Imagine sailing the high seas, exploring new destinations, enjoying top-notch entertainment and dining, and experiencing some of the magic of the Disney parks.
Yes, I’m talking about sailing with Disney Cruise Lines, of course. It’s one of the premium family-friendly cruise lines that caters to people of all ages. You wouldn’t expect anything less from the Walt Disney Company, after all.
But a Disney cruise can be expensive, so many people wonder… Is the cost really worth it? This brings us to the question…
What’s included in a Disney cruise?
The answer is almost everything you need for a great vacation. Disney Cruise Line cruises include spacious staterooms, all-day dining at a variety of restaurants, spectacular entertainment, access to Disney’s private island, kids clubs, adults-only lounges and nightclubs, pools and recreation areas, character experiences, and more.
So, whether it’s your first Disney cruise or your fifth, and whether you’re thinking of booking Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, or one of the other ships in the Disney fleet, here’s what will be included on your Disney vacation at sea.
I’m going to tell you not only what’s included on a Disney cruise but also what’s not. This will help you budget for your holidays and pick the best cruise package for your family.
What Does A Disney Cruise Include?
Some things are standard amenities in the cruise industry, such as your stateroom and dining. However, only Disney offers some premium guest services, which include the ones below.
1. Staterooms on Disney Cruises
The cost of your room (cabin or stateroom) is included in your cruise.
There are four main room categories on Disney ships – inside, porthole, verandah, and suites.
The staterooms are spacious, designed to accommodate the whole family comfortably. They have modern features and include attentive housekeeping services. There is a sitting area, extra storage space, shower toiletries, and innovative comforts like split bathrooms so more people can get ready at the same time.
2. Dining on a Disney Cruise
A Disney cruise is all-inclusive. Meaning, all meals are included in your cruise fare.
You can enjoy 3 sit-down meals in the main dining rooms, which are like fine dining restaurants.
The menu for the rotational dining is available on the onboard Daily Navigator app. You can also partake in all-day casual buffets and eat all the food your heart desires.
If you want a quick snack in the comfort of your room, there’s room service food. Plus, there are snack stalls serving burgers, pizza, and hot dogs, movie snacks, popcorn, drink stations, and an ice cream shop near the pool deck.
Indeed, it is possible to cruise with Disney without spending another cent on food. Disney is a premium cruise line, so things like soft drinks, iced tea, soft serve ice cream, tea and coffee, and unlimited tap water are included.
On most other cruise lines, you need to purchase a drinks package which can be $50 per person per day or more. So, on a 7-night cruise with Disney, you save $350 per person on these items alone.
3. Entertainment on a Disney Ship
There is a wide variety of enchanting entertainment on the four ships in the Disney stable. If it is your first cruise, you’ll be surprised by the sheer number of fun activities on offer while cruising. You won’t get bored even on longer cruises.
The on-ship entertainment includes things like:
- Star Wars Day
- Marvel Day
- Other special days
- Classic Disney movies
- First run Disney movies in the onboard theaters
- Disney princesses
- Oceaneer’s Club for the little ones
- Youth club activities for older kids, such as a midship detective agency
The activities are designed according to the kids’ ages.
For those who are so inclined, there are fitness classes, a running track, steam rooms, and a fitness room.
The water slides, pool areas, and splash areas access are popular, especially on the Caribbean itineraries. Most Bahamas and Caribbean sailings include access to Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, where you can relax on beach chairs.
There’s even an adults-only section here called Serenity Bay.
There’s nightly Broadway style shows onboard, live musicians, adults-only nightclubs and lounges, deck parties, trivia games, animation workshops, fireworks at sea, character meet and greets, and at-sea special events on Disney’s holiday or themed cruises.
Most of this comes at no additional charge.
What’s Not Included In A Disney Cruise Line Cruise?
1. Alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic drinks are at extra cost.
Pro tip: If you consume a fair number of alcoholic beverages (I’m not judging!), then getting a drinks package might make sense.
You can bring alcohol on board before you set sail in original, unopened containers (up to 2 bottles of wine/champagne and 6 bottles of beer).
The cruise includes soft drinks, but non-alcoholic specialty drinks, specialty coffees, smoothies, and bottled water invite an extra fee. You can charge everything to your onboard account, so it’s very convenient.
2. Specialty dining
While 24-hour room service and casual dining options are all included in your cruise fare, specialty dining is not.
For example, eating at the adults-only Remy or Palo restaurants comes at an additional fee on Disney cruises.
The various ships in the fleet feature themed restaurants like Tiana’s Place on Disney Wonder (Cajun cuisine and a Disney-inspired Mardi Gras stage show with Disney characters from the Princess and the Frog and other entertainers).
On the Disney Magic, there’s Tangled and Rapunzel’s Royal Table with character interactions, Turtle Talk, and a stage show.
All the Disney cruise ships have a restaurant called Animator’s Palette, where guests can enjoy a magical dining experience with animation magic and lighting.
3. Shore excursions
Like most cruises, Disney cruises do not include shore excursions. Activities and excursions in ports of call come at an additional cost.
The only thing included is access to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. They include a number of activities and food items in your Castaway Cay excursion.
Some adult and youth activities like snorkeling gear rental, bike rental, jet ski rental, sailboat rental, or stingray encounters are at an extra charge and may require guardian permission for kids under 18 years of age.
4. Spa services
While hanging out at the pools is free, your cruise fare does not include spa treatments.
Rates tend to be on the higher side, and there is an applicable tax of 18%, but the services are top-notch and well worth the indulgence.
The price of your Disney cruise also doesn’t cover tips for your stateroom housekeeping and dining room servers. This is pretty much standard in the cruising industry.
You should budget $10-$15 per person per day for gratuities. They automatically add a 15% gratuity to bar tabs and 18% to spa treatments.
Disney’s Connect@Sea gives you wi-fi access but you have to pay for this service. There are different packages to choose from based on usage.
The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app is free. The cabins also have complimentary Wave Phones that can be used to communicate with your group onboard and at Castaway Cay.
7. Shopping and Photos
Okay, this one’s a no-brainer. Your cruise price does not include shopping. Professional Disney photographers are onboard and they can take professional photos for you, but they also cost extra.
8. Disney Transportation
Airfare from your home city and ground transfers from the airport or hotel to the ports (Port Canaveral) are not included in the cost of the Disney cruise but can be booked by paying extra.
Let me just sign off by saying this… the best thing about Disney cruises? No waiting in line for attractions and rides, no parking, no purchasing food throughout the day, and all the magic of Disney – it’s a winner if you ask me.
Have you been on a Disney cruise? Did you find it to be value for money? Tell me in the comments below!