A Disney cruise is a great way to spend time with your favorite characters while exploring different parts of the world.
You get the best of everything Disney has to offer on a cruise – themed staterooms, variety of dining options, shorter lineups to meet your favorite characters, excursions and activities for all types of travelers.
Thinking of sailing with Disney Cruise Line? Here’s how to plan a Disney cruise vacation in 5 easy steps:
1. Choose Your Itinerary
Disney Cruise Line consists of four ships
- Disney Magic
- Disney Wonder
- Disney Dream
- Disney Fantasy
DCL offers 3 to 15 night cruises and depending on your travel tastes, you can choose to explore these areas of the world by cruise ship:
- California Coast
- Panama Canal
There are several re-positioning cruises available throughout the year as ships will change their location depending on season – for example, at the end of summer ships will start off in Europe and make their way back to the Caribbean for fall and winter.
READ MORE: Best Snorkel Sets and Snorkel Gear for Kids
These cruises are generally cheaper as guests purchase one way airline tickets as the starting point and ending point of the cruise are different.
There are 9 different embarkation points and make finding a cruise easy for DCL guests. They are:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dover, England
- Galveston, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Port Canaveral, Florida
- San Diego, California
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Vancouver, Canada
2. Select Sail Dates
Disney Cruise Line sails year round and like Disney World, school breaks and major holidays are when the ships fill up quickly.
For guests looking to avoid the crowds, booking a cruise during a slower season (when kids are in school or during hurricane season in the Caribbean – June to November) also means a higher chance of getting a discount or booking during a promotional period.
READ MORE: Best Water Shoes for Toddlers and Kids – Our Top 8 Recommendations
For example, an oceanview room during low season is the same price as an inside stateroom during high season.
3. Pick Your Room
Choosing a stateroom depends on your travel group size and the amenities you’re looking for in a cabin. Keep these eight things in mind when deciding which cabin or stateroom to book for your Disney cruise.
RELATED READING: 8 Tips for Choosing a Disney Cruise Stateroom
4. Reserve Your Cruise
There are several ways to book your Disney Cruise Line vacation. You can book directly on Disney Cruise Line’s website, reserve over the phone or work with your favorite travel agent.
Travel agencies may offer other incentives to clients on top of the general public offers you see on Disney Cruise Line’s site. They’ll include things like shipboard credit, complimentary photo packages or Disney related merchandise.
Wherever you decide to book your Disney cruise, you will need to make a deposit to hold spot and stateroom for that particular date – going rate is 20% of the cruise fare per person – but is refundable within a certain time period.
Guests booking suites or sailing on a specialty cruise may be required to make a larger deposit and these are normally non-refundable.
5. Start the Countdown
Now it’s time to start counting down. While the planning isn’t over, you’ve completed the most difficult part so it’s just the little stuff that needs finalizing. This includes: pre- and post-hotel and dining reservations (if a Walt Disney World visit before or after your cruise is part of your vacation itinerary), airfare, port transfers, souvenirs, and port excursions.
RELATED READING: Benefits of Staying at a Disney Resort Hotel
Looking for more information about cruising with Disney? Check our top tips for cruising with Disney.