In October, Disney announced that the Disney Wish, which was originally scheduled to start cruises in January of 2022, had been delayed until summer of 2022 because of COVID-19. When I saw that it had been delayed, I assumed that the other two ships would be unaffected, since they were planned to start cruises later than the Wish.
Sadly, that is now not the case. On November 12th during Disney's financial earnings report, Bob Chapek, Disney's CEO, announced that the unnamed sixth and seventh DCL ships are now delayed according to Cruise Industry News. The sixth ship, previously scheduled to launch in 2022, will now launch in 2024. The seventh ship, previously scheduled to launch in 2024, will now launch in 2025. These delays are not due to closures at the Meyer Werft shipyard, like the Wish's delay. Instead, it was likely Disney's choice. When cruises resume in January at the earliest, there will probably be less demand overall for a while. Since there won't be as much demand, Disney doesn't need three more ships right away. Also, Disney hasn't made nearly as much money in 2020 as they have in normal years, so paying millions of dollars for two cruise ships might not be the best thing they can do at the moment.
I'm really disappointed by this announcement, two extra years is a long time. 2024 and 2025 seem so far in the future. In 2025, the Magic will be 27, the Wonder will be 26, the Dream will be 14, the Fantasy will be 13, the Wish will be 3, and the sixth ship will be 1. At that point, what will happen with the aging Magic and Wonder? Will they still be in Disney's fleet or will they be sold to another cruise line? I think they'll still be used by Disney. They're much smaller than the other ships, and that allows them to visit more ports. Plus, Disney is constantly improving them and maintaining their best condition. When I was on the Wonder in 2019, it didn't feel like it was almost twenty years old thanks to the constant improvements being done.
Anyway, I'm just glad this delay doesn't affect the Wish. If the three future ships are anything like the four existing ships, they will all be very similar with minor differences like restaurant theming. This means that when the Wish is completed in 2022, we'll have a pretty good idea of what the sixth and seventh ships will be like. And hey, it's almost 2021, a rare year when we can say, "There's a new Disney ship coming next year!"