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16 easy ways to save money on a Disney Cruise

Captain Minnie

Disney cruises are expensive compared to family-friendly lines like Norwegian, Carnival, MSC, and Royal Caribbean. However, you get a lot for your money, including high-end entertainment, character meet-and-greet opportunities, thoughtfully designed cabins for family, and a friendly, helpful crew.

Even so, you'll need to find ways to cut costs to get the most out of your Disney cruise vacation budget. Sometimes, the base fare alone for a family of four can top $5,000 or $6,000, especially if you're trying to cruise during the peak season in a balcony. 

Whether you're trying to pinch pennies whenever possible or simply don't want to break the bank, try these 16 easy ways to save money on a Disney cruise. 

Read more: How to save money on a cruise: 23 money-saving tips

1. Book early

Disney Wish at Port Canaveral

Despite the high price tag, Disney operates a small fleet of only five ships: Disney Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy, and Wish. In comparison, Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class has five ships, with over 20 more in various other classes within the fleet. 

Part of the reason Disney charges more is because of the demand for the limited availability. If you want to find the best prices, you'll want to begin your search early, as when Disney releases new itineraries, the fares are often the lowest. 

As cabins begin to sell out, the prices go up. Booking early gives you the best available price and more choices when it comes to cabin selection. 

2. Book a guaranteed cabin

Disney Magic cabin

If you aren't picky about your stateroom's location, consider booking a guaranteed fare. In exchange for a lower fare, you give Disney the ability to assign your specific cabin within a given category (i.e., inside, ocean view, balcony). 

Before agreeing to the lower fare, however, be sure to research and understand the restrictions. You may, for instance, have to pay in full at the time of booking. 

At the end of the day, those who book a guaranteed rate will have access to the same in-cabin amenities as everyone else. Plus, they'll have full access to the ship's amenities, including the pool deck, dining rooms, entertainment, youth clubs, and more. 

3. Browse Disney's website for special offers


Unlike mainstream cruise lines (i.e., Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC), you won't find fleetwide sales on their website. While you can head to Royal Caribbean's homepage and see 30% second guest or kids sail free, Disney is more subtle in their approach to deals.  

Disney Cruise Line's website has a "Special Offers" section where they occasionally list cruise deals. These can be promotions aimed at certain groups of people, such as Florida residents or active-duty military, or deals on particular sail dates or cabin types. 

The deals don’t come around so often, but it’s worth looking in case you can catch one that works for you and save money on your Disney cruise. The deals on this page might also be for guaranteed fares, so make sure you read the fine print before booking one.

4. Choose a short cruise

DCL Fantasy

Disney’s Bahamas and Caribbean cruises come in three-, four-, or seven-night itineraries. If you can’t afford a full week of vacation, book a shorter cruise to save money. The per-night rates are still high, but it will cost you less once everything's said and done. 

Short cruises are also a good cruising sampler if you’re not sure you’ll like a cruise vacation or are worried about getting seasick. If you love it (odds are that you will), you can always save up for it and book a longer sailing later.

According to Disney's website, a 3-night cruise abroad Disney Wish in July 2025 starts at $3,009 for two adults. In comparison, a 7-night cruise onboard Disney Treasure, Disney's newest ship set to launch in December 2024, starts at $5,834 for two. Note that both prices are for standard interior rooms, with balconies costing at least $500 more per person. 

5. Do not sail during the peak season


People will travel on Disney cruises year-round and don’t mind pulling their kids out of school to sail, so you won’t find drastic price differences between high and low travel seasons. Plus, Disney will theme slower fall or January sailings with holiday activities or Star Wars, Pixar, or Marvel Days at Sea to entice travelers to book.

For under $2,800 for two adults, you can sail on a 5-night Western Caribbean cruise abroad Disney Dream in January 2025. A similar cruise onboard the same ship in July costs around $4,000 for two adults, meaning that it’s worth reconsidering your travel dates to skip those school vacation weeks and cruise off-season instead if your schedule permits. 

