Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What costs extra and what does not on a Disney Cruise

What costs extra and what does not on a Disney Cruise

       The cost of a Disney Cruise is slightly higher other cruise lines but it also has larger staterooms and more things, such as unlimited soda are covered in the fee. So let’s talk about what is covered and what is not when you pay for a Disney Cruise. Be aware that money is not taken for services or purchases on the ship. Only your Key to the World card is accepted on the ship and you will be required to settle the balance before you disembark. You can pay by credit card or cash. You can take money and “make payments” as you go on the ship if you wish. You just take the money to the Guest Services Desk off the Atrium Lobby anytime. Any money you bring I suggest you leave in your stateroom safe with your passports and other valuables.

       All food in the main dining rooms, buffet and quick service are covered. All soda, juice, milk, coffee and tea are covered with meals and are available 24 hours a day at the soda fountain next to the pool area. I suggest you take advantage of this if you like soda. Room service is covered except for a few items and you will be told what they are if you order them. Most items on the Room Service Menu are free.

       What will cost are alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees and teas along with smoothie type fruit drinks no matter where you get them. Soda will cost $6 per can if ordered at a lounge or for room service. Don’t forget there is free soda! Bottled water will cost $5.50 per bottle or you can buy several at a time and save some money. You can get around most of these expenses if you bring your own bottled water and get water and soda at the soda fountain instead of ordering them at a lounge or as room service. The specialty coffee and tea along with the alcoholic drinks and smoothies are your choice.

       On the ship the only food that will cost is at the lounges, or adult restaurants. At the adult restaurants you actually are not paying for the food you are tipping the servers because they are not your normal servers. If you choose to do a wine or beer tasting you will pay a small fee ($12-15). The theatre popcorn and candy venders next to the Walt Disney Theatre charge for the goodies.

       All entertainment on the ship is free as are all the character meet and greets. Movies, Broadway style live stage plays, deck parties, activities for the kids that include making crafts and time with the characters, “classes” that teach cooking and towelgomi and lectures are all part of the package. There is something for everybody from early morning to late night. What will cost is Spa & Salon Treatments.

       On shore you have a choice of doing Port Adventures or just striking off by yourself. Port Adventures are guided adventures in your port of call and are not owned or run by Disney. Port Adventures run $40 up to several hungred dollars per person. We spend most of our time in port just walking around and don’t spend money on a Port Adventure. What you spend on shore is up to you. In one port we went to there was a Walmart across the street from the port. Some passengers walked over and purchased bottled water as a way to save money on the trip.

       How much you spend shopping is up to you. There are 3 shops on the ship. Treasure Katch has items that adults will like. From adult DCL clothing to jewelry they have everything from the evening dress you forgot to pack to Dockers for the men. The collectables are more adult oriented and they even have some personal items such as suntan lotion, laundry supplies and some medicines. Mickey’s Mates has items for the younger set. Toys, key chains, beach towels and children’s clothing can be found there. The duty free shop has alcohol and other items that are duty free.

       Gratuity for any service you receive is not figured into the price of the cruise. You can either pay for this before go or pay it at the end of the cruise. Disney does have a suggested amount to pay each person based on the number of days you sail. Here is the breakdown from

It is customary to give gratuities in recognition of service, which you will most likely be treated to in abundance aboard the ship. As a guideline, we suggest the following:

Per Guest per cruise
Dining Room Server
Dining Room Asst. Server
Dining Room Head Server
Stateroom Host/
Dining Manager
Your Discretion
Room Service
Your Discretion
Gratuity included
Vista Spa & Salon
Your Discretion
Gratuity not expected
Shore Excursions
not included in shore
excursion price.

This amount is per person in the room both adults and children. At the end of the cruise they give you envelopes for the four main people. If the service was above expected you may wish to give more. Don’t forget TIPS stand for To Insure Prompt Service. You may well wish to add money to tip baggage handlers at the port while boarding and disembarking along with any non Disney drivers that transport you to and from the ship and airports. Even if a driver just transports you from the airport or port door to your car you should tip them if the service is good.

       In short you can spend as little or as much as you wish on the cruise. If you prepay your gratuities you will not need to take much money with you at all.


  1. On our first cruise last June, we found out that these Cast members get paid very little from Disney. They make their living from the TIPS. Please keep this in mind when deciding your amount.

  2. I agree with you tht you need to consider what they are paid. I believe they are paid industry standard but that does not say much.

    I honestly believe they should get 3 times more but this is a good starting point. You TIP to imporve service. You are rewarding good service with good tips. I got wonderful service the 2 times I was on the Disney Cruise. They deserve more for the quality of service they give.

  3. It is good to find this out now than after the fact. It could get expensive. Thanks for sharing.
    I write and maintain a spiritual blog which I have titled “AccordingtotheBook” and I’d like to invite you to follow it.

  4. I'm glad you found it helpful. I agree it could get very expensive! I just found out that the finger food in the lounges and coffee cafe are free!!

    I'll look at your blog!


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