Looking for a family vacation that’s nothing short of magical? A Disney Cruise is a great option, but it’s no secret that it can come with a hefty price tag. To determine whether it’s the right choice for you and your loved ones, it’s key to understand what’s included in a Disney Cruise. That’s where we come in!
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about what’s included – from dining and accommodations to activities and entertainment – so you can make the most of your voyage. So, before you set sail, read on to discover what really matters on a Disney Cruise and how to make the most of your experience.
Everything That’s Included In Your Disney Cruise Fare
You don’t have to be a hardcore Disney fan to enjoy the lavish life onboard one of the Disney Cruise ships; you only need a dash of belief and a pinch of wonder.
Much of your Disney Cruise onboard experiences are included in your ticket price. That includes:
- your stateroom (varying accommodation) with all the accompanying taxes and port fees
- Foodservice with snacks and drinks
- The famed meet and greet with many Disney characters
- Entertainment productions
Let’s take a closer look.
What’s Included in a Disney Cruise: Accommodations
All five of Disney’s ships have four main categories for staterooms. The number of guests and whether you’ve chosen an interior room will add to what makes these rooms vary. Any stateroom category you choose will be included in your ticket fee and all relevant tax and port fees.
As with any fine establishment, all the rooms come with everything you’d expect to get from a hotel room. There’s housekeeping, toiletries, towels, a magic box showing Disney’s visual creations, and round-the-clock room service.
The room service is complimentary for whichever stateroom you choose, and you can call on it at all meals of the day and even when it’s late at night and you’re feeling snacky.
Housekeepers go all-out as they keep things interesting at turn down by folding towel animals and putting your pillow to sleep with nightly stuffing-increasing chocolate. (Setting aside money for an extra tip for these hardworking housekeepers is advised.)
Most cabins made for families have split bathrooms to help everyone stay sane while preparing themselves for the day. There should be a sink and toilet in one compartment and a bathtub or shower in the other.
These suites are the largest and most luxurious on the ships. People who book rooms at this level get a special customer service number before boarding, which can be used to help coordinate and plan romantic evenings.
A ticket with concierge-level rooms also gives you priority boarding with a private lunch upon boarding to set the tone of your lavish journey. These rooms have special access to certain ship features, including a covered viewing deck (verandah) and a quiet and relaxed Concierge Lounge.
As these are among the best rooms in the Disney Cruise fleet, they also come with different options and levels, but all include onboard bonus perks and extras of those elusive USB outlets.
Oceanview With A Verandah
If you’re looking for a more intimate stateroom for your family of three to five guests, Disney Cruise offers a range of options that are just as delightful as the larger Concierge suites. You’ll still be able to enjoy the luxury of a private verandah, and you can choose from three different styles to personalize your stay even further.
You get beautiful room furnishings with just the right feng shui and in-room portholes to see the open seas and maybe glimpse a fairy flying by, but there are no verandahs.
What these smallest suites lack in windows and verandahs makes up for in affordability. These are the most economical rooms and can occupy the same three to four guests as the Oceanview suit. Their other selling points are imported tiles, nautical fittings, and natural wood.
What’s Included in a Disney Cruise: Food
Ticket prices include rotational dining for most onboard restaurants, which means you can eat at a different restaurant every night. If you’re not sure what to order, this is the perfect time to experiment. You can order multiple dishes from the menu and sample a variety of items.
All Disney Cruise ships have open Cabana stands, which are buffets for open breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the independent lot that prefers the adventure of mixing and matching.
For breakfast, the menu spread at these colorful Cabana kiosks has many options, from fruits and cereal to scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, ham steak, donuts, made-to-order omelets, and the popular Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles.
The free lunch at the buffets also offers standard meals like salads for the waist-watchers, stuffed zucchini, soups, pizza, seafood, pasta, burgers, and desserts such as fruit, glorious cookies, and cake. Dinner is a bit different as it is a sit-down affair similar to the restaurants where waiters take and serve your orders.
