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Old October 31st, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Default DisneyDream Float Out Video

Disney Dream Float Out
Tonight (Oct 30), several members of the cruise press and hundreds of German citizens witnessed the “floating out” ceremony of Disney Dream in one of the last remaining shipyards in Europe, the Meyer Werft Yard in Papenburg, Germany.

The construction of Dream was started in 2008 and this floating out is a major step in the process, but not the final step before the ship enters service. This is the first time, however, that Disney Dream made its public debut since it has up to now been ensconced in a massive hangar-like building large enough to hold two complete cruise ships side by side. Inside this build was a dry dock where Dream was assembled. That dry dock was filled with water just a few days ago, just before we arrived to see the ship.

Building a cruise ship is a long process accomplished by thousands of workers who connect dozens of separate sections called “blocks” together. Each block, a smaller section of the larger ship’s superstructure, is constructed from laser-cut steel sheets welded together and then flipped upside down for the installation of ceiling units like ducts, fans, wires and pipes. Then, as each block is finished and returned to right-side up, it is then moved by crane to its proper place, permanently added to the superstructure of the ship and then welded into place.

Disney Dream was nearly fully assembled inside this large building from the ground up; keel first, followed by pieces of the hull that now hold the electric motors which generate the power to drive the engines inside the pod propulsion systems. Eventually they had built a labyrinth of plumbing, electric wires, air conditioning, P.A. systems, Internet connections, phone systems, etc., all connected together to create a working cruise ship.

Much of the hard work had been done while the ship was still in this dry dock, with the ship magically balanced upon its keel on top of huge wooden blocks, but there is a limit to what can be done and some things can only be completed with the ship free-floating in water. The final pieces can be extremely heavy and require the tallest cranes. These pieces must be added in a water filled dock, because the additional weight will cause the ship to settle lower than the dry dock can accommodate. That is why a ship has a “floating out.”

Inspecting the Original Construction

First we toured this huge building where Disney Dream had been built from the keel up. Next to Dream were huge pieces of the next ship they are planning to build in this shipyard, Celebrity Silhouette. We took a long walk along the length of Dream, all 1115 feet of her, still inside the building on our right. On our left were “blocks” that would soon become Celebrity Silhouette.

Dream was now afloat inside this building, but the former dry dock had been filled with water for the first time just a few days before we arrived. When it was a dry dock the ship had been balanced on her keel on top of wooden blocks – always an extraordinary sight to see.

But now she was ready to emerge and become self-supporting, floating on the channel that connects the Meyer Werft shipyard with the North Sea 40 kilometers away. The trip down that channel, many readers will remember, is called the “conveyance.”

Thousands of people were here to Papenburg this day to see Disney Dream make her first debut. There were local citizens lining the shores outside the building waiting to see the ship for the first time. Many of them were Disney fans, as this is the first new Disney ship in almost 11 years. Some of them were just maritime enthusiasts, and many of them had been among the thousands of people who had worked on building the ship.

As 7:00 pm approached our tour was over and we were moved to the viewing area where Dream was scheduled to emerge for the first time. The back doors of the building, some 160 feet wide and 200 feet tall, were opened to reveal the back end of the ship.

Everything was lit up on Dream – making her glow in the quickly fading daylight. We all waited about an hour until the sun finally disappeared completely. A tugboat tied up to the ship finally started pulling Disney Dream backwards and into the open channel. We watched her emerge ever so slowly from her construction hangar. This would be the first time anyone would be able to see the ship in its entirety by looking on from a distance.

Slowly, more and more of the stern emerged. Then the pace quickened. Next we saw the two satellite balls that many said look like Mickey Mouse ears. We saw the first of two smokestacks, beautifully lit in Mickey Mouse red, and then we saw the forward stack followed by the many circular portholes than frame the bridge wings. Finally, the grand pointed bow fully cleared the doors of the building and the ship was fully revealed; resplendent and majestic, magically light bow to stern like a glowing Hollywood icon.

Disney Dream is a beautiful ship – similar in style to the first two Disney ships, Dream and Wonder, but bigger and more majestic. Disney strived to recapture the classic Art Deco look of the magic era of Ocean Liners, the 1930s, and she is actually more reminiscent of Queen Mary 2 than any other modern ship in service today. She looks every bit as majestic and extraordinary as I expected she would.

As the ship sailed a little further into view the ceremonial music hit a crescendo and the crowd roared. Suddenly skyrockets erupted from the top deck, created hundreds of falling stars to bathe the ship in light. Next, a series of flash pots placed every few feet from the bow the stern and then back again popped off in sequence and shot more burning white stars over the ship. When it was over the ship was shrouded in white smoke, as if she had been born in a cloud.

Disney Dream had been revealed and she is a magnificent ship – extra large and stylish in the old tradition of ocean liners. She will enter service in January and can accommodate up to 4000 guests in 1250 staterooms. She is 128,000 gross tons, 1115 feet long, 121 feet wide (beam) and 187 feet tall. Her draft (the depth she sits in the water) is 27 feet.

Disney Dream’s cruising speed is 22 knots although she can reach 23.5 knots. She requires 1458 crewmembers to serve her 4000 passenger capacity. Of her 1250 staterooms, 1100 of them are outside (88%) with 901 of those having verandahs. 199 are simple ocean-view. 150 cabins (12%) are inside.

Stay tuned for more details of Disney Dream coming very soon.
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