If you are new to cruising, a Disney Cruise may be appealing yet daunting. You probably are drawn to the idea of a gorgeous ship, sea breezes, and the magic that is only available on a Disney vacation. But you have questions: Which ship? Where? When? How do I get the best value? Cruises should never be stressful, so here are a few tips to guide you in the right direction!
- Plan ahead! Popular DCL itineraries fill up quickly and prices often begin to rise within days. Don’t wait to reserve a cruise now thinking that a better deal will come along later; it almost never will.
- Consider your budget. This will help you determine when you can cruise, how long you will cruise for and what cabin category you will select. Is airfare in your budget or would you like to leave from a port within driving distance? A 20% deposit is generally required when booking your cruise, and finally payment is due anywhere from 75 to 120 days prior to your departure date depending on your cruise details. Your budget should also include money for gratuities, Port Adventures, adult beverages, spa appointments, fees for adult dining, and gift shop purchases.
- Consider your cruising style when selecting a cabin. Do you want to splurge on luxurious personalized service and book a concierge cabin? Maybe you’d enjoy a verandah while your little ones nap? Or maybe you just want a comfortable room that you don’t plan to stay in very much?
- Decide on the length of your cruise. Most DCL itineraries are 3,4 or 7 days. A shorter cruise can save you money while you experience the highlights of Disney cruising. Many people enjoy combining a short Disney Cruise with a few days at Walt Disney World Resort. A longer cruise will have more ports and days at sea and more time to enjoy the full range of spa, entertainment, and dining on board.
- Consider where you would like to travel? Is your heart set on snorkeling in Tortola? Gazing at glaciers in Alaska? Or are you seeking an adventure in Europe?
- Know your ships: The Disney Fantasy currently sails 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Port Canaveral. The Disney Dream generally sails 3- and 4-night itineraries to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral (with some bonus 5-night sailings this summer that visit Castaway Cay twice!) The Disney Magic is Disney Cruise Line’s world traveler, sailing out of Port Canaveral, Miami, San Juan, New York and various ports in Europe. The Disney Wonder sails out of Florida, Galveston and San Juan but also crosses the Panama Canal to visit the California Coast, Hawaii, and Alaska. Take some time to read the descriptions of each ship so you know what each offers.
- Decide on your dates. Would you like to celebrate Christmas on board with a tree-lighting ceremony, holiday-themed activities, a life-size gingerbread house and more on a Very Merrytime Cruise? Or would you like to haunt the decks for Halloween on the High Seas with costume parties, tricks and treats? Do you need to travel over school vacations or can you sail during other times of year? May and September are great times to catch awesome values to Alaska, the Caribbean or Europe.
- Call a travel professional! Seriously. They will help you take the information you just generated and match you with the best ship, itinerary, date, cabin, and price. With the right consultant at your side, you will receive expert, personal service and not pay a penny more than you would online. A Disney Cruise Line vacation is too special to go it alone.
What other questions have you had when deciding to book your Disney Cruise?