View Full Version : The Big Red Boat

07-17-2005, 02:13 PM
I see this referenced often on these boards, so can you tell me about the history of the Big Red Boat? When you said that's all Disney used to cruise on, are you saying Disney didn't own this boat but used it while it belonged to another company? I just don't know the history behind this.


07-17-2005, 02:42 PM
Yep, someone else owned the boat. Disney had a licensing agreement to provide characters. Sort of like when McDonalds gives away Disney toys in the Happy Meals, it's a licensing agreement, Disney doesn't own McDonalds.

Horace Horsecollar
07-17-2005, 02:54 PM
See this thread from last month: Was the Big Red Boat a Disney ship? (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=833962)

07-17-2005, 02:58 PM
Disney wanted to get into the cruise industry and started a partnership with Premier cruise line and the " Big Red Boat " was born. Formerly the Oceanic cruise ship. The ship was much smaller than the mega liners of today, not to mention an older boat also. Disney provided the marketing and some characters, but once onboard, control of the passengers was turned over to Premier. This is the part Disney became disenchanted with. Not many companies hold the bar as high as Disney when it comes to customer satisfaction. People thought that Disney owned/operated the boat. So in the mid 90's Disney higher-ups decided that they had three choices to make.

1) Find a new cruise line to partner with
2) Get out of the cruise business
3) Build their own boats

Luckily for us, they opted on #3 and in 1998 the Magic was launched. Premier continued to operate the BRB for a short while after the Magic was launched. I believe they even struck a deal with Universal for a while.

I was on the Magic in November 1998, just 3 months after launching. The BRB actually looked like a little pink dinghy moored close to the beautiful Magic.

Shortly thereafter Premier declared bankruptcy. I do not think the Oceanic/BRB is any longer in service.

07-17-2005, 02:59 PM
We were on the Big Red Boat 15 years ago for our honeymoon. It was our first cruise and we thought it was a blast. They had Disney characters on, but nothing like DCL. Small, small rooms. Very small shower. We also went to a private island, but have no idea who it belong to.


07-17-2005, 02:59 PM
The Big Red Boat was formerly called The Oceanic, a ship my parents cruised on a few times in the late 70s and early 80s...it was considered state-of-the-art back then....todays ships just simply blow away ships of yore....

07-17-2005, 03:28 PM
Actually, there were 2 "Big Red Boats," the Oceanic and the Atlantic. A long time ago (like 13 years ago+), they had Disney characters on board. Disney had nothing to do with running the ship....the just licensed the use of the characters. After the contract with Disney ran out, Disney decided not to renew it. THere were lots of speculated reasons...they weren't happy with the quality of the ship, etc....and they had decided to operate their own cruise line.

We were on both of the ships about 9 and 11 years go. By that time, the Disney contract was over and they had Looney Tunes characters. 11 years ago it was "just ok," 9 years ago, it was the pits. The cruise line went bankrupt, the ships were sold. Ultimately, at least one of them had all the hazardous materials removed and was literally sunk at sea as it was determined that it would cost too much to renovate it.

Horace Horsecollar
07-17-2005, 04:00 PM
Disney wanted to get into the cruise industry and started a partnership with Premier cruise line and the " Big Red Boat " was born.
"Big Red Boat" was not a partnership between Disney and Premier Cruise Line. Disney had no ownership of "Big Red Boat."

Premier Cruise Line paid Disney to be "the Official Cruise Line of Walt Disney World," in the same way that Eastern Airlines (and later Delta Air Lines) paid to be "the Official Airline of Walt Disney World." Premier had a licensing agreement to have Disney characters onboard, and even offered nighttime tuck-ins of children by Disney characters.

Unlike the official airline, offical rental car, or official film of Walt Disney World, the public somehow saw the Premier Cruise Line cruises as being part of Disney. I remember people telling me, "We're cruising with Disney!"

I've never seen any indication that "Big Red Boat" was born because "Disney wanted to get into the cruise industry." In fact, it appears Disney only got the idea to get into the cruise business after they saw how the public embraced Premier's "Disney cruises." Disney waited for the marketing agreement to run its course. Then Disney announced they were starting a cruise line with two brand new ships.

Actually, there were 2 "Big Red Boats," the Oceanic and the Atlantic.
The original Premier "Big Red Boats" with Disney characters were the StarShip Atlantic, the Starship Majestic, that StarShip Oceanic, and the StarShip Royale. For more details, see http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/PremierPCs.html

07-17-2005, 05:53 PM
One thing's for sure.....Big Red Boat was an inferior product compared to what we know and love.....DW just the other day mentioned to some folks about how we were DCL fanatics....Their reply "ohhh, the Big Red Boat"....

07-17-2005, 10:00 PM
Actually, there were 2 "Big Red Boats," the Oceanic and the Atlantic.

Ummm, nope, Majestic and Oceanic......
:flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower:

Horace Horsecollar
07-17-2005, 11:12 PM
Ummm, nope, Majestic and Oceanic......
Ummm, nope... StarShip Atlantic, the Starship Majestic, that StarShip Oceanic, and the StarShip Royale.

07-17-2005, 11:20 PM
Horace, you are so good! The Royale was the first to leave the fleet, and was replaced by? I believe the Atlantic, but I could be wrong. I sailed Oceanic twice, Majestic twice, and Atlantic once. The rooms on the OCeanic we much larger (the ones I had) than DCL, base rrom for Base room, the bathrooms were "standard" cruise bathrooms for the time. The private island was Blue Lagoon Island, the same one that DCL sends people to for the DOlphin experience from Nassau. It wasn't owned by Premier, they sent people over there via tender. On any given day, the general public could also be over there. I remember the last time I was there, they had finally roped off the area that was reserved for the cruise passengers. We have come a long way in the private island world for sure.

07-18-2005, 06:30 AM
Isn't one of the BRBs at the docks in Freeport, rusting away?

07-20-2005, 02:53 PM
We sailed on the Big Red Boat in 1991. Our son was four years old at the time. After the cruise, we spent three nights at WDW (CBR). It was the best vacation we've ever had. Of course, the ship was small (compared to the ships today) and not owned by Disney, but we had a blast. Our son was just the right age. He had alot of interaction with the characters - especially Goofy. We just had a great time.

We've been to WDW many times since that trip. Now we stay in the deluxe resorts and are a little harder to please, but that trip (and the great video we have from it) remains a favorite of our family.