The brand-new Disney Wish cruise ship just had her maiden voyage in the summer of 2022, but Disney has apparently already moved on to the next ship in the company’s fleet. And no, we don’t mean the Disney Treasure.
Disney just bought a HUGE cruise ship called the Global Dream at a price that some experts are calling ridiculously low. However, the bargain deal doesn’t completely explain what appears to be a very strange choice. Let’s take a closer look at Disney’s recent purchase.
First, here’s a little bit of background about what’s going on.
Disney Bought a Big Ship
OK, so the Global Dream might be more than just a “big ship.” In fact, it’s one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and it’s bigger than Disney’s largest ship (the Disney Wish) by 64,000 TONS. German finance and news site Capital reported that Disney purchased the ship for 40 million euros (about $41.5 million US dollars).
While $40 million sounds like quite the price tag to most of us, that’s a shockingly low price for a cruise ship. Originally, the Global Dream was estimated to cost 1.8 billion euros (about $1.87 billion US dollars), which means that Disney got the ship for less than 3% of the estimated price.
The Global Dream is 75% completed, so Disney will have some work to do before it’ll be ready to sail. Disney was the only buyer interested in purchasing the ship,
According to The Maritime Executive, “The liquidator for the shipyard had been seeking a buyer for the cruise ship preferring a company that would complete the ship in Germany to also provide employment for the workers of the closed shipyard in Wismar.” Some other interested parties dropped out of the picture, and Disney completed the purchase, agreeing to finish the ship in the Wismar shipyard with Meyer Werft (the original owner) supervising the project.
Why the Global Dream Was For Sale and Why Disney Bought It
So why was the Global Dream sold for such a low price? Capital reports that the shipbuilder MV Werften went bankrupt at the beginning of 2022, so the company was unable to complete the ship. A couple of other cruise companies (such as the Swedish Stena Group) expressed interest in purchasing the ship initially, but the negotiations ultimately fell through.
As a result of the failed negotiations, Disney was the only interested group, and the company had little choice but to accept their offer. The insolvency administrator said, “Disney offered the highest purchase price. It’s the price of taking that entrepreneurial risk.”
As to why Disney purchased the ship, the obvious reason appears to be the ridiculously low price tag. If the ship was expected to cost $1.8 billion and ended up selling for $41.5 million, Disney got the Black Friday deal of the century. The purchase price was only 2.2% of that expected $1.8 billion, so Disney saved serious cash compared to the cost of building a new ship from scratch.
CNBC reports that “the average cost of producing a cruise liner” is about $617 million, but the price of larger cruise ships (like the Disney Wish) is “estimated to cost closer to $1 billion.” The Global Dream is significantly larger than the Wish, so that price is looking better and better.
Speaking of the ship’s size, that was likely another reason that Disney was interested in the vessel. According to The Maritime Executive, with the acquisition of the Global Dream, “Disney will become only the third cruise line to have a ship over 200,000 gross tons. The Global Dream potentially will be the industry’s eleventh largest cruise ship, behind two classes of ships owned by Royal Caribbean International and a new class of ships being launched by MSC Cruises.”
The Global Dream will have a capacity of 6,000 passengers and 2,300 crew (according to Travel Weekly), which is 2,000 more passengers and 745 more crew than the Wish can hold. Travel Weekly reports that “the ship will give Disney a huge capacity bump at a time when the line is already growing.”
What’s WEIRD About It
Now you’ve got the gist of this situation: Disney bought a huge ship at a (relatively) tiny price, and that ship can seriously increase the Disney Cruise Line’s capacity. Makes sense, right? Actually, there are a couple of things about this purchase that still seem very strange.
First of all, Disney’s acquisition of the Global Dream comes right in the midst of some other huge cruise plans. Right now, Disney is in the middle of building 3 Triton-Class ships, one of which is the recently-debuted Disney Wish. The other 2 will come out in 2024 and 2025, including the Disney Treasure and another yet-to-be-officially-named ship. (Before you ask, Disney has said that the Global Dream will NOT become the 3rd of this Triton Class set.)
However, the Global Dream is expected to be finished around the same time as that 3rd and final Triton Class ship, in 2025. Travel Weekly reported that “Two ships are on order and slated to enter service by 2025, the same year Disney expects the renamed Global Dream to debut. Disney said the additional ship will not impact its delivery plans.” The timing sounds like it could be tricky, as Disney will attempt to complete and release 2 new cruise ships in the same year.
In addition to the busy schedule, Disney also has to deal with the risk of buying a different company’s ship. Capital reported that “Disney will accept the ship without warranty claims and will complete and rebuild it at its own risk and expense.” Disney will be working to complete the ship in Wismar, which will involve changing some existing elements on the ship to better fit the company’s needs.
Capital expects that it will cost another $1.04 billion for Disney to finish the ship. So although Disney got a bargain price on the 75% completed ship, that final 25% is going to be pricey. In a recent report filed with the SEC, Disney stated, “Disney Cruise Line will incur the cost to complete construction with total costs anticipated to be less than our recent fleet additions.”
Aside from completing the ship, Disney will need to “Disney-fy” the existing parts, which will mean repainting the hull “for the traditional black and gold Disney livery with the Mickey Mouse logos” and likely removing the casino that’s already onboard.
Travel Weekly posed the question as well: “Another question is how Disney will inject its brand personality onto a vessel that was 75% completed for a different cruise line.” Although the ship is going to be finished at the MV Werften shipyard, it will still be overseen by Meyer Werft, who built the Disney Dream, Fantasy, and Wish cruise ships.
What’s the Plan Now?
Disney will continue to work on the ship and hopefully meet their 2025 deadline. Once the ship is finished, it will likely be based outside of the U.S. Travel Weekly said, “The Dream was built for the Asian market, and agents who sell Disney predict the ship would do well there given that the region already supports several Disney theme parks.”
The Disney Cruise Line currently does not have any sailings to Asia, so this would open up a whole new area of the world for the company. We’ll have to wait and see what the ship will end up looking like and where it will go!
We’ll continue to watch for more updates from Disney, so stay tuned to DFB for all the latest news.
What do you think of Disney’s decision to buy the Global Dream? Let us know in the comments.