Photos: Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line welcomed its fourth ship, the Disney Fantasy, early this morning to its new homeport in Port Canaveral, Fla. after a 19-day trans-Atlantic voyage from Germany and a stop in New York for its Christening last week.

With the addition of the Disney Fantasy, Port Canaveral and the region is experiencing sizeable economic benefits. The Disney Fantasy is expected to generate more than 500 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the area and attract thousands of additional cruise guests to the port, according to an economic impact study by Martin Associates.

“Not only is the arrival of the Disney Fantasy an important milestone for our business, it will also have a positive impact on the Central Florida community,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “With our fourth ship, we are able to generate more jobs and economic activity for the region while delivering even more cruising options for families to share unforgettable cruise experiences with us.”

To accommodate the expanded operation, new ships and increase in guest capacity, Disney Cruise Line worked with Port Canaveral to expand the dock area and terminal facility in early 2011. Along with the construction of a new parking structure and a sky bridge walkway, guests experience a state-of-the-art facility, making the transition from land to sea relatively seamless.

“We are excited to welcome the Disney Fantasy home,” said Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer Stan Payne. “The arrival of the Disney Dream last year made a significant economic impact on Central Florida and we know the Disney Fantasy will add to that dramatically. We have seen our local businesses benefit when a ship of this magnitude and special Disney magic becomes part of our community.

Beginning with its maiden voyage on March 31, the Disney Fantasy will embark on seven-night sailings, alternating between Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, with a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s own private island in The Bahamas