Disney Cruise Line is a premium cruise line, so while rates tend to be higher than those of mainstream lines, they are also more inclusive. A prime example of this is unlimited soft drinks, which Disney offers all guests for free—most other cruises require guests to buy a soda package. Disney also offers free 24-hour room service, which is also a rarity at sea. The line is known for its top-notch entertainment such as Broadway-caliber Disney productions, first-run movies, and its fireworks show at sea, all of which are included in the rate.
When budgeting for a Disney cruise or any family cruise, figure that you will definitely pay the cruise fare plus gratuities for the crew. If you want to keep costs down, set a limit on those activities that cost extra, such as shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, and other premium items.
There are four ships in Disney's fleet, and each of them has four main room categories; all, of course, are included in the rate.
- Concierge: The largest and most extravagant suites come with verandahs and special concierge access.
- Oceanview with Verandah: Though these staterooms are smaller than the Concierge-class suites, they do have balconies.
- Oceanview: These staterooms feature portholes, but no verandahs.
- Inside: These are the smallest and most affordable rooms that don't have any windows.
Dining: Mostly Included
Disney Cruise Line's dining is primarily included in the rate. Covered are three sit-down meals a day; all-day casual buffets and snacks (soft-serve ice cream, burgers, pizza, wraps, hot dogs, etc.); unlimited tap water, coffee, tea, milk, juice, and soft drinks; and 24-hour room service.
There are a number of things that are not included, like adult-only dining in the Palo or Remy restaurants; alcoholic beverages, smoothies, non-alcoholic specialty drinks, specialty coffees, and all bottled water.
On-Ship Entertainment and Activities: Mostly Included
Disney cruises have legendary entertainment programs, the majority of which are part of the standard rate. Included are:
- Nightly Broadway-style musicals
- Movie screenings, including first-run and 3D films
- Family activities including trivia games, live musicians and other entertainers, animation workshops, and more
- Disney character experiences
- Deck parties and fireworks at sea
- Special events during holiday or themed cruises
- Youth club activities for kids ages 3 to 17
- Access to pool areas, water slides, and splash areas
- Access to the fitness room (ages 18 and up)
There are, however, some adult activities that cost an extra fee, like wine tastings and bingo.
Shore Excursions: Not Included
None of Disney's shore excursions are included in the standard rate—except on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. There, a number of food items and activities are included, like a barbecue buffet lunch, soft drinks, soft-serve ice cream, youth activities, character experiences, and beach access. Some drinks and activities cost extra, including alcoholic and specialty drinks, bike rentals, hair braiding, inner tube and snorkeling gear rentals, sailboat and Jet Ski rentals, stingray encounters, and souvenirs, among others.
Spa Treatments: Not Included
Like on most cruises, spa treatments are not included. The spa is open for guests 18 years of age and older, and all treatments will have an 18 percent gratuity added to the bill automatically. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance, otherwise, 50 percent of the treatment fee will be charged.
Gratuities: Mostly Not Included
Gratuities for your stateroom host and designated dining servers, including the head server, main server, and assistant server, are not included. Disney lists suggested amounts on its website. Gratuity can be paid in advance or added to your onboard account and paid at the end of the sailing.
There are two exceptions: 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar tabs and 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to spa treatments.
WiFi: Not Included
Disney offers paid WiFi access through its Connect@Sea program, which has a number of different packages based on usage. Disney's free Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, however, can be used onboard without paying for a WiFi package.
Each cabin also comes with two complimentary Wave Phones, which can be used to call or text staterooms and other Wave Phones for free while onboard and at Castaway Cay.
Souvenirs: Not Included
Souvenirs from gift shops, as well as photos taken by Disney photographers, are not included in the rate.
Airfare and Ground Transfers: Not Included
Guests are responsible for paying for their own airfare and ground transfers to the port. Guests can book a transfer on Disney's Magical Express bus for a fee.