Disney names its latest cruise ship as Costa's troubles rumble on

AFP Relax News
'How I Met Your Mother' star Neil Patrick Harris helps christen the Disney Fantasy

Disney has christened its latest cruise ship, the Disney Fantasy, at a glittering ceremony in New York March 1.

With no sign that the recent high-profile events involving competitor Costa Cruises has dampened the mood, the lavish celebration saw Mariah Carey named the ship's godmother.

Carey, who sang the 1995 hit "Fantasy," broke a bottle of champagne against the hull of the new ship, which will officially enter service on March 31 as the fourth ship in the Disney Fleet.

The Fantasy is the sister vessel of the Disney Dream and shares a near-identical design, but several key changes have been made to ensure the passenger experience is different on the seven-night itinerary it is expected to sail.

One of the most high-profile additions is the addition of the Muppets for the first time at sea thanks to a new adventure game, just in time to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the new Muppets movie.

Guests will also find a new water park, several new Broadway-inspired shows and a new adult entertainment area, with pubs, champagne bars and Italianate piazza restaurants inspired by European destinations.

Disney rolled out stars including Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Patrick Harris, Nick Cannon and Heather Headley for the event, which seemed in danger of being overshadowed by the recent troubles of the Costa Allegra and Costa Concordia.

Just as the stricken Costa Allegra finally limped into port, ending a three-day trauma in which passengers were stranded without electricity in 'pirate-infested' waters, embarrassing allegations about the conduct of Costa Cruises staff surfaced in the Italian media.

Former crew members have reportedly told Italian prosecutors investigating the sinking of the Costa Concordia that the ship, and other vessels in its fleet, were 'hotbeds of sexual harassment, drinking and drug abuse', with drunkenness among crew members and officers common and cocaine also used on board.