How to Choose a Disney Cruise
By Alisha Molen - Updated for 2021
So you're considering taking a Disney Cruise.
How do you choose which cruise to go on?
There are many ways to answer this.
It would be virtually impossible to give the perfect answer that is just right for every situation.
You see, it’s personal to everyone's unique circumstances and tastes.
There are, however, common considerations to think about.
Here are the decision factors as I see them:
- Length of vacation
- Orlando Disney Parks
1) What's your travel budget?
Money matters, that’s why I think it’s wise to start with your budget.
If you have a fixed or limited budget, then that will dictate most of the decision for you. You’ll simply have to see what options are available to you, based on price.
If your budget is tight, then you might consider starting with a shorter cruise (obviously cheaper). Also, keep in mind that holiday and summer cruises are the most expensive (kids are out of school), while fall cruises are significantly less pricey.
Another way to save money is to consider your departure port, as you could save money on airfare by driving to a nearby port.
For those on the East Coast, Disney regularly sails from New York or one of two ports in Florida (Miami or Port Canaveral.)
The West Coast frequently offers itineraries that sail from California and Canada.
Galveston, Texas is another regular port for Caribbean cruises.
If saving money is important to you, read our tips on How to Save Money on Disney Cruise.
2) How long can you vacation?
Behind your budget, you probably need to determine how long you can take for a vacation.
Some people have limited time off work, so this can be important. If you can only take a week, you obviously need a cruise that is 7 days or less. That will also start to limit your options.
Also, the question of when you can travel is important.
You’ll have to see what cruises are available on the dates you are able to travel.
3) Where in the world do you want to go?
Now, let’s talk about the destination.
Do you care so much about where to go? For example, if you don't mind going to the Caribbean, you will have a lot more options for dates.
Additionally, if you've never been to either Mexico or the Virgin Islands (just examples), you might not care if you go to the Eastern or Western Caribbean because you've not been to either and they both sound good to you.
4) Do you want to go to Disney parks?
Make your Disney vacation a "land" and "sea" to maximize the magic!
If you want to couple your Cruise with a trip to Walt Disney World parks in Orlando, you'll want to stick to cruises that leave out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
Or maybe you want to visit Disneyland in California? If so, look for cruises that sail from San Diego, California.
About the Disney Cruise ships...
A common question I get is “which Disney Cruise ship should I select?”
For your first Disney cruise, I believe the factors mentioned above are the most important and you will have a magical experience regardless of which ship you sail.
Disney keeps their ships like new - by constantly painting, cleaning and updating them - so it doesn't really matter which ship you choose. They are all great!
As you can see, it's personal
As you consider each of the factors of budget, vacation availability, destination, and Walt Disney World, you’ll have a better chance of narrowing down your choices of which cruise to take.
Carefully consider your budget, length of vacation, and destination and see where that takes you.