Slideshow: Disney's Newest Cruise Ship -- Is It for You?

November 4, 2010
(10:15 a.m. EDT) -- Last weekend, Disney Cruise Line's first new-build in more than a decade was floated out in a German shipyard, accompanied by fireworks, cheering throngs and Mickey Mouse himself. But so far, outside of die-hard Mouseketeers, we're not exactly sensing a groundswell of interest in the 128,000-ton, 2,500-passenger Disney Dream.

Color us puzzled, inasmuch as it's got everything you'd want in a new ship: multiple dining venues (including Remy, a high-end option led by a Michelin-starred chef); an industry-first water ride; creative uses of technology, such as interactive video game floors and "enchanted art" that comes to life when you look at it, to enhance onboard fun; and family-friendly cabins with lots of balconies (and several upscale suites).

Perhaps the problem is that the ship's name has "Disney" in it.

Disney Dream will debut on January 26, 2011, but according to a recent Cruise Critic daily poll, many of you who aren't already Disney-philes aren't all that interested. Only about 17 percent of 1,796 voters said they'd definitely hop onboard the new ship, while nearly 30 percent said they had no interest whatsoever -- regardless of how innovative the ship might be. Moreover, comments on a Cruise Critic blog post about Disney Dream earlier this week revealed where the disinterest comes from. Christie writes, "I won't cruise Disney for the same reason I don't go to their parks . . . I don't want to see those ridiculous 'ears' shapes everywhere I look!" And Virago6 posts, "No way. Disney was smothering enough at the theme parks."

The relatively high fares -- for a mainstream cruise line -- also aren't winning the ship any fans. (Indeed, 53 percent of those who took part in our poll indicated prices were a deterrent.) As MJ posts, "They may be 'worth the cost' but I still can't afford the cost, for a family of four."

So is this a ship best left to Disney fans, or is it worth setting aside your preconceptions of the Mouse to evaluate the ship on its own merits? We spent the weekend at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, touring the ship and learning about its cool features -- including some kids' activities and areas in which we'd happily play.

View our slideshow to see the pros and cons of the new Disney Dream, based on our tour of the still-under-construction ship. Then, tell us whether you've changed your mind about this exciting new vessel or whether it's still too much Mouse (or moolah) for your taste.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor