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Disney Magic will head to Europe next year

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Mickey and Minnie Mouse finally are planning a European cruise. Next year, for the first time, Disney Cruise Line will wade abroad with a total of eight sailings in the Med.

For Disney fans and family vacationers, that's news to squeak about. The 877-passenger Disney Magic will sail four 11-night itineraries in 2007, departing on Saturdays: May 26, June 16, July 7 and July 28. The ship's four 10-night itineraries will depart on Wednesdays: June 6, June 27, July 18 and Aug. 8. Both itineraries will begin from Barcelona, Spain. The only difference between what the two cruise lengths offer is an added day at sea on the longer one.

On every sailing, the Magic will call at eight popular Mediterranean ports - Palermo, Sicily; Naples, Italy (gateway to Pompeii); Olbia, Sardinia; Civitavecchia, Italy (for Rome); La Spezia, Italy (for Florence and Pisa); and Marseille and Villefranche, France - before returning to Barcelona.

After nearly a decade of sailing this side of the Big Pond, Disney decided to add Magic to the crush of vessels plying the Med by popular demand, according to Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin. ''A lot of passengers wanted Europe and wanted Disney to take them there,'' he says. ''Our guests have told us they would love to take a European

vacation,'' McAlpin explains, ''but all of the planning and logistics can be daunting. These special sailings will offer a hassle-free way to experience the beauty and culture of Europe combined with the fun of a Disney cruise.''

''Many passengers have an affinity for Disney,'' adds McAlpin, with atypical understatement for a line that amounts to a floating fan club. On seven-night Disney cruises, about 35 to 40 percent of passengers are repeaters.

Precisely how Disney will tailor its cruise to the Med is still on the drawing boards. But McAlpin says the line plans to develop products that are uniquely Disney, but which integrate European influences. Starting rates for Disney's 10- and 11-night Med cruises range from $2,399 to $3,499, per person double occupancy.

Arline Bleecker, The Salt Lake Tribune

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Perhaps the real reason Disney is doing Europe is that they are having a VERY hard time filling the ships here in the U.S.....

Their fares are considerably higher than the other 'mainstream' lines; their ships have no casinos; etc; etc;

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They would have to dock at Le Havre for Euro Disney and also make it an overnight stop for it to be feasible.

Jeff, we went on the Disney Wonder - we (2 adults) made the booking 2 weeks in advance on the spur of the moment looking for a 4 day cruise over our anniversary, to celebrate, and leaving from close to home. Disney Wonder to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral was it. Then we thought uh oh... what a mistake! We had many reservations about this not being a smart move on our part, thinking...geared for kids...lots of noise....french fries for dinner etc etc. Well in true Disney fashion the cruise was fabulous. There's a seperate pool for adults only, they still played Bingo even though there is no Casino, the food, service, cabins were wonderful as was their private island. We weren't sorry we took the cruise - but seeing so many people are taking their children to Europe these days I'm sure this is why they predominently want a piece of that market.

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