[insert cheesy intro here]
Ahoy there, mateys!
Are you dreaming of setting sail on a Disney Cruise, but worried about the price tag? Well, shiver me timbers and don’t you worry!
With a bit of savvy planning, you can save your doubloons and still have a whale of a time on the high seas with Captain Mickey and Minnie, and friends.
I’ve scoured the seven seas to bring you the top tips and tricks for getting the most bang for your buck on a Disney Cruise.
So, batten down the hatches and let’s set sail on an adventure that won’t break the bank!
How to save money on a Disney Cruise
Here are some of my favorite ways to save money on Disney Cruise:
1. Read my list of 28 surefire ways that’ll help you save money on your next Disney Cruise
It’s a shameless plug, but I already went ahead compiled a list of some of my most effective methods to save a few bucks on any Disney Cruise. You can read about that here.
But I’ll still share some ways take a Disney Cruise on a budget, down below.
2. Choose an Inside Stateroom on a lower deck
The cheapest room on any Disney Cruise will 99.99999% always be an Inside Stateroom on the lowest deck available.
These room are around 6.5% cheaper than a Oceanview Stateroom, which is the next category up.
If you don’t plan on being in the room that long, and don’t mind not having a window in your room, this is by far the cheapest way to sail with Disney.
It’s honestly not terrible, only because no matter what stateroom category you are in (except Concierge Level), you’ll receive the same great service, the same delicious food, and the same access to amenities. Literally, the only difference is the size of your room and the layout.
3. Choose a cheaper destination
Yes, you can take a Disney Cruise to Greece, Hawaii, Fiji, Cabo, and Alaska, but unfortunately, these sailings come at a massive premium.
That said, if you really just want to enjoy the perks and amenities of a Disney Cruise and don’t necessarily care about excursions or going overseas, the best possible cruise to take is a 3 or 4-night sailings out of Port Canaveral FL to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay.
I believe this is the best intro cruise for anyone, and it’s usually one of the cheapest options.
That said, you can also sometimes find cheaper cruises out of Miami, New Orleans, or Galveston, but these are always at least 5 nights or longer.
A 3-Night Bahamas Cruise on the Disney Wish with a stop at Castaway Cay is by far the best bang for your buck. Just make sure to sail during the “off-season” (I’ll go into detail next).
4. Travel during the offseason
If your schedule allows, the cheapest times to sail are during the following months:
- January (after New Year’s week)
- Early November
- Early December
Always avoid the summer surge pricing as well as the major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Spring Break is also a pretty pricey time to sail too.
5. Skip the adult-exclusive dining
I absolutely love Palo, Remy, and Enchante, but for $45 to $125 per person extra, I’m totally fine skipping these options.
The three standard rotational dining options are totally suitable and actually have some great eats.
Yes the adult exclusive restaurants are great, but if you really aren’t missing much if you were to skip it.
6. Skip the onboard internet package
If you’re totally fine with completely unplugging for a few days, then skipping the onboard internet and wi-fi package is a great way to save money.
The wi-fi costs $12, $24, or $36 per device per day depending the on the plan’s speed, so if you’re okay with being disconnected during your trip, this is a huge chunk of money you can save.
7. If coming from the Orlando Airport, look into Uber/Lyft
There are only two transportation options I recommend you consider when trying to get to and from Port Canaveral to Orlando airport (MCO) and they are ridesharing or Disney transportation.
A roundtrip bus ride with Disney will cost $39 one way to $78 roundtrip for anyone over the age of 3. This is also the same price if you are trying to get to or from a Disney World Resort going to Port Canaveral.
A one way ride on Uber or Lyft from the airport will average around $67 to $91.
If your party is between 3 to 5 people, it’s technically cheaper to rideshare. However, the biggest risk involved is that there is always the chance that you’ll fall victim to surge pricing, an issue you won’t have with Disney transportation.
But if you are coming from or heading to a Disney World Resort before or after your cruise, Disney Transportation is generally the best way to go.
