I’ve been on twelve Disney cruises, so I obviously think that the Disney Cruise line is worth the money. But when you are booking your family cruise, you may look at other family-friendly cruise lines as well. Disney Cruise Line cruises can often be more expensive, and without really knowing about the experience, it can be hard to justify the extra expense.
If you are considering taking a Disney cruise for your next family vacation, you’re probably wondering, “How much does a Disney Cruise cost”? It’s important to understand, whether you are evaluated different cruise options or budgeting for a future trip. You’ll probably also wonder what’s included and whether it’s worth the cost.
The price of a Disney cruise definitely depends on many factors. Here’s an overview of Disney Cruise prices as well as what’s included and what factors influence the price.
Disclosure I’ve been on one complimentary media preview cruise and two cruises as part of Disney Social Media Moms. The remainder of my trips have been at full cost. All opinions are my own.
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How Much Is A Disney Cruise? Is It Worth the Cost?
Factors That Affect the Price of a Disney Cruise
When looking at the price of a Disney cruise, many factors affect the price. The time of year of the cruise can often influence the price. Like other travel products like airfare and hotels, demand significantly influences the price.
With a limited supply of staterooms and only four ships (with more on the way), the price is definitely impacted by the current demand for staterooms.
You’ll often find that Disney Cruises that take place during peak times of year (like school vacations) will be more expensive than other weeks. You’ll want to book those early to get the most stateroom options and the best Disney Cruise prices.
If you are thinking of doing a Caribbean cruise, January can be a great option and is often the cheapest month. Typically all four ships (the Disney Magic, Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, and Disney Wonder) are sailing in the Caribbean, so there are lots of sailings to choose from, with a variety of different Caribbean itineraries.
In addition, because the Caribbean can sometimes be chilly in January, it’s not as busy. I’ve been on several January cruises, and while sometimes the weather has been a little cool, we’ve also been very lucky with perfect weather.
Of course, most schools are in session for most of January, so it can be more difficult to sail then if your kids are in school. Martin Luther King weekend typically is more expensive than the rest of the month.
As you’d expect, the duration of the cruise also affects the prices. A longer cruise is definitely more expensive than a shorter cruise. I usually recommend that travelers start with a 3 or 4-day cruise to see if it’s something they enjoy before committing to a longer cruise.
Some families like to do a Disney Land and Sea vacation where they combine their cruise with some time at Walt Disney World. That can be a great way to take your first cruise and make sure it’s something your family enjoys.
Unlike hotels, where you’ll pay per room, on the Disney Cruise Line, the cost increases per person in a stateroom. This is because the cost of a Disney cruise includes all of your meals in the regular dining rooms as well as activities.
Of course, the incremental amount of an additional person in the room is lower. When I travel with my friends on the Disney Cruise Line, we like to have two to three people in the room. We don’t usually spend too much time in the room, and it never feels crowded, even though it is a small room.
The type of stateroom you book is also a factor in the cost. We typically book a deluxe family stateroom with verandah, although you can save money by getting a room without the verandah. Interior rooms are less expensive.
Think about how much time you plan to spend in the room, and whether or not you’ll use the verandah. I love sitting outside sipping coffee in the morning, and I find the verandah is worth the extra cost. But that may not be the case for everyone.
Special cruises, like the Very Merrytime Cruises and the Marvel Day at Sea, may also cost a bit more than a standard cruise. Often discounts (like the discount for booking onboard) aren’t available on these cruises.
Getting a Disney Cruise Line Discount
The best way for a return guest to get a discount on the Disney Cruise Line is to book while you are already on a sailing. You’ll have two options.
You can either book with the dates that you want to sail, and can choose your exact dates and room. For this, you’ll need to give a deposit.
Alternatively, you can book a placeholder for a $250 fee. This can be applied to a cruise booked within the next two years. I typically book a placeholder, even if I don’t have another cruise planned because it’s valid for a while.
Depending on the sailing, you’ll get a discount as well as stateroom credit. To do an onboard booking, you’ll want to visit the desk on the ship as soon as possible. It can be very busy by the end of your sailing and there is typically a line to talk to a cast member.
Other discounts can sometimes be available for Canadian residents, Florida residents, and members of the military. The Disney Cruise Line special offers page has more specific information on this. They aren’t always available so you’ll have to check for details and eligible sailings.
What’s Included in a Disney Cruise?
