Peter Knego does a double take on this Decked! series of posts with side-by-side (or, rather, top-to-bottom) looks at the similarities and differences between Disney Cruise Line’s twin, state-of-the-art megaships DISNEY DREAM and DISNEY FANTASY.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.
Operators: Disney Cruise Line Registry: Nassau, Bahamas Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany (hull numbers S687 and S688) Entered Service: 2011, 2012 Gross Tonnage: 128,000 Length: 1,115 feet Beam: 121 feet Draft: 28 feet Passenger Capacity: 2,500 double occupancy; 4000 maximum Number of Crew:1,458 Propulsion: Five MAN diesel engines; twin screws Maximum Speed: 23.5 knots
In January of 2011, Disney Cruise Line introduced its first new ship in twelve years, the 128,000 gross ton DISNEY DREAM, which was followed in February of 2012 by the nearly identical DISNEY FANTASY. Almost tripling Disney’s capacity, they join the 1998-and-1999-built, 83,000 gross ton, 2,800 passenger DISNEY MAGIC and DISNEY WONDER
The 2012-built DISNEY FANTASY at Castaway Cay.
For the most part, the DREAM and FANTASY are structurally identical and easily distinguished from the smaller ships by their much taller silhouette. The FANTASY has been given a few extra tweaks and while both ships share the same blueprint, the DREAM features Art Deco-influenced stylings versus the Art Nouveau trappings of the FANTASY.
DISNEY DREAM and DISNEY FANTASY are products of the Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany. Located on the River Ems, Meyer is considered the world’s best contemporary shipyard by most cruise ship connoisseurs. Their attention to detail and quality of fittings sets the bar for other ship builders. Recent Meyer ships include Celebrity Cruises spectacular SOLSTICE Class, NCL’s STAR and JEWEL Class, P&O’s AURORA and ORIANA, and Royal Caribbean’s RADIANCE Class.
Each of the four Disney ships has her own “character” mascot on the stern. On the DREAM, it is Mickey Mouse and on the FANTASY, it is Dumbo the Elephant.
3/4 Stern Views
With their striking red, black, white and yellow livery as well as their stately profiles, the Disney ships are a combination of classic and futuristic. Their long bows with “faux sheer” paintwork, rounded superstructures, twin cylindrical funnels and terraced, semi-rounded transom sterns are inspired by some of the great liners of yore, including NORMANDIE, QUEEN ELIZABETH and BREMEN/EUROPA.
Livery and Superstructure Detailing
But the detailing, from the grillwork atop the funnels, the polished glass panels, the pleasingly rounded corners of the balcony bulwarks and oversized circular windows, is cutting edge.
One particularly enchanting feature on all four Disney ships is the flood lighting at the waterline that casts a haunting blue glow as their mighty hulls slice through the sea.
Speaking of futuristic, the much-heralded AquaDuck watercoaster is not only one of the most innovative floating attractions but one of the most beautiful to behold as gurgling jets of water and the occasional human flush through its 765-foot-long, curvaceous Plexiglas tubes.
AquaDuck is accessed from the port side of the aft funnel crown.
Within seconds, riders are plunging into a loop that extends off the side of the ship, 150 feet above the sea.
The ride soars over the pool deck and through both funnels before ending in a yellow trough, 46 feet below where it all began.
Outlook Bar and Radio Studio
The Deck 14 level of the forward funnel is home to one of the ship’s best-kept secrets, the Outlook Lounge. Unfortunately, during both of my cruises on the DREAM and FANTASY, the space was utilized for broadcasting equipment storage. Directly behind the Outlook, overlooking the midships pool area, there is a Radio Studio.
The Edge (tween center)
Edge, a lounge for tweens aged 11 to 13, is located on the Deck 13 level of the forward funnel.
Edge’s decor is described in company literature as “retro with bright colors and funky finishes” and the facilities include computing stations, an interactive 18 by 5 foot video wall, a lighted dance floor with a descending movie screen, video karaoke and more…
Forward Deck 13
There is an open crescent of observation space at the forward end of the ship’s uppermost level, Deck 13.
On the DREAM, a sheltered area just behind the forward observation area is called the Satellite Sun Deck. On the FANTASY, this is enhanced with a wading fountain under the central radome.
Open sunning spaces follow on either side of forward Deck 13.
Forward Deck 13 Concierge Sun Deck
A screened-in area forward of the mast housing is home to the Concierge Sun Deck, a private area reserved for occupants of the ship’s concierge level suites, which can be accessed via a stairway that leads to the deck below.
View facing aft from Forward Deck 13
A terrace flanking the Currents Bar at the aft end of forward Deck 13 offers impressive views of the midships superstructure and those two massive funnels. On the DISNEY DREAM, at the base of the forward funnel, there is open sunning space and on the DISNEY FANTASY, there are some shade awnings and a small wading pool.
With its streamline and neon stylings, the open air Currents Bar has a very South Beach sensibility.
Aft Deck 13
Deck 13 recommences with Goofy’s Sports Deck, aft of the funnels. From here, one can find some subtle differences in the AquaDuck tubing.
On the FANTASY, there is a view of the AquaLab at the foot of the stairs leading up to Deck 13.
Both ships have open terraces surrounding the mast housing on aft Deck 13.
Both ships have netted games courts and a sports simulator.
And both ships have mini-golf courses and the same view over the stern.
Midships Deck 12 is a sunning and promenade deck that stretches from the base of Forward Deck 13 to Aft Deck 13. On the FANTASY, there is that additional wading pool at the base of the forward funnel and the shade awnings shown earlier.
Both ships have an attractively curvaceous terrace overlooking the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool area.
And both have bright yellow cowl ventilators on either side of the funnel. The distinctive Disney Cruise Line livery is actually taken from the colors of Mickey Mouse.
Deck 12 overlooks the two pools on midships Deck 11. The forward Donald’s Pool is for families and the aft Michey’s (wading) Pool if for children.
At night and during deck parties, the pools can be covered with retractable dance floors.
On aft Deck 12, DISNEY DREAM has the al fresco Waves Bar versus the AquaLab water park of the DISNEY FANTASY.
Which would you prefer? A dry something or other at the stylish Waves Bar or a drenching in the perpetually wet AquaLab?
The open air portion of Deck 11 commences with the Quiet Cove Pool area.
This adults-only haven has a small pool (all of the pools on Disney ships tend to run on the small size) with a steamy wet sitting area in front of the bar. On either side, there are Jacuzzis overlooking the sea under the shelter of Deck 13.
And here are some views of the often “cacophonic” Deck 11 midships pools.
Sheltered seating accommodates casual diners and those settling in for a quick munch from Flo’s Cafe on the starboard side (Pizza, Hot Dogs, Fries, etc.) and the Frozone Treats (ice cream) on the port side.
And here is a night view of the pool area with both pools still open.
Deck 4 Promenades
We’ll conclude the first DISNEY DREAM Versus DISNEY FANTASY Decked! with a look at the ships’ beautiful, fully encircling promenades on Deck 4.
On the DREAM, the adults-only District has special alcoves that adjoin the promenade.
Here is the DISNEY FANTASY’s promenade at night.
And we’ll close this post out with a nocturnal look at one of the DREAM’s alcoves.
End of DISNEY DREAM Versus DISNEY FANTASY Decked!, Part One. Much more to come…
Special thanks: Martin Cox, Rob DiStefano, Jason Lasecki, Mike Masino, James McAuliffe
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."