Disney cruises come at a premium price compared to other major cruise lines. A Disney voyage can cost nearly double that of other leading cruise lines.

So why exactly are Disney cruises so much more expensive? In this guide, we’ll give you the 21 top reasons you’ll pay more for the one-of-a-kind Disney cruise experience.

You’ll learn what makes Disney so pricey, from the renowned brand to larger staterooms, Broadway-caliber shows, character interactions, and stops at private islands. We’ll break down what’s included and what costs extra on a Disney cruise.

By the end, you’ll understand precisely why Disney commands such a high price tag. Let’s dive in!

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1. The Renowned Disney Name & Reputation

Disney Characters and Cruise Passengers dance together on the deck of a Disney Cruise Ship

Image © Disney

You’re paying for the beloved, top-rated Disney brand and its unmatched reputation for world-class entertainment, legendary service, and delivering fantasy family vacations that create lifelong memories. The Disney name alone carries significant weight, as it guarantees an immersive, quality experience. People trust Disney to provide enjoyment and magic.

2. Extra-Spacious Staterooms

A bed, couch, and desk, in front of a sliding glass door leading to a verandah balcony

Image © Disney

The staterooms on Disney cruise ships are approximately 25% larger on average than comparable cruise ship rooms. Having all that extra square footage is key when cruising together as a family. Kids need abundant room to play and move around, while parents appreciate having a comfortable retreat to relax in. With Disney’s more spacious rooms, you’ll avoid being cramped and on top of each other when stuck in your cabin. The abundant storage space and split bathrooms also help families prepare for the day with less chaos. You’re paying for that extra roominess.

Related Articles: Best Staterooms on Disney Cruises, Concierge Level on Disney Cruises

3. Immersive Rotational Dining

Disney’s unique rotational dining experience allows your family to enjoy a different elegantly themed restaurant every evening, all while keeping the same dedicated wait staff each night. Not to mention, meals are included on Disney cruises, making dining an immersive, personal experience unparalleled by other cruise lines. Eating in restaurants inspired by favorite Disney films provides an atmosphere and ambiance like no other. Moreover, with servers remembering your family’s culinary preferences and dietary needs, you’re assured of consistency and attentive care that delights kids. This unique dining experience undoubtedly commands a premium.

Related Articles: Food on Disney Cruises, Guide to Rotational Dining on Disney Cruises

4. Included Drinks and Treats

Unlimited sodas and juices are included in your cruise cost, no drink package necessary!

Families can save money on their cruise with Disney’s unlimited soda, juices, coffee, tea, and frozen Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars. These daily drink and snack costs can add up quickly on other cruise lines, especially with kids constantly asking for refills. But with Disney, families don’t have to budget extra or limit their kids’ consumption. Knowing that their kids can have soft drinks and sweet treats whenever they want without having to spend more money is a relief for parents. This convenient, complimentary perk is something that families really appreciate.

5. Broadway-Caliber Live Shows

The live entertainment and productions on a Disney cruise are on par with what you would see on Broadway. These spectacular Disney-themed musicals and shows feature your favorite Disney songs, characters, and stories. You will be amazed by the sheer talent and production value on stage. Seeing beloved films like Frozen and The Little Mermaid brought to life before your eyes with elaborate costumes, sets, choreography, and world-class performers makes you feel like you are part of the magic. This level of Disney entertainment is unparalleled, and it’s included in your Disney cruise fare!

6. No Noisy Casinos

Disney Cruise Line stands out among major cruise lines for not having casinos on its ships. This means that parents can avoid crowded, noisy, and smoky casino floors while cruising with their children as they move between activities or try to return to their cabin at night. It is important to note that Disney compensates for the absence of casino revenue in other ways, resulting in higher fares. However, I believe the lack of casinos creates a more family-friendly environment and is worth paying the premium price.

