A Disney Cruise Line vacation isn’t exactly cheap.
Even a quick cruise to the Bahamas on Disney Cruise Line could cost your family thousands of dollars. But, just what does your money cover? Sodas? Meals? Special events? We’re going over all of that right here so you can decide if the cost of a Disney Cruise and what it includes is worth it for you.
When booking your Disney Cruise Line vacation, you’ll pay a set rate for yourself and those traveling in your party. Here are some sample prices for a 3-night Bahamian cruise for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids under 9) in 2023.
Here’s a break-down of the prices for a standard inside room for the Bahamian cruise in early February 2023.
While you can sometimes find a number of discounts and deals available for Disney Cruise Line, a cruise with Disney can still be VERY pricey – we’re talking thousands of dollars potentially even for shorter cruises.
In comparison to other cruise lines, Disney’s base rates can be quite expensive. So, just what does the cost of a Disney Cruise Line trip include?
1 – Stateroom
First, the cost includes the use of your stateroom for the entire length of your stay. That is an obvious one. But, there are some features that make Disney’s staterooms unique – particularly when it comes to space, theming, storage options, and bathrooms.
In terms of space, some of the staterooms on Disney’s ships can be larger than comparable rooms on other cruise lines’ staterooms, giving you the benefit of some added space. Disney’s staterooms are also themed in line with the ship, and even many indoor staterooms feature “magical portholes,” giving you a porthole feel without that added cost.
In the staterooms you’ll also find seating, storage, a television, and other items.
And, perhaps most importantly, most staterooms feature Disney’s split bathroom concept. The split bathroom set-up is made up of a shower and sink behind one door, and a toilet and sink behind a separate door. This allows more than 1 family member to get ready at the same time, giving you faster access to the fun!
Ultimately, the cost will depend on what type of stateroom you select – indoor, porthole, verandah, or otherwise. But the cost of the stateroom is fully included in the price you pay.
2 – Entertainment
If there’s one thing Disney has a LOT of on its ships, it’s entertainment. And nearly ALL of it is included.
Onboard a Disney ship, you’ll find Disney characters roaming around and meeting with guests. Generally, these character meet-and-greets or photo-ops are included, though you may need to register in advance for some of the more unique character experiences so just be aware of that.
Disney Cruise Line also offers free movies in multiple spots – out on the funnel vision screen near the pools, as well as in the movie theater on the ship. The movie theater even offers runs of new movies that are currently out in theaters.
There are also Broadway-style shows in the theater onboard the ship. Typically these large productions are offered more than once night.
Disney Cruises also feature all kinds of special events and entertainment that are entirely free like karaoke nights, nighttime shows (typically featuring the main stage performers) for the adults in the adults clubs, kids events like game shows and trivia, free tours of the ship, free drawing lessons, and MORE.
Here’s a peek at a Disney Cruise Line navigator from 2019 for a trip to Alaska. Many, if not most of these are totally included in the cost of the cruise.
Nowadays, you can see the navigator (or the daily list of events for the cruise) through the Disney Cruise Line app, and you may not receive or have access to a physical navigator onboard.
The cost of your cruise also includes deck parties, select special events during Disney’s themed and holiday cruises (like special character meetings or book readings during the Very Merrytime Cruises or Marvel Day at Sea).
Access to the fitness room onboard is also included and there are typically select exercise classes offered for free (though some exercise classes are an additional cost). Spa services are an additional cost on the cruise ship, but you can typically tour the spa on select days for free, just to get a sense of the space and see what options are available.
Fireworks are offered aboard most Disney Cruises. Fireworks viewing spots all around the ship are included.
Some of Disney’s cruise ships offer interactive games for guests to play around the ship. Select cruise ships have the Muppets-themed Midship Detective Agency and the Disney Wish will feature a brand NEW game for guests to enjoy. While you may need to sign up or otherwise register to play these, they are available for all guests to enjoy at no additional cost.
Of course, there are entertainment options that are an additional cost, such as paid bingo opportunities with prize packages, spa services, wine tastings, etc. But for the most part, a LOT of entertainment is available on Disney Cruise Line at no additional cost beyond what you’ve paid for your stay.
3 – Disney’s Private Island – Castaway Key
If your cruise includes a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, you’ll be able to get off there and enjoy a number of things at no additional cost.
Use of beach chairs and the umbrellas near them are available to use at no additional cost. There are also waterslides for children and families to use that are included. The barbecue lunch that is available on the island — including meats, fruits, desserts, and more — is included, along with the fountain sodas and other select drinks.
You will need to pay for the other things on the island, like alcoholic drinks, bike rentals, and excursions. But, you could spend an entire day on Castaway without spending an additional cent and still have a fantastic time!
4 – Food, Lots and Lots of FOOD!
Another thing that is included in your set cruise price is a lot of dining options.
Disney Cruise Line operates on a rotational dining system. That means guests are rotated through different restaurants throughout their cruise, but the servers and other dining members rotate with the guests.
Typically, each cruise includes about 3 sit-down restaurants that guests visit during dinner. You may eat at each of these once or multiple times depending on the length of your cruise and where your scheduled to eat. All of these sit-down restaurants that are assigned to guests as part of the rotational dining are included in the price of the cruise.
And typically, your meal at each of these restaurants can be VERY large. We’re talking appetizers, entrees, desserts, often a bread service to start the meal off, and sodas, coffee, tea, and select other beverages.
As we mentioned above, sodas, tea, coffee, and other select drinks are included in those dinners. Those drink options are also typically available nearly all day at a self-serve soda station. There, you’ll find sodas, water, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and select other beverages available for guests to enjoy at any time and bring with them to any location.
Keep in mind that regular coffee is included in the base price, but specialty coffees (like fancier lattes or cappuccinos) will be available for an additional fee at select spots.
