Disney Cruise Line Expanding to Southeast Asia & Basing New 7th Ship in Singapore

Disney Cruise Line announced a new ship coming to Southeast Asia for the first time, with the 7th addition to the DCL fleet being based out of a home port in Singapore starting in 2025. This post shares the announcement from the company, plus our commentary about this ship, whether it’ll have a casino, and more!

This seventh ship in the DCL fleet was revealed by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro and Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S. Iswaran. The new ship is presently unnamed, and will join the existing 5 ships plus the Disney Treasure after that sets sail starting in 2024.

Under a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, Disney Cruise Line and Singapore Tourism Board agreed to collaborate to homeport a brand-new Disney cruise ship exclusively in Singapore for at least five years beginning in 2025. More details about the maiden voyage, itineraries and onboard experiences will be announced at a later date.

“This is a very exciting year for The Walt Disney Company — 2023 marks our 100th anniversary,” D’Amaro said. “As part of this, Disney Cruise Line is currently undergoing an ambitious expansion with new ships and new destinations around the world. We are incredibly excited to make Singapore the home port to our seventh-launched ship, which will sail from here year-round starting in 2025.”

“We look forward to welcoming the magic of Disney Cruise Line to Singapore in 2025,” said Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “This is an important milestone for STB and reflects Disney Cruise Line’s strong confidence in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The new Disney cruise ship will be an attraction itself and is expected to boost the tourism sector in Singapore for many years to come.”

Singapore’s strategic location, world-class air connectivity, and port infrastructure make it a thriving cruise hub in Southeast Asia, a diverse region that is home to over 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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.

The new ship will feature innovative Disney Cruise Line experiences along with the dazzling entertainment, world-class dining, and legendary guest service that set DCL apart from the competition. Guests of all ages will find dedicated spaces and activities designed just for them, and families will create unforgettable memories with beloved characters such as Captain Mickey Mouse and Captain Minnie Mouse, Disney Princesses, Marvel Super Heroes and more.

Disney Cruise Line estimates the passenger capacity of the 208,000-gross-ton ship to be approximately 6,000 with around 2,300 crew members. It is expected to be among the first in the cruise industry to be fueled by green methanol, one of the lowest emission fuels available.

Construction is projected to be completed at the MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany, under the management of Meyer Werft, the Papenburg-based company that built the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish and is constructing two additional Wish-class ships.

In terms of commentary, we’ll start by addressing the obvious but unstated: this is the former Global Dream ship.

Back when Disney announced that it had acquired this partially-finished ship, the press release stated that Disney Cruise Line was able “to secure [Global Dream] at a favorable price and within the capital expenditure guidance the Walt Disney Company provided on its recent earnings call.” At the time, we thought that was noteworthy because that’s not the type of language that would usually be included in Disney’s sometimes-overly-flowery press releases.

Well, we learned why a few weeks later. According to reporting at the time that was later confirmed by regulatory filings, the Walt Disney Company about $40 million for the Global Dream, which is especially staggering given that the $2 billion ship was approximately 75% complete when Disney acquired it.

The Global Dream’s previous owner filed for bankruptcy before completing the vessel, and Disney was rumored to be the only interested buyer after negotiations with two other parties failed. This gave Disney complete leverage, with the insolvency manager’s choices being Disney or selling the ship for scrap metal. There was reportedly resistance to the latter route, as it hurt morale at the shipyard.

Disney Cruise Line thus acquired the ship for a tiny fraction of its original price tag and even value as partially-built. However, that came with the asterisk that Disney would take over without warranty claims and would need to spend considerably sums modifying and “reimagining” significant aspects of the ship with the expertise of Walt Disney Imagineering. Reported estimates put Disney Cruise Line’s costs with the ship as nearly $1 billion to finish and redesign the Global Dream to turn it into a Disney Cruise Line vessel.

Still, this has gotta be categorized as a rare Chapek win. At the time of the announcement, this seemed completely out of left field, and impulsive, very much inconsistent with Disney’s normal methodical and risk-averse way of doing business.

We openly wondered whether Disney Cruise Line was betting too boldly on the future of cruising, especially with multiple ships already under construction. Even with this sailing exclusively in Asia and have little-to-no overlap with the current DCL ships, it felt like a big leap. (Especially since it stood to reason that one of the existing ships would be relocated to Asia once the Wish-class is completed.)

