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This is the ultimate guide for preparing for a Disney Cruise in 2021!
Inside this guide, you’ll find information that will help you to make a decision about whether a Disney Cruise is right for you.
Or, if you’re already booked, you’ll find strategies, secrets, and information that will help you make the most of your dream vacation.
Let’s dive right in.
Which Best Describes You?
Wonder if a Disney Cruise is right for you?
You’re booked! Now it’s time to plan your trip!
Deciding on a Disney Cruise
Everything you need to know to make a smart decision.
Disney Cruise Decision Factors
- Introduction: What makes a Disney Cruise special?
- What happens on a Disney Cruise?
- What’s included in the price of a Disney Cruise?
- How much does a Disney Cruise cost?
- What is best way to book a Disney Cruise?
- Which is the best Disney Cruise ship?
- What are the best Disney Cruise destinations?
- How to choose the perfect Disney Cruise?
- How to choose a Disney Cruise stateroom?
- Is a Disney Cruise fun for adults?
- How to enjoy a Disney Cruise with a baby?
- Can you cancel a Disney Cruise & get your money back?
- Does Disney Cruise Line cater to those with disabilities or special needs?
- More helpful resources
Introduction: What makes a Disney Cruise special?
Let me guess.
The fact that you landed on my Disney cruise page is no accident. Perhaps you’ve heard about Disney Cruises from friends. Or you’ve seen the hype online.
But perhaps you’ve wondered:
“Is a Disney Cruise really worth the time & money?”
Here’s the real scoop:
For Disney-lovers, Disney Cruise vacations are magical.
When I am asked what makes a Disney Cruise so special, my answer boils to the following ingredients:
- Premium cruise accommodations
- Dreamy destinations
- Unparalleled customer service
- All mixed together with the Disney universe of characters
It’s a floating theme park, a sailing entertainment spectacle, and a buoyant paradise-seeker, all in one convenient vacation package.
The four words I use to describe a Disney Cruise are:
What happens on a Disney Cruise?
There are so many activities, both for children and adults, that it is difficult to answer this question in just a quick paragraph or two.
But let’s try anyway:
On a Disney Cruise, here are some of the things you can expect :
- Meet your favorite Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, as well as newcomers to the Disney universe, such as Jack Sparrow, Elsa, Darth Vader, and Captain America.
- Kids and adults have their own “clubs” and experiences that have been developed by Disney Imagineers and are run by energetic and friendly crew (aka “Cast Members”). Each of these is carefully thought-out and age appropriate.
- Grown-ups will appreciate signature dining experiences, adult-only sundecks and pools (for some quiet time), premium spa experiences, and a lively, yet decidedly non-raunchy, nightlife.
- Nightly entertainment that rivals Broadway or Las Vegas is shown each night in the Walt Disney Theatre.
- You’ll never go hungry. Disney Cruise Line regularly wins awards for the quality of its food and, perhaps more important, the unique ambiance and setting of each meal. The themed dining rooms on each ship transport you into the middle of a different Disney fantasy.
- If you head to the Bahamas, you’ll get to enjoy the immaculate Disney private island, Castaway Cay.
- Family activities is a very important part of a Disney Cruise. The family-friendly nature of their entertainment options makes it possible for kids and parents to delight in many shared experiences together.
- The Disney Cruise Line fleet travels to some of the most desirable destinations on the planet, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Alaska, and Canada.
If you really want to go into detail, I have created a free email course that walks you through the entire experience from start to finish.
What’s included in the price of a Disney Cruise?
Let’s face it:
A Disney Cruise is a premium vacation experience.
(Translation: it ain’t cheap.)
Good news though…
The Disney Cruise fare is almost completely all-inclusive.
This means that you can enjoy all the shows, dining, and Disney entertainment without paying an extra penny. Even with no extras or upgrades, a Disney vacation can be a trip of a lifetime.
The cost of your cruise covers standard amenities, such as:
- On-board entertainment
- Kids clubs
- Fitness center
In true Disney fashion, however, there are plenty of opportunities to spend more money.
There are a handful of “exclusive” experiences on board (elite luxury dining, massages, and alcohol, to name a few) that will lure your money away.
How much does a Disney Cruise cost?
The quick answer is “it depends.“
Prices for Disney Cruises vary based on the following factors:
- Length of the voyage. Disney Cruises range in length from 3 nights to 14.
- The stateroom. Staterooms come in a range of options, from interior (no porthole) to concierge (DCL’s ultimate luxury).
