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Earlier this week Recommend attended the grand opening of Disney Cruise Line’s new dedicated cruise terminal at Port Everglades in Greater Fort Lauderdale and its second year-round homeport in Florida.

Disney Cruise Line
Sharon Siskie, sr. v.p. and general manager of Disney Cruise Line.

“The grand opening of our new dedicated terminal is an incredible milestone as we embark on the largest expansion in our cruise line’s history,” said Sharon Siskie, sr. v.p. and general manager of Disney Cruise Line. “Now our guests will have even more options to experience the magic of a Disney vacation at sea and can begin creating lifelong memories with their loved ones from the moment they arrive.”   

Port Everglades’ location in South Florida offers guests the opportunity to experience beautiful beaches, world-class entertainment, shopping and dining, as well as family and cultural activities, before or after their cruise. It is also conveniently located near major airports such as Fort Lauderdale International Airport and highways, allowing guests to easily travel to and from the port.   

Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line terminal interior.

Once guests arrive to the terminal to embark on their voyage, they will “dive” into the world of Disney and Pixar’s film, “Finding Nemo,” with some of the characters from the film displayed on colorful murals. The more than 104,000-sq.-ft. terminal was reimagined by Walt Disney Imagineering exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests to provide a seamless embarkation experience.

“This stunning terminal that we’re standing in this morning sets the stage for our guests as they are about to embark on a magical Disney experience,” added Siskie. “We’re in love with this space and are looking to immerse guests in that magic of Disney from the moment they arrive.

“As we open this cruise terminal today,” Siskie continued, “we mark a significant milestone in Disney Cruise Line’s expansion with three new ships coming in 2024 and 2025 and a new island destination, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, located in The Bahamas in the beautiful island of Eleuthera, opening in June 2024.

“Those guests sailing from Port Everglades will be among the very first to visit this island destination. So, there’s so much to look forward to as we prepare to sail from this wonderful and welcoming community, and we’re thrilled to call Port Everglades and Broward County home,” Siskie noted.

Port leaders attended the dedication ceremony, including Port Everglades CEO and port director, Jonathan Daniels. He stated that, “Disney Cruise Line is adding a new dimension to the Port Everglades experience. Our staff is looking forward to this new journey with Disney Cruise Line and further diversifying our cruise portfolio to reach a broader audience.”

The Disney Dream will begin sailing from Port Everglades on Nov. 20, 2023, followed by the Disney Magic on May 9, 2024, offering guests the opportunity to sail on a mix of 3-, 4- and 5-night cruises to destinations in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

As part of Disney Cruise Line’s expansion, Disney Cruise Line and Broward County previously announced a 15-year agreement that includes a minimum 10.6 million passenger movements, and three 5-year extension options that could add another 11.25 million passenger movements. The agreement provides for one ship to homeport in Port Everglades year-round beginning this fall 2023, joined by a second, seasonal ship in 2025.  

Travel Advisors are Instrumental for Disney Cruise Line

Siskie tells Recommend exclusively that “Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is a really important strategic destination for us. Of course, we visit a lot of the traditional ports but if you think of our existing itineraries, Castaway Cay is a really key draw for consumers. For guests who are thinking of taking a Disney cruise, that island is one of the reasons they choose us. We know this new island destination is going to play that same role and we’re really excited about the combination of this new homeport [Port Everglades in Broward] packaged with this new destination.

“We think for travel agents that’s a good way to talk about [this vacation]. Travel advisors are instrumental [for Disney] and a lot of the value that we bring to the travel agent community is that we’re driving that demand. That pays dividends for them with guests that repeat and bring their kids.”

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