wismar over the next two years so that it can set sail for Disney Cruise Line as a sustainable family cruise vessel in the future,” said Morgen.

The 189,000-tonne ship, which was originally built to carry 9000 passengers, making it the world’s largest by passenger capacity, will reduce its capacity to 6000 with an additional 2300 crew under the Disney banner. Its sister ship, Global Dream II, still looks set for the scrapyard.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of parks and experiences, said the addition of the mega-ship will make a Disney cruise “accessible to more families than ever before.”

The 342-metre mega-liner’s original design features included the latest hardware and advanced technology, such as voice and facial recognition, and self-guided mobile assistants.

It was also meant to include the first theme park at sea, and plans for the longest roller coaster at sea. Other notable features included 350 metres of water slides, an inflatable obstacle course, a surf simulator, a trampoline park and mini karts.

Under Disney’s management, the ship is on track to be among the first in the cruise industry to use a green methanol propulsion system, a more environmentally-friendly, lower-emission fuel. Its expansive casino will also likely get a redesign in line with Disney’s family-centric cruises, according to The Maritime Executive.

In addition to a design revamp by “Walt Disney Imagineers”, Disney’s creative design and development arm, the ship’s exterior will get a makeover featuring the Mickey Mouse-inspired colours of the fleet, including the recognisable signature red funnels.

The yet-to-be-named vessel will be based outside of the United States, with further details around its maiden voyage and itineraries to be announced at a later date.

Currently, Disney Cruise Line sails to destinations including the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, the South Pacific and, as of next year, Australia and New Zealand.

Disney Cruise Line’s arrival next year in Australia will mark the first time a Disney liner has cruised Australian waters since launching its cruise line in 1998.

The Disney Wonder will embark on a limited season from ports along Australia’s east coast from October 28, 2023. Bookings for its Australia and New Zealand sailings opened in September, with departures from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.

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