West Coast cruises are hot! Recently, Royal Caribbean and Carnival repositioned some of their biggest, amenity-laden cruise ships -- Mariner of the Seas and Carnival Splendor, respectively -- to Southern California to offer year-round Mexican Riviera sailings. And now, Disney Cruise Line has just announced that it plans to base Disney Wonder in Los Angeles, starting in 2011.
Although the agreement with the Port of Los Angeles is not yet finalized, both Disney Cruise Line and Los Angeles' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are optimistic about the five-year contract (a two-year agreement with a three-year extension option). The redeployment is part of Disney's expansion plan, with two new ships -- Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy -- launching in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
You may recall that Disney tested out West Coast cruises on its other ship, Disney Magic, in summers 2005 and 2008. Although those two seasons of Mexican Riviera sailings proved popular, the cruise line was not ready to permanently base a ship in Mexico because it only has two ships in its fleet. Disney Wonder remains in Port Canaveral to offer the line's bread-and-butter three- to five-night Bahamas cruises (easily combinable with visits to Disneyworld in Orlando). Disney Magic usually sails seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, but has been spending summers testing out alternate destinations, such as Mexico, the Mediterranean and -- for the first time in 2009 -- Northern Europe.
Disney Wonder's 2011 West Coast itineraries have not yet been finalized. We'll keep you posted.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Disney Wonder Will Cruise From Los Angeles in 2011
March 30, 2009