Your time of wetting your toes by the poolside is enhanced by access to as much soft-serve ice cream as you can stomach and access to well-stocked snack stands and ice cream stations. All ships of the Disney Cruise fleet give guests free rein from the beverage stations (non-alcoholic beverages).
These beverage stations offer a range of complimentary beverages to keep you hydrated, including:
- Soft drinks
- Iced and hot tea
- Fruit punch and sometimes orange juice
- Coffee, hot chocolate, and milk.
For more juice options, visit the Cabana stands.
What’s Included in a Disney Cruise: Entertainment & Recreation
As in the Disney fashion of giving it your all, there are high-quality Broadway-style Disney productions and running screenings of all your favorite Disney films in their movie theatre. The movies shown include both old and current ones, so there’s plenty of variety for every type of Disney fan.
The live performances are first-rate, and you get two dinner-time showings. During the day and as long as the weather permits, many included activities are happening on the top deck, such as basketball or ping pong.
There’s also a running track and access to a decked-out fitness center that everyone over 14 years can use. The only requirements are workout outfits and adult chaperones for gym users aged 14 to 17. Your ticket includes fitness classes if you prefer high-energy guidance in the gym.
You don’t have to fret if you aren’t one for physical exertion but still enjoy being entertained. Your ticket is your admission for many other activities like comedy and magic shows, Trivia, deck parties, and ongoing ship tours.
Activities for Kids
The Disney ships all offer a variety of themed youth spaces for different age groups that are included in the cruise fare. Only the nursery (for kids under age 3) incurs a fee.
The Oceaneer Club & Oceaneer Lab
The Disney Oceaneer Club and the Oceaneer Lab host activities for kids ages 3 to 12.
The Oceaneer Lab has an orientation toward learning and exploration. It is an interactive space with games, toys, hands-on experiments, and other guided experiences. There is also unstructured free time.
The Oceaneer Club focuses on fantasy and imagination. There are Character-driven performances, special storytelling sessions, visits from Disney characters, and oversized-themed play areas with dress-up opportunities. Kids will also find an assortment of toys, games, open seating for arts and crafts, and movies.
The Club and Lab are connected, and kids can move freely between them.
The Edge: A Dedicated Space for Tweens
Kids aged 11 to 14 have a special tween hangout filled with flat-screen TVs, computers, and daily supervised games and activities.
Vibe: Teen-Exclusive Facilities
Kids aged 14 to 17-year-olds get complimentary and exclusive access to the teen zone, usually called Vibe.
Each Vibe experience is unique to each ship. Still, it generally includes chaperoned mingling with similarly-aged guests from all world cultures for karaoke and dance parties and facilities for many other activities. Some ships have both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Vibe has a complimentary coffee bar serving fruit smoothies and other nonalcoholic beverages.
For The Grown-Ups
As an adult, your ticket will get you into the ship’s nightclubs and lounges. The only extra penny you spend once in these sanctuaries for parents is on alcoholic beverages, which get charged to your stateroom folio.
Exclusive Disney Entertainment
All of the Disney ships offer exclusive Disney-themed entertainment. Different experiences are available on different ships and/or different itineraries, but here is an overview of what’s on offer:
- Frozen live-action: Relive Anna and Elsa in a musical, Broadway-style stage show.
- Marvel Day at Sea: Kids and their grown-ups will have opportunities to meet a fleet’s worth of their favorite superheroes in the kid’s Oceaneers club while enjoying fun activities.
- Beauty and the Beast: Enjoy Belle and the Beast coming alive on the stage in a fantastic show.
- Pixar Day: For people of all ages, you can enjoy a Pixar musical.
- Star Wars Day: Experience the heroes, villains and beloved action adventures of the legendary saga.
- Aladdin musical: If you love comedy, you’ll love the live Aladdin live musical.
The magical fireworks show that’s double impactful as the reflection of the fiery display dances over the sea surface as if to lure out Ariel or a curious Luca.
