The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) said Thursday it will expand its successful Disney Cruise Line business by adding two new ships which could launch by 2011 and 2012.
The company has signed a letter of intent with Meyer Werft shipyard, based in Papenburg, Germany. Dubbed, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the two ships will weigh 122,000 tons, larger than the current pair of 83,000 ton liners.
â€œSince our maiden voyage in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has been a huge success for our guests and for our shareholders alike,â€ said Bob Iger, Disneyâ€™s President and CEO.
The Disney cruise business, which targets families, has generated high margins and double digit returns for investors, according to the company. Among the attractions are onboard musicals and childrenâ€™s activities.
The company says the new ships will be two decks taller than the older ones, with 1,250 staterooms. The ships will continue to carry styling cues from classic art deco ocean liners of the 1930s.
The company hopes to offer a greater variety of itineraries for its passengers. Current packages offer up to week long Caribbean cruises.
Shares of the Walt Disney Co. rose 0.06 percent, or 2 cents, to $35.16 in Thursday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.