Disney Cruise Line will deploy ships to Europe and Alaska in the spring and summer of 2015. But it will keep its two largest ships at Port Canaveral for Bahamas and Caribbean cruises, the cruise line announced Tuesday.
In releasing its schedule for May through August 2015, Disney said:
• The Dream will sail from Port Canaveral on a three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas.
• The Fantasy will have seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean.
Port Canaveral is where Disney Cruise Line began, and its proximity to the Orlando area makes it a key Disney port.
"Central Florida and Port Canaveral continue to be important for Disney Cruise Line," spokeswoman Lauren Falcone said. "Many of our guests choose to combine a Disney cruise with a vacation at Walt Disney World nearby."
Disney cruises from Port Canaveral also make stops at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, called Castaway Cay.
Scott Sanders of Tampa, owner of the widely followed Disney Cruise Line Blog, said cruises from Port Canaveral are "almost the bread-and-butter" for the cruise line, offering synergy with the Disney theme parks.
"It's a built-in audience, it's the summer and it's a no-brainer," Sanders said.
Disney in November announced that it would have three of its four ships based at Port Canaveral from January through April 2015 — the Dream, Fantasy and Magic. Its fourth ship, the Wonder, will sail from Miami during that time.
But, for the warmer months, Disney is going to other markets with the Magic and Wonder.
• The Magic will sail out of three European home ports in the spring/summer 2015 — Copenhagen, Denmark; Dover, England; and Barcelona, Spain. It will sail on a variety of Norwegian fjord, Northern European and Mediterranean itineraries.
While Disney ships have offered European cruises in the past, this is the first time its cruises will call on the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Norwegian fjords "served as the inspiration and backdrop" to the Disney animated film "Frozen," the cruise line noted in its announcement, an indication of the cross-promotion between Disney divisions that will be reflected in some of the shore excursions.
"It looks like a win all around" with the range of Magic's itineraries, Sanders said.
• The Wonder will sail primarily from Vancouver, British Columbia, on seven-day cruises to Alaska. The Wonder also will have several short sailings in May out of San Diego.
"Families see sailing with Disney as an opportunity to travel the world and make memories with their families with a brand they know and trust," Falcone said.
Disney considers a number of factors, such as guest feedback and port availability, during its planning process in choosing home ports and itineraries. With four ships in its fleet, rather than the two that Disney Cruise Line had in its early history, it can diversify its port selection.
Sanders said followers of his blog had two disappointments from the Disney announcement: no cruises from New York City and no cruises involving Hawaii.
Bookings for the newly announced cruises open to the public on Thursday.