The truth is that many people are currently feeling the pinch of inflation. Most people have an innate desire to travel – especially during the summer season – and a getaway might just be the ideal way to spend your hard-earned money.
For the best family-friendly getaway, or if you are simply a kid at heart, look no further than Disney Cruise Line. The question is, how much is a Disney cruise, anyway?
Cruises are one of the best ways of getting away from the routine of life at an affordable price. It isn’t as stressful as dealing with the mayhem of airports, cancellations, and delays with typical international travel. This is probably the most relaxing method of travel that most people can experience.
Disney Cruise Line has a reputation for being not just specially designed for families, but expensive too. Almost anything with the Disney brand found on it is associated with being pricey. However, this is not actually the case. While it may be more expensive compared to budget cruises, if you pick a port you can drive to, you may discover just how affordable a Disney cruise can be.
In This Article…
- How Much Is a Disney Cruise?
- Are There Any Additional Expenses?
- Saving Money on a Disney Cruise
- 1. Allow Disney to Select Your Cabin
- 2. Choose an Off-Peak Weekend Cruise
- 3. Book Your Cruise with a Travel Agent Offering Onboard Credit
- 4. Use Discounted Disney Gift Cards
- 5. Use Reward Points
- 6. Save an Additional 10% by Making a Deposit on Your Next Cruise
- 7. Upgrade at the Port
- 8. Look for Spa Discounts
- 9. Book in Advance and Don’t Go During Peak Times
- 10. Disney Visa Cruise Discounts
- Practical Advice
- Final Thoughts
How Much Is a Disney Cruise?
While there are costs to going on a Disney cruise, there are ways you can save money as well. We cover both sides, outlining typical expenses you’ll encounter with a Disney cruise and how to save money while enjoying your time on the happiest ship on earth.
For a family of three, a three-night cruise to the Bahamas in 2023 starts at $2,054 for an inside cabin. That would make it $657 for an adult, $380 for a child, and then $360 for taxes, fees and port expenses.
Cost of Disney Cruise Tickets
Booking a cruise is a little more involved than just purchasing tickets. Once you decide which Disney ship and itinerary you want to go with, you need to select your stateroom on that ship. The stateroom purchase is your reservation for the cruise. Disney Cruise Line offers several types of staterooms, including:
- Concierge-level suite
- Oceanview stateroom with veranda
- Oceanview stateroom with one to two windows
- Interior stateroom with no view
Based on your selection, prices drastically differ according to itinerary and ship. Most staterooms accommodate four people, and some can hold up to five.
The stateroom cost tends to be the most significant expense for the vacation. However, the price includes more than just the room. Costs tend to include the following:
- Disney characters
- A selection of onboard activities
- Broadway-style shows
- Non-alcoholic drinks
- Meals in the main dining room
What is included will differ according to the package you buy. However, once the basics are locked down, you can purchase other items like alcoholic drink packages, specialty dining, spa treatments, or excursions for an additional fee. However, most activities are included in the original purchase price.
Many people need to drive or fly to the port from which the ship will embark. This may be another significant expense to consider. Most people price the flights before booking cruises since it aids in narrowing down itineraries.
Furthermore, if you are flying, you may need to book a hotel before your cruise departs. It’s always a wise idea to arrive a day before because of delays at the airport.
Once you have arrived, you may need to find a way to get to the port, like an Uber/Lyft (sometimes free with rewards cards), taxi, car service, hotel shuttle, rental car, or Disney Cruise Line ground transfer. If you rent a car or take your own, you’ll have to pay parking costs. The price paid varies by port.
Extras on Disney Cruises
The costs we’ve already mentioned will need to be paid before departure. However, once on board the ship, there are extra activities you may want to partake in that will have an additional cost.
These are also called port adventures, activities you do when you reach various ports. A shore excursion can include ziplining, snorkeling, underwater adventures, etc.
For many, the best itinerary includes a stop at Castaway Cay, the Walt Disney Company’s private island in the Bahamas. Not only is it spectacular, but it is also free to enjoy. You can spend days eating at the lunch buffet, soaking up the sun on the beach, exploring the island, and meeting Disney characters.
If you want to partake in excursions at each port you visit, you must pay extra and book it in advance. A port adventure can range from $10 to $1,000, depending on the activity.
If you enjoy going to the beach, there are some cost-effective excursions you can join. Some of the beaches are easy to access while on your own without booking a port adventure.
