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Brightly lit in neon red and electric blue, and with searchlights crisscrossing in the night sky, Disney Fantasy made her official debut on New York’s Hudson River waterfront in showbiz style. The ship had arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on February 28 — the line’s first ever call in New York City — and after two days of media previews was christened on the evening of March 1.

The pre-christening entertainment in the ship’s 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre featured big-name entertainment worthy of the ship’s berth just a few blocks from Broadway: actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the song-and-dance extravaganza highlighting performances from the ship’s regular production numbers, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a very funny special-guest appearance. Other celebrities on hand included Alan Cumming, Tim Gunn, and Ty Pennington—all of stage or television fame.

And for the main event, singer Mariah Carey — godmother of the Fantasy — made the traditional maritime blessing of the ship as she was christened by Minnie Mouse (cheered on by Mickey, of course).

Disney Fantasy begins a schedule of alternating 7-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises on March 31 from her homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida. Itineraries call at St Maarten and St Thomas (eastern) or Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel (western). All Disney Fantasy’s sailings include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Words: M.T. Schwartzman