I don’t know about you, but booking my first cruise was a bit intimidating. I was a fish out of water, or better said, a landlubber about to charge headlong into water! I was entering unknown travel territory. As soon as the decision was made to plunge into a family vacation cruise, questions rang out, starting up front and center – how can I book this cruise for less? You know me, always on the hunt for a bargain!
No matter how you book it, a Disney Cruise is one of the pricier cruise lines. Finding a discount on a Disney cruises is hard to find, rare to score. If you see one, grab it fast – it won’t last long! However, there are a few ways to save some bucks on that Disney cruise.
I do believe a Disney Cruise offers lots of bang for the bucks you’ll shell out. Yes, it’s going to cost more than a budget cruise. However, there are lots of value-added features built into the price of the cruise, not to mention how well Disney is at keeping your kids entertained. Can’t say that about all cruise lines!
So ready to see how you can trim a few bucks off a Disney cruise? Then let’s get this vacation ball rolling. Or better said, let’s get this ship cruising!
Tips to Cut The Cost of Your Disney Cruise
Here’s tips I’ve used and tips I’ve learned that can help save you some cash on that Fantasy Disney Cruise you and your family has been Dream’in about.
Book Your Disney Cruise Early
I mean really early! A year or more early. The best rates are as soon as Disney releases cruise dates. On a rare occasion, and typically on a less popular cruise and the older ships, Disney might have a special booking offer. I wouldn’t count on it though. Your best best is to book as far out in advance as you can. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make final payment until 72 to 100 days before you cruise, so if you do luck into a better offer, or you need to change dates, you can modify or cancel the reservation without penalty.
Well over a year ago, I booked the Disney Fantasy for a late March 2013 sailing. I paid $4800 for our family of four, booking it within two days of the release date. In January, we decided not to go on that particular cruise. So I canceled it. Within minutes of releasing our reservation, our cabin became available to reserve – for over $7200! So yes, you really can save money by booking that far in advance.
Book With A Disney Booking Service
Planning a Disney Cruise vacation can be daunting, especially for first-time Disney cruisers. Booking with a Mouse Counselor can ensure your cruise is a magical one. What’s a Mouse Counselor? She’s an experienced Disney traveler and planning counselor who can walk you through every step of the booking process. She’s also a wealth of insider knowledge, and your go-to person for all your cruise questions.
What can a Mouse Counselor do for you? First and foremost, she provides complimentary concierge-level services. She also provides the following services and benefits, all at no extra charge to you:
- Books all cruise reservations, even extra onboard activities and shore excursions.
- Makes any necessary changes to the existing reservation.
- Searches for possible booking deals so you don’t have to.
- Checks for discounts after booking. Any savings found will be applied to your booking.
- Gifts you with extra onboard ship credits.
No more calls to Disney Cruise lines for you! Trust me, that can be painful. Wait times during busy periods can be extensive. And annoying! Oh, and you can transfer an existing Disney Cruise reservation to Mouse Counselors to receive that concierge service.
Mouse Counselors do the work so you can have all the fun! Got questions? Ask Bethany Chapman, Mouse Counselor extraordinaire. She’ll answer all your questions.
Pay with a Disney Magic Credit Card
Benefits earned with the Chase Disney Magic credit card can help bring down the cost of the cruise. Open a new Magic Card account and receive a $50 to $100 Disney Gift card. Then apply it to your cruise payment. Use the Magic card for day-to-day purchases and earn 1% in Disney Dream Dollars. Woohoo! More Dollars for cruise payment! The Magic card helped knock several hundred dollars off our cruise price.
Be sure to use the Magic card to pay for your cruise too. That’ll also earn you more cruise Dollars as well as the following perks:
- Earn 1% of the cruise price as Disney Dream Dollars.
- Six months 0% APR financing. Just remember to pay off the card before the six months is over to avoid interest charges.
- $50 onboard ship credit. Use code DCC when booking.
- Get 10% off on-board Disney store purchases.
Learn more about the Disney Magic Visa card rewards at Disney Rewards Credit Card.
Book Or Transfer Your Cruise Reservation to Costco
Book a new Disney Cruise reservation or transfer an existing one to Costco Travel, and receive a Costco gift card worth as much as several hundred dollars when you do. Might just be worth the membership fee.
Are you a Costo Executive Member? Book the cruise using your Costco TrueEarnings credit card and you’ll earn 2% cash back in addition to the gift card. Cha-ching! May not sound like much at first, but hey, every little bit adds up.
Booking a reservation with Costo is not for everyone, but might be for the more adventurous or more experienced cruise traveler. Costco does not provide the best “post-booking” customer service. If you need to make changes or have issues with a reservation, you will need to do the legwork before calling Costco. And you might spend a bit of phone time waiting to speak with someone. Remember – Costco is a travel wholesaler, not a Disney Cruise expert. My advice? If you go the Costco route, make certain you have settled all your reservation details before you book or transfer.
Learn more about Costco member travel benefits at the About Costco Travel page.
Book Your Disney Cruise Off Prime Time
You’ll save money. Possibly lots of money. Times to avoid include Christmas, Spring Break, and summer if at all possible. Also the short cruises are very popular during the U.S. holidays of Martin Luther King weekend in January, Presidents’ weekend in February and Memorial Day weekend in May. If summer is the only time you can go, check out the first week in June and the last week in August. They have been historically less than other summer weeks.
We did a four-night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream in early May. That exact same cruise in July? $1500 more for our family of four. Not to mention by going in May, our airfare was less, and so was our rental car for the land portion of our vacation.
Check For Disney Cruise Specials
Book Your Next Disney Cruise OnBoard
Enjoying your cruise? Want to go again next year? Then take advantage of on-board booking promotions and book it while on the ship. Not only will you get a 10% discount off the booking price, your cruise down payment will be less and you’ll receive an on-board ship credit to spend on your next cruise.
Not certain of your next cruise date? Book any date to lock in the on-board booking promotions. Once you decide your cruise date, change the reservation to that date. Your on-board booking deals will still be valid. If you opt to book “any date” to take advantage of the on-board booking deal, book the least expensive room on the least expensive cruise. This will save you on out-of-pocket payment at time of booking.
Once you are off the ship and have your next cruise dates settled, you can transfer that on-ship booking to Mouse Counselors or Costco to take advantage of their booking offers. You won’t loose your 10% discount by doing this, and now you’ve added additional savings and perks.
Are You Ready For A Disney Cruise?
Images from DisneyCruiseLines.com, MouseCounselors.com and CostcoTravel.com