When assessing the cost of a Disney cruise, you’ll also want to know what’s included and what isn’t included in the price of the cruise. It’s important to calculate the total cost that you’ll expect to spend.
Things included in your Disney Cruise cost include Disney character interactions, shows on the Disney cruise ships, the kids’ clubs, meals in the main dining rooms, unlimited ice cream, many snacks, most room service, soda, standard coffee, and iced tea.
While many cruise lines do include these items (soda is typically not included with most cruise brands, however), it’s important to look at how your family will use these inclusions.
My kids love the kids’ clubs and the shows, so we usually do that daily. It’s completely worth it for us. On the other hand, we don’t drink soda, so we don’t really care if it’s included.
What’s Not Included in a Disney Cruise
As you do your price comparisons and start to budget for your trip, you’ll also need to know what’s not included in a Disney Cruise.
Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to get to the port. Depending on the port you are leaving from (for instance, Port Canaveral), Disney transportation may be offered. However, this is an extra cost and isn’t included in your cruise.
If you are leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida, you may want to start out (or end with) a Walt Disney World vacation as part of a Disney land and sea adventure. In that case, transportation is offered from the parks to the port, but again, that is an extra fee that you’ll need to include in your budget.
Where available, I find it convenient to take the Disney transportation because they will tell you exactly where you need to go. It’s worth the extra peace of mind for me to pay for it rather than worry about transportation on my own. But, rental cars, riding sharing, and private transportation are also an option.
Shore excursions are another cost that is separate from the standard cruise cost. These are something that you’ll want to research before committing to your cruise, because they can definitely be expensive.
This is especially the case in Europe and Alaska, where you may pay around $700+ per person for a single excursion. That can definitely add up, especially for longer cruises when you’ll want to take multiple excursions!
Sometimes you’ll find that excursions booked outside the cruise line might be a little less expensive. Just keep in mind that there is a risk associated with this. These excursions and companies may not be vetted by the cruise line.
You will also be responsible for making sure you get back on board with plenty of time. If for some reason, the cruise doesn’t dock at a specific port, you probably won’t get a refund. This can sometimes happen because of weather or other unpredictable reasons.
Alcohol is not included on the Disney Cruise Line. You can purchase beer and wine packages that do help bring the cost down. If you typically get a couple of drinks per day, it’s a good idea to keep looking at your bill on the Disney Cruise Line app so you aren’t surprised on the last day.
Some snacks (like popcorn at the theater), premium desserts (at Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream and the Sweet on You Ice Cream shop on the Disney Fantasy), premium coffee (at the Cove cafe), and meals at the adult-only Palo and Remy also cost extra.
Gratuities are also not included in the cost of a Disney cruise. You can usually prepay the gratuities, or they’ll be automatically added to your bill. You can, however, change these by going to guest services.
You’ll also want to tip anytime you pay for something out of pocket and for room service. You can just write in these tips on the slip you sign and add them to your bill. They’ll be added to your stateroom account.
There are other things that cost additional on a cruise, including WiFi and Bingo. I usually skip WiFi because it’s good to disconnect, but we usually play Bingo at least once.
What Does a Disney Cruise Cost?
These prices are accurate from the date we wrote this post and are always subject to change. As mentioned above, many factors affect these prices.
You’ll pay anywhere from about $2,500 to $5,600 for a three-night cruise on the Disney Dream for a stateroom with 4 people. This cruise goes to Nassau and Disney’s Castaway Cay. This is a great option as a first cruise because it’s less expensive than the others and is a short commitment.
You can book a four-night Bahamian cruise out of the Miami cruise port for about $3,100 to $6,700 for four people. This excludes Christmas week when the price is significantly higher.
Alaskan Cruises are about $6,100 to $15,500 for a seven-night cruise. Concierge rooms are higher, however. Although it’s a lot more expensive for a verandah, you’ll probably use it quite a bit in Alaska so it may be worth the splurge. Keep in mind that the excursions and airfare may add quite a bit to this price.
European cruises can vary quite a bit. You can get a 7-night European cruise out of Dover starting at about $5,500, but rates can go up to almost $19,000 for a verandah room on a 10-night Mediterranean cruise. Don’t forget to factor in airfare and shore excursions, which can definitely increase the price of your vacation.
Is a Disney Cruise Worth It?
We’ve loved our Disney Cruises and have always felt that they are absolutely worth the cost. You’ll want to make sure you take advantage of the benefits, including the public areas like the pools, the shows, and the kids’ areas.
Have you been on a Disney Cruise?