Have you ever thought about taking a Disney Cruise….but are perhaps wondering if it can be affordable for your family? As with many things Disney vacation related, Disney cruises can be expensive, but also as with many things Disney vacation related, there are ways that you can save. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
First, let me say that I truly believe that a Disney cruise is a tremendous vacation value! Nearly everything is included, from food to drinks (non alcoholic that is), world class Disney entertainment, the best children’s programming at sea, and SO much more. And of course, there are those magical Disney details and that legendary Disney service, that all combine to make a Disney Cruise a memorable…and yes magical….vacation experience.
So….how can we plan an amazing Disney cruise vacation, and save money while doing it? Following are a few money-saving tips to consider.
Think About When to Cruise
Just as with a Disney World vacation, the time of year that you go can make a huge difference in cost. A general rule of thumb: if kids are not in school, the cruise is going to cost more. So, if you are able to plan a cruise when kids are in school, you will likely save money.
Book Far in Advance
For the most part, when it comes to Disney cruises, the earlier you book, the cheaper the cruise will be. Disney opens up their dates far in advance, sometimes a couple of years: at the moment, it is possible to book a Disney cruise through mid 2016. As time goes on and staterooms begin to book, then prices for the cruise begin to rise….you know, supply and demand.
There are other benefits to booking early too. First, you will have more cabin choices (which we’ll talk about shortly). Second, booking early can give you up to a couple of years to pay it off!
Or Book at the Last Minute
While booking far in advance is the best way to insure the best price, if you have the flexibility to be able to travel with just a few weeks notice, you may find some great last-minute deals. Disney wants each cruise to sail fully booked….so when departure dates approach and there are cabins available, discounts often follow. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, the savings can be huge. Which brings me to…..
Keep an Eye Out for Special Disney Cruise Promotions
Or, have your travel agent look for you. In addition to special promotions such as just mentioned, Disney Cruise Line sometimes has discounts for Florida residents or those in the military. Sometimes there will be promotions that provide you with a nice onboard credit for free too. And if you have a Disney Visa, remember you get 6 months to pay interest free, and you may get an onboard credit to go with it as well.
Choose Your Cabin Wisely
Generally speaking, your cabin choices are Verandah (balcony), Outside (window or porthole) or Inside. Inside cabins are going to be the least expensive, but on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, you will have the “virtual porthole” that shows a picture of what is happening outside, just as if you had an actual porthole. (Plus, you may find some Disney character surprises in your virtual porthole as well.) So while “inside”, these cabins are pretty darn cool!
Inside cabins are just as roomy as outside staterooms, with plenty of space and all of the comfortable and special touches that the outside rooms will have. So unless you just “have” to have that outside view or balcony, why not save a boatload (sorry couldn’t resist) of money by booking an inside stateroom. Besides, you are just not going to be in your cabin much anyway.
Here is where booking early can be extremely important: inside staterooms are in demand and so will typically book first. If you want to have the most cabin choices, book as early as you can.
While Onboard, Check Out all the FREE
While this won’t make your cruise less expensive, it WILL help you get the most value out of what you spend. There are tons of FREE activities that are all included in the price of your cruise. Take advantage of them! Shows, first-run movies (including at-sea premieres when new movies come out!), arcades, educational seminars, the list goes on and on. You’ll get a list every day of what is available, and I promise you that you will not be bored!
The same goes for when you visit a port of call. Don’t feel that you have to pay for expensive excursions. Sometimes the most interesting things to see and do are within walking distance from the ship. Or just stay onboard while the ship is docked: the ship is quieter, and the pools and spas are less crowded. Again, no additional charge.
Book Your Next Cruise Before You Disembark
This won’t save you money on your first cruise, but it can save you quite a bit on your next one….and chances are, after such an amazing vacation, you WILL want to go on another one. Disney Cruise Line makes it very attractive to book your next cruise while still onboard.
Similar to the “Bounceback” offers many find in their rooms at Walt Disney World, booking onboard can provide you some significant savings: typically a 10% discount, a generous onboard credit, and just a 10% deposit (as opposed to the normal 20% deposit). And if you had a wonderful travel agent helping you with this cruise, you can have your TA added to your next cruise so that she/he can assist you again. Speaking of which……
Research Carefully and Consider the Help of a Travel Agent
As with a Disney World or Disneyland vacation, the best way to get the most value out of your vacation dollars, is to be prepared for everything that you will be experiencing. That means doing your research……or enlisting the help of a qualified and experienced Disney specialist travel agent who can guide you through everything you need to know. There are a number of details involved when cruising beyond a typical “vacation”, and unless you have tons of time to do all the research on your own, knowing that you have a qualified professional looking out for you every step of the way, can remove a lot of stress. This way, all you have to do is step onboard and let the “magic” begin!
If you’ve been dreaming about a Disney Cruise vacation, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to find out how to make your dream a reality. I promise you, it will be a magical vacation that you and your family will never forget!!