Let’s face it: Disney vacations can be expensive. And upon first glance at the price per person, Disney Cruise Line vacations can seem to be the most expensive of them all. But don’t let the seemingly high price point keep you from the vacation of a lifetime.
We’ve shared all of the ways that you can save money on a Disney vacation, and now we’re sharing why a Disney Cruise Line vacation is worth the price. Keep reading to discover our Disney Cruise price breakdown to learn why, with everything included in a Disney Cruise Line trip, a vacation at sea could be your top choice for your next Disney getaway.
The cost of a Disney Cruise Line vacation
To illustrate this price breakdown, we’ll be using a six-night cruise in June as an example. For a family of four, a six-night cruise from Port Canaveral sailing to Mexico and Castaway Cay will cost $7,819 for an interior room. The price per person, per night, including food, activities, and other amenities will be $325.79.
Now to further illustrate how much a Disney Cruise Line vacation will cost you, let’s compare it to the cost of a six-night Walt Disney World vacation for the same dates in June. For a family of four, a six-night stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort with the Disney Dining Plan and seven-day theme park tickets will cost a total of $4,563.04. The price per person, per night, including food and theme park tickets will be $190.12.
Of course, these prices don’t include flights, and they don’t factor in the cost of gratuity, extra experiences, or souvenirs. But this should give you an idea of what the cost of each vacation could look like.
What you get for the price
Upon first glance, you’re probably thinking that a Disney Cruise Line vacation may be double the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation. And depending on the length of vacation, where you are staying/sailing, and the type of room you book, you could be right! But the most important factor to keep in mind is the true value of your vacation: what you are getting for the price.
Here is everything included in a Disney Cruise Line vacation, according to the official website:
- Enchanting Entertainment: Delight in Broadway-caliber musicals, lively deck parties and fireworks at sea (fireworks on most cruises).
- Spacious Staterooms: Designed for Families: extra space and storage, sitting area, and split bath to allow more people to get ready at the same time.
- Disney’s Private Island: Relax in paradise with beach chairs, umbrellas, waterslides and a buffet lunch (on most Bahamian and Caribbean cruises).
- Variety of Dining Options: Enjoy upscale restaurants, buffets, poolside snacks, and 24-hour room service.
- Imaginative Youth Clubs: Play in themed clubs for every age, staffed by specially trained Disney counselors.
- Nightclubs & Lounges: Discover adults-only areas that include a variety of bars and pubs.
- Pools & Recreation: Splash it up in freshwater pools and waterslides at sea.
So for the cost of less than $350 per person, per day, you and your family can enjoy all-you-care-to-enjoy food, Broadway-caliber entertainment, unlimited activities for your kids (including access to Kids Zones and babysitting services), and even adult-only pools and nightclubs.
Why a Disney Cruise Line vacation is worth the seemingly high price tag
Looking at these numbers, we can see that the average, non-discounted Disney Cruise Line vacation could cost your family of four almost $200 more per person, per night, than the average, non-discounted Walt Disney World vacation would. And if you are getting amazing attractions, dining, and experiences at Walt Disney World and on a Disney Cruise, why spend the extra money on one instead of the other?
The first thing to keep in mind with this comparison is that when you are on a Disney Cruise you truly are getting more. Let’s look at food first. The Disney Dining Plan entitles you to one Quick Service Meal, one Table Service Meal, and two Snacks per person, per day, whereas on a Disney Cruise you have unlimited meals and snacks. Admit it: access to ice cream whenever you want sounds pretty sweet! But it goes beyond that. On my recent trip aboard the Disney Magic, I experienced Rapunzel’s Royal Table, a dinner show that is at least on par with (and arguably better than) Cinderella’s Royal Table in Walt Disney World. Character meals such as these in the park require two Table Service Meal credits on the Disney Dining Plan. For many cruisers, breakfast and lunch will be at Cabanas, an all you can eat buffet, which compared to the Disney Dining Plan equates to a 1 credit Table Service experience, not a Quick Service Meal, plus you get one extra meal. But maybe Room Service is more your style. On the Disney Dining Plan, we are back to a two-credit Table Service charge, whereas Room Service on a Disney Cruise is included.
That’s why the Disney Dining Plan is an inferior dining experience relative to a Disney Cruise. A more comparable experience is the Deluxe Dining Plan, which boosts the cost of our comparison trip up to $230.87 per person per night. Keep in mind depending on how you take advantage of your onboard dining experience, even the Deluxe Dining Plan may not be truly comparable and can easily offer more value than the Deluxe Dining Plan.
Next is the location and the cost to get there. For the most part, getting to Orlando and Port Canaveral, FL is fairly comparable to traveling to Walt Disney World, therefore for purposes of this comparison, it’s not necessary to factor in those costs. But with a Disney Cruise departing from Florida, you can also visit locations in Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Disney’s Castaway Cay. Flying to any of those international destinations will cost you significantly more. For example, depending on the location of your home airport, a flight to Cozumel can easily run you $400 – $800 per person (pricing flights from Dallas and Chicago, respectively). All of a sudden, the remaining $95 per person, per day price difference is easily wiped out when you add the cost of airfare to the cheapest of the 3 destinations you will visit. Granted very few of us would fly to all 3 destinations as part of a single vacation because its both too expensive and would make the vacation too hectic. But the value and benefit of a cruise are that you can visit several destinations without an overwhelming cost or such a hectic trip that it sucks the fun out of the experience. A Disney Cruise allows you to travel to multiple destinations in one relaxing trip, something many of us only dream of.
Food and location are more than enough to justify the price difference on paper, but those two items are the only items which increase the relative value of a cruise. In the harder to classify category is the additional entertainment value. Aboard a cruise, you will experience Broadway caliber shows that each could justify a $100+ price tag. Alternatively, if you wish to catch a movie, each Disney Cruise ship has a movie theatre on board that shows Disney movies at sea the same day they are released on land. And don’t think for a minute you’re losing iconic Disney Park entertainment like fireworks. Disney is the only cruise line to offer fireworks at sea. These options and many more will add significant additional value to your trip and they are all included in the price of your cruise.
Service: the Disney Difference
Last but certainly not least is the level of service you will receive. Disney fans know how important Cast Members are to the Disney Parks experience. We love Cast Members and for many of us, they are a big part of the reason we keep coming back to Disney vacations. But consider for a moment how often you actually interact with those cast members while at the park. It’s not nearly as often as you will interact with them aboard the ship. With rotational dining and waitstaff onboard a Disney Cruise, your nightly meal will be served to you by the same waitstaff night after night even though you’re in a new dining room each night. This allows the Cast Members to really get to know you and your needs and preferences, which in turn allows Disney’s legendary service to become even more special.
Interested in booking a Disney Cruise Line vacation?
There are so many fun experiences for the whole family aboard Disney Cruise Line, from incomparable dining to Broadway-caliber shows. Don’t forget to check out Academy Travel so you can book your next vacation with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and take advantage of some amazing deals and experiences on your upcoming trip. We love using Academy Travel to make our Disney Cruise Line and other Disney vacations a total breeze.