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7. Limited Availability

Disney Cruise Line operates five ships with a combined capacity of approximately 15,000 passengers, which is significantly less than its competitors. For instance, Royal Caribbean has over 25 ships with a capacity of nearly 100,000 passengers. The smaller size of Disney Cruise Line offers a more cozy and intimate travel experience. However, due to limited capacity, spots on the ships sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons and for newer vessels (Disney Wish). Despite higher fares than other cruise lines, loyal customers are willing to pay the premium. It’s crucial to plan ahead, as popular spots can sell out up to two years ahead of time.

Related Articles: Best Disney Cruise Ships, Disney Dream Guide, Disney Fantasy Guide, Disney Magic Guide, Disney Wonder Guide, Disney Wish Guide

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8. Exclusive Disney-Owned Destinations

Castaway Cay - Disney's Private Island -- A Disney cruise ship is seen across crystal waters from a wood dock with net railing. A bird sits on the post.

Pretty much every Disney Bahamian or Caribbean cruise includes stops at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island oasis, or the upcoming Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, another exclusive Bahamian paradise. These destinations, only open to Disney cruise passengers, offer pristine beaches, adventure, and leisure activities with the magic touch of Disney. Disney staff on the islands elevate your experience, attending to every detail and need. These one-of-a-kind destinations undoubtedly justify the premium cruise fares.

Related Article: Castaway Cay Tips

9. Exclusive Disney Character Interactions

Disney character Rapunzel reaches for a floating lantern in the dining room of Rapunzel's Royal Table

Image © Disney

One of the unique selling points of a Disney cruise is the chance for kids and families to meet and interact with beloved Disney characters. From surprise visits during meal times to themed dance parties and scheduled photo ops, guests can immerse themselves in the world of Disney. Characters from classic tales, Pixar adventures, and the Marvel universe come to life, providing interactions that can’t be found on any other cruise line. This level of entertainment and magic is a memorable highlight for families.

Related Article: Character Meals on Disney Cruises

10. Adults-Only Indulgences

DCL Evolution Night Club

Image © Disney

Disney not only keeps children entertained with clubs, activities, and entertainment tailored just for them, but it also expertly caters to the needs of parents by providing a range of amenities and venues exclusively for adults to relax and enjoy themselves. Adults-only pools, lively nightclubs with live music, elegant lounges, soothing spas, and upscale adults-only dining provide parents with much-needed “me time” away from the kids. Disney helps them relax and recharge.

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11. Spectacular Fireworks At Sea

Disney Cruise Line stands out as the only cruise line that offers spectacular and intricately choreographed fireworks shows from the decks of their ships on many itineraries. These exclusive fireworks displays are unparalleled and cannot be replicated by any other cruise line, making them a valuable and unique experience. My children – Ben and Ava – love this aspect of Disney cruises and always look forward to it. It’s a beautiful opportunity for families to bond and appreciate the scene together with other families on board.

12. Unique Port Adventures

Disney offers exclusive shore excursions at each port of call, allowing families to immerse themselves in Disney storytelling or the local culture. Activities range from historic walking tours to guided horseback riding adventures, cooking demonstrations, glacier treks, swimming with dolphins, and much more. Most are family-friendly, but some are geared towards adults or children. Having port adventures tied to Disney themes or tailored to the destination keeps the experience fresh and exciting beyond the ship. The cost is in addition to the cruise fare, but these are once-in-a-lifetime exclusive Disney experiences.

Related Articles: Best Disney Cruise Excursions, Best Disney Cruise Alaskan Excursions

13. White-Glove Customer Service

The employees at Disney Cruise Line – from the wait staff at the three-course dining table to the ship’s captain – provide exceptional customer service. Each Cast/Crew Member is trained to not only meet but anticipate guests’ needs, learn their preferences, and accommodate requests to create a personalized cruise experience. The level of personal and caring service the Disney crew members provide makes you feel valued, not just a face in the crowd. They create a welcoming and memorable experience that is worth the premium.

