With over 30+ cruises, we love taking cruises around the world. One of our favorite cruise lines is Disney Cruise. It is the perfect fit of family, fun, and relaxation.
Since we take a lot of Disney Cruises, we get a lot of questions from our fans about this cruise line. One of the biggest questions we get is, “how can I save money on a Disney Cruise?”
There are lots of ways to save money, even on a Disney Cruise vacation. We share all of our tips on how to save money on your Disney Cruise vacation. Are you ready to say Bon Voyage!
Save Money on Your Disney Cruise Vacation
Book with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
My first tip is a big one! This one tip will not only save you money, but time, too. We always suggest booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for your Disney Cruise.
An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is a recognition that Disney gives top selling travel agencies. These are the best of the best travel agencies in planning Disney vacations. They are usually even more knowledgeable than the reservation agents that work for Disney.
I added this one to the top of the list, because this should be your first step. Once you find an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, they can check many of these other discounts below to see which is the best one for your family.
Plus, they may be aware of special discounts that are not available directly with Disney or to the general public. Many of these travel professionals also offer extra incentives like rebates, shipboard credits, or extra discounts off your price. These make their services even more valuable.
Our Recommendation: We know there is a lot of travel agencies out there. We recommend Erin and Elizabeth from Destinations in Florida. You can contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org and Elizabeth at email@example.com. Be sure you tell them you found them through Jones Family Travels, for a special gift from The Jones Family. 😉
Let’s jump into some more ways to help you save money on a Disney Cruise.
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Another way to save money on your Disney Cruise is with shipboard credits. A shipboard credit is an extra incentives that is added to your cruise stateroom. A Shipboard Credit is like free money that you can spend during your cruise on shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, snacks, souvenirs, and more during your Disney Cruise. We love free spending money…how about you?
Throughout the year, Disney Cruise will offer additional shipboard credits if you or your travel agent books online. One of these big shipboard credit seasons is in October for CLIA’s National Cruise Month.
We love this promotion in October, because this discounts can be combined with other discounts. So, win-win-win and maybe even win! LOL!
My next tip is one we use a lot and LOVE! If you are looking for the least expensive stateroom for your family vacation, ask about a room that is a guarantee status, instead of getting assigned a stateroom.
If you book a room that is a guarantee status, you will be guaranteed at least the category you booked. However, you may be upgraded to a nicer stateroom (based on availability) a few weeks before your cruise or once you arrive.
Booking a Guarantee Status means you may be in Forward, Midship, or Aft. You do not get to choose. So, if you are flexible on where you sit on the ship; book a Guarantee Status. You may get luck and get upgraded to a nicer room for FREE!
We have been upgraded many many times. One our last cruise, we booked an Oceanview Stateroom at a Guarantee Status and we got upgraded to a Verandah Stateroom. Booking a Guarantee Status is a great way of getting a free upgrade.
Match or Beat Prices
If you find a really great internet rate online, talk with your travel agent. Most travel professionals will match or beat a price found online.
Plus, most agents treat you better than an online company with personalized services like a stateroom goodie in your room, assistance booking that hard-to-get dinner reservations at Palo, or insider guidance on how to beat the crowds on the Aqua Duck.
Early Booking Discounts
A simple tip…book early! One of the best discounts that Disney Cruise offers is an Early Booking Discount. The farther out you book, the better the Disney Cruise prices.
As Disney starts booking staterooms, the prices go higher and higher. It is usually a better discount to book your vacation as far in advance as possible.
Sometimes booking far in advance is not always the best price for your family. During slower seasons, Disney may offer additional discounts on the lower priced staterooms called Magical Rates.
Be sure to check out the Magical Rates specials on your Disney Cruise vacation. Book Magical Rates a year in advance or last minute.
Discount Promotion After You Booked
Did you know you can save money, even after you booked a trip?