Though the Alaska cruise season is far shorter than the Caribbean, you can find cheaper sailings at the beginning or end of the season. A 7-night cruise onboard Disney Wonder in May 2025 costs less than $3,600 for two adults, while the same itinerary in July is nearly $5,000 for two. 

6. Skip the verandah

DCL Fantasy

While there's nothing quite like waking up to a private balcony, these cabins are far more costly than standard interior rooms. Though the latter lacks natural light, you'll dine in the same restaurants, enjoy the same entertainment, and be able to participate in the same activities as everyone else onboard, excluding those in Concierge-level staterooms. 

If you're desperate to step foot on one of Disney's magical ships, selecting an interior room is one of the easiest ways to save money regardless of when or where you're cruising. Plus, the less you spend on accommodations, the more money you may have for shore excursions and other add-ons, including the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and adults-only specialty dining

Looking at Disney's Alaska cruise season in 2025, an interior room on the 7-night cruise departing on June 9 starts at $4,614 for two adults in an inside cabin, with the price of a verandah increasing to a whopping $8,856. Though not as drastic, the cheapest stateroom on Disney Magic's April 25 cruise to The Bahamas starts at $1,912 for two, whereas the price for a balcony is nearly $2,500. 

Read more: 10 reasons you should book an interior room on your next cruise

7. Get a Disney Visa credit card


The Disney Visa card is a no-fee credit card that earns you points that can be spent on Disney vacations and products. For every dollar spent, you earn 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars. You can redeem these points for Disney cruise packages, souvenirs, and onboard activities.

The Disney Premier Visa card earns 2% on select purchases (1% on the rest), and you can redeem your rewards dollars for air travel, as well as Disney vacations and merchandise. However, it carries an annual fee, so you’ll need to make sure you earn more than you spend to justify this card.

Cardmembers also receive special discounts on select onboard purchases, as well as Disney Store and Disney theme park shopping and dining.

8. Work the gift card deals

Disney Dream cruise ship in Nassau, Bahamas

If you’re planning a Disney cruise vacation, tell all your family and friends to buy you Disney gift cards for birthday and holiday presents. You can purchase your cruise through Disney with gift cards. If your loved ones aren't a fan of giving gift cards as presents, you can buy them yourself at a discount, if you know where to look. 

Typically, you can find discounted Disney gift cards are warehouses like BJ's, Costco, and Sam's Club. Additionally, those who have a Target REDcard are eligible for 5% off all purchases, including non-Target gift cards. If you get enough Disney gift cards to pay for your cruise fare, you'll save around 5% of the total cost. 

To go this route, however, you must book your cruise directly through Disney, rather than a travel agent. 

9. Use a travel agent

Person working

Contrary to what you might believe, travel agents don’t charge you to use their services. They make their income based on commission, meaning that you can benefit from their expertise for no extra cost. 

In addition to valuable insight into the cruise industry, agents can often secure lower rates than those advertised on Disney's website. Sometimes, they can also offer perks like onboard credit and free gratuities. 

Of course, even if the price is the same as the website, you'll benefit from their services, especially if something goes astray during your time onboard, as they'll act as your liaison and communicate with the cruise line on belief, allowing you to soak up every moment of magic. 

10. Bring your own Mickey and Disney gear


Just like at Disney's theme parks, you can expect the price for Disney merchandise onboard the ship to be higher than retailers like Amazon or Target. Of course, when you're stuck in the middle of the ocean and see Disney cruise-exclusive items, you might get caught up in the hype.

Rather than splurging on a ton of Disney items on your cruise, purchase them ahead of time. You can save a considerable amount of money by buying ears from sites like Etsy or asking friends/family if they have any from previous trips. 

For my upcoming Disney cruise in August, I'm already looking at ears on Etsy, rather than waiting to purchase them while onboard. I made this mistake when I visited Disney World last year and spent around $50 for two pairs! 

