How to Book Disney Cruise Line Vacations

What you need to know about Booking a Disney Cruise Ship Package

how to book disney cruise line vacations

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Disney Cruise Line was incorporated in 1996 as a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The operation is headquartered in Celebration, Florida, and currently has 4 cruise ships in its active fleet.  There are plans to add three more ships over the next several years.

In addition to the cruise ships, the subsidiary also owns a private island in the Bahamas named Castaway Cay. This tropical oasis is used as an exclusive port-of-call for their cruise ship guests.

If you know someone who has embarked on a Disney Cruise Line adventure, you have probably heard what a magical experience these sailings can be. While there are similarities between each ship in the fleet, each Disney Cruise ship has its own unique take on dining, entertainment, amenities, destinations, and onboard activities for guests of all ages. 

In this article, we will investigate your options on how to book Disney Cruise Line vacations, as well as highlight the key features and attributes of each Disney cruise ship. Hopefully, this information will help you decide if this type of vacation is something you wish to pursue.

How to Book Disney Cruise Line/Ship Vacations

how to book disney cruises

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If this is your first Disney Cruise Line adventure, then the best advice we could give you is to book through a travel agency that specializes in Disney vacations We prefer this route over going it alone and booking a vacation package directly through Disney.

There are a few reasons why booking with a Disney travel agent is the way to go.

For starters, their services are entirely free to you, the client. Yes, it’s true! Disney pays these agents a small commission to help you…but at no time do you pay anything extra.

Secondly, a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations will be able to answer your questions and give you helpful advice. After all, it’s their job to do so. They will (or should) know the pros and cons of Disney Cruise Line vacations based on their own first-hand experience. Your Disney Travel agent will give you the lowdown on the different ships, activities, dining options, destinations, etc.

Lastly, a Disney travel agent will book all of your reservations for you.  They take care of all the details so that you don’t have to. Relax and feel secure in knowing that everything is taken care of and will be done correctly.

See our Disney Travel Planners page to find an agency that can help you book your Disney Cruise Line vacation package.

Onboard Credit

Look for a Disney travel agency that will offer you something called “onboard credit.”

Onboard credit is a common industry practice whereby a travel agency will give its clients a bonus reward for booking through their respective agency.  Your onboard credit is essentially free money that is linked to your stateroom account to be used to pay for practically anything on the ship or at Castaway Cay.

Some of the ways to spend onboard credit include meals, drinks, merchandise, spa treatments, activities on the ship, shore excursions, gratuity, and more.

Ask your Disney travel agent about onboard credit before you book your Disney Cruise line vacation package. If they don’t offer it, then move on to another agency that does! It’s certainly a great perk and you want to take full advantage of it when it’s offered.

For more information on this wonderful Disney cruise promotion, please see our Disney Cruise Onboard Credit page, or check out The Vacationeer’s Onboard Credit promotion.

Ships in the Disney Cruise Line Fleet

disney cruise line fleet

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The latest industry numbers indicate that Disney Cruise Lines have a 2.3 percent share of the worldwide cruise ship market. With 3 additional ships soon to be added to the roster, we should only expect Disney to increase their market share over the coming years.

As of now, the 4 active ships in the fleet are:

          • Disney Magic
          • Disney Wonder
          • Disney Dream
          • Disney Fantasy

Each of these cruise ships has it’s own unique history and defining characteristics. Let’s examine the benefits of these Disney’s cruise ships:

Disney Magic Cruise Ship

Disney Magic Cruise Ship

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disney cruise palo restaurant

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Disney Magic Overview

Disney Magic had its maiden voyage on July 30, 1998, and has been in service thereafter. It boasts a length of 984 ft, a gross tonnage of 83,338, and has 11 public decks, 875 staterooms, a crew of 945, and enough capacity for 2,700 guests.

