On March 1, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) welcomed its newest ship, the Disney Fantasy, at a christening ceremony. The private ceremony took place Thursday night at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at New York City, the location a first for DCL.
The christening event was marked by special celebrity appearances, including host actor Neil Patrick Harris and the Fantasy’s “Fairy Godmother,” singer Mariah Carey. Carey attended the event with her husband Nick Cannon, who also took part in the ceremony.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the event, which included appearances by entertainers and celebrities Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Gunn, Ty Pennington and Heather Headley. Disney characters joined in the fun, including Cinderella, Donald, Goofy and Chip and Dale.
Guests attended the star-studded event aboard the Disney Fantasy, with a show held in its Walt Disney Theatre prior to the christening ceremony. Harris did emcee duty, Seinfeld offered a comedy monologue and Headley sang. There was also a look at the new “Wishes” stage show.
NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg also made a few comments, including calling the Fantasy a “boat” rather than “ship,” an error that caused a ripple through the audience of mostly travel agents.
The Walt Disney Company President and CEO Bob Iger and Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs. The two welcomed guests to the event, which was covered live by the Disney Cruise Line Twitter feed.
"The Disney Fantasy is a spectacular addition to our fleet and builds on the creativity, innovation and artistry that are hallmarks of the Disney Cruise Line," Iger said. "Like her sister ship, the Dream, the Fantasy will connect guests to iconic Disney characters and storytelling, creating unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation experiences for the entire family."
“From stem to stern, this ship is a testament to [the Disney] vision,” Staggs said before introducing the Fantasy’s officers, cast and crew.
Mickey Mouse then joined Carey for the christening ceremony. As Fairy Godmother of the Disney Fantasy, Carey led the christening of the ship in the Atrium Lobby with a countdown followed by a champagne toast.
“I christen thee Disney Fantasy,” Carey said. “May God bless this ship and all who sail on her.”
The singer’s words triggered a 6-foot tall bottle of champagne to “spray” guests with confetti and streamers.
At the same time, Cannon joined Minnie Mouse to officially break the traditional champagne bottle. After all, Minnie serves as the official “master” of the Disney Fantasy. A bronze statue of her in the atrium commemorates her position.
After the formal presentations, guests were able to explore the ship and enjoy a “Taste of Disney Fantasy” experience in the dining room.
Many of the celebrity appearance, particularly of those who enjoyed prominent roles in the DCL ceremony, reflect Disney’s savvy use of synergy.
Harris enjoys a professional relationship with Disney, having served as a narrator for the Epcot Candlelight Processional several times, last in 2011, and as a frequent guest co-host for ABC’s “Live with Kelly.” ABC is owned by Disney.
Carey, who refers to herself as a native New Yorker, is known for string of musical hits – including the appropriately named “Fantasy,” from her “Daydream” album (1995).
Carey also enjoys an ongoing relationship with The Walt Disney Company. Carey last appeared in the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade in 2010. Cannon has been one of Disney’s parade hosts in 2010 and 2011.
Carey is the most recent Godmother for the Disney Cruise Line ships. Previous stars who have served in that role: Patty Disney (Disney Magic), Tinker Bell (Disney Wonder) and Jennifer Hudson (Disney Dream).
The Fantasy is a sister ship to the Disney Dream which launched in early 2011. Both 4,000 passenger cruise ships are 1,115-feet in length and have 1,250 staterooms and suites. Both evoke the golden age of ocean-liner travel of the 1930s, although the Disney Fantasy’s is inspired by Art Nouveau-inspired details and patterns rather than Art Deco.
The Disney Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean itineraries, alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean trips. Both itineraries include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
In addition to the Fantasy, DCL will offer several trip itineraries in 2012 and 2013. For more information on the Disney Fantasy, visit the Disney Cruise Line site, call 888-325-2500 or contact a Disney travel agent.