11. Bring your own costumes instead of buying them onboard or going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique


Even when it’s not Halloween, costumes are always acceptable clothing on a Disney cruise. If your little princess or pirate demands to dress up, you can easily bust your budget by visiting the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Though this experience is magical, it isn't cheap, with some packages costing over $400. 

Instead, purchase costumes at home. If you can, visit thrift stores, especially after Halloween, to see if there are any that have been dropped off. It doesn't hurt to ask friends/family, either! You never know who will have some old costumes stored away in the attic. 

Better yet, get crafty and make them yourself! For pirate night, tie an old bandana around your head and a red scarf around your waist. You can also make an eye patch from construction paper and string. If your child has a favorite princess, capture their essence through their color scheme. Ariel, for instance, is known for her green tail and purple top, whereas nobody can mistake Belle's iconic yellow gown. 

Read more: 16 tips to not waste money on your first cruise

12. Stick with the free activities


The expenses don’t stop once you’ve paid for your Disney cruise. There are plenty of onboard temptations to your wallet, from magical makeovers to indulgent adult-only dinners. Rather than splurge on these additional add-ons, keep your hard-earned money safe in your wallet by saying no. 

You won't go hungry on your Disney cruise, as meals in themed restaurants, as well as the onboard buffet, are included. Instead of purchasing a sweet treat, satisfy your craving during meal times at the buffet, soft serve stand, or main dining rooms! And while the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique might be a highlight for your little one, have a fun makeover in your cabin by bringing sparkles and face paint! 

With so many included activities, such as impromptu run-ins with your favorite Disney characters, original musical performances in the theater at night, and play time in the kids club or in the pool and water slides, you won't be bored if you keep your onboard spending to a minimum. 

13. Book your next cruise onboard


Rather than have the second half of your Disney cruise filled with the dread of having to return home, consider booking your next while onboard. In addition to having another magical vacation to look forward to the second you step foot off the gangway, you'll also receive a 10% discount off of the quoted rates on Disney's website, as well as reduced deposits on cruises that are 7 nights and longer.

Unable to decide on what cruise you want to do next? No worries! Disney allows you to make a placeholder reservation onboard, which means you do not have to decide on a specific sailing. Instead, your cruise must commence within 24 months after the placeholder reservation was booked. 

Once home, you can transfer your booking to your favorite travel agent.

Read more: Guide to Disney Cruise onboard booking discount

14. Use credit card points to pay your statement

Credit Cards

Though I always advocate for credit card points to be transferred to a hotel or airline loyalty program, you can often use your points to pay off your statement balance. Let's say, for instance, you have 200,000 American Express points. Rather than pay your balance in full, you can get $1,200 off, as 10,000 AMEX points are equivalent to $60. 

If, however, you want to get more value out of your points, consider moving them to loyalty programs to help pay for pre-cruise expenses like airfare and hotels. Using points to help reduce your other travel-related expenses will help you comfortably afford your Disney cruise, and perhaps an add-on or two! 

Read more: 12 Surprising Things That Aren’t Included in Your Cruise Fare

15. Bring your own alcohol onboard


Unlike other mainstream cruise lines, Disney does not offer any drink packages. They do, however, allow passengers over the age of 21 to bring limited quantities of alcohol with them on embarkation day

According to Disney's website, "Disney Cruise Line Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage... These beverages must be packed in carry-on (not checked) bags or luggage."

Though you may have to purchase a few more beverages throughout the week, your overall tab will be far less than what you might have spent if you didn't bring any alcohol onboard. 

16. Visit the spa while the ship is docked


The onboard spa is essentially the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for adults. Though you may enjoy the experience, it may be hard to justify the high price tag, with some massages costing over $150 for 50 minutes. Instead of paying the full price, consider stopping by on a port day to see what specials are available. 

While this means you may have to cut your time ashore short, your children likely won't mind with all the fun youth programming at their disposal! In fact, they may be beginning to return to the Oceaneer Club or Lab the second you return onboard. 

Read more: What you need to know about Disney Cruise Line’s Private Island

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