How it all began…
We recently took our first cruise on none other than Disney’s Dream cruise ship. After not having had a vacation in years we decided to splurge on a cruise, something neither of us had ever done before. We just knew we couldn’t splurge too much while on vacation. So as soon as we decided to book the vacation research began to try to do everything possible to make this trip as cheap as possible. After a bunch of research and a cruise here are some great ways to save money when you sail with Disney Cruiseline.
10 Ways we were able to save money during our latest Disney Cruise
Book through Ebates.
I saved the most money on our last trip, almost $300 to be exact, by booking on Expedia through Ebates. Typically Ebates offers 10% back on cruises booked through Expedia however, the percentage back is always fluctuating. I was fortunate and scored 20% back on Cyber Monday but there is no guarantee they will do that again in the future.
Bring your own snorkeling gear
While it is handy that Disney offers rentals when you visit their private island, Castaway Cay it can be a bit pricey. When we visited it was $31.18 (ages 10 and up) $15.05 (ages 5 to 9) for a one day rental. Then you are at the mercy of outside companies if you do an excursion say in Nassau, to the Atlantis Resort. Our solution was to purchase our own set off Amazon for less plus now we have a set to take with us again on future trips! Here is the set we decided to pickup – Phantom Aquatics Adult Mask Fin Snorkel Set with Mesh Bag. Now that we are in the summer season I have also seen snorkel sets at wholesale clubs like BJ’s and Costco.
Buy your cruise line souvenirs ahead of your trip!
We are lucky enough to live near the Disney Character outlet in Orlando. There are actually two outlet locations in Orlando that have Disney Character outlets. One that is located close to Downtown Orlando and the other is right outside of Disney property. At the outlet, I was able to buy last season’s cruise line attire for a fraction of the price. Some of the items include, beach cover ups, tees, towels, shirts, I even found a perfect jumbo-sized beach hat. If you are not close to Orlando or you don’t plan on stopping in at Walt Disney World before your cruise then using the DisneyStore.com is another great bet. Watch the items DisneyStore.com puts in their sale section and sign up for emails. DisneyStore.com sends out coupons for up to 25% off your purchase!
Disney gift cards are an accepted form of payment throughout the Disney Cruiseline. Gift cards may be used towards your shipboard account during your cruise. This means that gift cards work towards the purchase of Spa Treatments, Shore Excursions, Photographs at Shutters and onboard Merchandise. Additionally, you can use a Disney gift cards to purchase your cruise if you book directly through Disney, either online or over the phone. The good news is there are several ways you can find ways to save money off of gift cards. If you have a Target Red Card you get 5% off all purchases including the purchase of gift cards! Don’t have a Target Card and don’t want to open one? Wholesale clubs like BJs and Costco offer small savings on Disney gift cards as well (between 3% – 5%). There are also some great websites out there to find discount gift cards like Cardpool.com. Cardpool.com is where people sell their gift cards they no longer want in turn for cash. You can often find great savings on these sites, I have seen as much as 20% savings.
Embrace the unlimited amounts of food!
Disney Cruises include all your meals throughout the duration of your cruise so it’s best to take advantage of it. Of course, there are times when you have excursions planned for the day and just won’t be able to make it back to the ship for your lunch. If you can make it fit into your schedule take advantage of the FREE food. I also recommend when you are at the breakfast or lunch buffets to be on the lookout for grab and go snacks that you would eat later. We were always snagging an extra cereal pack or yogurt to have in our room in case we got hungry and didn’t want to venture all the way back up to the upper decks for food. We also packed them when we left the ship on an excursion. BONUS: Be sure to pack some refillable water bottles for each member of your family. They have free unlimited refills on soda and water which saves you from buying pricey bottles of water onboard the ship.
Travel During a Non-Peak Season.
There are certain times of the year that are more popular than others for cruises and so they cost more. The busiest time of the year for a cruise fall around the end of year holidays and the summer months. A great budget time of year for the cruise line is in the fall and we found some great deals in late January, early February. If you must travel during a certain time of the year be sure to keep an eye on this page for any last-minute deals or specials Disney Cruiseline might run.
Book your next cruise before you leave the ship!
Disney offers you some very special savings on your next cruise if you book before you leave the ship. You can receive 10% off most stateroom categories and an onboard stateroom credit ($100 credit for 3-6 night cruises, $200 for 7 night or longer cruises). Keep your eye out while on board because they often run specials that they aren’t running yet on land or the website. If you already have a future cruise booked before you get onboard don’t fret! You can still check in with the vacation planners as they may be able to get you a better deal than the one you originally booked.
Bring your own alcohol.
While Disney Cruiseline is all-inclusive regarding your meals they do charge you for any alcoholic drinks your purchase during your trip. You can save money by bringing your own alcohol in your carry-on. There are, however, some restrictions as to what and how much you may bring onboard the ship.
Maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call. These beverages must be packed in carry-on (not checked) bags or luggage.
Remember, these beverages must be consumed in your room or the common ares. If you choose, you may bring a bottle to your dinner but you will be subjected to a $25 uncorking fee. Speaking of… don’t forget to bring a corkscrew for the wine! If you are not a big drinker this is also a great tip for bottled water as well.
Free Room Service.
Need I say anymore? Not only is room service free but it is available 24|7 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I will say be cautious when ordering any pre-packaged goods. There will be a charge for packaged items, so just check when you order to be sure. Your safest bet is to stay away from things marked as snack packs, juice packs, and bottled water. Also note, gratuity is not included for the room service as well but is not required, however, recommended.
Don’t plan ahead or live in Florida!
Disney offers great last-minute deals on cruises they haven’t filled up. If you are Florida resident you can also often find some great deals. Keep a close eye on this page for all the great deals Disney offers on a Disney Cruise.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!