Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Disney Cruise Line returns to Big Apple; Could New York support year-round Disney Cruising?

Disney Cruise Line unveiled their 2016 itineraries and announced a return to New York City. From the Big Apple, Disney will sail to the Bahamas and Canada. This obviously has Disney Cruise fans excited, but to us, raises an important question: could Disney sail year round from New York? The short answer is "yes," but there are some obvious challenges and a few big opportunities.

  • Can the New York Market support it? New York is a growing cruise base with more and more companies adding departures. The local population alone is huge and when you add in drive market and air access, it can certainly support even more cruise traffic. NYC is already a big customer base for DCL and Disney's other vacation destinations, so the company could easily tap into a welcoming group of potential passengers.
  • What about "offseason" weather? The big test for the 2016 return will be demand in October for the Canadian cruises. Is there enough interest for similar, colder destinations when most families are in school? Or perhaps there will be overwhelming demand for offseason trips to the Bahamas as New Yorkers try to escape the cold.
  • Does Disney have enough ships? All the lines that sail year-round from the New York area have twice or three times the fleet that Disney has. Because the fleet is limited and the demand is so high, Disney has to be selective where they sail. 
Disney could make year-round sailing from New York work tomorrow if they wanted to try it. However, the company can only be in so many places at once. Until they have a bigger fleet or face over the top demand, year-round New York sailing will have to wait. 

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