The interior of Disney Magic is decorated in an Art Deco style while the ship’s exterior color scheme is black, red, and white with 20 yellow lifeboats (matching the colors of Mickey Mouse). Disney Magic’s horn blasts a tune from Disney’s famous “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The ship’s Godmother is Patricia Disney, the wife of Roy E. Disney.

Routes: 4 Night Caribbean Cruises; 5, 6, 7 and 8 Night Western Caribbean Cruises; 2, 3, 4 and 8 Night Bahamian Cruises; 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12 night Mediterranean Cruises; and Special Cruises

Disney Magic Dining

Disney Magic offers two dining times – early and late. The Disney Cruise Line uses something they call  “Rotational Dining” to ensure that guests have a chance to experience each of the ship’s themed restaurants.   As far as dining options go, Disney Magic has several restaurants and all three participate in the Rotational Dining schedule. Disney Magic’s dining locations including Lumiere’s (themed after Beauty and the Beast), Rapunzel’s Royal Table (inspired by Disney animated movie Tangled), and Animator’s Palate. Disney Magic’s Palo restaurant is located on the aft deck and serves Northern Italian fare at dinnertime (18+, seats 130 guests).

Disney Magic Entertainment

The fun never stops on Disney Magic. There are live Broadway-style shows with Disney characters, fireworks, character meets, movie theaters with first-run and Disney movies, the Walt Disney Theater and the Buena Vista Theater, karaoke, games, several pools, and a variety of Disney-themed deck parties including Pirates Night and Sail-Away Celebration. The ship also boasts a massive LED screen called “Funnel Vision,  numerous lounges and bars (including O’Gills Pub). Keys piano bar, the Promenade Lounge, D-Lounge, and the adults-only Fathoms.

Disney Magic Activities for Kids

Disney Magic hosts a variety of kids’ clubs to keep the youngsters entertained, including:

-It’s a Small World Nursery is a play area for infants.

Oceaneer Club and the Oceaneer Lab are geared towards kids ages 3 to 12 years old.  Activities include themed activities, computer games, experiments, costume dress, and more.

-The Edge is an interactive play area for kids ages 11 to 14.

-The Vibe club is strictly for teens and offers video games, Internet, TV, music, Internet access, and social activities

Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

Book Disney Wonder Cruise Shop

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Disney Wonder Overview

Disney Wonder is the second ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet and made its maiden voyage in August 1999. She is constructed in a nearly identical fashion as Disney Magic, although the ship’s interior is decorated in the Art Nouveau style rather than Art Deco. Disney Wonder has 11 public decks, 875 staterooms, a crew of roughly 950, and can accommodate 2,400 passengers. This Disney cruise ship has a length of 974 ft and a gross tonnage of 83,000.

: The routes include the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Alaska, and the USA’s West Coast

Disney Wonder Dining

Disney Cruise Line uses a dining rotation where guests rotated to a different restaurant each night. Guests are seated at the same table number – with the same table guests and wait staff – for every night they are on board. This creates less confusion and a friendly commodore among the guests.

Disney Wonder has three main restaurants: Triton’sTiana’s Place, and Animator’s Palate. Triton’s features French cuisine in an Art Deco dining room, Tiana’s Place serves southern cooking with live jazz music, and Animator’s Palate is a dining show offering contemporary cuisine and Disney characters. The other dining and food options include Cabanas, a buffet-style restaurant for breakfast and lunch and a casual eatery at dinner, a sandwich and salad shop called Daisy’s de-LitesPinocchio’s Pizza, and the adult-oriented Palo where Italian-inspired food and décor are complimented with live music.

Disney Wonder Entertainment

Some of the entertainment and lifestyle highlights of Disney Wonder include Crown & Fin Pub, an adults-only British style pub, Frozen, A Musical Spectacular, and the relaxing and rejuvenating Senses Spa and Salon. Check here for a list of all onboard activities.

