The Most Expensive Mistakes You Can Make on a Disney Cruise
Maybe you’ve already experienced a Disney Cruise firsthand. Or, maybe you’ve heard others rave about the magic of the excursion. Most people agree there’s a whole lot to love about a Disney Cruise — but a hefty price tag often comes with it. Many people still choose Disney over any other cruise line, thanks to the company’s signature attention to detail and its mastery of entertainment.
However, be aware there are various ways to decrease the cost with a little research and planning. Here are some of the most expensive mistakes you can make on a Disney Cruise, along with some money-saving tips.
1. Not booking early
Who wants to pay thousands extra by just waiting a couple of weeks to book? Try and reserve your Disney Cruise the day bookings open up. In general, the day prices come out is the cheapest they will get.
There are exceptions, but if you’re going in summer or around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, prices are just going to shoot up. One cruise price went up $1,700 after the initial booking day.
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2. Booking 1 room when 2 are cheaper
This one may sound backward, but it often proves true. Your family may save money by booking two smaller rooms rather than one larger one. Be sure to check the prices for all the ship’s room categories. This especially applies to the classic ships.
For five people, it’s almost always cheaper to book two inside rooms than one larger room. For four people, it may be cheaper to book two inside rooms than one verandah. That’s because the price for the third and fourth person in the verandah can be more than the price for two people in an inside room. (Plus, this could give you an extra bathroom!)
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3. Using Disney Vacation Club points
If you’re a Disney Vacation Club member, a cruise is not a good use of your points. In fact, the value you’ll get for your points when booking a cruise is abysmal. Instead, Disney Tourist Blog recommends you rent your points out and put the money you make toward your Disney Cruise.
To rent your points, check out MouseOwners and Disboards. Or, you can go through third-party companies DVC Rental Store and David’s Vacation Club Rentals; however, be aware they typically pay less than you’ll get from selling points directly to other people.
Next: Tips to avoid pricey shore excursions
4. Not shopping around for shore excursions
The main reason many people choose to book shore excursions directly through the Disney Cruise line is simple — they don’t want to get left behind. If you’re booked through a third party and don’t make it back to the port on time, your ship will leave without you!
As scary as this may sound, if you do your research ahead of time, you’ll be able to find out about a third party’s track record. There are plenty of reputable companies that will provide tours and excursions a better price — and often in smaller groups than with those who booked direct.
Also, keep in mind you can certainly save a bundle if you’d rather just hang out at the beach. There’s no reason to book a shore excursion if you just want to enjoy the sand or visit the shops and restaurants.
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5. Not using the free Wi-Fi at ports
While there are different Wi-Fi packages to choose from, one Disney Cruise passenger reported paying $.75 per minute on her ship. This can add up quickly. Even those who want to largely unplug on their cruise feel the urge to check email or post photos on social media.
Rather than running up a large Wi-Fi bill, be sure to take advantage of free Wi-Fi available at ports. For instance, the Welcome Center at Nassau, Bahamas offers free Wi-Fi. Or, you may stop at a local McDonald’s for free internet access. You’ll save a pretty penny.
Next: Here’s how to avoid hefty drink prices.
6. Not bringing your own alcohol
You can avoid paying hefty prices for alcohol on your Disney Cruise by bringing some with you. While Disney used to have a relaxed carry-on alcohol policy, it’s been restricted somewhat. You can still bring two bottles of wine or a six-pack per person.
Another way to avoid paying the high prices at the cruise ship bar is to buy duty-free alcohol at the ship’s store and make your cocktails in your room.
Next: How to score a major discount on a future cruise
7. Not putting down a deposit for next time
If you’re like many others, you felt your Disney Cruise experience was life-changing. So why not save money on a future one by putting down a deposit while you’re still onboard? This provides some pretty sweet perks, like a 10% discount, a $200 onboard credit, and a reduced deposit. If you don’t know what dates you want to sail, no problem — you can even book a “placeholder” cruise.
One passenger who went this route reported she paid a placeholder deposit of $250. The credit she was offered was $100 or $200, depending on the future cruise’s length. The deposit was fully refundable, too.
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8. Buying pirate night costumes on board
Most Disney Cruise trips include a themed pirate night including games, dinner, a stage show, dancing, and fireworks. Expect the majority of your shipmates to be in costume; if you don’t follow suit, you’ll be in the minority. You can buy costumes and accessories aboard the ship, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny.
Rather, buy your pirate costumes ahead of time. Stores offer the best deals on costumes are right after Halloween. For accessories, visit dollar store for eye patches, plastic pirate swords, clip-on earrings, and chocolate gold coins. (Disney will provide the entire family with free Mickey bandanas.)
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