Disney Cruise Line's New Ports and Itineraries in 2012: New York, Galveston, Seattle To Become New Ports - PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  

Disney Cruise Line's New Ports and Itineraries in 2012: New York, Galveston, Seattle To Become New Ports

by Dave Marx, PassPorter Guidebooks Author
Last modified 04-07-2011

PassPorter.com > Articles > Disney Cruise Line > Cruising  

On Wednesday, April 6, Disney Cruise Line officially unveiled the remainder of its 2012 cruise schedule at a press conference in New York City.

A press conference for some cruise itineraries? That seems a bit much, unless there's something really good to share. And the announcement might have actually been exciting, had the news not leaked beforehand. Disney Cruise Line's new itineraries and ports of call were one of the worst-kept Disney secrets ever, thanks to a variety of credible rumors from crew members and the premature release of the official press release. The only question going in would be whether they would, in the words of Anton Ego in Disney Pixar's Ratatouille, surprise me.

Would Disney Cruise Line unveil design details about their fourth ship, currently under construction, the Disney Fantasy? Nope. What character's statue would grace the new ships lobby, and which character(s) would dangle from the ship's stern? Nope. Was the leaked press release a ruse? Uh uh. Would they announce plans to add some of the Disney Dream's great new features to their older ships? Not a word. But Captain Mickey was on hand, cruise line president Karl Holz presented a concise overview of cruise line current events and the new itineraries, representatives from the City of New York expressed their happiness and appreciation for the economic benefits derived from the cruise line's first visit to New York, and everyone posed for pictures.

Wait... Do you want to read about the business of press and publicity, or do you want to know about those cruises? And why all the fuss in the first place? The full 2012 schedules for the recently-christened Disney Dream and her sister ship, the Disney Fantasy (which enters service in March 2012) have been public for quite some time, but the schedules for the older ships petered out in April. So the question was, "What will the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder do from April 2012 through the end of the year?"

May we have the envelope, please? (Captain Mickey actually did deliver an envelope to Karl during the press conference!) The Disney Cruise Line will be sailing from three new temporary home ports in 2012: New York City, Galveston,Texas; and Seattle, Washington. The cruise line will also be making first-time visits to Hawaii (Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, and Kauai), San Diego, and the Canadian ports of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Mickey Mouse in NYC for the DCL 2012 Announcement photo
Mickey Mouse in NYC for the DCL 2012 Announcement

Mickey Mouse posts with Disney Cruise Line President and several NYC dignitaries during the announcement of the 2012 DCL sailing season in NYC on April 6, 2011. - photo by Jennifer Marx

The number of different itineraries seems staggering for a four-ship cruise line. The  Disney Magic will sail her traditional Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral until the Disney Fantasy takes over those itineraries in late March. The Magic will stay around Port Canaveral a while longer, though, offering a few 7-night itineraries with Friday departures, and some 4- and  5-night Bahamas itineraries. Then, it's up to New York City (will she be greeted by spouting fireboats?), where she will offer eight, 8-night voyages to the Bahamas and Port Canaveral... Wait, didn't the Magic just leave Port Canaveral? Yes, but how else can Disney take cruisers to Walt Disney World for the day (park admission and bus transportation included in the cruise fare)?

But the New York story doesn't end there. While based in New York, the Magic will also offer nine, 5-night cruises up the New England coast to the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and three, 2-night "cruises to nowhere." The Magic will wrap up her New York visit in early September, then head down to Galveston. Texas to finish out her year, offering  a dozen 7-night Western Caribbean sailings (Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Costa Maya), and one 8-night Holiday Cruise. Disney's many fans in Texas must be mighty happy around now.

Disney is also mixing things up on the West Coast. The Disney Wonder will continue with her 7-night Mexican Riviera cruises for much of the fall, winter, and spring seasons from her permanent home base in Los Angeles. But in April, prior to heading north to Alaska, she'll take that one-time-only 15-night cruise back and forth to Hawaii. Then, it's up the coast to her new Alaskan itinerary base of operations, Seattle, Washington. It seems cruisers have been very unhappy with the high airfares into Vancouver, and have been flying into Seattle anyway before taking bus, train, or rental car north to Vancouver. Why not make life a bit more convenient and economical? To satisfy the United States' arcane shipping rules, Victoria, British Columbia will be added to the familiar 7-night itinerary of Tracy Arm Fjord, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. After her return to Los Angeles in mid-September, the Wonder begins another new itinerary, a series of four, 7-night cruises visiting San Francisco, San Diego, and Ensenada, Mexico. Are they trying to dodge the end of hurricane season? Then, in mid-October, it's back to the 7-night visits to the Mexican Riviera.

Whew! While I haven't managed to catch it all (there are, naturally, several repositioning cruises, too), isn't this enough? Maybe. Let's not forget the excitement when the Disney Fantasy enters service!

One bit of missing info at the news conference was the matter of whether the Disney Magic would depart from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, a five-pier complex in the West 50s that has been berthing passenger ships for around 80 years. I have fond childhood memories of wishing my parents and relatives bon voyage as their ships slipped away from those storied piers. And back in those days, visitors could still board to see their loved ones off. "All ashore that's going ashore!" If not sailing from Manhattan, then it would have to be the one-berth Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, or the Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal in Bayonne, NJ. We can only read between the lines - nobody from New Jersey made a speech, and the gent from the New York Urban Development Commission thanked the company that manages the Manhattan and Brooklyn terminals. The Manhattan piers are currently being rehabbed, one pier at a time, with Brooklyn handling the resulting overflow. The Magic may sail from either, or both. We'll have to dig deeper.

