The Disney Dream cruise ship departed the Meyer Werft shipyard on its conveyance down the River Ems, traveling from the ship’s inland birthplace in Papenburg, Germany to the North Sea at the port of Eemshaven, The Netherlands. The journey began on Friday with a firework display as the ship passed through the first sea lock exiting the harbor, completing yet another milestone as the ship moves closer to its maiden voyage on Jan. 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Florida.

The conveyance process is a unique maneuver for ships built by the Meyer Werft shipyard, the only place in the world where this process occurs.The journey involves moving the ship some 26 miles down the winding River Ems.  In some areas, railroad bridges have been dismantled with sections lifted out to allow the ship’s passage.

“With the conveyance of the Disney Dream, we have reached yet another milestone for the third ship in our fleet,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “It won’t be long before our guests finally experience the inspired innovation and extraordinary creative content that makes this ship so magnificent and so unique. From an exhilarating ride on the AquaDuck to dazzling stage shows and exquisite French cuisine at Remy, the incredible offerings on the Disney Dream will delight everyone who steps aboard.”

Tens of thousands of local residents lined the shore to see the Disney Dream and some of its new and innovative features, like the AquaDuck water coaster, which winds around the ship’s iconic funnels.

“All of us at Meyer Werft and throughout the community of Papenburg are very proud to see this ‘Dream’ ship through its historic conveyance,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft.  “As the largest ship this yard has built, our entire community feels a tremendous sense of achievement and a deep connection to this exceptional vessel.”

The conveyance began on Friday, Nov. 12, from Papenburg and ended the following morning in Eemshaven. Prior to this, the Disney Dream underwent its float out on Oct. 30. For the last two weeks, testing on the ship’s functional features has taken place in the Meyer Werft harbor, while work on the interior areas continued. As the ship concludes the conveyance, it will move into what is known as the test-and-adjust period, departing Eemshaven for sea trials.After sea trials, the ship will travel to Hamburg, Germany for a short final dry docking.The ship then returns to Bremerhaven, Germany, for the delivery ceremony in which Meyer Werft will officially deliver the Disney Dream to Disney Cruise Line. Here the ship will welcome its remaining crew members before departing for its home in Port Canaveral in Florida.

The Disney Dream is the first of two new Disney ships being built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.  The Disney Fantasy is also currently in production and is scheduled to set sail on its maiden voyage on April 7, 2012.