In a bold move, Disney Cruise Lines announced overnight their plans to launch a new year-round ship to be based in Japan.

The cruise line, as part of the ongoing expansion of Disney’s cruise and entertainment operations, signed a deal with the operator of Tokyo Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney resort.

It will be the ninth cruise ship under a licensing agreement between the major resort company and The Oriental Land Company.

The Japanese-based operator has had a relationship with Disney for over 20 years. The new agreement will see Disney and Meyer Werft in Papenberg in Germany build a new ship, based on the Disney Wish class.

The company expects to invest US$2 billion and the ship will start operating from Tokyo by early 2029.

“Disney Cruise Line has ambitious plans to bring family vacations and Disney storytelling to more guests around the world than ever before,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Experiences.

“We are thrilled to continue the success of this expansion as we collaborate with Oriental Land Co. to introduce another distinctly Disney vacation experience to families and fans in Japan.”

What do we know about Disney Cruise Lines’ Japanese ship?

The new ship will be able to accommodate around 4000 passengers with around 1250 cabins. The ship will be based on the Disney Wish which entered service in 2022.

Its sistership, the Disney Treasure is due for delivery later this year. Disney will be responsible for the designs created by Walt Disney Imagineering which will have similar features to many of the favourite venus and experiences. The ship will be designed for the Japanese guests.

What else are Disney doing?

Disney has reported the expansion into the Japanese market is part of a 10-year, US$60 billion expansion of the company’s theme parks and cruise business.

Asia is a key focus for the brand where the line will be launching the mega Disney Adventure which will sail from Singapore year-round on three- and four-night cruises from the beginning of 2025.

The ship will be completed at Meyer Werft after Disney Cruise Line purchased the incomplete Global Dream from the now defunct Genting Hong Kon.

The ship will have seven themed areas as well as an open-air imagination garden.

Disney has also been wildly successful in the Australasia market with the line sending the Disney Wonder Down Under for its second season.

The ship has two new itineraries over Christmas as well as a longer New Zealand sailing.