The uncompleted largest cruise ship in the world has been sold to Disney after almost 10 months on the market.
On Wednesday, Disney confirmed its acquisition of the Global Dream, noting that it had secured the mammoth ship at a “cheap price” since its previous owner filed for bankruptcy before completion.
The final purchase price for the ship was not disclosed by the manager at MV Werften, although the liner reportedly cost US$1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) to build.
Disney has announced plans to rebrand and “reinvent” the ship before she joins Disney Cruise Line’s fleet in 2025.
The record-breaking ship came on the market following the bankruptcy of Dream Cruises’ parent company, Genting Hong Kong, in January, after suffering from the pandemic and Hong Kong’s notoriously tight COVID-19 restrictions.
Disney has hired German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to complete construction, which will take place at the former MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, the site where the ship is currently being built, and employ hundreds of its former employees.
MV Werften manager Christoph Morgen said the sale was great news for shipyards.
“Several hundred current and former employees of the MV shipyards, colleagues from the Meyer Group and numerous suppliers will complete the impressive shipbuilding project in Wismar over the next two years in order to set sail as a sustainable family cruise ship for Disney Cruise Line in the future,” said Morgen.
The 189,000-ton ship, originally built to carry 9,000 passengers, making it the world’s largest by passenger capacity, will reduce its capacity to 6,000 with an additional crew of 2,300 under the Disney banner. Sister ship Global Dream II still looks set to go to the scrapyard.
Parks and Experiences chairman Josh D’Amaro said the addition of the megaship will make a Disney cruise “accessible to more families than ever before.”
The original design features of the 342 meter long megaliner included the latest hardware and advanced technology such as voice and face recognition and self-guided mobile assistants.
It would also include the first theme park at sea and plans for the longest roller coaster at sea. Other notable features included 350 meters of water slides, an inflatable obstacle course, a surfing simulator, a trampoline park and mini-karts.
Under Disney’s direction, the ship is on track to become one of the first in the cruise industry to use a green methanol propulsion system, a greener fuel with lower emissions. The sprawling casino is also likely to receive a redesign in line with Disney’s family-centric cruises, according to The Maritime Executive.
In addition to a design makeover by Walt Disney Imagineers, Disney’s creative design and development arm, the ship’s exterior will be redesigned with the fleet’s Mickey Mouse-inspired colors, including the recognizable red smokestacks.
The ship, yet to be named, will be based outside the United States, with further details of its maiden voyage and itineraries to be announced at a later date.
Disney Cruise Line currently sails to destinations such as the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, the South Pacific, and next year Australia and New Zealand.
Disney Cruise Line’s arrival in Australia next year will mark the first time a Disney liner has sailed Australian waters since its cruise line launched in 1998.
Disney Wonder will depart from ports along Australia’s east coast for a limited season starting October 28, 2023. Bookings for her Australia and New Zealand cruises opened in September with departures from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.
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