Disney Heads for the Med in 2007

March 22, 2006
Mickey is moving to the Med: At a short-but-sweet event yesterday at Epcot Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Disney Cruise Line president Tom McAlpin announced that Disney Magic will spend the summer of 2007 in the Mediterranean. Minnie Mouse, Goofy and the rest of the crew were on hand for the festivities, including a skit by Disney mimes, singers and dancers for an audience of press, VIP's and past guests. Fireworks added some spark to the announcement, though we're not sure how well they lit up the 10 a.m. Florida sky.

Though this marks Disney's first entry into Europe, it isn't the first itinerary shakeup of late. In the past, Disney, which has primarily focused on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises (Disney Magic began with three- and four-day itineraries in 1998 and expanded into one-week cruises in 2000), sent Disney Magic to the West Coast last summer; Disney Wonder will visit the Southern Caribbean this fall on two special 10- and 11-night cruises.

The reason for the changes? Customer demand. According to McAlpin, repeat passengers have expressed interest in exploring new destinations, specifically Europe. Parents wanted Disney to make planning a European family vacation easy -- and a cruise offers a hassle-free way to take their children to Europe's capitals to learn about history and culture, with a Disney spin.

The ship will homeport in Barcelona and sail a series of 10- and 11-day cruises to France and Italy with shore excursions in every port. The menu of offerings is still being planned, but will include activities such as standing in the shadow of the volcano Etna on Sicily, touring the Notre Dame de la Garde in the south of France and taking a cable car to the top of "the Rock" in Gibraltar. Though not set in stone, there are possible plans to develop pre- and post-cruise land tours to Disneyland Paris.

Itineraries for the 10- and 11-night cruises include Naples, Rome, Florence and Marseille among the eight ports of call. The 11-night itineraries sail on Saturdays (May 26, June 16, July 7 and July 28) while 10-night itineraries depart on Wednesdays (June 6, June 27, July 18 and August 8). Disney Magic will also offer 14-night trans-Atlantic cruises leaving Port Canaveral on May 12, 2007 and sailing again from Barcelona back to Florida on August 18.

Fares range from $2,399 to $3,499 per person, based on double occupancy. All of these cruises will be available for booking April 4.