In the mid-1990's, Disney experimented with booking cruises on what was known as The Big Red Boat, a modest and older cruise liner in the now-defunct Premier Cruises fleet. The experiment was such a success that the company commissioned two ships to be built to exacting Disney standards, with the most modern technology inside and the sleek classical lines of earlier ocean-going ships on the outside. These "modern classics" are long and low, with two red stacks (only one of which is necessary), a black hull, a unique pointed stern, and "Mickey yellow" designs, piping and even lifeboats. (Trivia tidbit: Special permission had to be sought from governing authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to be able to change the standard orange of the lifeboats to the yellow that is used.) Disney Magic, launched in 1998, was the first of these vessels to be delivered. Disney Wonder debuted a year later.

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