Disney Cruise Line sometimes offers Wi-Fi specials upon arrival with 50MB per stateroom at no additional cost. If you know you will use more than this, you can purchase more.
Stateroom hosts and wait staff on the Disney Cruise Line fleet work hard. They take care of your family during dinner and serve food and beverages for breakfast and lunch. They additionally care for you if you go to Castaway Cay.
Stateroom hosts organize and clean the stateroom twice daily. Disney will automatically charge gratuities, so you don’t need to worry about having cash on hand for tipping.
Depending on the number of individuals traveling with you and the length of your stay, the cost can be nominal to great. The tip amount on Disney Cruise Line is currently $13.50/day/person. Knowing that, you can calculate what the total cost will be before setting sail. If you have onboard credit, putting it toward gratuities is one of the best ways to use it.
Are There Any Additional Expenses?
Disney charges your account for any extra purchases made while on board the ship. You may require a little extra spending money, or you may need to budget for thousands of dollars. You can reduce some expenses by purchasing package deals before boarding.
The Key to the World card allows you to buy things on the cruise ship. In the end, you will have a final bill for the stateroom. Extras may include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Specialty teas, beverages, coffees
- Senses Spa visits
- Photo packages
- Specialty restaurants
- Baby nurseries
Saving Money on a Disney Cruise
There are several ways you can save money on a Disney cruise. There are also more cost-effective cruises that start at $500/person for double occupancy rooms, where you still get the full Disney experience. Compared to the typical cost of airfare, which doesn’t include meals, entertainment, or a hotel but still costs an average of $700/flight, which is the better deal?
If you want to save money on the cost of a Disney cruise, we outline some steps you can follow that are budget-friendly while allowing you to have a great time.
1. Allow Disney to Select Your Cabin
One of the best ways to save money while on a Disney cruise is to allow the cruise line to select your cabin at a discounted price. This is known as a guaranteed rate, enabling guests to select the room type like veranda, interior, etc. However, Disney chooses exactly which suite within your category you receive.
While these fares have restrictions around changes and payments, you can reduce your expenses by 35% of the going rate. This option offers significant savings for those who aren’t picky about where the room is located.
2. Choose an Off-Peak Weekend Cruise
While Disney cruises may be more costly than Royal Caribbean or Carnival, the costs are not unattainably expensive. The only week that is expensive is during the peak of school break. However, with several three- and four-night sails, guests can select a long weekend just to avoid pricey weeks.
An example is booking a three-night two-person cruise sailing from Miami to the Bahamas with Disney Magic. If you go on a regular weekend in September, for example, Friday, September 8 to Monday, September 11, you can book an inside cabin for four days for $1,530.
If you were to book it, comparatively, over the Labor Day long weekend, it would cost $1,692. If you break down the cost, that is $255 per person per day. This includes meals, accommodations, and activities.
Hotels in Miami for the same weekend, if you average the cost, will range from $600 to $700 for a three-night stay at a decent hotel. This just includes a place to stay. It doesn’t include gas or airfare to get there, or meals, entertainment, shopping, activities, etc. When you add up all the costs, it exceeds what you would spend on a Disney cruise, which includes most of these things.
3. Book Your Cruise with a Travel Agent Offering Onboard Credit
Guests can book their cruise directly through the Disney Cruise Line site. However, there are benefits to booking through a travel agent that is an authorized Disney vacation planner. They can sometimes provide you with extra credit when booking through them in the form of onboard credit.
Onboard credit is like free money that you can spend while on the cruise. Once the cruise is over, any unused money is returned to the travel agency. You cannot recoup what you don’t spend.
Amounts vary but range between $75 and $200 depending on your chosen package. It works out to about 5-10% of the cruise price being returned to you in spendable credit.
4. Use Discounted Disney Gift Cards
Wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club allow people to buy discounted Disney gift cards. Discounts are sometimes more significant during Black Friday. However, generally, you can get a $500 gift card for $485. It’s not exactly a cruise deal or considerable savings, but using them for a $3,000 Disney cruise can save you $90.
Target credit cards allow you to save 5% on Disney gift cards. For the same cruise, you will save $150. You can also earn bonus points by using a particular credit card when purchasing Disney gift cards, depending on where you purchase them.