What’s Included in a Disney Cruise: The Private Island (Some Itineraries)
If you are sailing on a Disney Cruise in the Bahamas or Caribbean, you will most likely have the opportunity to stop at the cruise line’s private island. If your ship stops at Castaway Cay, your cruise fare will give you access to the island and most things, you’d typically pay for anywhere else while anywhere else.
You get free access to all three beaches and some activities each beach holds. But, while there are many free things to do at Castaway Cay, there are also some items that incur an additional fee.
Sink Into A Hammock At Family Beach
Family Beach is the largest of the three beaches, with rows of rainbow-colored umbrellas providing cover from the glutinous sun for two beach chairs and two adjustable lounge chairs. This beach is perfect for your entire gang and has many other water sports you can partake in if you overcome the hammock.
Escape The Kids At Serenity Bay
This is an adults-only spot hidden at the far end of the island. You can join one of the complimentary fitness classes on one of the morning Yoga classes held at serenity beach.
Serve A Fiery Ball At Sports Beach
Head to Sports Beach to participate in a fun volleyball or soccer game. If you’re beginning to have enough of all these complimentary activities, this beach is the place for renting water equipment.
“Hakuna Matata!” What Else Is Free At Castaway Cay?
Although several activities charge a fee on the island, you can still enjoy many good ones free of charge.
Snorkel And See What’s Under The Sea
Bring your snorkeling gear from home, and you get to snorkel for free at the island’s Snorkeling Lagoon. You can also get yourself rental gear for the day for a small fee.
Let Someone Else Keep An Eye On The Small Plotters
You can drop kids off at Scuttle Cove at a supervised kids club. There are splash pads, games, and other fun activities to keep your kids occupied while you run off to Serenity Bay. There’s no pool or beach access at Scuttle Cove.
14 to 17-year-olds also get a spot to hang out. The island’s Hideout gives teens space to unwind and sunbathe or participate in organized games and sporting activities.
Get Some BBQ Grub At Castaway Cay Buffet Restaurants
The island’s Cookie’s BBQ and Cookie’s Too BBQ have all the classic BBQ and sides you can pack into your tummy. Hot dogs and French fries are in the lineup of kid-friendly options. You can get the same BBQ-style grub in Serenity Bay, and the staff is prepared to cater to different dietary needs and preferences.
Take The Plunge At Pelican Plunge
Thrill seekers should look for the floating platform with two waterslides near the main Castaway Family Beach. There’s an enclosed corkscrew slide and a 140-foot-long open slide that thrills you and releases you into the deep waters surrounding Pelican Plunge.
You’ll probably need to supervise younger kids and weaker swimmers, even with the provided life jackets. There’s also a height requirement of at least 38 inches tall to be allowed onto either of the slides.
Run The Castaway Cay 5K And Take Home Gold
Correction, you don’t take home gold, but you receive a finisher’s medal. In the past, this race was a group race, but it had become an individual race due to that thing that swept the world. The medal changes yearly, so you can still participate and walk away with some novel to brandish when you’re back on the ship.
You’ll need to make time for yourself to run the race and record your time in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app.
A Quick Rundown Of What’s Not Included
Unfortunately, Port Adventures (Disney’s shore excursions at different ports), spa and salon services, using the ship’s nurseries for babysitting infants, onboard photo-op services, video games, Bibbiti Bobbidi Boutique treatment, adults-only dining venues, and a handful of other items will run you additional charges.
You should also know that internet services on the cruise can require substantial additional fees. One of the biggest hits on a Disney Cruise is the expensive internet costs.
Another charge that may not be immediately obvious is for movie snacks sold from the unassuming snack stand outside the movie theatre. It’s easy to assume that only the alcohol sold will be charged, but the popcorn and movie candy want a piece of your wallet.
And there you have it, folks! We hope this guide has helped you understand what’s included in a Disney Cruise and how to make the most of your magical voyage. From the delicious dining options to the exciting entertainment and activities, there’s something for everyone on board.