Disney Cruise Line will offer Baltic, Med itineraries in 2010

By Johanna Jainchill

NEW YORK -- Disney Cruise Line will offer its first Baltic region sailings when the line ventures back to Europe in 2010.

The Disney Magic will offer 12-day cruises to Scandinavia, Germany and Russia, in addition to a lineup of Mediterranean itineraries that include calls at three maiden ports.

"Our guests wanted Europe, and they wanted new places," said Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin, who said that 30% to 45% of the passengers onboard Disney's ships are repeaters, depending on the cruise.

"There is so much culture that the Baltic has to offer," he said.

McAlpin broke the news over plates of herring at Aquavit, a Scandinavian restaurant here, where he promised that culturally rich ports such as St. Petersburg, Russia, and ones not normally considered children's destinations, such as Tunis, Tunisia (which will be included in a new Mediterranean itinerary), would offer a host of family-friendly shore excursions.

"We will make them kid-friendly," said McAlpin. "That's what we do so well.

"If they know their children are well taken care of, parents have a good time."

Cinematic sightseeing

Those excursions will focus on points of interest such as the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, which houses a 17th century warship that was used to help create the pirate ships in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series, McAlpin said.

In St. Petersburg, children will be able to dress up as princesses and princes and attend balls at real castles.

"People want to go on Disney, no matter where [Disney] is going," said Sue Pisaturo, owner of Small World Vacations, which sells only Disney vacations, who was on hand for the announcement. "And they really wanted Northern Europe.

"When these cruises open, it will be a booking frenzy."

The Magic will spend five months in Europe; it will first make a return visit to the Mediterranean, where it first sailed in 2007.

In the Mediterranean, the Magic will be based in Barcelona and offer four 10-day and four 11-day cruises in April, May, August and September 2010, adding three ports not offered in 2007: Tunis; the island nation of Malta; and the island of Corsica, off the southern coast of France.

The Magic will repeat some ports from its inaugural season there, such as Naples, Civitavecchia and La Spezia, Italy; Villefrance, France; and its homeport, Barcelona.

McAlpin said customer response was very positive for the line's first Mediterranean season, prompting Disney to return.

When the vessel heads north, it will offer four Northern European Capitals cruises, sailing of Dover, England, that will call in Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen; Stockholm; Warnemunde, Germany (the port city nearest to Berlin); and St. Petersburg, where the ship will overnight, giving passengers two days in the city or time to go to Moscow.

The cruises will alternate visits to either Helsinki, Finland, or Tallinn, Estonia.

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