A family cruise vacation can be so much for kids. A floating hotel, full of flashy activities, delicious foods, and impeccable service can be an appealing vacation option. However, when you start looking at prices, you may wonder if a Disney cruise is worth it. It can be more money than other cruise lines, but can also be worth it.
The answer to this question depends a lot on your budget and your plans for your vacation. It will also depend upon what you are considering for alternatives. For instance, if you are deciding between a cruise and visiting the theme parks, you’ll need to decide what activities you’d rather do. They are very different vacations.
You may also be choosing between several different cruise lines. Many of them have similar itineraries, with different price points. Be sure you are comparing similar length cruises to the same ports and are not just looking at the lower price.
Important note: Due to the current situation, cruising is very different and comes with a set of risks. You’ll need to factor that in for your own situation when deciding whether travel is worth the risks.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to me at no cost to you. I’ve been on several media cruises at a lower/discounted price, but have also paid my own way for many cruises.
When booking a Disney Cruise, I recommend booking with Get Away Today. Plus, when you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 onboard credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929. They can also help with Disney Land and Sea vacations.
Is A Disney Cruise Worth It?
First, you’ll want to look at what’s included and what isn’t included. That way, you’ll understand what the full price is going to be.
What’s Included on The Disney Cruise Line
While a cruise isn’t exactly an all-inclusive vacation, you will find that much of your family vacation is covered at one rate. Here’s what you’ll get with your fare on the Disney Cruise Line in addition to their amazing service.
Entertainment – the live shows on the Disney Cruise Line are kid-friendly and absolutely amazing. Depending on the ship, you’ll get to see popular Disney stories like Frozen, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, along with original shows.
There are usually three big Broadway-style shows per sailing. For longer cruises, other evening entertainment is offered including magic shows. These are fun for the whole family.
There is additional entertainment on the ship, which you’ll find throughout the ship. These include individual singers, guitarists, etc. There are also game shows, dance parties, and so much more. You’ll never be bored.
Kids’ Clubs – when my kids were younger, they absolutely loved the kids’ clubs on the Disney Cruise Line. These kids’ clubs are completely unparalleled and include themes like Star Wars, Marvel, and Toy Story.
There are many activities offered in the clubs. My kids always loved the art and science projects offered.
Movies – unlike other cruise lines, you’ll get first-run Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movies on the Disney Cruise Line, at no additional cost. These play in the onboard movie theater. In addition, classic movies play throughout the day on the FunnelVision screen on the pool deck.
Rotational Dining – on the Disney Cruise Line, you’ll be assigned different dining rooms every day. Your servers travel with you, which means you’ll get to know them throughout your trip. There are three main dining rooms, so on cruises longer than three nights, you’ll repeat locations.
In addition to your assigned dinners, there’s plenty of other food on the ships. Free room service is available, and there are more casual dining locations located throughout the ship offering free food. Of course, you’ll have to get as much free ice cream as you want!
Soft drinks, standard coffee, juice, and tea are also included. Many cruise lines charge extra for soda, so this is something that may be important to you if you drink soda.
Character Meet and Greets – Small children will love the opportunity to meet their favorite characters on board the ships.
Amenities – there are many other free amenities on the ship, including pools (family and adult only), splash pads, water slides, the Aquaduck (on the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy), hot tubs, a sports deck, and much more.
Fireworks at Sea – on the Caribbean and Bahamian cruises, there is typically a fireworks show during Pirate Night. This is such a fun, unique experience and is often the highlight of our cruise.
Castaway Cay – on Bahamian and Caribbean cruises, you’ll stop for one day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. There, you can enjoy water sports, beach time, a kids’ club, sports, activities, and a BBQ lunch.
What’s Extra on the Disney Cruise Line
Gratuities – while you can pre-pay your gratuities with your fare, they aren’t included with the quoted price. Typically, you’ll tip your servers (three different servers) and stateroom attendants.
Transportation to the Port – transportation from Disney World or the airport is not included. If you are traveling from Orlando International Airport to Port Canaveral, you can add on bus transportation for an extra charge.
Alcoholic Beverages – Alcoholic beverages are offered at an extra cost. Be sure to keep an eye on your tab because it can start to add up. Drink packages are available, including wine and beer packages. You’ll get information about these on the first day on the ship.
Premium Restaurants – in addition to the complimentary dining options, there is at least one fine dining, premium restaurant (Palo on all cruise ships, and Palo and Remy on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy). These are adult-only restaurants and you will pay an additional fee to dine there.
You’ll also be able to purchase premium coffees at the Cove Cafe, located in the adult sections of the cruise ships.
WiFi – While you’ll probably want to unplug during your family cruise, there are times when you can’t be completely disconnected. The ships do offer WiFi, but there is an extra charge.
Shore Excursions – You can absolutely stay on the ship during each port of call. However, you can have a great time on various shore excursions offered at each destination. These cost extra, and you’ll probably want to have cash on hand to tip the guides.
On-Board Activities – there are loads of activities on the ship each day, and most of them are free and included in your fare. However, there are several that do cost extra. These include BINGO (which is so much fun), and beverage seminars.
Spa Treatments – The Senses spa is a wonderful treat, but you will need to pay extra money for these treatments. We love visiting the Rainforest room, which does cost extra but is a nice relaxing option.
Nursery – The regular kids’ clubs are included in the price of your Disney Cruise. However, if you need to reserve the nursery for infants, there’s an additional, hourly charge.
Why Choose Disney Cruise Line Over Other Lines
If you definitely want to take a cruise and are comparing cruise lines, you are probably wondering why choose Disney Cruise Line over other lines. In my opinion, it’s best to look at the included amenities. The shows, kids’ clubs, and other kid-friendly activities and amenities make Disney Cruise Line an appealing option for families.
Consider how you plan to use these amenities and activities. Do you think you’ll want to see the shows and movies? Will your kids visit the clubs? If so, a Disney Cruise is worth it.
Is A Disney Cruise Worth It?
In my opinion, yes. I’ve been on over a dozen Disney Cruises and have loved every one of them. Even though my kids are teens now, they still really enjoy all of the activities on the ship.
If you aren’t sure, or really don’t want to commit to a long cruise, there are some wonderful three-night cruise options on the Disney Dream. These short cruises go to Castaway Cay and Nassau, Bahamas, and can be a great way for families to test out the cruise line as a first cruise.