Another surprise was that the Disney Wonder, which we expected for a while would visit Hawaii, is being visited on an out and back itinerary from and to LA, rather than as part of the spring repositioning to Alaska. Just testing the waters, perhaps, for more frequent visits to the 49th State? it'd be nice to have a choice of Mexican Riviera, Alaska, and Hawaii every year.

What wasn't surprising was the addition of so many new U.S. home ports. A basic truth of 21st century cruising is airfare costs. Cruise lines find it much easier to fill their ships when their passengers can drive from home to the cruise pier. With airfare out of the picture, there will be quite a few families able to afford a Disney cruise for the first time. Some cruisers may be disappointed that similar choices are offered from several different home ports. Long, exotic itineraries might suit them better (I'd love a chance to visit the Galapagos Islands or the Eastern Mediterranean), but I can't fault Disney for focusing on reaching new cruisers. For now. There's always 2013 to look forward to.

One of the great challenges in a journalist's life is getting new info from a Disney executive, and my brief interview with Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz was a very pleasant version of one of those "no hints or slips" conversations. Karl is an easy-going, warm person to talk to, but if it's not in the press release, it's not on the table. "Might there someday be a Disney's Denali Resort?" Several cruise lines own hotels in Alaska, and since Disney's non-theme parks hotels, like Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii, are under Karl's wing, it seemed a reasonable question. There was nary a hint on his face to suggest an answer, and his spoken reply was the kind of perfectly-inflected "anything's possible," that gives absolutely nothing away.

What do I make of all this? Now that Disney Cruise Line will have four ships, they're clearly going overboard to provide veteran cruisers with the kind of diverse choices they've been wishing for. It's a set of choices that will certainly keep Disney Cruise fans and their travel agents analyzing choices for a good long time to come. Now, what will they do to top themselves in 2013?

About the Author:
Dave Marx is the co-founder of PassPorter Travel Press, as well as co-author of many PassPorter guidebooks, including the award-winning PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line guidebook.

Recent Disney Cruise Line Articles:
When Is the Best Time to Board Your Disney Cruise Ship? - A Disney Cruise Line Review last updated 09-03-2015
Top Ten Favorite Adult Experiences Onboard Disney Cruise Line - A Disney Cruise Line Review last updated 08-13-2015
Cruising with Special Needs - Part 2: Wheelchairs - A Disney Cruise Line Planning Article last updated 07-30-2015
Cruising with Special Needs - Part 1: Autism - A Disney Cruise Line Planning Article last updated 07-23-2015
Our First Four Night Cruise on the Disney Dream - A Disney Cruise Line Review last updated 07-09-2015

More Related Links:
2012 Itineraries Press Release from Disney Cruise Line
Video of the Disney Cruise Line Press Event in New York City

Disney Cruise Line Member Cruise - A DVC Member's Report last updated 01/02/2009
Amazing Disney Cruise Line - Finding the Wonder & Magic At Sea last updated 3/6/2011
Alaska - An Inside Look At Dog Sledding last updated 8/14/2008
Inside Staterooms Onboard the Disney Cruise Line - Life On The Inside last updated 7/17/2008
A Magic Time In The Med - A Semi-Live Trip Report From the Disney Magic last updated 5/31/2007

Reader Comments:

smiley for :DI am SOOOO excited to have Galveston available! It is a long drive from TX to Port Canaveral or LA, although we will miss having Castaway Cay on the itinerary. Stingray City @ Grand Cayman is awesome and so is snorkeling @ Chankanaab Park in Cozumel, smiley for :cool:so we are in...and we always seem to end up on the Magic no matter where we sail from (Port Canaveral or LA - both on the Magic for past sailings) so I guess that is officially our home ship smiley for ;)

     jrbelle on April 8, 2011 @ 3:16 pm
View all 1 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 04-07-2011 - Article #625 

Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS Test PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Planning Your Disney Cruise Voyage
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Get onboard and share your plans and ask your questions about sailing the high seas on the Disney Cruise Line! Forum sponsored by MouseEarVacations.com

Star Wars Day At Sea
by CruisinCristina
5 Oct 2015 at 12:23am
I am excited that we've booked our 6th cruise that will have a Star Wars Day at Sea. Has anyone heard about any of the activities on board? I read...
(click title above to view replies)

Rainforest Room Passes: multiple single day vs length of cruise (Dream & Fant...
by Starwind
4 Oct 2015 at 9:20am
Alright fellow Passporters, I am reaching out to you because I reached out to DCL via email and the response I got back did not in any way, shape or...
(click title above to view replies)

Tortola, British VI??
by ladytikibird
2 Oct 2015 at 5:45pm
Has anyone ever been to the cruise port in Tortola?? If so any ideas of the best excursions, shopping, food etc?? I've never been and I think many of...
(click title above to view replies)

Information about Tortola
by cfaletra
2 Oct 2015 at 10:08am
I am hearing mixed reports about Tortola. We are on the Magic April 2016. Some are saying stay on the ship as the port is a disaster, some say the...
(click title above to view replies)

Do Staterooms on the Magic Require card with magnetic strip for lights?
by toddjodybrent
1 Oct 2015 at 11:44am
We haven't been on the Magic since the rehab and I am helping friends plan their first cruise. Is a card with magnetic strip required for lights to...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 14450

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.