Was Disney Cruise Line's Under-Construction Ship ... Vandalized?

December 28, 2011

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(3 p.m. EST) -- A suspicious incident took place onboard Disney Fantasy in early December that has left officials closemouthed and Cruise Critic scratching its head over just what happened.

The ship, currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Pappenburg, Germany, "was the victim of significant vandalism," reports Cruise Industry News. According to the industry publication, which cited "German media reports" as its source, water valves left open on December 9 caused an estimated $1.3 million in damage to cabins onboard the ship.

Disney Cruise Line's public relations department was not at liberty to comment on the incident, but a spokeswoman confirmed there had been some water damage and some carpeting would have to be replaced. The ship is still on schedule for an on-time delivery. Disney Fantasy will debut at the end of March 2012 as the second of two 128,000-ton, 2,500-passenger (4,000 max) Disney new-builds, after sister Disney Dream.

A few wet rugs didn't strike us as a major act of vandalism, so we reached out to the shipyard via e-mail. Spokesman Peter Hackmann responded, "Yes, there was damage [done in] early December -- but nothing you, Disney Cruise Line or we have to worry about too much." He could not comment on the extent or cost of the damage as the incident is still under investigation.

When asked what precautions were being taken to prevent future acts of vandalism, Hackmann wrote, "We do have very strict safety regulations (ISPS [International Ship and Port Facility Security] code)! In addition our Safety Management has taken further measurements/restrictions for people working onboard."

Was the incident an accident, a misguided prank or a mean-spirited attempt to damage the Mouse's newest cruise ship? Will repairs add significantly to the project's bottom line? We may have to wait for the completion of the investigation to find out.

Suspicious, and in some cases criminal, activity is not unheard of at the shipyard. In 2010, three fires in the space of three months were put out aboard a nearly-completed Norwegian Epic, which was built at STX France in St. Nazaire. The first two fires were deemed suspicious in nature, and French prosecutors believed the third was "almost certainly deliberate in origin." Damage was minimal and the ship debuted on schedule.

--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor