Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Possibly Departing Port of LA

Disney Cruise Line has canceled its late 2012 tours originating from the Port of Los Angeles, and is expected to leave the port altogether after its two-year contract is up at the end of the year.

The company says it plans a Jan. 18 announcement regarding “fleet expansion and new itineraries,” giving rise to speculation among cruise industry observers that the company will move its 964-foot, 2,700 passenger Disney Wonder ship from the Port of Los Angeles to Miami.

The speculation began after four cruises from LA to the Mexican Riviera aboard the Wonder that were originally planned to depart this December were canceled by the cruise line.

The canceled dates were Dec. 9, 16, 23 and 30. Passengers already booked for those dates have been given the option of rescheduling for a different date or receiving a full refund.

It was just a year ago this month that the Disney Wonder had been repositioned in LA from its former base in Port Canaveral, Florida under a two-year deal with a three-year option. Under the pact, which was much ballyhooed at the time, the port was required to make $2.5 million in renovations to the ship’s terminal.

The expected move is being blamed on a continued decline in interest in cruises to Mexico. The country has suffered from widespread violence over the past five years, caused mostly warring drug cartels.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines discontinued trips to Mexico from LA in 2010.

If the port loses Disney, it would still have three other companies with ships homeported at Los Angeles: Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Overall, more than a dozen cruise lines call at Los Angeles’ World Cruise Center throughout the year, according to the port.