Disney Cruise Line Signs Berthing Agreement with British Virgin Islands

Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line signed a preferred berthing agreement earlier today with the British Virgin Islands. The deal between the two cruise lines and the BVI promises to deliver a total of 425,000 passengers yearly beginning in 2015 for the next 15 years or pay for lost tax revenues if the quota is not met. Disney Cruise Line is guaranteeing 75,000 passengers per year. The Disney Dream was mentioned during the signing ceremony when referencing the arrival of the new class of cruise ships that will be berthing in Tortola, but I have a feeling the Disney Fantasy will be the ship that will make most of the calls. Regardless, the Dream class ships have a passenger capacity of 4000. If you crunch the numbers, that would translate that Disney Cruise Line plans to have about 20 calls to Tortola per year beginning mid 2015.

Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, expressed his gratitude to the British Virgin Islands during the ceremony for sharing “nature’s little secret with the rest of the world.” Holz continued to say, “we are delighted to be here.”

The contract guarantees preferential berthing rights to both Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line. Preferential berthing rights essentially mean that DCL & NCL are able to request dates for berthing at the cruise pier rather than accept what dates are available. This was the part of the agreement that triggered Carnival to remove Tortola from future itineraries, which has since reversed course.

The agreement solidifies that British Virgin Islands will go forward with port expansion project that will include a modern and an environmentally friendly cruise facility. The government anticipates the agreement with Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line will help them secure funds to lengthen the dock and move forward on the project. A bidding process to select a contractor is underway and construction is expected to start in the upcoming months.

Disney Cruise Line hopes to make Tortola a prime destination and has agreed to provide hospitality and customer service training to the British Virgin Islands to better serve all cruise passengers visiting the territory. The agreement also stipulates that both cruise lines will market the territory through each companies’ marketing arms worldwide.

Below is video of the singing ceremony.

It is now only a matter of time before we find out how Disney Cruise Line will incorporate Tortola into their itineraries in 2015 and beyond.

UPDATE: January 22, 2014 – Excerpts from an article posted by the Government of the Virgin Islands. Click the following link for the full article Berthing Agreement to Bring 435,000 Passengers to BVI Shore in 2015

  • The Territory can expect to see 425,000 visitors a year staring mid-2015 now that the Government has signed berthing agreements with Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
  • Government through the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) signed the 15-year berthing agreement with Disney Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line on January 17.
  • The berthing agreement guarantees a total of 350,000 passengers from NCL and 75,000 passengers from DLC per annum, beginning mid-2015. The cruise liners will be charged $15 per passenger for the first five years.
  • In addition the Minister Vanterpool said that both cruise liners have agreed to market the British Virgin Islands as a premium destination. Furthermore, DCL will provide its expertise in hospitality training to locals.
  • The signing of the berthing agreement with Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line will aid in the negotiation process for acquiring funds to complete the infrastructural development.

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11 Responses to Disney Cruise Line Signs Berthing Agreement with British Virgin Islands

  • Gina says:

    Hi. I’m sorry, this question has nothing to do with this article, but being relatively new to cruising (just took 1st cruise ever on Fantasy Nov 2013), and being a huge fan of this blog, I don’t know where else to find this out….. I’m interested in the Alaska cruise but wondering if I’m going to be disappointed in the Wonder after sailing on the Fantasy? Since the Magic recently had a makeover, I’m wondering if the Wonder is due as well? And if perhaps I should wait to do Alaska until after the Wonder has had an update? Any feedback/opinion is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  • Eric says:

    Gina, I know Scott will have the best answer, but from what understand the Wonder can’t be reimagined until the Panama canal expansion can be completed. It won’t be wide enough to support the Wonder’s return to Alaska.

  • Katie says:

    We just got off of the Wonder and had been on the Dream for our prior cruise. There are advantages to both ships. The Wonder is a more intimate feeling ship, and although it is noticeably smaller and lacks some of the newest technology/features, it is well maintained, and it has its own charm and a wonderful crew.

  • Janet says:

    Having sailed on both the Wonder and the Fantasy, I want to point out that cruising to Alaska is an entirely different experience than cruising to the Caribbean or Bahamas. It is not about the ship. It’s about the destination. We loved every minute of our Alaska cruise on the Wonder. So much so, that we were afraid that we would be disappointed with our Fantasy cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. It turned out to be a marvelous vacation, but a completely different experience than Alaska. We spent so much more time exploring the ship on the Fantasy due to simply having more free time and not being all that interested in the various ports. So all the bells and whistles were appreciated. On the Wonder, we spent every minute possible at port, exploring. On the ship, we were quite content snuggled in a blanket on our balcony (a must for an Alaska cruise!), marveling at the beautiful scenery. We also found the service on the Wonder to be better than on the Fantasy. I completely agree with Katie that the Wonder is a more intimate experience. We are planning on Europe next, but honestly can’t wait to sail the Wonder to Alaska again (renovated or not).

    • Mindy says:

      We are dcl plantimum members. We have been on the classic and new ships. All the ships offer a different experience. It depends on the destination of the cruise. We did Alaska 2013 and we loved it! We would go again but the Mediterranean is our destination this year. Enjoy Alaska and splurge on the float plane.

  • Gina says:

    Thank you all so very much for your comments! You have convinced me. Now if Disney would just release the summer 2015 itineraries, I can begin planning the trip!

  • Jen says:

    Gina..I can help you plan you 2015 summer cruise when the dates become available….right around Late May early June they should be out :o)

    • Emily says:

      No way – they are going to be out way before that! DCL needs to make it so that you can always book one year in advance.

      • Jen says:

        They try to but the ships move around t o different ports for different cruises so it’s hard to have a line up of the sailing dates too far in advance :o)

        • Emily says:

          Look at when they’ve been released historically. Your answer will be there. I know all about port juggling.

          Put it this way. You sail DCL every year over Memorial Day. You rebook on board for that week every year. There is no way DCL will not have it available to book the following year. If anything, you’ll get the Dream & Fantasy first, but I doubt it. I think we’ll see all 4 ships and a release in Feb-Mar.

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