Disney Cruise Line is turning 25 next year and is planning a summer of celebratory cruises to commemorate the occasion.
Compared to some of its cruise line brethren, Disney Cruise Line is a young buck. It was born the year of the flip phone and the colorful, bulbous iMac. But it's also young compared to its nearly centenarian parent, the Walt Disney Company. That company was founded by Walt Disney and his brother Roy in 1923 and is on the cusp of a year-long celebration called Disney100, which includes new features at its theme parks.
Disney Cruise Line has been a meaningful contributor to the larger company, according to CFO Christine McCarthy. The Disney Wish, the newest ship to join the fleet, has occupancy regularly exceeding 90%, she said on a Q4 earnings call this month, adding that the rest of the fleet is enjoying "continued recovery."
With the cruise line's anniversary also comes the introduction of a new membership tier in the Castaway Club, which rewards repeat guests with exclusive perks. Members who have sailed on at least 25 Disney Cruise Line vacations will now earn Pearl status, which will come with benefits to be enjoyed at-home and onboard - those perks will be announced early next year.
Disney's summer of specialty sailings
But the main attraction is a plan to celebrate its anniversary on all five of its cruise ships with a summer 2023 of specialty sailings to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. Called the Silver Anniversary at Sea, Disney Cruise Line plans to outfit Minnie and Captain Mickey in what it described as "dazzling new ensembles" that shimmer as they make appearances on anniversary sailings across the fleet.
The line will release a signature song on the sailings that is meant to weave nostalgia of past vacations with adventures to come, and there will be new family entertainment and activities - all culminating in "shimmering evening experiences" made just for the anniversary cruises. The voyages will also include themed culinary options, including desserts and craft cocktails, and a line of merchandise called the Shimmering Seas Collection that will feature a new signature color inspired by the glow of sunshine off turquoise waters.
The specialty sailings run from dates in May through mid-September and include: Cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on the Disney Magic leaving from Miami; Alaskan voyages on the Disney Wonder from Vancouver, British Columbia; transatlantic and European sailings on the Disney Dream; and sailings from Port Canaveral, Fla., to the Eastern and Western Caribbean aboard the Disney Fantasy and to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay on the new Disney Wish.
As the line prepares to celebrate its 25th year, it is looking to expand: It has two ships on order and announced this month it had acquired a massive, mostly built ship that was previously destined for Dream Cruises. All three of those ships are expected to sail with passengers by 2025.