Disney Cruise Expenses ~ From Excursions to Gratuities
Most of you know that we save money where we can, ie: groceries and everyday essentials, so we can ‘splurge’ on the fun stuff. This past week we took a Disney Cruise Vacation. This kind of vacation is not one where you can expect to find too many deals. However, we did learn a few things that I wanted to pass along.
I did research pricing on the Disney Website to get an idea of what we should expect to pay. Obviously prices will vary depending on the number of people traveling, time of year, length of cruise (destination) and type of room you choose. If you are not too picky about these, then you may be able to find better pricing.
They do occasionally have special offers, like Military discounts or Florida Residents discount, but these were not offered during our booking time.
The first 2 guests in a stateroom will be the most expensive. Then, the prices are reduced for extra guests in the room (ie: your kids). Keep in mind that prices include all your meals on board.
We originally decided we did not care about the type of room we got for this cruise. We were perfectly fine with an inside stateroom as it would probably save us money and we generally are only in there to sleep and clean up. So, the first quote I got was for an inside stateroom:
Disney Fantasy: 7-Night Caribbean Cruise
Stateroom: GTY – Deluxe Inside Stateroom
Total Price: $7,302.88 for reference only
The first quote I got was cheaper than even the sites I had been researching, so we decided to book with Small World Vacations.
I can tell you that we waited 1-2 days before getting back with the representative and at that point the inside stateroom deal was no longer available. So we went with the Outside Stateroom:
Disney Fantasy: 7-Night Caribbean Cruise
Category OGT – Outside Stateroom with Restrictions
Total Price: $5650.88 for reference only
With an onboard Credit of $225
If you are not set on a Disney Cruise….you can check other cruise lines for better pricing. We have been on other cruise lines, but wanted to experience Disney before the kids got too old.
Here are some other prices that you will want to consider:
Parking at the port or transportation from the airport. We drove and I think Disney offers free transportation from local airports (be sure to verify). For our one week parking at the Cape Canaveral’s Disney terminal (walking distance for hubby to rejoin us,) it was $120 total. Ouch! We saw billboards advertising $5/day parking, which we may consider next time. We assume hubby would need to be shuttled back from that further parking location, as it was a few miles away.
Clothing: There is usually at least one formal night for dinners on any cruise. Of a 7 -day cruise you should expect one formal night and one semi-formal night. Men are expected to wear dinner jackets on the formal night and no shorts are allowed in the dining rooms for dinner on any night. We’ve noticed a decline in the number of people that dress formally. I saw plenty of shorts in the dining rooms on the regular evenings. I like to have my family dressed up for a least one night for a family photo.
Professional Pictures: Just like in the Disney Parks, you can expect there to be a professional photographer taking pictures everywhere. I loved that the Disney Cruise staff were so nice about grabbing our camera and taking one additional picture for us. Often, cruise lines don’t do this because they want you to buy their pictures. The first picture we had taken with Mickey and my camera was at the port before we had even checked in. Upon boarding, I asked how they will know who we are so the picture is applied to our stateroom/account. They take your picture at check-in and they use facial recognition programs to match your pictures with your family. So, all we had to do was swipe our stateroom cards in the photo shop and all of our pictures were there. You do not have to buy these, but if you do, here are a few prices: $19.95 for an 8×10 or $149.99 for any 10 Photos.
Excursions: These are typically all inclusive port experiences. If you have never been to the island before, and don’t know your way around, it might be a good idea to look into these. They usually include transportation, sometimes a drink/lunch, and the event. These are offered by the cruise line and are chosen specifically for their guests. They can range anywhere from $20 to $180 or more per person. We chose not to do the 30-minute dolphin experience for this very reason. We did do an excursion in St. Maarten for Orient Beach. An air-conditioned bus picked us up at the port, and took us to Orient Beach where we had four beach chairs and an umbrella waiting for us, two drinks for each person, a lunch (choice of ribs, chicken or fish), and a ride back to the port. This was $49 per kid and $54 per adult. Don’t even get me started on how much it was to ‘rent’ a boogie board for the kids while we were there. But the fun they (and momma) had on them was priceless. I’m happy to say the nudist section was further down the beach. They do warn you about this, just in case. They did have a large number of people sign up for this so the beach was a bit crowded. Some excursions sell out fast, so I’d recommend deciding a booking before you actually get on the ship.
Gratuities: These are tips that you give your waiters and stateroom attendees. Here are the recommended prices for a 7-day cruise:
Per guest per night
Dining Room Server $4
Dining Room Asst. Server $3
Dining Room Head Server $1
Stateroom Host/Hostess $4
You can choose to have these put on your on board credit, aka: the credit card you linked to your cruise account . We chose to do this, because we did not want to carry around as much cash. Then, on the last night of your cruise you can hand your envelopes (provided by guest services) with your tip. If you choose to put it on your credit card, guest services will give you a card/receipt to put in your envelopes. If you wish to give less or more, that is at your discretion. We chose to give our assistant server extra. He was super attentive, learned our likes by the 2nd night and did cute tricks and puzzles for the kids. So, he received the recommended amount, via the card/receipt, plus additional cash from us.
If you are a shopper, you can get Alcohol and other items in ports for possibly cheaper than in the US. Check pricing before you go so you know what is a deal. I purchased my favorite perfume for 50% off what I would normally pay here in the States.
Do you have any recommendations or tips? Let us know and leave a comment. I hope this post has helped some of you.