Dinner is the only meal time we’ve talked about, but you’ve gotta eat breakfast and lunch too right?! Well, those are also included in the base price of your Disney cruise at a variety of places. Most of the ships have some version of a buffet dining option that is open at breakfast and lunch. This buffet-style dining option (and corresponding drinks like orange juice, sodas, etc.) is included.
Want to grab some snacks or potentially a meal somewhere else? There are a number of other locations where food is also included. Typically on the deck where the pools are located, you’ll find a variety of meal/snack spots with sandwiches, salads, bowls, chicken tenders, hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and maybe even some shawarma if you’re lucky!
But, be careful! Not all dining locations are included. Places like Cove Café (specialty coffee), Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats Shop (specialty ice cream), and select other spots aren’t included. If you’re unsure of whether a spot will cost you extra, just be sure to ask the Cast Members before you get all excited about a snack there!
Want to eat but not looking to leave your room? 24-hour room service is included in the cost of your cruise, though it is a good practice to tip the Cast Member who brings the food to your room, and that will be an additional cost. But a few bucks might be 10000% worth it to get Mickey’s Premium Bars delivered to your room right after your relaxing nap.
Of course, a signature cruise staple — soft-serve ice cream — is available and included as part of your stay.
There are also some secret items that are included which you’ll have to search for! Over at Cove Café, as we mentioned above, the specialty coffees are not included. But, the pastries located in the cases there ARE typically included in the price of your cruise. That’s something to look into during your next trip!
During Formal Night, a signature drink is also usually offered for free to guests who stop by the reception that is held in the atrium area. That’s another way you could potentially grab something on the cruise for FREE. There are also late-night snacks sometimes offered in the adult-exclusive bars and lounges, or in other lounge spaces open to families.
In terms of what’s not included, things like alcoholic drinks, specialty dining locations (Remy or Palo), bottled water, smoothies, snacks at certain specialty spots, and specialty coffee are usually not included. If you’re looking to do any of those things, be sure to set aside some extra money in the budget for them.
5 – Youth and Teen Clubs
All of the youth and teen clubs (except for the nursery for small babies) are included in the cost of the cruise. This means places like the Oceaneer’s Club, Oceaneer’s Lab, Edge, Vibe, etc. are included at no additional cost.
These spots do have age restrictions, though. You’ll have to be of the right age to play at these locations, but if you are within that age range you’ll get to have all the fun you want at no additional cost.
Adults who want to stop by these locations just to get a peek at what the fun is all about can stop by during open house days/hours. The kids clubs on Disney Cruise Line are pretty amazing, so you’ll want to stop by those open houses, even if you’re just a big kid at heart.
6 – Nightclubs and Lounges
Kids aren’t the only ones with their own dedicated spaces on Disney Cruise Line ships. The adults get to have their own fun over in the adult bars and lounges.
The entertainment in these spaces is usually included in the cost of the cruise. Many nights, the adults will get a different and smaller version of the shows featuring the performers that will later be in the larger theater for all guests to enjoy. There are also often game shows, comedians, piano performances, or other forms of entertainment available in these spaces at no additional cost.
Drinks are an additional cost in these locations. But, sometimes these lounges and bars will offer late-night snacks. Those late-night snacks are typically free, so save some room in your stomach if you want to try them!
7 – Pools and Recreation
Next, it’s time to hit the pools, waterslides, and more! On the upper decks, where the pools are located, you’ll find lounge chairs, pools (of course), waterslides, and movies being shown on the funnel vision screens on one of the funnels. All of those are included.
There are also other activities usually available on these upper decks including mini golf, a sports area with basketball nets and more, and ping pong, all of which you can play at no additional cost. Note that some of these activities (like mini golf) are only available on select ships, so be sure to check what amenities your Disney Cruise Line ship offers.
Towels for use by the pool are also available for all guests to use.
8 – Disney Cruise Line app
It’s not necessarily “included” in the cost of your cruise, as you can download this application for free even before booking or boarding a ship. But, the use of the Disney Cruise Line app is fairly limited until you’re onboard. Once on the ship, the app will show you the daily activities available, allow you to chat with Cast Members to get help, and more.
Perhaps most importantly, those with the app can communicate with each other for free while on board. All you’ll need to do is connect to Disney’s free on-board wifi service to communicate through the app (no texting or data needed).
Keep in mind that regular wifi service will be an additional cost, but Disney’s on-board wifi can be used for free for things like the Disney Cruise Line app and it will be used for Disney’s upcoming new game for the Wish.
Also, while wifi is usually an additional cost, be sure to ask and see if you can get a preliminary amount of wifi for free. Sometimes, a pretty small (but still very useful) amount of wifi is provided for free, but you have to claim it on the first night of the cruise. Still, that little bit could help you text or e-mail family or friends from the cruise.
9 — Taking Photos
Throughout the cruise, you’ll find photographers at various spots, taking photos of guests in front of themed backgrounds or with characters. You can dress up for these to make them very fancy or just go as you are. Taking the photos themselves is included in the cost of the cruise, so you can strike a pose and smile for the camera!
Buying the photos, however, is another story. You will need to pay for the photos or you can pre-pay for a photo package.
10 — Castaway Cay 5K
If you’re a runner (or just like to walk), you can participate in a very unique race on Castaway Cay. The Castaway Cay 5K is totally FREE for guests to enjoy, and all finishers will get an exclusive 5K medal. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to register for the event, and the event is limited to guests 10 years old and older.
For an additional charge, you can get a premium package which includes a complimentary Castaway Cay 5K cinch sack, water bottle, and hat.
And that’s a peek at some of the BIG things that are included in the cost of your Disney Cruise. Do you think these included items and the theming of Disney ‘s Cruise make them worth the cost? Tell us in the comments below!
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