The Disney Cruise Line enjoys great popularity, so discounts can be scarce. Here are the ways we’ve found to save money on your cruise:
Reserve Early to Get Early Booking Savings
Reserve early enough and you could save approximately $100–$890 per stateroom (7-night cruises) or $30–$650 per stateroom (3- and 4-night cruises). Staterooms at this discount are limited, however. For the best early booking savings, reserve your cruise as soon as dates are announced (generally up to 18 months in advance).
Go à la Carte
Disney emphasizes the Add-On Package, combining a stay at the Walt Disney World Resort with a cruise. This is appealing to many vacationers, but it can be pricier than making your own arrangements as you can usually find better deals on hotel rooms at Walt Disney World.
Find Promotions and Discounts
As with most cruise lines, Disney uses demand-based pricing. Unlike most cruise lines, this means prices generally rise as a cruise date approaches. The last-minute specials common with other lines are less common at Disney. That said, deals and specials are available, if you’re alert. Perhaps the most common are non-refundable fares for “guarantee” staterooms (the cruise line assigns your room). There have also been “kids sail free” promotions, but with kids’ fares low to begin with, an early booking may be better than hoping for this deal. Visit http://www.disneycruise.com to learn more. Also visit http://www.MouseSavers.com, which summarizes available discounts, and http://www.themouseforless.com.
Use a Travel Agent
Travel agents are very good at finding the best prices and many do not charge a fee, so it can pay to check with an agent before booking on your own (see “Shopping Around” on page 61 for a list). Mouse Fan Travel (http://www.mousefantravel.com) and MouseEarVacations.com (http://www.mouseearvacations.com) have saved us considerable money on our cruises (yes, we find travel agents quite helpful!), and other agencies can do the same.
Watch for Onboard Credits
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra $50 sitting in your onboard account? Keep an eye out for onboard credit specials. Currently, guests who use their Disney Visa card receive a $50 credit towards drinks. Credits are sometimes offered when you book your next cruise onboard (see page 35) and through some travel agents. Credits for repeat cruisers have been replaced by in-stateroom gifts.