In what must be one of the cruise industry's worst-kept secrets, it appears that Disney Cruise Line may well be ready to expand its fleet. According to industry sources, the cruise line, which has already commissioned (and now received) design plans for its new ship(s) via a Finland-based naval architectural firm, is shopping them around. European shipyards most often mentioned were Italy's Fincantieri, France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Germany's Meyer Werft and Finland's Kvaerner Masa-Yards.
Word on the street – confirmed by our sources though not by Disney, which didn't immediately respond to a query – is that plans call for two Panamax-sized ships (which means they can sail through the Panama Canal) that will not be exact replications of Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the cruise line's first two vessels.
The actual bid process could take anywhere from three months to a year – and that's before there's any thought of a keel-laying – so the ships would not be likely to join the fleet before 2006 at the earliest.