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Disney Cruise Line review

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Experience trademark magic above the waves — though it won't be cheap.

Escape with your family to a place designed with kids in mind. From onboard babysitting to giant water slides and Disney characters wandering the decks, you won’t find anything else like the Disney Cruise Line experience on land or sea.

If an entire boat filled with children sounds overwhelming to you, don’t worry — you’ll find plenty of adults-only areas on each ship, including lounges and nightclubs, a fitness studio, a spa, a salon and fancy restaurants. When you’re ready to rejoin the kiddos, be entertained together with a variety of theater, live music and movie screenings to choose from.

Still, you’ll pay the price for indulging in one of these family vacations. Disney Cruise Line trips come with a higher price tag than similar itineraries offered by competitors. Before diving in, arm yourself with the facts.

4 ships

Number of ships

Price

No

Price matches

Details

Target demographic Families, Toddlers, Kids, Disabled
Number of ships 4 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink No free alcohol
Room service Room service included

Where do Disney Cruise Line ships depart from?

Disney Cruise Line departs from 13 ports in the US, Europe and Canada. Find one that’s closest to your home — or in a city that’s easily accessible through a budget airline — to cut costs traveling to and from the dock.

  • Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Dover, Galveston, London, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Port Canaveral, Rome, San Diego, San Juan, Vancouver

Disney Cruise Line destinations

If you crave a tropical destination, you’re in luck — Disney Cruise Line offers ample itineraries around Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. It can also get you to Alaska and the Western Mediterranean. But it doesn’t often offer routes to Asia, Africa or Oceania.

  • Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, Mexican Riviera, Mexico, North America, Northern Europe, Repositioning, Transatlantic, Western Caribbean, Western Mediterranean

Gratuities aboard Disney Cruise Line ships

While most cruise lines charge lump sums for gratuities, Disney Cruise Line breaks it up according to each employee that renders you service.

Here’s what you can expect to pay in gratuities:

EmployeeGratuity
Dining room server$4.50 per guest, per day
Dining room assistant server$3.50 per guest, per day
Dining room head server$1 per guest, per day
Stateroom host or hostess$4.50 per guest, per day

A 15% gratuity is automatically added to all alcoholic beverages purchased, and spa services incur an 18% fee. But don’t worry about tipping the babysitter — it’s not expected.

You can prepay Disney Cruise Line gratuity up to three days before the start of your cruise. Otherwise, it’s automatically charged to your account after the cruise ends.

Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line trips generally are more expensive than what you’d pay for a similar experience with a different company. That’s because you’re paying extra for “Disney-ness” — characters dressed up aboard the ship and the nods to favorite Disney stories throughout.

Still, if you or your kids are Disney fanatics, the one-of-a-kind experience might be worth the price.

Pros

  • Whimsical experiences designed with family in mind:
    • Babysitting available
    • Costumed Disney characters pose for pictures
  • Get discounted fares for kids up to age 12, avoiding the adult prices for little sailors that come with other brands.
  • Automatic 15% bar, beverage, wine and deck service gratuity is lower than most cruise lines.
  • Complimentary room service 24/7.
  • Disney allows guests to bring up to two bottles of wine or champagne or up to six beers on board at the start of the cruise.
  • Send free messages to other passengers through the Disney Cruise Line App.

Cons

  • Less flexible dining options, with dinner set every night and seats assigned.
    • While everyone in your booking party should be seated together, your family might have to sit with people you don’t know.
  • Nursery care for kids up to age 3 costs $9 an hour with a two-hour minimum — though the kids club for older children is free.
  • Solo travelers must pay double to cover the cost of staterooms meant for two guests.
  • On shorter cruises, lines to meet characters can get long.
  • Itineraries are limited by the fact that it only has four ships, with most destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe.

We compared the cost of a three-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas for a family of two adults and two kids under the age of 13. In our research, we chose the same dates and the lowest priced interior cabin from each cruise line.

Even though kids’ tickets on Disney Cruise Line were significantly discounted compared to the adult fare, the Disney trip cost more overall.

Cruise companyTotal fare (including taxes and port fees)
Disney Cruise Line$2,938.80
Royal Caribbean$1,470.44
Norwegian Cruise Line$2,300.92

Data obtained October 2019 for cruises sailing December 11 to 14, 2020.

Bottom line

Families and multigenerational clans will find unending entertainment aboard a Disney Cruise. But if you’re looking for a more upscale experience or simply not a fan of the mouse, compare other cruise lines.

FAQs about Disney Cruise Line

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