Dream Class Dry Dock Guidelines and the Latest Thoughts on the Disney Wonder

Speculation concerning the dry dock of the Disney Wonder and Disney Dream has increased over the past week with classic ship home port shake up.  The Disney Wonder will be closing in on her 5-year date in the fall of 2014 leaving no choice but to go offline for a mandatory dry dock.  Back in February, I penciled in an overhaul for the Disney Wonder following her Port Canaveral sailings, resuming service from Port Canaveral on Western Caribbean sailings.

Following the recent itinerary changes and the delay in the Panama Canal expansion project, the only clear option for the Wonder would be a standard two week dry dock prior to the first Miami sailing on October 11, 2014; a date which was confirmed last week in an email from Disney Cruise Line. This scenario would mean the Port Canaveral sailings following the Panama Canal cruise would be canceled.

Below is a revised projection on the Disney Wonder’s September and October 2014 sailing calendar assuming her schedule will remain through her 2014 Eastbound Panama Canal Cruise.  The Disney Wonder dry dock would fit between September 26th through October 10th.  PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS JUST MY SPECULATION.  Until the recent itinerary changes have been made on Disney Cruise Line’s website, I say anything is possible.

Disney Wonder Dry Dock Calendar 2014

Dream Class Dry Dock Guidelines

Now, for the elephant in the room – the Disney Dream.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations have stated that a cruise ship hull be inspected annually (in-water), and undergo an out of water hull inspection two times in a five year period (based on the date on the ship’s International Load Line certificate) not to exceed 3 years.  In fact, I believe we saw an in-water inspection at Castaway Cay last year as a team of divers were set up on the pier along with ROVs.  (I will see if I can dig up some pictures later.)

Under the IMO regulation one would expect the Disney Dream to go out of service before January 2014 for her first dry dock.  However, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy fall under slightly different guidelines.  In May 2010, IMO approved new guidelines which unlike Pirate Code are actual rules, allow for one in-water hull survey in lieu of an out of water dry dock inspection in a five year period.  This would allow the Disney Dream to stay online for five continuous years with an in-water survey in place of the interim dry dock.

The change in guidelines is a direct result of the technological advances in corrosion resistant materials, quality, endurance and effectiveness of hull coatings.  The Disney Dream has a first of its kind non-toxic hard coating that when applied, feels like fiber glass. This was chosen to reduce surface resistance in the water thus reducing fuel consumption resulting in a more environmentally friendly ship. The hard coating is a 20-year product that does not need to be re-applied according to Frank de Heer (who at the time of the Dream build was Vice President of New Ship development for Walt Disney Imagineering).

The new guideline allows for an in-water inspection only applies to ships which are 15 years of age or less with a previous hull survey on file for comparison.  A ship could request an in-water survey in lieu of dry dock on it’s 15th anniversary of the ship’s constructions if a dry dock inspection was performed within the previous 30 months. Additionally, the ship’s master must confirm in writing the ship has not sustained any grounding or contact damage since the previous inspection, and that nothing unusual has been observed to suspect that any part of the hull has been otherwise damaged.  In the event the in water survey reveals damage to a ship, then the surveyor may require the ship dry-docked in order for a more comprehensive survey and repair.

So, this new guideline would mean the Disney Dream would not go offline until the fall of 2015/early 2016.  The Disney Fantasy would then be looking at her 5 year dry dock in early 2017 pending any unforeseen issues.

I would like to thank Chris for leaving some great commentary last week and pointing me to the IMO dry dock guidelines.

13 Replies to “Dream Class Dry Dock Guidelines and the Latest Thoughts on the Disney Wonder”

  1. Snowwhitebelle

    the Wonder is off the Disney scedule for Nov and Dec of 2014, so won’t that be when the dry dock is?

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Previosly, the Wonder was not bookable in Nov & Dec. As of last week, it was announced she will be taking over the Miami sailing scheduled for the Magic on Oct 22. In fact she will begin sailing from Miami on 10/11.

      DCL’s site should reflect this change early this week.

  2. travelonadream

    I heard that even the ships without the coating can request an extension to the required dry dock. I find it hard to believe that Disney would cancel the three cruises at the end of September/beginning of October as they sold really well. I respectfully hope your suggestion is wrong.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The one key requirement is the ship is less than 15 years old, the hull coating is not a requirement.

      It is recognized that technological advances have been made in regard to corrosion
      resistant materials, quality, endurance and effectiveness of hull coatings, repair in water by means
      of protected environment such as temporary cofferdam, implementation of effective five-year
      maintenance regimes and also the effectiveness of in-water survey (IWS) technology overall. IMO Guideline

      As for the Wonder, what else would work?

  3. JimC

    As someone who has their 20 Anniversary celebration cruise scheduled for the 5 night Sept 26 departure date on the Wonder, I am sure hoping that this information is wrong and that this cruise will still go ahead as scheduled. On the morning that this blog thread came out, June 17th, I phoned the Disney Cruise line people and asked about the status of this cruise and I was informed that they had no information that anything had changed and that the rep that I was talking to said that she had read all available cruise news information just that morning. So I am concerned, but hopeful that this cruise is still a ‘GO’.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Again, please remember this is purely speculative information based on the IMO guidelines that the Wonder must be dry docked before Oct 2014. Being that we know the the Wonder will be sailing from Miami on 10/11 (confirmed last week by DCL), and it seems unlikely any of the Alaskan sailing would be dropped, this is the most likely spot to schedule her dry dock.

  4. Terry

    Geeze Louise, I hope the Oct 1, 2014 isn’t cancelled. Its a sweet itinerary…key west, double dip at castaway cay and a day at sea. I’m REALLY hoping it stays.

  5. Chris Barry

    Any updated info or speculation on the Wonder dry dock? I, too, am strongly considering the 10/1/2014 cruise w/double dip at Castaway.

  6. Muushka

    I have heard that once the Wonder has been refurbed she will no longer be able to go through the current Panama Canal, she will be too big. Is this true? We really want to do this cruise, just not in 2014. Thanks

  7. Stephen

    The Disney Wonder didn’t have a dry dock last September and October. It had its sailings from Port Canaveral.


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