I’m not going to lie, Disney cruises are expensive. Much more so than other cruise lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. It can be tough to afford a Disney cruise. But generally, you get what you pay for. Disney has service and amenities that are really above and beyond most other cruise lines. And that extra bit of Disney magic just can’t be beat. So if you’ve been dreaming of a Disney cruise but not sure if you’ve got the funds, here are some tips to make it a more affordable experience.
Book with a Travel Agent
Like me! Most travel agencies, including mine, give free on board credit as a thank you for booking with them. The amount you get is based on how much money you spend on your cruise, but either way it’s free money once on board that you can spend on alcoholic drinks, shore excursions, souvenirs, and whatever else you might need to pay for. I have a client sailing with me who will be getting an extra $125 in on board credit from us! If you’re interested in learning more about booking a Disney cruise with me, please email me at [email protected].
Do a 4 night sailing
One of the biggest differences in price is of course going to be how many nights you’re on the ship. Disney offers 3 night sailings but I personally think those are too quick – I recommend a 4 night. You still get a good amount of time on the ship to enjoy everything, but you’re not paying anywhere near as much as one of the 7 night or longer cruises.
Travel during off times of the year
Just like with Disney World, the time of year you travel will have a huge impact on how expensive your cruise is. The summers are going to be the most busy time and thus the most expensive. Consider cruising during times like January and February, or September and October (though keep in mind that the fall is hurricane season – it’s not a deal breaker for me but just something to be aware of).
Consider all departure ports and destinations
Right now the most expensive cruises are the ones departing from NYC. Being in eastern PA I have a lot of people in the area who were interested in those cruises. However, because they were in such high demand the prices were super high. In many cases it was actually cheaper for someone to buy tickets to fly down to Port Canaveral and take a cruise out of there than to do one directly from New York. Certain itineraries may be cheaper too. For me it’s more about being on the ship than the places we visit, so I try not to be too picky about that.
Book an inside stateroom
I know everyone raves about their balconies. But you can save hundreds of dollars by booking an inside stateroom. I’ve only ever cruised on inside staterooms so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing, but I’m perfectly happy with it. In fact, some of Disney’s ships even have “magical portholes,” which are actually screens but they are connected to cameras outside so it’s like you have a view of the ocean anyway. Plus, there’s so much going on during the cruise that you probably won’t spend much time in your room anyway.
Take advantage of all the free activities
Keep in mind that most of the things on the ship are free, but there are definitely others that cost money. If you’re looking to save then check out the free activities. Don’t pay $20+ for a Bingo card – go to Disney trivia instead. And rather than spending big bucks on the spa, visit the hot tub up deck. There’s a ton to do that doesn’t cost money! Same goes for dining. There are restaurants you can pay extra for, but if you’re looking to save you’ll find plenty of food that’s already included with the price you paid for the cruise.
Limit your drinking
I know, I know. But alcohol is not included on the ship. When we got on board I’d say about 80% of our charges were alcohol – so if you’re not a big drinker you’ll save a lot of money that way. If you still want to get a few drinks I recommend looking at the Drink of the Day. It changes every day and only cost about $4.25 per drink. Soft drinks like soda are also included (as long as you get it from the fountain machines and not the bars) unlike many cruise lines.
Book the older ships
The Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder are both fantastic ships, but since they are the oldest in the fleet they are often more affordable than the newer ships. The Disney Wish will almost certainly be more expensive than the other 4 since it’s the newest one, so I’d avoid the Wish if you’re looking to save some money.
Are you interested in finding out how you can plan and book an affordable Disney Cruise? I’d be happy to help you! Please email me at [email protected] and we can discuss your options and work on planning a magical vacation! It may be easier to afford a Disney cruise than you think 🙂
Have you ever cruised before? What ship were you on and where did you go?