If a better discount comes available (for example for Florida Residents or military) after your Disney Cruise package is booked, you can call Disney or talk with your travel agent to request the better deal.
This is another reason why I love TA’s! A great travel agent will watch for the discount for you and update, without you even asking. They are your Fairy Godmother!
Disney Visa Promotions
The Disney Visa Card is a great asset for a Disney World and Disney Cruise vacation. As a Disney Visa Card holder, you can get shipboard credits or discounts on your vacation.
In addition, you can save money on spa treatments, merchandise, and even excursions at Disney’s private island called Castaway Cay.
Book Your Next Cruise on Your Current Cruise
I know you are excited about your current Disney Cruise, you are not thinking about a future cruise. However, you should think about it before you leave. You can save hundreds of dollars by actually booking your next cruise, before you leave the Disney Cruise Ship.
Be sure to stop by the Future Cruise Sales Desk for more details, before you leave the ship.
To add a win-win to this way of saving money. If you book your next cruise, while on board, you can transfer the reservation to a travel agent (once you get home). You can then double dip on savings and perks. You get to take advantage of the next cruise booking, while on board. Plus, any incentives the travel agency may be offering. Again, it is a win-win for you!
Wholesale Cruise Companies
Another way to save money on a cruise is not my favorite way. It certainly comes at a price! I do like to share it, just in case.
There are several wholesale companies that sell Disney Cruises. Wholesale companies pay net rates for a package and then add a little money (for their profit) onto the price. Then they sell it to the consumer.
You can usually get a really great price on a cruise at a wholesale club, but it does come at a price. You get little to no service in regards to planning your trip. You are really just booking the cruise at a discount price and you are on your own for everything else. This can be really tough, especially for 1st time cruisers.
Another negative is you are locked into the price. If a better discount comes along, wholesale clubs are not able to update your package to a new promotion. You could lose money this way! You are much better off in the long run booking with a travel agent than with a wholesale club.
Castaway Club Members
Once you take a Disney Cruise, you will be a member of the Castaway Club. This is an incentive program for repeat cruisers. There are three different levels for the Castaway Club and it is based on the number of your cruises. There is Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Based on your level, you could receive a goodie bag in your staterooms with one or many Castaway Club items. One of my favorite money saving perks is Palo. The service fee is waived at Palo. This is a big savings for your cruise!
We love living in Florida and one of the huge perks is FL Resident discounts on cruises. Disney offers Florida Resident discounts throughout the year on Disney Cruise vacations. You just have to watch for the discount and ask for it, when booking. This can be a significant savings!
We once cruised with a friend from college. We happened to run into him on the ship. While we were visiting, he mentioned what he paid for his cruise for his family. They were first time cruisers and just did not know. I felt so bad for them. They lived in Florida and just had to ask for the Florida Resident discount. We paid $2,000 less than them with the Florida Resident discount.
Disney also offers active military discounts throughout the year. If you or your immediate family is in the military, be sure to ask about this discount promotion.
I have not seen a Canadian discount this year, but Disney has offered it in the past. If you are a Canadian resident, just double check to see if Disney is offering any Canadian resident offers, before booking.
Less Expensive Staterooms
Disney has a few staterooms on board the Disney Cruise Ships that are “secret” staterooms. They are the same stateroom and deck as a higher priced stateroom, but there may be a partially obstructed view. Since there may be an obstructed view, they sell this stateroom in a lower priced category. This is a great way to pay a little less to get a better stateroom.
Porthole for an Inside Price – There are 6 of these staterooms that are sold as a Category 10 Stateroom, but actually have a porthole. These rooms have a partially obstructed view but you get a little bit better stateroom and location. These staterooms are 5020, 5022, 5024, 5520, 5522, 5524, 6006, and 6506.
Verandah for a Porthole Price – There are also a few of these staterooms that are sold as a Category 7 Stateroom, but actually have a full verandah with only a partially obstructed view.
