Here are seven things that cost more on Disney Cruise Line — and ways to get around those costs if you want to keep your budget in check.
You’ll have the opportunity to soak at every turn: poolside beer stands, dinner wine packages, bars on the main thoroughfares, tasting classes, roving bartenders on the beach at Castaway Cay. Beers start at around $7 per serving, glasses of wine around $8, and cocktails around $10 – with prices rising to multiples for special pours.
There is no obligation to drink, many abstainers sail every day. But if you want to participate and also want to keep your budget under control, feel free to bring your own alcohol on board. Each adult (21+) may bring up to 2 unopened bottles of wine or champagne (no more than 750ml) or 6 beers (no more than 12 ounces) on board at the start of the voyage AND at each port of departure. stopover. These beverages must be packed in carry-on (unchecked) baggage.
There are a few rules about where you can drink your personal alcohol on the ship, but if you plan to drink a fair amount, you can save a lot of money by bringing your own.
2. Shore excursions.
Shore excursions (in Disney parlance, port adventures) are activities planned off the ship. At various ports, these can include cultural exploration like museum visits, animal experiences like dolphin encounters, sporting activities like hiking or kayaking, or more. These are nice, but can add a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, per person, per excursion, depending on the activity.
To save money, you have two alternatives. First, visit the ports on your own. Almost every port DCL stop has access to shuttles or taxis that will take you to the nearest town where you can explore at your own pace. Or second, arrange a non-Disney harbor tour. Many independent providers offer excursions similar to Disney’s, often at a lower cost.
3. Cinema or theater snacks.
The Preludes snack bar exists at the theater level of the five Disney ships. They sell snacks such as popcorn, candy, and soda, all for an extra charge. But that’s not the only food you’re allowed to bring into the theater.
Before your show, head to the pool deck, grab a free soda and some fries or chicken nuggets and you’ll have your bite at no cost.
4. Meals for adults.
Each Disney Cruise Line ship has one or two adults-only restaurants and charges sometimes substantial fees to dine there.
To save money, you can obviously skip these restaurants. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a more special meal in the regular dining rooms. Feel free to order multiples of any dish, order menu items from other restaurants on rotation, or request that your food be customized in a way that suits your palate. Make your service team your ally in creating the perfect meal for you, at no extra cost.
5. Fancy ice cream.
Three of the Disney ships have specialty ice cream parlors on board: Dream (Vanellope’s), Fantasy (Sweet on You), Wish (Joyful Sweets). They have fancy flavors available for an extra charge, but there are also plenty of free ice creams on the ships.
There will be a sundae offered on almost every dessert menu in the main dining room. And there’s free soft available on every ship’s pool deck (always chocolate and vanilla, but often additional fruity flavors as well). A little creativity can make your free soft service more special. Grab cookies from the buffet and make an ice cream sandwich. Add some soft to a free soda to make a float. Bring a side dish of fruit or syrup from the buffet to top off your soft drink.
Disney ships all have multiple gift shops, with plenty of spending opportunities. You can just skip the memories. But if you want DCL merchandise, know that much of the onboard merchandise is also available online at shopDisney.com. Shop Disney often has sales and discounts that aren’t offered on ships and they almost always have free shipping codes for orders over $75. If you want, for example, a tee that says “Disney Cruise Line,” you might be able to get it for less on board the ship.
7. A veranda.
Verandah is the Disney term for balcony. Verandah staterooms almost always cost more than ocean view (porthole) or inside (windowless) staterooms. A lanai can be nice, but there are plenty of places on the deck to sit outside and watch the water. Particularly on a short cruise, you can have an equally enjoyable experience without spending hundreds or thousands of extra dollars on a verandah.
Let us know what your favorite DCL money saving tips are.