Each guest ages 21 or older is allowed to bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne or 6 beers.
If you don’t plan on drinking THAT much and prefer to drink your own stuff, this is a great way to save a few bucks.
9. Book through Costco Travel and save up to 4%
If you have a Costco membership, booking a cruise through them can save you hundreds, even thousands (depending on your stateroom, sailing destination, and duration).
Generally, when you book through Costco Travel, you’ll earn a Costco Shop Card valued from $165 to $2,2210 depending on your stateroom category.
Plus, if you’re an Executive Member, you can even receive an annual 2% reward up to $1000 on qualified Costco purchases, including vacations.
This is a great way for avid Costco shoppers to save money on their next Disney Cruise.
10. Stick to the free activities
95% of the activities on a Disney Cruise are free with an exception of the spa, salon, barbershop, wine/alcohol tastings, bingo, and a few sport deck options (depending on the ship).
But everything else like the theaters, shows, gameshows, activities, the bars, fireworks, room service, kid/teen clubs, rotational table service dining, quick service eats, nightclub, drawing classes, pools, character meet and greets, and water slides (AquaDuck and AquaMouse) are all included in your sailing.
Personally, we very rarely do any of the paid activities with bingo being the rare exception.
11. Choose your excursions wisely
Depending on your Ports of Calls, excursions are usually one of the most expensive add-ons to any Disney Cruise.
That’s why I always recommend that you do an audit on all of the options and see if they are really worth doing.
One thing I’ve noticed is that if you’re doing a city tour, you can normally find cheaper options with a slightly altered itinerary. But you’ll still be on a similar excursion but just at a fraction of the cost.
Excursions are optional so if that’s something that you could care less about, you have no obligation to book one.
I can’t tell you how many times we are at a Port of Call and we never get off the ship. Instead we use that time to explore and enjoy an empty ship for the day.
12. Skip the food at the bars and lounges
They really aren’t that great. Save your money and eat and drink the free stuff.
The only exception is the Hyperspace Lounge if you want a taste of Star Wars without taking out a mortgage just to go on the Galactic Starcruiser.
13. Order the drink of the day
The drink of the day is always the cheapest cocktail option that you can get during your cruise. Best of all, it only costs $5.50!
So if you want to drink and don’t mind trying something unique, I would go this route to save a few bucks. It’ll still get you buzzed.
14. Use a Disney Visa Credit Card
If you have any Disney Visa Credit Card, you can save 10% on your onboard purchase of $50 or more. Just make sure that this card is linked to your onboard account for charges.
15. Use a Travel Agent
Using a Travel Agent that specializes in Disney Vacations is a great way to save some money. These agents, who are paid by commission, meaning there’s no fees for you, only focus on one thing – saving you money.
They will help you plan your next cruise while also staying up to date on any promotions, deals, and extra savings that they can pass your way.
I personally recommend that you use my sister company, Happy Escapes. They’re the best and is totally free 🙂
16. Take Advantage of the Military Rate
Although this only applies to active and retired US military personnel and their spouses, booking your cruise using the special military rate can save you 10% off the standard rate for select stateroom categories except for Concierge.
How much does it cost to go on a Disney Cruise?
Disney Cruises are expensive. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.
For a complete breakdown of the costs of a Disney Cruise, please check out my comprehensive article.
Sure, going on a Disney Cruise on a budget is possible, but one thing I always tell people to remember is that you’ll always find cheaper alternatives on other cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
That said, if you love Disney and want to have access to some of the best entertainment, service, and kid zones that you’ll ever find on a cruise ship, you honestly can’t beat Disney Cruise Lines.
So yes, it’s pricier than the rest, but in my eyes, it’s totally worth it to treat yourself especially if it’s been on your bucket list for a long time.
Now that you know how to save some treasure on your Disney Cruise, it’s time to hoist the anchor and set sail on your magical adventure. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can have an unforgettable experience without spending a fortune. So, pack your bags, grab your Mickey ears, and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime.
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