The “world’s largest” cruise ship, which was set to be scrapped before its maiden voyage, has now been acquired by Disney.
German-Hong Kong shipbuilding firm MV Werften had nearly completed construction of the ship — Global Dream II — when it filed for bankruptcy at the start of this year.
It was on the market for 10 months and if administrators couldn’t find a buyer, the 20-deck vessel would have ben scrapped.
However, last Wednesday Disney Cruise Line confirmed acquisition of the ship, noting it secured the mammoth vessel for “a favourable price”.
While the price tag hasn’t been disclosed, it reportedly cost $2 billion to build – with a further $340 million needed for completion.
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It is currently located at the former MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany, where it will remain until construction is complete under the management of Meyer Werft — the Papenburg-based company that built the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish.
The ship will be renamed with certain features reimagined under the expertise of its “imagineers”.
“The new ship, to be based outside the United States, will feature innovative Disney experiences along with the dazzling entertainment, world-class dining and legendary guest service that set Disney Cruise Line apart,” it read on the Disney Parks website.
“The exterior will be adorned in the iconic, Mickey Mouse-inspired colours of the fleet, complete with signature red funnels.”
The 189,000-tonne ship, originally built to carry 9000 passengers — making it the world’s largest by passenger capacity — will be reduced to approximately 6,000 with around 2,300 crew members.
Its original design features included the first theme park at sea, plans for the longest roller coaster at sea., 350 metres of water slides, an inflatable obstacle course, a surf simulator, a trampoline park and mini karts.
Areas such as a large casino will be also redesigned in keeping with Disney’s family-oriented cruises, according to Maritime Executive.
Meanwhile, the mammoth ship is expected to be among the first in the cruise industry to be fuelled by green methanol, one of the lowest emission fuels available.
Disney plans for it to join the Disney Cruise Line fleet in 2025.
The administrator for MV Werften, Christoph Morgen, said the sale is great news for the shipbuilders.
“Several hundred current and previous employees of MV Werften, colleagues from Meyer Group and numerous suppliers will complete the impressive shipbuilding project in Wismar over the next two years so that it can set sail for Disney Cruise Line as a sustainable family cruise vessel in the future,” Mr Morgen said.
Currently, Disney Cruise Line sails to destinations including the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, the South Pacific and, as of next year, Australia and New Zealand.