- Number of people in each stateroom. Add more kids to the same stateroom and the price goes up.
- Time of year. The holidays are wonderful times to cruise, but also the most expensive. And summer cruises are typically more pricey than “off-season.”
- Destination. Competition is steep in the cruising world for the Bahamas, so that helps keep prices lower. Mediterranean and other European cruises, however, command a premium price.
- How early you book. Price trackers have shown that the lowest price for any cruise is right when the itinerary opens up to accept guests. The longer you wait, the higher the prices go.
What is the best way to book a Disney Cruise?
You can book a Disney Cruise in a variety of ways.
Here are my four favorite ways to book, in order of least favorite to most favorite:
Disney Cruise website
At the Disney Cruise Line official website you can select your itinerary, stateroom, and find prices.
However, this is my least favorite way to book. because you will have to pay the highest market price, you receive no extra perks (like onboard credit), and you won’t receive the personal advice and planning that you can get from a travel agent.
Expedia offers a simple interface to compare itineraries, destinations, and price ranges.
Bookings through Expedia are often eligible for “onboard credit” promotions. This is basically cashback that is offered by travel agents as booking incentives that can be used for purchases during your cruise.
Use this link to get your free Ebates account and get $10 in your account.
The big advantage of booking a cruise through Costco Travel is they will give you a “Costco Cash Card” that is essentially money you can use in Costco stores. For Costco members, this is a nice perk, and the cash payout starts at hundreds of dollars and goes up depending on price of your cruise.
Disney Vacation Travel Agent
Using an experienced Disney Vacation Travel Agent is my recommended method for booking a Disney Cruise.
Thanks to their in-depth experience with Disney Cruises, they can not only help you find the best deal for your family, but they can recommend staterooms, destinations, and give you personalized suggestions that will fit your budget and preferences.
Using a Disney travel agent is free to you. I find their extensive experience and personal touch to be so valuable.
Which is the best Disney Cruise ship?
The Disney Cruise Line fleet currently consists of four ships:
Entering service in 1998 and 1999 respectively, the Magic and Wonder are the two oldest and smallest ships in the fleet. Both have recently undergone major upgrades and refurbishments.
The Dream and Fantasy set sail in 2011 and 2012, thus are newer and are much larger, holding up to 48% more passengers than the original two ships.
Also, Disney has commissioned the construction of three new cruise ships, scheduled to arrive in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
The first of these will be called Disney Wish.
What are the best Disney Cruise destinations?
Disney Cruises sail to every corner of the globe.
With a heavy concentration of cruises in the Caribbean, many aren’t aware of Disney Cruise Line’s many other destinations.
While some ports of call are visited annually (the Bahamas, for example), Disney Cruise will vary its sailing schedules each year.
In the past few years, destinations have included Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Baja Mexico, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal, and every corner of the Caribbean.
Selecting a destination is a highly personal selection, based on individual taste and budget.
How to choose the perfect Disney Cruise?
Selecting the perfect Disney cruise for you and your family is very much a personal decision.
Everyone has different tastes, interests, and budgets.
There are, however, four decision factors that will help you determine what Disney Cruise itinerary is right for you.
How to choose a Disney Cruise stateroom?
Once you’ve picked an itinerary, it’s time to choose a stateroom for your voyage.
You will select from one of four categories of staterooms – inside, oceanview, verandah, and Concierge.
I have written a step-by-step guide that explains our recommended process for choosing your stateroom.
Is a Disney Cruise fun for adults?
There are really two questions to answer here.
1) As an adult with kids, will I have fun on a Disney Cruise?
Simply put, yes.
Disney does a great job keeping your kids entertained, allowing parents some “me” time. The kids clubs and the counselors offer engaging spaces where kids like to hang out together while providing them with a steady stream of fun activities to keep them busy.
Grown-ups will find an equal amount of attention has been spent on building out spaces that are just for adults. There are many spacious adult-only areas such as sundecks, pools, hot tubs, bars, night clubs, and premium dining experiences.
Even on Castaway Cay, you will find an adults-only beach and bars.
2) Should I take a Disney Cruise without kids?
Singles, couples without kids, and empty-nesters might all be wondering if it makes sense to sail with DCL.
There are some absences in Disney’s amenities (no casino, for example) that are standard on other cruise lines.
Additionally, Disney takes a different approach on other amenities.
I have written a guide that outlines the pros and cons of sailing a Disney Cruise without kids.
