Tips For A Disney Cruise
In this Disney Cruise Line Review, one of my favorite bloggers, Tara from Travel Plus Family, shares tips for a Disney Cruise from her experiences aboard the Disney Dream. Learn about:
- Tips for Booking a Disney Cruise
- Disney Cruise Line Ships
- Disney Cruise Line Staterooms
- Disney Cruise Specialty Dining
- Amenities aboard a Disney Cruise Line Ship
- A Brief Look at Castaway Cay- Disney’s Private Island
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Tips For Booking a Disney Cruise
Booking a Disney Cruise ship vacation is a luxurious way to experience the Disney magic while exploring the world and replenishing your soul with tons of rest and relaxation. Disney Cruise Line sails to many destinations across the globe and offers cruises of various lengths.
The price of a Disney Cruise, however, is staggering when compared to other cruise lines. Prices range from $1000 per person for a 2-night cruise to over $10,000 per person for a concierge level room on a 7+ night cruise. However, the quality of service and perks of a Disney Cruise are incomparable to other lines.
Tip: If you have your heart set on a Disney Cruise and like collecting credit card points for travel, consider getting the Disney Rewards Visa.
You can book a Disney Cruise directly through Disney or via a travel agent. There are pros and cons to both methods and each should be researched to determine the method best suited for your family’s needs.
After you have your cruise reservations, you can book onboard and shore activities. These activities range include character meet and greets, spa passes, and adult-only dining experiences. Be sure to complete all your online paperwork (including passport information, etc.) prior to your booking window in ensure you will be able to book activities as soon as your window opens.
Booking Window Schedule:
- First-Time Cruisers: 75 days prior to sailing date
- Silver Castaway Club Members (1-5 cruises): 90 days prior to sailing date
- Gold Castaway Club Members (6-10 cruises): 105 days prior to sailing date
- Platinum Castaway Club Members (10+ cruises): 120 days prior to sailing date
Tip: After booking your cruise, download the Disney Cruise app for a fun countdown calendar. You can also use this app to text other cruisers while on the ship. No need to purchase the wi-fi package.
Meet The Disney Cruise Line Fleet
Disney currently has four active cruise ships:
The smaller classic ships host approximately 2,500 passengers each.
- Disney Magic- built in July 1998
- Disney Wonder- built in August 1999
The newer ships carry around 4,000 passengers
- The Disney Dream- built in January 2011
- Disney Fantasy- built in March 2012
Disney is currently building three new ships with scheduled completion dates between 2021 and 2023.
Disney Cruise has four basic categories of staterooms, each occupying 3-4 people through fold-out couches and/or bunk beds. Regardless of which category you book, each room is immaculately maintained by the stateroom hosts.
This category is going to be your least expensive option. Depending on the ship, this category will either have a magic portal (Dream and Fantasy) or no window (Magic and Wonder). A magic portal is a computer-generated view of the outside with a few fun surprises, such as a cartoon starfish popping up every now and then. Don’t be too bummed out for not having a window, you don’t spend a lot of time in your room and the added darkness from no window, makes for wonderful sleep.
Next up the price scale is the Oceanview stateroom. This category gives you a little bit more room and offers at least one large porthole window to view the outside.
This category is a little larger than the Oceanview stateroom and offers a private verandah. For those concerned about traveling with children in a room with a verandah, the sliding door is heavy and has a lock high up on the door. Verandahs are excellent for families who spend more time in their rooms than wandering around the ship.
The most expensive category you can book is the concierge stateroom level. These rooms are the most luxurious rooms on the ship, have private verandahs, premium amenities, and offer larger suites.
In general, most staterooms come with two bathrooms; one with a tub/shower and sink and, the other with a toilet and a sink. This feature is awesome when all family members are getting ready at the same time. The stateroom has a small fridge, television, plenty of closet space, drawers, and under bed storage. The space might be small, but it has been efficiently designed.
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Except for the specialty restaurants, all meals are provided in the cost of your cruise. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, room service, and all the counter service or buffet meals you can eat. Also included in the price are sodas, tea, coffee, and water.
Tip: Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at the drink fountains. Due to hygiene issues, use a paper cup to fill up your bottle vs. placing it directly against the machines.
Unique to Disney’s Cruise ships is that instead of being stationed at only one dining room for the entire length of the cruise, you rotate through all the dining rooms. Each dining room is specifically themed, and some have entertainment that you will not want to miss. Your dining room rotation schedule will be assigned to you after boarding the ship. While the cuisine will vary from cruise to cruise, this dining overview about the Disney Dream from Travel + Family will give you a flavor of what to expect in a Disney Cruise Line restaurant.
Disney Cruise also offers adult-only restaurants. Palo (on all ships) and Remy (Dream and Fantasy only), offer elegant adult-only dining experiences. A meal in one of these restaurants should be booked as soon as your booking window opens. While these experiences come at an extra cost, the benefit of a romantic meal alone with your partner is typically worth it!
