Disney's new cruise ship setting sail on maiden voyage

By Marnie Hunter, CNN

    (CNN) -- Disney's newest cruise ship is setting sail onitsmaiden voyage Thursday from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas.

Disney Wish is the fifth ship in the cruise line's fleet and the first new Disney ship in a decade.

The mammoth vessel, weighing in at about 144,000 gross tons, carries a crew of 1,555 with capacity for 4,000 passengers.

At the heart of the ship, a bronze statue of Cinderella sets the stage for a fairytale-themed atrium with ornate balconies stacking up to a twinkling constellation and a star-studded chandelier. The grand hall features Disney Cruise Line's first-ever atrium stage.

There's a water ride called AquaMouse, an experience the company bills as the "first Disney attraction at sea." The ride involves 760 feet of twisting tubes that offer riders ocean views before finishing up in a lazy river. Inspired by Mickey Mouse animated shorts, the interactive ride incorporates music, special effects and show scenes.

Wish passengers will also find a range of new dining options. Arendelle is a "Frozen"-themed offering with live entertainment and character experiences.

Worlds of Marvel is another character showcase offering a menu with dishes nodding to locations such as Black Panther's Wakanda. Every table has its own interactive device that allows diners to participate in a "Quantum Encounter."

Disney Wish has 1,254 staterooms, 90% of which are outside cabins.

The luxurious Royal Suites have a living area, open dining salon and a private hot tub on the veranda. Two of the four Royal Suites stretch over two levels with a spiral staircase.

Disney Wish is the first of three ships in the cruise line's Triton class that will be powered by liquefied natural gas to reduce emissions.

Covid-19 status

The new ship sets sail as BA.5, the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant, dominates new Covid-19 infections in the United States.

Disney Cruise Line participates in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's voluntary Covid-19 program for cruise ships. Disney Wish is listed as "highly vaccinated," defined as having 90% fully vaccinated travelers.

On Thursday morning, nearly all the ships listed by the CDC, including Disney's, were classified as highly vaccinated with a color status of orange. That color code means reported cases of Covid-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation (0.3% or more of total passengers and/or crew).

The cruise industry has repeatedly pointed to stringent Covid-19 mitigation measures aboard ships that exceed precautions taken in most other segments of the travel industry.

Disney Cruise Line currently requires all vaccine-eligible guests (5 and older) to be fully vaccinated, as defined by the CDC. Pre-travel testing is also required.

After its five-night maiden voyage, Disney Wish is set for a season of three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral to Nassau, Bahamas, and Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.

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