Disney to Add New Ship in Tokyo to Expanding Cruise Business

Disney Dream, a Disney Cruise Lines' ship, sails to the Bahamas on the first Disney cruise for paying customers since they were stopped during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, from Port Canaveral in Florida, US, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
Disney Dream, a Disney Cruise Lines' ship, sails to the Bahamas on the first Disney cruise for paying customers since they were stopped during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, from Port Canaveral in Florida, US, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
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Disney to Add New Ship in Tokyo to Expanding Cruise Business

Disney Dream, a Disney Cruise Lines' ship, sails to the Bahamas on the first Disney cruise for paying customers since they were stopped during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, from Port Canaveral in Florida, US, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
Disney Dream, a Disney Cruise Lines' ship, sails to the Bahamas on the first Disney cruise for paying customers since they were stopped during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, from Port Canaveral in Florida, US, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Walt Disney unveiled plans on Tuesday to launch a new cruise ship that will set sail from Tokyo starting in fiscal 2028, adding a ninth vessel to the brand's growing fleet.
The new ship, to be modeled after the Wish that is the largest vessel in the group, is a partnership with Oriental Land Company (OLC), the operator of Tokyo Disneyland. It is part of a 10-year, $60 billion expansion of Disney's theme parks and cruise business, said Reuters.
Disney currently has five cruise ships in operation. In addition to the Tokyo-based vessel, it has plans for three others, including one that will set sail from Singapore in 2025.
The ship, whose name was not revealed, will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 passengers and is expected to bring in about 100 billion yen ($621.77 million) in annual sales within several years of launch, OLC said.
"To set sail from Japan will make Disney vacations at sea more accessible to Japanese guests, who we know are some of our biggest fans," Thomas Mazloum, president of Disney Signature Experiences, told reporters.
The cruise line expansion comes as the industry is enjoying a rebound from a global shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cruise Lines International Association expects the number of passengers to reach 34.7 million this year, up 17% from 2019.
Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Experiences, told Reuters in a recent interview that the ships provide the opportunity to bring themed entertainment to places that are not close to the company's theme parks, such as Melbourne or Vancouver.
Disney also reaches a segment of the cruise market that had gone unaddressed - families.
"Forty percent of the people on those ships today will say, 'The only reason I'm on a cruise ship today is because Disney's here,' which means we're creating a market," D'Amaro said.
"When we are in Singapore, with this unbelievable ship that we're building, the same thing is going to happen," he added. "We know there's an insatiable demand for everything Disney."
Disney's experiences business, which includes its domestic and international parks and cruise line, accounted for more than one-third of the company's revenue in the March quarter, and nearly 60% of its operating income.
The company's stock tumbled in May after Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston warned about a "global moderation" in travel in the fiscal third quarter and other impacts, including higher wages and pre-opening expenses related to two of the new cruise ships and the new vacation island, Lookout Cay.
The rising tide for Disney's cruise lines could help offset any softness in the company's domestic theme park business, UBS analyst John Hodulik said. The company said its second quarter booking occupancy is at 97% for all five ships.
The rapid expansion of Disney's cruise capacity "helps de-risk the medium-term outlook" for the parks business, Hodulik said.
Disney's other recent investments include three new areas at the Tokyo DisneySea theme park, recreating the worlds of "Frozen," "Tangled," and "Peter Pan," the opening of a "Frozen" themed land at Hong Kong Disneyland, and a "Zootopia" experience in Shanghai.
The company is expected to announce plans for new attractions at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in central Florida in August, at its D23 fan convention.



Moonlit Scramble across the Sand for Türkiye Booming Baby Turtle Population

Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
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Moonlit Scramble across the Sand for Türkiye Booming Baby Turtle Population

Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP

The baby loggerhead sea turtles emerged from their eggshells and began their first challenge in life: a wobbly dash across the sand to the moonlit waters of Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast -- sometimes with a helping hand from volunteers.
It is a perilous journey into the unknown for the sea turtles as only about one in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
Some 25 years later, the females will return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.
Despite grave threats from humans and predators such as birds, crabs and ants, protection measures are bearing fruit on Türkiye's southern coast.
In Manavgat, a tourist hotspot nestled in the foothills of mountains and prized for its golden sands and stunning waterfall, the number of nests has doubled from last year to 700.
A group of volunteers holds vigil around the clock along the 10-kilometer (six-mile) coastline, located east of the local tourism capital of Antalya.
It is a major breeding area for the globally endangered loggerheads -- also known as caretta caretta -- which are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red list of threatened species.
"Our average estimate this year is around 60,000 eggs; 30,000 of them will become babies; only 30 of them will come back years later" to breed, Seher Akyol, founding president of DEKAFOK marine conservation center, told AFP.
Red lights
Türkiye's southern coast is home to 21 official nesting areas -- eight of them in Antalya alone.
Protection measures have been put in place such as limiting the use of light and the speed of sea vessels.
Many beaches are declared protected areas and are off-limits from 8 pm to 8 am.
Manavgat, though, is not one of them, so volunteers have taken on the task of protecting the breeding nests.
Akyol's volunteers, including young students from all over Türkiye and abroad, mark the nests, framing them with sticks and keeping the eggs protected from sunbathers.
At night, they patrol beaches, dig in nests with their bare hands and, donning white gloves, help baby turtles break from their shells and crawl to the sea.
Local officials also support volunteer initiatives.
Manavgat's mayor, Niyazi Nefi Kara, has placed red lights on roadsides along the coast. Signs that read "Attention! Caretta Nesting Area" dot the beach.
Under the environment law, anyone who damages sea turtles and their nests can be fined 387,141 liras ($11,700).
Kara said his office takes advice from "scientists and environmentalists" on protecting the turtles.
"After all, we need to learn how to live in harmony with nature," he said.
Akyol added that "people and caretta caretta can live together".
Songul Sert, 33, who was picnicking with her family around a wooden table near the beach, said "we do our best so as not to usurp their living space" with help from the signs.
Another local, Hasan Gulec, said that previously a lack of signs meant that "nobody knew where they were breeding, so anyone could walk on nests".
However, an AFP team saw some hotels along the beach still using the bright white lights that anger environmentalists.
-Climate change-
Loggerheads, whose overall numbers are unknown, can live for up to 80 years. Their weight ranges from 90-180 kilograms (200-400 pounds) and they can reach 1.2 meters (four feet) in length.
The small percentage of hatchlings that return to the beach to breed is why "they are endangered and need to be protected," Professor Mehmet Cengiz Deval of Akdeniz University's faculty of fisheries told AFP.
Loggerhead sea turtles are found primarily in subtropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to IUCN, the Mediterranean loggerhead is considered of "least concern", though the species remains vulnerable globally.
Climate change is also a factor that threatens the species.
The sex of hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the sand: cooler temperatures produce males and warmer ones produce females.
High temperatures from July onwards means that "most of the babies are females," Deval said.
"If this trend continues, in 30-40 years females will be the majority and there will be no male partners for them to breed. This is the biggest danger."
Akyol, who dreams of building a rehabilitation center to treat injured turtles, cannot hide her excitement each time she sends them off to the water.
"I cannot forget their last look before meeting with the water," she said. "It's as if they show how grateful they are."