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Tour Two Fairy-Tale Suites Aboard the New Disney Wish Cruise Ship

July 18, 2022

This castle at sea boasts the most enchanting luxury spaces including a secret tower penthouse inside the ship’s funnel. Keep scrolling for a peek into the most posh rooms you’d never guess are on a cruise ship.

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Photo: Disney Cruise Line

A High-End Fairy Tale Cruise

You may not think of a cruise ship as a designer showcase home, but Disney Cruise Line is trying to change that by creating a castle-at-sea that harkens back to the golden age of ocean travel in the 1900s. Disney Wish, the brand-new ship and fifth addition to DCL’s fleet, is an architectural marvel dripping in opulence and inspired by the theme "enchantment." Gone is the standard boat atrium and instead there’s a grand hall that mimics a soaring gothic cathedral. But what’s most impressive is how the design team created such high-end spaces amid strict structural limitations and safety regulations of materials, especially the ship’s signature suites: four royal suites and one tower penthouse hidden inside the ship’s front funnel.

from $1,872 per person at expedia

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Photo: Rachael Jones

Disney Through a Design Lens

The four royal suites, inspired by the animated classic Sleeping Beauty, look like something you’d see in a celebrity's Hollywood Regency home. That’s because the designers at the heart of the Disney Wish, Claire Weiss, creative director for accommodations, and Laura Sanden Cabo, portfolio creative executive, are from the interior design world, and they’ve approached the world of Disney through that lens. “As an architect, having worked outside the entertainment industry for so many years and really being deep into design and coming from a firm where we practiced a very high level of design, I really felt that we had the opportunity here on the Disney Wish to show that it can be an elevated level of design,” says Laura. “Whether you are into Disney, or not, the space is beautiful and elevated.” Of course, there are Aurora hidden gems and Easter eggs galore for fans. But it’s all done in a sophisticated way. Instead of a completely immersive theme like Disney Parks, these suites have subtle nods to story such as the gold filigre on the spiral staircase in the two-story Aurora suite. The motif was inspired by ornate goblets and vases in castle scenes from the film. And that beautiful pale blue stone millwork is an exact match for the specific blue used in Sleeping Beauty concept art.

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Photo: Rachael Jones

Faking it in Style

There are more than 4,000 new pieces of Disney art aboard the Disney Wish, but what's most impressive is the hand-painted details on this staircase. It's actually steel, but doesn't it look like real marble? While the foyer has that beautiful medallion of hand-cut stone, the design team couldn't use real stone on the stair stringers because designing a room at sea comes with many rules about weight distribution in relation to the part of the boat or ship vibration in relation to the height of the deck. It's kind of like designing a room where every wall is load-bearing and comes with extreme restrictions. Any space aboard the Disney Wish has a mix of stone and laminate as well as hard metals and foils that are so believable not just by sight but touch, too. These stairs actually feel cold like marble. "You live, eat and sleep here," says Laura. "We can't fake things. It has to feel good to the touch." Laura says the team spent "hundreds of hours in mock-ups galore" making sure every single material felt authentic. "The second you touch and it's not right, the design falls apart," says Claire. "So we wanted to make sure that the fabrics that we're using, even in the sofa, are rich and well made and have this really lovely hand feel."

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Photo: Rachael Jones

Thick Tapestries Create a Feeling of Opulence

The bedding and textiles used throughout the suite also have an intential hand feel and an incredibly heavy weight to them. And it's all tied back to story. "Something that we talked a lot about when we were designing the suite," says Claire, "is that Sleeping Beauty has a lot of lovely, huge sort of Gothic tapestries. And we don't have tapestries in that space, but there's that specific visual quality of a tapestry we wanted that feels heavy and well made and thick and regal." Instead of a large tapestry, the main bedroom features a statement wall mural inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair's concept art. The iconic painter gave Sleeping Beauty its signature Baroque and Roccoco aesthetic. But she was also heavily inspired by the soft pastels of her time— the midcentury modern movement so her scenes depicting castle life don't have those traditional, dark jewel tones that you associate with royalty. The bed's upholsterd headboard and throws riff off that same airy, wispy blue. But the texture is ultra-thick and plush like a king's robe.

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