5. Use Reward Points
You can use your reward points on select sailings to save money. While not all points translate into a free trip on a Disney cruise ship, some can. Furthermore, while not all of it may be free, it can cut down on expenses at the very least.
The best way to accomplish this is to pay for some or perhaps all of your cruise with a credit card offering rewards points. Some will even allow you to book through them for discounts plus onboard credits. Use one which permits you to use points with a fixed value, thereby erasing travel charges.
By doing this, you can book using a travel agent to receive the onboard credit. Then, use your points to erase the final payment or deposit.
An example is placing a charge using a Capital One Venture Rewards Card. You can use your miles at a one-cent value to pay the cost. In the example of flying from Miami to Bahamas for $1,530, it would take 153,000 Venture miles to cover the entire cost.
With welcome bonuses at 75,000 bonus miles, the goal isn’t entirely unrealistic after spending $4,000 during your first three months of opening your account. The bonus miles equate to $750 in travel. All you need to do is charge your expenses to your credit card, pay off the balance, and collect the points.
6. Save an Additional 10% by Making a Deposit on Your Next Cruise
You can save 10% on Disney cruises when you book another cruise while on board the ship. While it may not cut down costs for the initial trip, you are still saving money.
While on a Disney cruise, you can put down a $250 placeholder deposit on a future trip within the next two years. This is done via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. You don’t have to select your next cruise right then, but you will save 10% on the cost, which is valid on most dates and room types.
This translates into saving hundreds of dollars for your next vacation. If your plans fall through for whatever reason, Disney will refund the money to you.
7. Upgrade at the Port
This is the best way to obtain a better room at a lesser price. Providing the cruise is not sold out, you can go to the port desk before boarding and ask about space-available upgrades at a discounted price.
The cost to upgrade is related to the type of room booked and the one to which you choose to upgrade. Supervisors consult a pre-printed chart to locate cost differentials. Often it costs less than if you had initially booked a better room. Sometimes the cost is about half, but numbers do vary.
8. Look for Spa Discounts
Those wanting to save money generally tend to skip spa treatments. However, if you want a relaxing massage, there are discounts on spa services while on a Disney cruise.
Sometimes the Port Day discount equates to 20% off since people tend to book while on sea days. Spas are less busy when ships are docked. Disney Visa frequently advertises 20% off specific massages or facials on port days.
Furthermore, you can sometimes receive 50% off when you book a second service while on your first. Spas on cruise ships commonly offer discounts for multiple treatments.
9. Book in Advance and Don’t Go During Peak Times
If you are new to cruising, booking your trip early and going during off-peak times can save you money. Prices tend to go up as the dates draw closer. However, sometimes you can find last-minute specials.
If the price drops and you are booked ahead, some cruise lines offer you a discounted rate to make up for the price drop, but additional terms may apply. Sometimes it takes the form of onboard credit, which you can put toward your secondary expenses.
10. Disney Visa Cruise Discounts
Disney Visa cardholders can receive 20% off specific spa treatments and 10% off Castaway Cay packages. These include bike rentals, snorkel gear, and inner tubes. Further discounts offer 10% off merchandise purchased onboard for $50 or more, and can also be applied to onboard pictures.
If you must spread out your payments, Disney Visa holders can receive a 0% interest rate on a Disney vacation for six months. The card presently offers a welcome bonus of $300 that can be put toward a Disney vacation.
If you want to find the lowest price for your Disney cruise or simply want to stick to a budget, begin by comparing different cruise ship itineraries. You will pay a higher price for a longer cruise than a shorter one. This is the case if you book for popular destinations like Hawaii and Alaska that take longer to sail to.
For the best cruise deal, narrow your search for itineraries to the Caribbean or the Bahamas. There will also be significant price differences in fares during off-peak season. If your kids don’t mind missing a few days of school, you can save more money by vacationing during the school year instead of over the summer or winter holidays.
Once you have tabulated your initial costs for the stateroom and travel, you can set your budget for extra activities you want to do. Not everything is included, but most things are. Extra expenses to consider include specialty dining, port expenses, excursions, and entertainment.
Read Also: What is the Best Way to Book a Cruise?
This will help determine how much a Disney cruise costs before you leave and help you plan for additional costs. It is also wise to bring along some extra money as a buffer, just in case. Things tend to come up last minute, and it’s nice to know that you won’t miss out on an unplanned opportunity should it arise.