Planning Your Cruise on Disney Cruise Line – What’s Included – What’s Not
A Disney cruise isn’t exactly the cheapest way to cruise. If you book early, you will find your costs lower. You will get the absolute best price for a Disney cruise when the new dates and itineraries are released. When it comes to Disney Cruise Line, I always recommend using a Disney Travel agent who can monitor the prices and get you booked at the best time and at the best price.
What’s Included ~ Disney Cruise Line
Lets face it, a Disney cruise is a perfect family vacation and a trip the entire family will never forget. When you are in the planning stages of your Disney cruise, you’ll be surprised at the many things that are included in your fare:
- All quick service meals on board the ship
- All table service meals on board the ship (except for adult-only fine dining experiences)
- Meals on Disney Castaway Cay
- Room service – order a before bed snack
- Character meet and greets
- Fitness Center use
- All you can drink soft drinks and hot drinks
- Unlimited ice cream
- Live entertainment including deck parties and Broadway type shows
- Recreational activities
- Activity centers for the children that provide programming for the little ones
- Free use of the Navigator APP that will give you access to daily schedules and ship information on your phone (be sure to set your phone to air plane mode). A paper edition of the Navigator will be left in your cabin each night with the next day’s schedule of activities and shows.
Money Saving Tip: If you just LOOOOOVVVVVED your Disney cruise and can’t wait to sail again, you’ll want to save money and get an on-board credit. All you have to do is stop by the Future Cruise Desk during your cruise and put down a $250 ‘place holder’. You will have two years to travel so you don’t have to choose any dates at that time. It’s refundable if you change your mind. The Future Cruise Desk will have all the details on what percentage of discount you can receive, how much on-board credit, etc. It definitely worth stopping by.
What’s NOT Included ~ Disney Cruise Line
After paying off your Disney cruise, you may very well be on a tight budget so it’s good to know what things are not included so you can plan accordingly. Some of these “not included” items are optional so you won’t have to worry about them if cost is an issue. You will still have a fabulous vacation and won’t be surprised by a high bill afterwards.
It may surprise many frequent WDW visitors that Ground Transfers are not included. If you frequent WDW you know that Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary to and from the airport. When it comes to making your way to Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line buses do charge a per person fee. It is around $70 per person round trip. If you book it while booking your cruise, the cost will get added on to the total cost of your cruise. The bus service offers pick-ups and drop-offs at either a Walt Disney Resort or at Orlando International Airport.
Every cruise line offers Port Adventures and Disney does too! Unfortunately, these excursions can be one of the most expensive extras during your cruise. The cost for optional activities at the ports of call can range anywhere from $25 to $500 per person. Disney does offer a wide range of excursions so changes are you will be able to find something within your budget. There is lots of fun possible on Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, which also includes your meals so there is no need to spend on extra excursions there. Many cruisers also choose to stay on the ship while in port to take advantage of all the ship offers while others go off on excursions.
For adults only, fine dining at Palo or Remy. Both restaurants offer dinner service and different tasting options throughout each cruise. Reservations are needed in advance and both restaurants are considered quite expensive.
This is a big one! Internet Usage packages are expensive on all cruise lines, not only Disney. My best recommendation when it comes to this is unplug if you can. If you can’t, be prepared forif a high cost. Each stateroom is offered 50MB complimentary Wi-Fi on embarkation day, but once that is used (and believe me it goes away fast) you can purchase one of several offered packages that are really high priced. Also, be sure to put your cell phone on air plane mode so you don’t risk getting hit with a huge cell phone bill a month after you get home.
Photos – Just like in the parks, Disney photographers have a knack for capturing you from your best angle! There are many different packages you will be able to purchase but they are pricey. The ships have photography studios that let you view and purchase all the pictures taken of your family. Character meet and greets are always a favorite! You can purchase individual photos (around $20 each) or full packages that can cost several hundred dollars. You can also pre-purchase a photo package starting at around $150 and up.
Gratuities – Disney definitely knows how to give guests great service and Disney Cruise Line is no different. You will definitely be impressed with the level of service you receive on your cruise from the servers that follow you from restaurant to restaurant as part of the rotational dining system to your Stateroom Host that gives you your nightly turn-down service (and just about anything else you may need in your cabin), the service will be top-notch. You will definitely want to be sure you take care of gratuities. You can pre-pay your gratuities which is $12 per night for each person in your cabin. However, this amount gets split between all of the staff that has worked with you during your cruise. The cruise line will provide you with a tipping envelope and suggested tips for the different service personnel so you can always add more for a certain individual or all of them, if you wish.
Cocktails – If you like to enjoy a few of those cute little cocktails with an umbrella while on vacation, you will definitely need to add some extra to your budget for cocktails. You don’t want to be surprised at the end of your cruise with a big bill that you aren’t prepared for. Prices vary and can be as much as $14 or $15 per drink. Since your cocktails will be added to your stateroom’s bill you don’t want a huge surprise on the last day. Be sure to keep track of what you are spending/drinking. You are welcome to carry on two bottles of wine and six bottles of beer for each adult in your party. Be sure to pack a corkscrew to open the bottles of wine since the uncorking fee is high if you let your server do it.
Some Snacks – Although all of your food is included in the cost of your cruise, there are a few snack options that will cost you. Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats on the Disney Dream offers some great special treats but everything in this shop costs extra and is not included in your fare. The concessions stands located outside the theaters are also snacks that you will have to pay for.
Spa Treatments – Pirate and Princess Makeovers – Be careful here! You can easily add several hundred dollars onto your end of cruise bill. The spa will easily cost you over $100 or much more and a pirate or princess makeover for the little ones can start around $60 and run up to close to $200.
Although the Children’s Activity Center is included in your cruise cost, if you have a little one between 6 months and 3 years of age that you would like to leave in the NURSERY for an afternoon or evening of relaxation, there will be a charge. The cost is around $9 per hour for the first child and $8 per hour for each additional child.
When planning to cruise on Disney Cruise Line, you’ll want to be prepared for any extra costs that weren’t included in your fare so your vacation won’t be hampered by unexpected costs – Bon Voyage!
Before setting sail you might want to read about some Secrets of Disney’s Castaway Cay HERE.