How to enjoy a Disney Cruise with a baby?
If you have a baby and you’re thinking about sailing off on a Disney Cruise, you might be asking yourself if this will truly feel like a vacation.
Here’s the good news:
Disney Cruise Line knows it have a very family-centric audience. It knows that there are likely to be families traveling with infants and toddlers. And fortunately, they know how to accommodate the parents of these little ones.
I put together a full list of tips to help parents enjoy their time on a Disney Cruise while traveling with an infant.
Can you cancel a Disney Cruise and get your money back?
The short answer is yes. Usually.
There are some exceptions but in most cases, you can get a full refund of your deposit if you cancel before your “Paid in Full” date.
How does Disney Cruise cater to guests with disabilities or special needs?
Disney Cruise Line does a remarkable job at offering a variety of services, facilities and amenities for guests with disabilities or special needs.
I have put together a comprehensive guide that outlines exactly how DCL caters to its guests with the following special needs:
- Mobility disabilities (wheelchair accessible)
- Medical conditions that require equipment
- Children with disabilities
- Special dietary requests
- Service Animals
- and more
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
- Free Disney Cruise DVD
- Disney Cruise Weddings
- 11 Magical Moments from Real Disney Cruisers
- Disney Cruise News & Updates
2. Planning for Disney Cruises
Get the most magic from your dream vacation
Articles to Help You Plan for the Perfect Cruise
- 101 Magical Disney Cruise Tips
- What to expect on your first Disney Cruise?
- What should you pack for a Disney Cruise?
- What to do at online check-in?
- What is best way to get to Port Canaveral from Orlando?
- What is Castaway Cay?
- How to avoid getting seasick
- What happens on Pirate Night?
- How to surprise your kids with the gift of a Disney Cruise?
- What are Fish Extenders?
- Do you need Disney Cruise trip insurance?
- What is the Disney Cruise Alcohol Policy?
- How does Internet on a Disney Cruise Work?
- The Star Wars Disney Cruise
- The Marvel Disney Cruise
- Should you buy the Disney Cruise Photo Package?
- Disney Repositioning Cruises
- More helpful Disney Cruise resources
101 Magical Disney Cruise Tips
Know before you go!
Take advantage of what I’ve learned.
In my most popular article of all time, I share my favorite Disney Cruise secrets, hacks, and tips that will help you save time, save money or make your Disney Cruise even more magical than you can imagine.
Take advantage of what I’ve learned!
What to expect on your first Disney Cruise?
After booking your first Disney Cruise, it is common to feel a little overwhelmed.
Before my first cruise, I had so many questions.
In this free 9-day email course, I share with you everything you need to do to feel prepared and ready to have a fantastic Disney Cruise vacation.
What should you pack for a Disney Cruise?
Not sure what to pack?
When planning your Disney Cruise, there is a lot to consider.
Let me take away the stress of packing for you!
I created the most thorough Disney Cruise Packing List anywhere to help you determine what to pack.
What to do when it’s time to check-in for your cruise?
Many Disney Cruises set sail out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
This means that many passengers arrive via Orlando.
So, what’s the best way to get from Orlando to the ship?
I took a deep look at the most popular options and created my list of “pros” and “cons” for each method of transportation.
What is Castaway Cay?
Castaway Cay is Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.
Many Disney Cruises make a stop at Castaway Cay.
- What makes it so special?
- What is there to do there?
- How can you make the most of your time at this slice of paradise?
I have the answers! I created the most complete list of Castaway Cay secrets and real advice you can use.
READ: 50 Castaway Cay Tips
Will you get seasick on a Disney Cruise?
The most common question that first-timer cruisers ask is:
Will I get sick on my cruise?
To answer this question (and put your mind at ease) I’ve covered all you need to know about avoiding seasickness.
And, if you do get sick, what are the best seasickness remedies? how to avoid getting seasick on your cruise and the best seasickness remedy available today.
What happens on Pirate Night?
“Pirate Night” is a special night on most Disney Cruises devoted to dress up, fun games and activities, and a major deck party that lights up the sky with fireworks!
Check out all the fun in my complete guide to Disney Cruise Pirate Night.
How can I surprise my kids with the gift of a Disney Cruise?
So, you’ve decided to take the kiddos on a Disney Cruise?
Check out the special scavenger hunt that I designed to make it easy to delight your kids with the news of the magical vacation that awaits them!
What are Fish Extenders?
