Disney Will Base Its Largest Cruise Ship in Singapore Starting in 2025
Disney Cruise Line and the Singapore Tourism Board have entered into an agreement for the cruise line to deploy one of the largest cruise ships in the world to Singapore starting in 2025. Disney confirmed the previous rumors that the company plans to deploy the Global Dream cruise ship acquired in the bankruptcy of MV Werften to Asia marking the first time that one of the ultra-large cruise ships has homeported in the region.
News of the agreement with Singapore comes as work is beginning at the shipyard in Wismar, Germany more than a year after the bankruptcy of the yard which was controlled by Genting Hong Kong. Disney announced in November 2022 that it was acquiring the incomplete cruise ship and would work with Meyer Werft to redesign and finish the ship for its cruise operations.
Under the terms of the agreement with the Singapore Tourism Board, the as yet unnamed cruise ship will be homeported exclusively in Singapore for at least five years. The chief executive of the board, Keith Tan, called it an important milestone for Singapore highlighting that they expect the cruise ship will become “an attraction itself, and is expected to boost the tourism sector in Singapore for many years to come.”
During a press event in Singapore today officials said the addition of a Disney Cruise Line ship in Singapore has the potential to add millions of local and foreign cruise passengers across the five-year period, including fly-cruise passengers who arrive in Singapore by air. It is also expected to bring about significant spillover benefits for the wider economy. These include greater demand for port and ship-related services, as well as on-ground spending in Singapore for the lifestyle and hospitality sectors.
Disney said details, including the name of the ship, its itineraries, and onboard experiences would be announced at a later date. The cruise line previously said it anticipates lowering the capacity from Genting Hong Kong’s plans for a passenger capacity of up to 9,500 people with 2,500 cabins to approximately 6,000 passengers and 2,300 crew.
The cruise ship, which will be approximately 208,000 gross tons and 1,122 feet in length, was being called the world’s largest based on its passenger capacity. In addition to being the first time Disney Cruise Line has homeported in Asia, it will be the first cruise ship over 200,000 gross tons to homeport in Asia. Royal Caribbean International had planned before the pandemic to homeport its Wonder of the Seas (235,600 gross tons) in China, but so far the Oasis class has operated in Europe and the Caribbean. MSC Cruises put its MSC World Europa (215,863 GT) in Dubai this winter and now the ship is repositioning to the Mediterranean.
Dream Cruises, which had planned to operate the ship, announced plans for a large amusement park, water slides, shopping mall, Asian spa, and Cineplex, as well as a range of restaurants, bars, and a large casino. A spokesperson for Meyer Werft recently reported that negotiations were underway with Disney to finalize the exact scope of the conversion work.
Two weeks ago in Germany, bankruptcy administrator Christoph Morgen said the proceeding had been a success and was now winding down. They reported that 70 percent of the former employees of MV Werften have either received new jobs or were currently in training programs to transition to new jobs. Approximately 125 people had already returned to the shipyard mostly working for Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), which acquired the facility, as well as the first people for the work on the cruise ship under the supervision of Meyer Werft. By early April they were expected 300 people to be hired and by May 500 people as part of a workforce of approximately 650 people that will be undertaking the conversion of the former Global Dream.
Speaking previously Meyer said one of the most challenging elements was to meet Disney’s plan to convert the engine plant to operate on methanol as its primary fuel. The engines require conversion and in addition they said new tanks would be required as well as piping and control systems.
The original timeline had called for the cruise ship to leave the building hall by the end of 2023. TKMS has leased the facility for the completion of the ship, but recent reports said TKMS is delaying its projected start for work in Wismar from 2024 to 2025. As such, it is expected that the cruise ship project will have an additional time cushion before it has to leave the drydock.
Reports in the German media said that Disney Corp. was making a payment of less than €100 million to the insolvency company in March and expects to invest several hundred million euros in the completion of the ship. Disney is financing the project privately with no further assistance from the German government.