Updated August 2018 Let's be honest, Disney Cruises are pricey. Yes, they are wonderful, magical for kids of all ages and you can expect nothing less than a fantastic family vacation.
Disney Cruise Line is considered a premium cruise compared to other family friendly cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. It's obvious that Disney cruise ships are full of fun features for children and adults but the pricing difference also translates into things that might not appear initially obvious like menus quality.
The good news there are ways to make that dream Disney cruise more affordable.There are TONS of pricing variables when it comes to booking a Disney cruise...date of sailing, number of nights at sea, ports of call, type of cabin etc. As a REALLY GENERAL "ball park" a Disney Cruise costs between $150 - $300 per person/per night night at sea. To confirm advance reservations on a Disney Cruise, you will need to make a 20% deposit. Final payment for your cruise is due 75-90 days prior to sailing. (Final payment on suites - 120 days prior to sailing)
Still, a Disney Cruise tops the list of many a family's vacation dream. So how do you make this happen for your kids without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips that will help you to save a boatload on your Disney Cruise....
Book with a Travel Agent
Most people don't understand how travel agents work and how much benefit the offer. At Vacationkids, our agents can guide you and help you choose the ones that make the most sense for your family. We don't just want to sell you a cruise, we want to be your trusted travel advisor for years to come.
Disney Cruise Lines will publish their rates, schedules and allow reservations about 2 years in advance. Price will only go up from here and taking advantage of this tip can save you some serious coin. At Vacationkids, parents can set up a free Vacation layaway payment plan. Making monthly installment payments will help you save on credit card interest. Credit card interest is one of those "hidden" charges that parents often overlook when pricing or booking a family vacation and it could end up costing you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Don't worry about booking early. Disney has generous cancellation policies so as long as you familiarize yourself with their fine print you can take advantage of early low rates and avoid penalties. Because none of us has a crystal ball, Vacationkids HIGHLY recommends Travel insurance. This costs about 8-10% of the total cost of your trip but it protect your vacation investment not to mention your peace of mind. Did you know that most health insurance plans do NOT cover your family outside of the U.S. while traveling? Just one of many reasons why you need travel insurance.
Book Early AND get Last Minute Discounts
The best of both worlds - Right? That's what you get when you book a Disney Cruise with us at Vacationkids. Our agents monitor any sales offered by Disney Cruise Line, even after you have made your initial deposit. If Disney offers a cheaper last minute price on your cruise, our agents will call and have the lower price applied to your reservation. Vacationkids proud to offer this service that has saved our clients HUNDREDS of dollars.
Re-Book During your Cruise
The moment your family steps aboard a Disney Cruise ship, everyone immediately becomes a member of Disney's Castaway Club. This is their loyalty program. One of the big perks is a savings of 10% off on your next Disney cruise if you make a small deposit commitment while you're sailing and currently on vacation. Don't worry, you don't need to know your specifics like travel dates or destinations and we can still be your travel agent.
Time Your Cruise for Your Best Timing
All travel prices are based on supply and demand. Prices get more expensive during high season and popular travel dates. So how do we know the more affordable dates to sail? With family cruises, pricing goes hand and hand with school calendars. December holidays and spring break weeks are going to be the most expensive dates to sail. If your family home-schools or if your kids are not yet school age, definitely take advantage of lower rates by scheduling your vacation when everyone else's kid is IN school.
The second timing tip has to do with the age of your kids. Disney is one of the few cruise lines that charges by age and not the number of passengers sharing a cabin. Teens 13-17 years old are charged at adult rate. Children's rates are for age 3-12 and babies ages 0-2 pay 50% of the child rate. Booking a Disney cruise before your child hits one of these milestone birthdays can help your vacation budget.
Perhaps the sound of a cash register Cha-ching should be used instead of the word souvenirs. Order your Disney clothing online before your cruise and bring it with you along with some sharpie markers. Disney characters are happy to sign clothing that is handed to them (They will not sign it if it is being worn).
One of the best, affordable and most memorable souvenirs for your family is to purchase a nice frame WITH a photo mat before your vacation. Put a blank piece of paper in it with the number of days until your cruise. Let your kids "count off" each day until you sail. BE SURE to pack the photo mat with you and take it on your cruise. Put it in a zip lock bag another with a note that has your name and cabin number on it. Take it to the purser and ask them to have all the characters sign it. They will gladly do this for your family. Be sure to take a really nice group photo while on board. Once at home, you'll have a gorgeous photo keepsake along with plenty of magical wishes from your favorite Disney characters for years to come.
Book a Combo Disney Vacation
Did you know you can book a combination Disney vacation?...3 or 4 days in Walt Disney World Orlando combined with 3 or 4 days at sea on a Disney Cruise. This option offers you the best of both vacations and is great families that like variety or cannot make up their minds. Airfares are often the one of the more expensive part of many family vacations. If your family needs to fly to Florida anyway for their Disney Cruise, then doing the parks at the same time can save you big dollars in the long run.