Fish Extenders gift swaps are basically Disney Cruise gift exchanges that are completely run and coordinated by groups of passengers…that don’t know each other!
Seriously, this is not run by Disney Cruise Line…and everyone loves it!
Guests find each other online and create “Fish Extender groups” to swap presents.
It is a great way to spread some “pixie dust” and get to know your fellow cruisers.
But why is it called “Fish Extenders”?
Read my detailed guide to find out and to learn how this fun activity comes together.
Do you need Disney Cruise trip insurance?
Disney Cruise vacations are not cheap.
According to the statistics, there’s a 17% chance you’ll need travel insurance.
Are you willing to take the chance that nothing goes wrong?
Trip insurance seems complicated, so I did a special article to explain what it is and why you might need it. I even explored Disney’s own cruise insurance to see if it’s a good deal.
My guide can be a big help in deciding whether or not to cover your cruise with trip insurance.
Disney Cruise Alcohol Policy
There is a lot to know when it comes to alcohol on a Disney cruise.
Want to know if you can bring alcohol from home or from port of call onto your ship? You can, but there are some things you should know first.
There are many questions people have about what they can and can’t do when it comes to alcohol on their DCL vacation. Instead of reading through a lengthy list of terms and conditions, breeze through this quick guide to get you in the know.
Disney Cruise Internet and Wi-Fi
Even while on vacation you might want to stay connected with friends and family and to share what you are doing on social media.
My guide will teach you the tips and tricks of the Disney Cruise Line internet service, how to get free Wifi, and help you learn what you need to know before embarking on your first Disney cruise.
Star Wars Disney Cruise
The Force is strong with this Disney Cruise.
The Star Wars Day at Sea Disney Cruise is a 7-night cruise that has an entire day dedicated to intergalactic awesomeness.
Meet beloved heroes and villains from the Star Wars universe aboard your ship and maybe even help Darth Vader as he scours the boat looking for rebel scum.
Check out my guide to learn more about pricing, when it’s available, and how you can join in on the fun!
Marvel Disney Cruise
Suit up on a Disney Cruise featuring the world’s mightiest heroes and watch as they defend the Disney Magic from invading Hydra agents!
Meet Spiderman, Captain America, Thor, and others at character Meet and Greets, or dance with the Guardians of the Galaxy to timeless classics.
Click below to jump into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and experience a little bit of super powered action.
READ: The Marvel Disney Cruise
Should You Buy Disney Cruise Photo Package?
Disney Cruise Line offers different photo packages on your sailing.
The question is: are they worth the money?
Disney Repositioning Cruises
Although it may sound like it, it’s a repositioning cruise not Disney repossessing your cruise.
You might have heard about repositioning cruises as an option for you to save money on your Disney Cruise.
Check out my guide to find out if this will really save you money and what kind of destinations you can look forward to while going on a repositioning cruise.
More Planning Advice & Helpful Tips to Maximize Your Magic
- How to Make Totally Awesome Disney Cruise Travel Video
- How to Get 2 Free Audiobooks for your Disney Cruise
- The Disney Cruise Playlist that Will Change Your Life
- Disney Port Webcams
- How to Make Your Child’s Birthday Special on Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Future
Looking ahead…What’s new with Disney Cruises in 2021 and beyond?
Disney Cruise 2019
Itineraries for Disney Cruises in 2019 have been set.
Disney Cruise 2020
Disney Cruise Line has some fun new itineraries in store for 2020.
First of all, you can now cruise to and from Hawaii from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in spring of 2020. Each Disney Cruise Hawaii itinerary includes five days at sea and stops at the biggest, most popular Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island.
Disney Cruise will also be voyaging from a new port in 2020 – New Orleans, Louisiana. Itineraries in and out of NOLA will visit Panama Canal, Cartagena, Columbia, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman Island, Jamaica, Castaway Cay, Key West, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas.
Disney Cruise 2021
The most exciting news for Disney Cruise fans in 2021 will be the arrival of the newest member of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Wish.
While the other two ships have yet to be named, you can keep track of all the new Disney Cruise ship rumors here.
And, if you’re considering a Disney Cruise in 2021, the January-May 2021 itineraries have been announced.
Disney Cruise 2022
In 2022, another new ship from DCL is expected to set sail. That’s about all we know at this time however.
Disney Cruise 2023
The 7th ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will be introduced in 2023. It is expected to be built in the same dimensions as the two ships planned to be christened in 2021 and 2022 (see above).