Have you ever heard anyone use the words “Disney” and “bargain” in the same breath? We didn’t think so. Anything Disney — from the theme parks in Florida and California to the cruises on its four ships — comes with a higher price tag than the competition.
But that’s not say there aren’t deals to be had. Just keep in mind Disney cruise deals almost certainly means cruise fares in the low quadruple digits — as in $1,000 and up per person for an inside cabin — for most cruises longer than six days. Here are some tips for deal hunting:
1. Don’t be shocked by initial search prices.
Pick your jaw up off the floor and relax. Unlike most cruise line websites, the prices that initially show up when you search on the Disney site are prices per cabin, not per person, and include taxes and port fees. But yes, that five-night Mediterranean cruise on Disney Magic in August 2017 will set you back a total of $6,273 for two adults and two kids under the age of 12 sharing an inside cabin.
2. The Caribbean offers the best value.
If you’re simply looking to have your kids experience the joys of a Disney ship, cruises to the Caribbean are the most wallet-friendly — often almost half the price of itineraries to Alaska and the Mediterranean.
3. Timing is everything.
Book far enough out (six to 10 months), and you should be able to score something akin to a Disney cruise deal. In late May, we found an inside cabin rate of $800 per person for a five-night Western Caribbean cruise from Miami in mid-January on Disney Magic. Also in the rare triple digits: an $840 per-person inside cabin fare for a six-night Western Caribbean itinerary from Galveston on Disney Wonder in late January.
4. Consider a mini vacation.
If you’re truly on a budget but your Disney-obsessed kids are begging to set sail with mouse ears on, you can book a three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami or Port Canaveral for less than $2,000 for a family of four.
5. Search our deals.
Use ShermansCruise.com to search for Disney cruise deals priced within your budget — many of which are packaged with value-added bonuses, such as onboard credit.
6. Bring the whole family.
Cruise fares for children 17 and under sharing a cabin with their parents are scalable by age, at a rate typically one-half to two-thirds the cost of adult fares. So a family of four (with kids ages 4 and 6) sharing an inside cabin can enjoy five or six nights on a Caribbean cruise for less than $3,000.
7. Consider a transatlantic crossing.
If you want a longer cruise — say, a full 11 days of vacation — at a price comparable with other cruise lines and you’re willing to go in mid-September when many children are back in school, consider Disney Magic’s Westbound Transatlantic Cruise from Barcelona. A Disney cruise deal for an inside cabin for two adults is $2,480; add two preschool-age kids, and the entire family gets a lot of Disney for $3,922.