Convene On Site

New Disney Ship Launches in the Big Apple

For those of us helping to christen the Disney Fantasy, the fourth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, in New York City on the evening of March 1, it was one treat after another.

Details of the event were kept hush-hush, so the audience burst into surprised applause when Neil Patrick Harris took to the stage of the Fantasy’s 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre to emcee the opening show, which included short musical acts from such Disney classics as “Aladdin” – as well as an original stand-up routine by comedy great Jerry Seinfeld. Next, the crowd gathered in the ship’s luxurious Art Nouveau Atrium Lobby as Mariah Carey took center stage on the grand staircase. We got ready to clink our champagne glasses while we did some fellow-celebrant celebrity spotting. Carey’s husband, Nick Cannon, appeared on a giant screen to officially do the honors – cracking the traditional champagne bottle against the 130,000-ton ship’s hull. Inside, a six-foot- tall champagne bottle erupted to shower us in confetti and streamers.

We headed off for a delightful dinner in the Animator’s Palate, one of the ship’s six dining venues. I was glad to be wearing flats as we embarked on a tour of this floating city – with 14 towering decks and 1,250 staterooms, the Fantasy can accommodate 4,000 passengers in addition to its 1,450-plus cast and crew members.

The Fantasy offers many of the elements already found on sister ship Disney Dream, including the AquaDuck watercoaster, virtual portholes in inside cabins, 3-D movies, interactive art, and numerous venues for kids and teens. But this majestic ship’s design also takes meeting and incentive groups into account. The adult-only entertainment district Europa includes nightclubs and lounges with Italian, French, Irish, and British themes, and the top-deck Satellite Sun Deck is also adult-only. Both the Walt Disney Theatre and the 399-seat Buena Vista Theatre are available for larger group meetings and offer full AV capability and technical support. Lounges, restaurants, and other venues can also be privatized for groups for breakout sessions, team-building activities, or receptions. Plus, a full-service, onboard events team is on hand to lend the Disney touch.

The Fantasy set sail March 31 from Port Canaveral, Fla. Its seven-night itineraries alternate eastern and western Caribbean islands and include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

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Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.