DFBGuides has this great video sharing a few “non-published” secrets about dining on a Disney Cruise Line. (Dole Whip and Mickey Bars!! Say what??)
By the way, we love DFBGuides here at VeraVise WOW Travel and highly recommend them for all your Disney Dining questions and planning! When we had our annual passes, we used DFBGuides constantly. In fact, we purchased their downloadable guides and took screen shots to keep on our phone! Yes, they are that awesome!! You should check them out here! It’s a great way to get the inside scoop about all the Disney Dining tips and tricks.
On a Disney Cruise, you can stay busy every single moment of the day or you can squander yourself away and just watch the waves go by. The choice is always yours, but with all the amenities the cruise ship offers it is going to be a hard choice to make.
The youth clubs are divided into four different groups: Nursery (6 months to 3 years), Oceaneer’s Club and Lab (3 to 12 years), Edge (Tweens), and Vibe (14 to 17 years). Each area offers age appropriate activities that your kids will love. Disney offers top-notch child-care and security protocols. For example, children cannot leave the Oceaneer’s Club unless the counselors can match your child’s security profile with your photo (and even a password if you choose).
As an added level of comfort, each room comes with a Wave Phone. These phones are portable and allow for the youth clubs to contact you if your child has a need.
Note: The nursery is the only youth club that charges extra for childcare and requires reservations.
Each of the Disney Cruise ships has a different arrangement on the pool deck. In general, they have family pools, splash areas for younger kids, fun slides for older kids, and amazingly quiet and serene adult-only pools.
Note: All kids must be potty trained to swim in the pools. Swim diapers are not allowed. Kids who are not yet potty trained can play in the splash areas.
Spa, Salon, and Fitness Facility
Each ship has a spa, salon, and fitness facility for adults to enjoy. They have passes you can purchase to simply use the luxurious showers or you can book any type of spa or salon service imaginable!
The fitness facility offers classes, training, and consulting. Just be careful, many of the consulting might result in being pushed into a “sales speech” where you feel obligated to purchase products. The fitness equipment faces a large window, so you can workout while basking in the beauty of the open ocean.
There are movie theatres on every Disney cruise ship featuring Disney movies, including classics and first-run movies. Star Wars and Marvel buffs will love being able to watch their favorites on the big screen again!
Disney offers Broadway-style shows before or after dinner (depending on your dining schedule). These performances are top-notched and easily entertain kids of all ages. The shows vary by cruise ship, so be sure to check out the Disney Cruise Line website to see what is playing on your cruise.
Tip: Snag a seat in the front middle-section. Confetti, snow, bubbles, etc., fall from the ceiling during the acts and your kids will love being able to catch a piece of the action.
Disney Cruise Line Adult District
Located just down the steps from the nursery and Oceaneer’s Club is the adult district. In this adult-only section of the ship, you can order specialty cocktails, listen to live music, play trivia, or watch sports.
Should You Book a Disney Cruise? A Few Last Tips
The benefit of booking a Disney Cruise instead of another cruise line is simply to have the Disney quality of service along with the touches of magic. Here a few specific perks of a Disney Cruise:
Character meet and greets occur all day long!
Kids can quickly fill up their autograph book without spending too much time in line.
Themed cruises: Unique Experience Only on a Disney Cruise Line Vacation
- Halloween on the High Seas
- Merrytime Cruise
- Star Wars Day at Sea
Marvel Day at Sea
Your Own Private Island (sort’ve)
Most Caribbean cruise itineraries come with a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This Caribbean island is not only beautiful, but it has many Disney touches that you don’t want to miss.
More Tips For The Whole Family
- Disney Cruises are ideal for multi-generational vacations.
- Themed nights, like pirate night, is something the entire family enjoys. Here are some great planning tips for your Disney Cruise pirate night.
- On most cruises, you can relish a firework show over the ocean.
- Ability to book a land / sea package to provide you with days at Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise gives the best of both worlds.
- From Toddler to Traveler has some advice for taking a Disney cruise with a toddler.
- If you are traveling with an infant, here are some tips on taking a Disney Cruise with a baby.
- Read this post for more great practical Disney tips for the parks and cruises.
Taking a Disney Cruise can often be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is an expensive vacation, but if you love all things Disney and enjoy cruises, then you owe it to yourself and your family to do a little research to see if this vacation is within reach!
More Great Disney Resort Reviews
We hope you enjoyed this review of Disney’s Cruise Line from Travel Plus Family. If you are planning a Disney vacation, consider checking out these other reviews from other bloggers and Disney lovers! And don’t forget to check out this week’s Mouse Fan Mondays link up to read even more on Disney Vacations or share your own Disney articles.
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