The happiest place on Earth is also dubbed as the happiest place at sea, but it comes with a hefty price tag. In the 1990’s Disney rolled out a series of cruise ships to the Caribbean. They now offer cruises in Europe as well. Many families have a Disney cruise on their wish list but wonder if the high price is really worth it when other cruises can be booked for 25% to 50% less.
So, is a Disney cruise really worth the price? What are the pros and cons of choosing a Disney Cruise? Our family went on a Disney cruise in August 2012 and I have to say, it was one of the best family vacations that we ever had. My children have been asking me ever since when we are going back on a Disney cruise.
Of course the biggest factor here is going to be the price. Disney Cruises tend to be more expensive than other cruise lines. Depending on when you sail and where you sail the price will vary but expect to pay at least $1000 per person for a 5 day cruise. If you want to buy alcoholic drinks on board, the average cost is $8. Purchase a $50 bottle of wine with dinner? You’ll also get charged a $15 corking fee. Look out for these charges that add up quickly.
If you have teens, they may not be as thrilled to hang out with the characters. While Disney does have great programs on board for middle and high school age children, there obviously aren’t as many kids their age as there are younger ones on a cruise.
Disney was the first cruise line to offer family rooms. They built their cruise around the idea of giving families a cruising vacation. A wide variety of room layouts and arrangements make your time in the room comfortable. Outside the room you’ll find the ships are completely Disney themed – what you would expect to find at a Disney resort or theme park. Ship activities include lots of Disney fun from movie screenings, to crafts, and themed pools and activity areas.
If you’re a foodie, Disney prides itself on serving great meals, including specialty dining and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that they completely deliver. If you have picky kids they’re also big on providing a kid friendly menu.
Many cruise ships evening activities are created for adults or older children. The opposite is the case for Disney. Family friendly entertainment is more so than on other lines. Want a little time at night with just you and your spouse? The activity centers/babysitting were open until midnight every night!
Want to swim? Disney’s pools are heated freshwater, chlorinated pools. Some cruise lines fill their pools with saltwater and are not heated. This can be a big plus! (although I will note that the pools are small and can get very crowded, especially if your cruise includes an “at sea” day.
Most of their Carribbean cruises include a stop at their private island, Castaway Cay. If your children want to do more than just lie on the beach, the family-centered activities that you enjoyed on the ship continue on the island!
At the end of the day whether to take a Disney cruise or not will depend a lot on your family and their style.
If you’re not die-hard Disney fans and don’t really care about characters onboard or a Disney fun-fest then the cost really may not be worth it.
If however you have young children who truly would enjoy a Disney experience it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Or, in the case of my family, hopefully a twice (or 3 times?) in a lifetime opportunity!