Tuesday, October 2, 2007

From the pay if you do or pay if you don't department:

There's an interesting tidbit in an Orlando Sentinel article today about Disney Cruise Line's ongoing negotiations with Port Canaveral for extension of their contract there. The article says that this summer for the first time in history, Disney had to make a payment to the port, as required under their current contract, because their ships did not meet the required number of calls at Port Canaveral.

Disney made just 139 of the required 150 calls at the port during the contract year that ended in July. The shortfall was due to Disney Magic operating a series of Mediterranean cruises this summer, so it was no surprise to Disney. The payment required under the contract for the shortfall was $107,000, according to the Sentinel.

The article is about Disney's future at Port Canaveral and the new contract they are negotiating as their initial ten-year agreement comes to an end. Although Disney has two additional ships on order now, their building has not kept pace with the rest of the American cruise industry.

The Orlando Sentinel article seems to imply that there is some surprise that Disney is not necessarily in planning on always having all their ships based at Port Canaveral, although Disney has traditionally had both of their current ships homeported there.

It shouldn't come as any surprise to the Central Florida market that Disney is planning to homeport ships elsewhere. While there is a growing market there, only having ships sailing from Port Canaveral is one of the factors which has limited Disney's growth. The last two summers, Disney has already sent Disney Magic to other parts of the country/world to sail series of cruises from other ports, and they have announced plans to do so on future dates. No major cruise line has all their ships homeported at only one port, and even in Disney's early days, as they talked about adding three or four more ships, they envisioned putting them in different ports around the country, including near Disneyland in Southern California.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to the people in Central Florida. They should rest assured, however, that there's little chance Disney will ever leave Port Canaveral entirely, because so many of their passengers' vacations are connected with a Disney World visit, either directly or indirectly.

Note: Link is valid at time of posting.