Related Article: Tipping on Disney Cruises

14. Complimentary, Immersive Kids Clubs

DCL Oceaneer Club

Image © Disney

Disney offers several elaborately themed, complimentary kids’ clubs and labs on board that are designed with special Disney touches to create experiences that little ones will love. Disney characters make surprise visits, activities involve Disney storytelling and music, and the décor immerses kids in theme park-style surroundings tailored just for them. Parents can feel completely at ease knowing that trained counselors are attending to each child. The activities vary by age group, but the Disney details make it engaging and fun for kids ages 3 to 17.

Related Articles: Best Disney Cruise Ship for Kids, Best Ages for Disney Cruises

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15. Potential First-Run Disney Movies

On select holidays and special sailings, Disney Cruise Line debuts never-before-seen movies in their theaters on premiere night before the films hit theaters on land. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm fans have the unique privilege of being among the first to see new films during a PremEAR at Sea, providing an experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Disney also shows both new releases and all-time classics from these studios in the Buena Vista Theatre and other onboard cinemas during the daytime and evenings. And, of course, all showings are included in the fare.

16. Extra Support for Infants & Toddlers

A young child is held on an adult's shoulders while onboard a Disney Cruise Ship | Image © Disney

Image © Disney

To make cruising smoother for parents with babies and toddlers, Disney provides a variety of complimentary services and amenities tailored for little ones. For instance, parents can have necessities like diaper pails, high chairs, and bottle warmers set up in their stateroom upon arrival. During meals, Disney will puree foods or deliver favorite snacks for toddlers. This level of accommodating care and amenities just for infants & toddlers takes the stress out of cruising with tiny tots.

Related Article: Best Cruise Line for Kids, Infants on Disney Cruises

17. Ability to Disembark Without Kids

Unlike most cruise lines, Disney allows parents to explore ports without having to worry about their children. While parents are on shore, children can stay safely on board in the fun and engaging youth clubs. This built-in option makes cruising smoother and more enjoyable for the whole family, especially for parents of babies or toddlers who may not enjoy spending time on shore.

18. Seamless, Organized Dining

Disney Cruise Line carefully plans dining times and tables to seat families with children of similar ages together. This allows children to make new friends and gives parents other adults to talk to. Additionally, having the same dining team each night allows the servers to learn and cater to your family’s preferences.

19. Allergy & Dietary Restricted Dining

With advance notice, Disney Cruise Line provides alternative dietary options at no additional cost. Whether gluten-free, vegetarian, or nut-free, the chef prepares special allergen-friendly dishes tailored to the guest’s needs. Being able to safely enjoy meals brings peace of mind. Since my wife Jaimie is primarily vegan, this flexibility is very helpful for us as a family. It is another reason why Disney cruises are so expensive, but I believe catering to my family’s needs is worth it!

20. Disney-Style Cruise Terminals

Disney terminal buildings transport guests into the magic the moment they arrive through music, theming, and even character greetings. This raises expectations and gets cruisers excited for the memorable Disney vacation ahead. Disney has a purpose-built dedicated terminal building in Port Canaveral, Florida with Disney touches in every nook and cranny. They’re building one in Fort Lauderdale, as well. But even in ports where Disney temporarily occupies an existing terminal building, special Disney décor and themes enhance the check-in experience.

21. Diverse Cruise Selection

The Disney Wonder sails through an icy fjord toward a looming glacier in the shadow of steep mountainsides

Image © Disney

Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of family-friendly cruise vacations and itineraries to suit all ages. You can choose from quick weekend sailings as short as three nights to epic transatlantic journeys over two weeks. Popular destinations include:

Special-themed Disney sailings like Halloween on the High Seas, Very Merrytime Cruises for Christmas, or Marvel Day at Sea add unique twists. Departure ports stretch across the US coasts and beyond. The wide range of departure points, destinations, and cruise lengths adds value and convenience, thus justifying a higher price point.

