MIAMI (CBSMiami) — PortMiami welcomed Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto Wednesday morning as Disney Cruise Line celebrated its new homeport with Caribbean sailings departing from Miami beginning next month.
“We are thrilled to welcome Disney Cruise Line to PortMiami” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “This is the first time the world renowned brand will operate from South Florida—Disney Cruise Line is a great addition to our Port’s growing roster of cruise brands.”
The Disney Wonder will begin sailing from PortMiami on December 23 with a schedule of cruises to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.
Wednesday, the Disney characters were in town to launch the move to Miami, which will serve as the cruise line’s second homeport in Florida.
“Disney Cruise Line has always catered to the unique vacation needs of families—we are pleased to welcome them to Miami,” said Bill Talbert, President of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The powerful Disney and Miami brands make a great combo in promoting our locale to visitors around the world.”
PortMiami, long known as the “Cruise Capital of the World,” is in the midst of a major expansion that includes three new cruise lines and five new build vessels.
“The 2012-2013 cruise season marks our largest expansion ever, bringing more new cruise brands and newly built vessels here in a single cruise season than ever before,” said PortMiami Director Bill Johnson. “Already the busiest cruise port in the world, PortMiami looks forward to continued growth of our cruise industry which is a critical component of South Florida’s number one industry, tourism.”
In addition to the family oriented Disney line, the Port recently welcomed upscale Regent Seven Seas Cruises to its fleet. Regent began sailing from Miami in early November and will add a second ship to itineraries in January. Additionally, the Mediterranean line, MSC Cruises, will begin sailing from PortMiami in the fall of 2013 when it brings its newest ship, the MSC Divina here.
Last week, PortMiami welcomed the Carnival Breeze, the newest and largest ship in Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet. Other new builds arriving this week, include Oceania Cruise Line’s, Oceania Riviera, and Celebrity Cruise Line’s, Celebrity Reflection. Additionally, in 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line will bring the Norwegian Getaway, to homeport in Miami.