Booking a cruise (especially a Disney cruise!) can be a great way to budget for your vacation. Because the cost for the cruise includes your lodging and much of your food and entertainment, you’ll have a good idea of what the whole trip will cost. Here are some tips for budgeting for a Disney cruise, including what’s included and not included in the price.
Budgeting for a Disney Cruise
Get a Quote for the Price
You’ll want to start by getting a quote for your desired trip. Once you find something you want to book, you should do it whenever you can. I’ve had the price of a trip increase over the course of a week – so they definitely can change. It’s usually easiest to get a quote either with a travel agent or online, but you can also book a cruise while on a cruise (you’ll save money too!).
Know When Your Final Payment is Due
Depending on the itinerary that you book, final payment may be due at different times. Know when your final payment is due, and start budgeting so that you can make that payment on time. You aren’t able to book port excursions or make other reservations through the Disney Cruise Line until you are paid in full.
Find Airfare Prices
Unless you are driving to the port, you’ll need to book separate airfare. You’ll want to check out airfare rates in advance so that you can budget for it. I recommend using something like Google Flights or the Hopper app so that you can get a prediction of the fare. Don’t wait on this step, because you don’t want to book a cruise and then realize the airfare is super expensive.
Look at Travel Insurance
If you are booking an expensive trip, you may want to consider travel insurance. I usually recommend travel insurance when you are spending a lot of money on your trip, especially for cruises. Here are some tips for looking at travel insurance.
Know What’s Included in the Price
Of course, there are some things that aren’t included in the cost of your cruise, and it’s important to know that before you leave. You’ll be adding a lot of those additional fees to your stateroom account, and you definitely don’t want to be surprised when you get the final bill. They can add up quickly.
What’s Included in the Price of a Disney Cruise?
When you book a Disney cruise, it will include the following:
- your stateroom for the entire stay
- meals in your assigned dining room for dinner
- lunches at the buffet or one of the dining rooms
- breakfast at the buffet
- entertainment throughout your stay, including the evening shows, game shows, movies, drawing classes, and deck shows
- room service (excluding bottled water, alcohol, and prepackaged food)
- the kids clubs
- soft serve ice cream
- use of the fitness center
- soda (unusual for cruise lines)
- food at Castaway Cay (but not alcohol)
- character meetings
What Costs Extra on a Disney Cruise?
Note that there may be other things that cost extra that are not listed here.
- spa treatments
- gratuities (automatically added, although you can request changes)
- specialty coffee (although completely worth the extra fee!)
- prepackaged snacks
- gift shop purchases
- the nursery
- food at Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats (on the Disney Dream)
- meals at Palo and Remy
- transportation to and from the port, and parking at the port
- port excursions
- popcorn (available at the theaters)
- meals off the ship (except at Castaway Cay)
- photos taken by the ship photographers
- bottled water
At a minimum, even if you aren’t drinking alcohol or getting off the ship at ports of call, you’ll need to find a way to get to and from the port, and will need to pay for gratuities.
If you are concerned about the final bill, you can always visit the guest services desk during your trip to see how much you’ve already spent. Definitely keep track because costs can add up!
Have you been on a cruise? How did you budget for it?