Disney Cruise Line took possession of its newest ship – Disney Fantasy – today from the Meyer Werft shipyard in a traditional maritime ceremony aboard the ship. The Meyer Werft flag was lowered, while the Disney Cruise Line flag was raised, transferring ownership from the shipbuilder to Disney. This final milestone closes the book on the ship’s construction journey and signals her readiness to welcome guests on her maiden voyage, set for March 31, 2012, from Port Canaveral, Florida. The Disney Fantasy is the second of two newly designed Disney ships that take the family cruise experience to new heights and features many of the innovations found on her sister ship, Disney Dream. “Today we celebrate the culmination of a wonderful partnership, as we take possession of the Disney Fantasy and prepare for the journey home to Florida. This ship is the result of the superb craftsmanship from the master shipbuilders at Meyer Werft and the innovation, imagination and ingenuity of the Disney team, who have partnered together so beautifully to bring this ship to life,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “We are eagerly anticipating our guests, who will experience storytelling in enchanting new ways onboard the Disney Fantasy while making magical memories that will last a lifetime.” Known for establishing the family cruise market when the business launched in 1998, Disney Cruise Line continues to build upon this success with a focus on the legacy and heritage of The Walt Disney Company’s most known assets – master storytelling, world-class entertainment and legendary guest service. “The Disney Fantasy, along with her sister ship, the Disney Dream, are the largest ships that Meyer Werft has ever built,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft. “Over the last five years we have developed an outstanding partnership working with Disney, and together, we have seen two magnificent ships become reality. The collaboration among Disney Cruise Line, Meyer Werft and its suppliers has been exemplary.” Meyer Werft and Disney first signed a contract to build two new ships in April of 2007. Shortly thereafter, planning for the design of the ships began and construction started on the Disney Dream, the first of the two new ships, with the first steel cutting on March 2, 2009. Since the recent completion of the ship’s float out and conveyance on the River Ems, the test-and-adjust period has been in full swing. The ship will remain in Bremerhaven for another week while additional crew members board, and supplies and provisions are loaded. The Disney Fantasy is scheduled to depart on Feb. 16 for its transatlantic voyage to the U.S., with an expected arrival to its homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida on March 6. Captain Tom Forberg will officially take the helm of the Disney Fantasy for Disney Cruise Line. As part of the Disney Cruise Line ship construction team, Captain Forberg has been with the company for more than 15 years and was responsible for launching Disney’s first three ships, the Disney Dream, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. Expanding Itineraries With the addition of two new ships, Disney Cruise Line is able to expand its itineraries, adding new homeports and new destinations, bringing the Disney family cruise vacation to more guests than ever before. The Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries beginning in 2012, from Port Canaveral, Fla., where she will join sister ship, Disney Dream, sailing three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas. New in 2012, the Disney Magic will offer eight-night cruises to the Bahamas and five-night cruises up the New England coast sailing from New York, and seven-night western Caribbean itineraries departing from Galveston, Texas. The Disney Wonder will continue sailing seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles, while spending its second summer sailing Alaskan itineraries from Seattle. Based in Celebration, Fla., the Disney Cruise Line experience is focused on providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create. Most recently, the company was honored by the Themed Entertainment Association for the new “Animation Magic” show set to debut in Animator’s Palate onboard the Disney Fantasy, while the Disney Dream received top honors as the “Best New Ship” by Cruise Critic. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can contact their travel agent, visit disneycruise.com or call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500. Travel agents can call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or visit disneytravelagents.com.