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Are Disney Cruises Worth the Extra Cost? My Perspective

I have been lucky enough to take my family on several Disney cruises and can confidently say that the one-of-a-kind experiences and special moments shared with loved ones on a Disney cruise make it truly worth every penny.

My children’s joy on a Disney cruise is beyond measure. They still fondly recall their first Disney cruise to Castaway Cay and the fun we had together. Not only do Disney cruises facilitate family bonding through age-appropriate group activities, but they also offer unique experiences. Imagine watching fireworks illuminating the sea or enjoying first-run movies without any added fees.

The magic doesn’t end with the kids, though. Parents can enjoy adult-only dining options and other exclusive onboard experiences. The Cast Members provide impeccable service, ensuring every detail is handled to give parents a true respite. With no worries, parents can enjoy moments together and relax.

I have discovered that with careful planning and foresight, the dream of a Disney cruise can become a reality, and you can keep it within your budget. I’d encourage you to contact The Vacationeer to discuss your options.

Although it is undeniable that Disney cruises are expensive, my wife and I firmly believe that the memories they provide are worth every penny. We are counting down the days until our next Disney adventure with bated breath!

FAQ About Disney Cruise Costs

Why are Disney cruises so much more expensive than other cruise lines?

Disney cruises are more expensive because they offer extra amenities such as Broadway-quality shows, larger staterooms, and exclusive character experiences. Limited availability, high demand, and the fact that they do not make money from casinos also contribute to the higher prices.

What’s included in the price of a Disney cruise?

Your cruise fare includes all meals, soft drinks, most activities and entertainment, kids clubs, character interactions, and a stop at Castaway Cay (on Caribbean cruises).

What costs extra on a Disney cruise?

You’ll pay extra for specialty dining, alcoholic drinks, spa services, excursions, WiFi, photos, and souvenirs. Gratuities are an additional expense as well.

How can I save money on a Disney cruise?

Here are my suggestions to save money on your Disney cruise:

  • Book Early: Reservations made well in advance often come with a price advantage.
  • Off-Peak Sailing: Opt for non-holiday periods and cheaper months for potential savings.
  • Shorter Voyages: A 3-4 night cruise can be more affordable than longer alternatives.
  • Interior Staterooms: Prioritize these for notable cost reductions.
  • Bring Your Drinks: Disney allows you to bring your own alcohol (per Disney’s guidelines) to save money.
  • Travel Agent Advantage: They can spot the best deals and secure onboard credits for you.
  • Wait: Last-minute Disney cruise deals often pay off with discounted stateroom rates.
  • Limit Extras: Minimize spending on souvenirs, photos, specialty dining, and other non-essential activities.

These tips can help you save money on your Disney cruise without sacrificing any of the fun.

Ready to Start Planning Your Disney Cruise?

Now that you understand why Disney cruises are more expensive but well worth it, you may be ready to book your dream trip. The best way to ensure you get the ideal Disney cruise itinerary at an affordable price is to use a top-rated Disney travel agency such as The Vacationeer.

As a Diamond Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, The Vacationeer offers:

  • Tailored Planning: You will be assigned a dedicated travel expert who will work to find the perfect cruise to meet your family’s needs, preferences, and budget.
  • One-Stop Shop: They expertly take care of everything from recommending the best times to go on a Disney cruise to booking your cabin, activities., and transportation
  • Global Reach: No matter your port – Florida, New York, Barcelona – they’ve got you covered.
  • Exclusive Perks: Receive up to $1,000 in Disney onboard credits for dining, spas, excursions, and more.
  • Trusted Expertise: Their extensive experience ensures the optimal cruise at a fair price.
  • Cost-Effective: No hidden fees; their insider knowledge often results in significant savings through promotions.

Even though my family knows a lot about Disney Cruise Line, we still trust The Vacationeer to book our trips. They reduce hassles, maximize savings, and even provide a customized packing list for Disney cruises upon request.

I highly recommend scheduling a free consultation with The Vacationeer. Their experts are committed to matching your dream Disney cruise to your budget for a spectacular family vacation.