Upon learning the price that Disney Cruise Line had paid, it all made complete sense. It was too good of a deal to pass up, with minimal downside risk and a significantly lower total cost even after retrofits and finishing than Disney Cruise Line would pay to build a comparably-sized ship from the ground up.

The rumored price (and subsequent confirmation) came right as Chapek was being shown the door at Disney, but he and D’Amaro definitely deserve kudos for pulling off this deal. Like me at the Disney Character Warehouse Outlet looking at 90% off prices, it was a “buy now, figure out the purpose later” kinda scenario.

Beyond that, I’ll be curious to see what’s cut and what’s kept. The Asian market is very different from the domestic one, both with cruising preferences and knowledge or expectations of the Disney brand. Most interesting to us is that the Global Dream was designed by its original owners to have considerable casino space.

That’s not really unique to the Asian cruising market, although it does seem more pronounced there. Obviously, Disney has resisted the temptation to add gambling to its fleet; the company as a whole has been willing to leave money on the table by avoiding sports betting, despite flirting with the idea repeatedly under Chapek.

Casinos are incredibly lucrative for cruise ships. By not having them, Disney Cruise Line has taken the financial hit to avoid taking the reputational one. Even in the United States, the tides are turning on that in terms of consumer expectations and preferences. And fast!

I remember a time when sports betting was verboten, and in just a few short years, it became totally normalized and actively promoted by the networks and leagues. ESPN eventually embracing the same seems inevitable–the bigger question is who will own the brand when that happens?

Maybe Global Dream will be the Walt Disney Company’s first foray into gambling on a large scale. Given that the space is already there, the Asian market has different expectations and brand-knowledge of Disney, and that this ship will fly under the radar of most American audiences, it seems to me more likely than not that the reimagined and renamed Global Dream will have casino space.

It really comes down to how strongly Bob Iger feels about Disney’s association with gambling, the financial upside to including casinos, and whether it’ll hurt the brand. Personally, I’d bet on it happening…and I don’t even gamble!

Ultimately, I’m really intrigued by all of this. Singapore has been on our travel bucket list for years as the next new-to-us place we want to visit in Asia. It was never previously on our radar as a cruise destination–more a stopover for a few days en route to or returning from Japan–but plans can change. Between my desire to visit Singapore and Sarah’s love for Disney Cruise Line, we’ll definitely be checking this out in 2025.

I also have a tremendous amount of curiosity about how this ship will be reimagined from the Global Dream, and specifically designed to appeal to the Asian market. That’s one of the things that I found most interesting about Shanghai Disneyland, which is Disney’s first truly targeted park in Asia. (As much as we love them, the parks in Tokyo and Hong Kong are largely Americanized.)

Even though I don’t gamble, I don’t really care one way or the other whether the ship has a casino. (It’s not a moral aversion, more recognition that the house always wins. We’ve visited Las Vegas, Macau, and Monaco–I love the energy around casinos, just not the “losing money” part.) It’ll be fascinating to hear the thought process behind that decision one way or the other, see what else is built and left out, and so much more.

Shanghai Disneyland is simultaneously similar to but very different from the other castle parks, and I’m expecting the same familiar-but-unique vibes from Disney Cruise Line’s seventh ship. As much as I’m looking forward to the Disney Treasure, I’m really looking forward to this!

Planning to set sail aboard one of the DCL ships? Read our comprehensive Disney Cruise Line Guide to prepare for your voyage, plus plan entertainment, activities & excursions, and learn what to expect from your Disney cruise! For personalized planning & recommendations, click here to get a cruise quote from a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They can find you all of the current discounts, and help you plan the details of your cruise!


Thoughts on Disney Cruise Line’s seventh ship being based out of Singapore? What do you think about the company acquiring the partially-completed Global Dream ship? Think this is a good addition to the fleet or at-odds with the existing ships? Confident that Imagineering can transform this into a ‘Distinctly Disney’ (Cruise Line) ship, or think it’ll stick out from the rest? Thoughts on DCL’s plans for growth and expansion? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

14 Responses to “Disney Cruise Line Expanding to Southeast Asia & Basing New 7th Ship in Singapore”
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