Disney Wonder Activities for Kids

Like Disney Magic, Disney Wonder offers the Oceaneers Club and the Oceaneers Lab for children ages 3-12. The Club provides several TVs, costumes to play dress-up, a slide, and some counselor-led activities. The Lab is geared towards the older age-ranges and offers video games, TVs, computers, cooking classes, and more.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Booking Disney Dream Cruise Line Ship

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disney cruise staterooms
Disney Dream Overview

Disney Dream is the 3rd Disney Cruise Line cruise ship operated by The Walt Disney Company and has been active since 2011. The ship currently sails three-day, four-day, and sometimes five-day cruises to the Bahamas.  It has a capacity of 2,500 (double occupancy) or 4,000 passengers maximum and has a crew of 1,458.  Disney Dream is 1,114 ft in length and has a gross tonnage of 83,000.

Routes: 3, 4, and occasionally 5-day Bahamas cruises originating out of Port Canaveral, Florida.

Disney Dream Dining
Disney Dream has Rotational Dining where you will get to experience 3 different restaurants each night of your cruise. The ship is home to a “state-of-the-art” dinner show at Animator’s Palate, a classic Disney fairytale feast at Royal Palace, and Enchanted Garden set in a serene conservatory setting. For a more casual dining experience, head to Cabanas for a casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or check the pizza, chicken, burgers, salads at Flo’s Café, For a delicious icy treat, head to Frozone Treats, or Eye Scream.  The Italian-inspired Palo and the French-inspired Remy are both high-end, adult-only dining options. In-room dining is available 24-hours a day.
Disney Dream Entertainment

Disney Dream onboard activities include digital sports simulators, a 9-hole mini-golf course, a full-sized basketball court, a volleyball court, a pitch, and a walking track.

Disney Wonder is also home a “water roller coaster” called the AquaDuck, Mickey’s Slide, and has three pools. The ship also boasts two theaters: the Walt Disney Theater, (live Broadway-style performances) and the Buena Vista Theater (first-run Disney movies).

Disney Dream Activities for Kids

Like the other Disney cruise ships, Disney’s It’s a Small World Nursery, Oceaneer Club, Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe are geared to kids of all ages.

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

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Disney Cruise Line Fantasy

photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Disney Fantasy Overview

Disney Fantasy – the sister ship of Disney Dream – was launched in 2012 as Disney Cruise Line’s latest ship. Guests can choose between a seven-night Eastern or Western Caribbean cruise. This ship has a length of 1,114.8 ft and a gross tonnage is 129,750, and, like Disney Dream, the cruise ship has an onboard guest capacity of 2.500 (double occupancy) and 4,000 (max occupancy) with a crew of over 1,400.

Disney Fantasy Dining

Disney Fantasy offers Rotational Dining between the always entertaining dinner show named Animation Magic at it Animator’s Palate restaurant. The ship’s other dining locations include the magical Enchanted Garden and fairytale dining room of Royal Court while the casual dining options include Cabanas,  Flo’s Café, and snacks at Eye Scream and Frozone Treats. The Northern Italian cuisine of Palo and French-inspired Remy provide a few upscale and intimate options for adults.

Disney Fantasy Entertainment

Disney Fantasy onboard activities include a “water roller coaster” called the “AquaDuck,”  the nightclub district called Europa, several pools, pubs, theatres, and more!

Disney Fantasy Activities for Kids

Like the other Disney cruise ships, Disney’s Fantasy cruise ship has plenty of individual and instructor-led activities geared to kids of all ages.

Enjoy your Disney Cruise!

We hope that our How to Book Disney Cruise Line Vacations page gives you a little more color into what Disney cruises are like. For more useful Disney World information, please review additional pages on MagicGuides like our Disney Dining Plan CalculatorDisney Transportation Map, and Disney World Tips and Tricks articles.

If you need help planning and booking your magical Disney Cruise Line vacation, please contact our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge!  Click HERE for a free, no-obligation price quote.

Thank you for reading our page, and we hope you have a fantastic vacation out at sea!