These rooms are at the end of the ship, so part of the ship is obstructing the view. It is a still a better verandah than a regular Category 7. You are getting a Category 6 stateroom for a Category 7 price! These staterooms are 6134, 6634, 7120 and 7620 for the Disney Magic and Wonder. These staterooms are 5188 and 5688 on the Disney Dream and Fantasy.
Handicap Accessible Staterooms – There are several staterooms that are handicap accessible staterooms. These rooms are huge with large balconies.
If these staterooms are open, you can book them. This is a great way to get a very nice room and balcony, without paying for the extra cost.
Picking a Different Stateroom
If you have a larger family of 5 people or more, you may want to price (2) Inside Staterooms besides a Verandah or a 1-Bedroom Suite. When you call Disney directly, they will price a stateroom for your family size. You will probably get “sticker shock” and think a Disney Cruise is not for you.
However, a huge money saver is booking (2) connecting or adjourning rooms (side by side or across the hall) for less money. We have priced many trips for a family of 5 in a Family Stateroom with a Verandah and (2) Inside Staterooms. The two staterooms can be thousands of dollars less expensive. You just have to know to ask for it or book with a good travel agent that recommends it to you.
I also like booking the (2) staterooms because you have more space. Plus, it is always nice to have that extra bathroom!
Saving Money During Your Disney Cruise
Book Your Own Excursions
During your cruise, you will stop at different ports of call. During these stops, you can book experiences that Disney calls Port Adventures. You will also hear the phrase, Shore Excursions.
You can book these excursions through the Disney Cruise website. This is an easy way to book an excursion, but it is also the more expensive option.
Instead of booking your Port Adventure directly with Disney, book your own excursion directly with the company or wait until you arrive to the port of call.
During an Alaska Cruise, we waited until we arrive to the port to book our train ride. We paid 1/2 the price as the Disney Cruise guests that booked their Port Adventure online.
You do risk the shore excursion could sell out, but if you are willing to take the chance, you can save a lot of money.
Another way to save money is booking directly with the excursion company. One of the most popular excursions in the Bahamas is the Dolphin Encounter. You can book the Dolphin Encounter directly with the company. This can save you about $20 off the price that you would book directly with Disney. This can certainly add up!
Eat On Board the Ship
This is a simple tip, but can save you hundreds of dollars during your Disney Cruise. Your meals are included on the ship. Once you leave the ship, your meals are on your own. The only exception to this rule is at Disney’s Castaway Cay.
To save money on meals, plan on doing a morning or afternoon excursions, so you can have lunch on the ship. The lunch on the Disney Cruise ships is amazing and FREE. Take advantage of it!
Drink Off the Ship
If you like to enjoy a local beer or wine during your vacation, plan on drinking off the ship. You can save money on alcohol by drinking off the ship at some of the local spots vs drinking on board the Disney Cruise ships.
Check out the Daily Navigator
The Daily Navigator is the daily newsletter on board the Disney Cruise that lists all of the activities and events for the following day. The Navigator is delivered to your stateroom the night prior. Be sure to check out this newsletter for the daily promotions and discounts.
You will see lots of great daily specials on spa treatments, wine specials, drink specials (like 2 for 1 drinks at the Cadillac Lounge) and photography deals. There are lots of great deals to check out.
We love bringing an extra suitcase filled with popcorn, candy, and snacks for the kiddos. We bring these snacks for the evening shows and movies at the Buena Vista Theater. During these shows, you do have to pay for beverages or snacks. We bring our snacks with us and bring to the shows. This can easily save you a couple hundred dollars during your Disney Cruise vacation. Plus, the kids do not miss anything because they already have their treats.
We hope this helps you save some money on your Disney Cruise vacation. The more you save, the more you can play! 😉 You may also want to check out our 105 Disney Cruise Tips, Tricks, and Hacks!
If you have any questions on how to save money on a Disney Cruise, that I did not answer, leave a comment below.