My family and I recently went on a Disney Cruise, and ever since, I’ve received quite a few messages from friends asking to pick my brain on the experience and whether it was worth the price tag. And so I wanted to share why I believe a Disney Cruise is worth the cost as well as some of my personal recommendations.
Before I get into how much I loved our trip, I will say, we did not utilize a Disney Vacation Planner and wish we would have thought to use one. The entire reason we chose to go on a cruise over visiting the park was because we really didn’t want to handle the planning because Disney takes a lot of planning. And since booking our trip, I was introduced to Pixie Vacations – their services are completely free, and they help you with all of the logistics of a Disney trip (cruises, too) and help you snag the best deals! More info on their services at the end of this post.
Below are the reasons I believe a Disney Cruise is worth every penny:
You get the full Disney experience, without the lines (aka whining). Our girls are still young enough that we really wanted to experience the Disney magic everyone talks about, but quite frankly, the thought of Disney World or Disneyland stressed my introverted husband out. Especially the thought of long lines and large crowds. So we decided on a Disney Cruise which proved to be the best decision for us as we got to experience the one-on-one character experiences (without lines!), Broadway-caliber shows, Disney details in every corner, five star dining, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay!
You get a well-rounded vacation. I’ll be the first to admit, we aren’t really cruise people. But a Disney Cruise is such a great option for a family with young children because you get access to non-stop ship activities for all ages, Disney meet-and-greets and character interactions, and port time on shore – which for us meant 3 different beaches and locations we could explore! I truly feel like a Disney Cruise offers something for everyone – regardless of age or interests.
Two words: Kids Club (AKA adult time). I will be honest – I thought we would use it more than we did! However, we did use the Kids Club one afternoon on our Day at Sea. Our girls absolutely loved their time at the Club – they made crafts, baked cookies, got to meet characters, got their faces painted, and watched Disney movies. Meanwhile, we sat at the adult pool sipping frozen cocktails and reading.
You don’t have to plan a thing. Seriously, you just show up! This was definitely the most appealing to us. The thought of planning out a Disney World trip stressed us out, and we have heard so many wonderful things about Disney Cruises, so we decided to take the plunge. And it far exceeded our expectations – we arrived and had so many options each day. All we had to decide on was what kind of mood we were in!
Splurges I Recommend (And Where to Save):
Excursions. I highly recommend the splurge on at least one excursion, which is an activity off the ship while at an island. There are dozens of options at various price points and for different ages – things like snorkeling, boating, swimming with dolphins, etc. We chose only one and it was well worth it. We had access to the beach and aquarium at Atlantis while we were in Nassau, Bahamas. When visiting the other islands we did not purchase excursions, we had a great time exploring the beaches and towns.
Disney Experience. We have two little girls and decided to splurge and treat them to the Bippity Boppity Boutique. This was WELL worth it as they each got their own “Fairy Godmother” who did their hair, makeup, and fingernails. The best part is they were so excited they got to keep the makeup and take it home in a cute little cinch bag.
Oceanview Room. A basic stateroom is great, but we upgraded to an Oceanview which gave us a view of the ocean ever morning, which was definitely worth the splurge!
Where to Save? Here are some ways we saved money:
1. We skipped professional photos – our iPhones captured great shots!
2. We didn’t buy the overpriced drink souvenirs for the kids. It saved us $18 per child per night by not purchasing a light up cup that will likely not even make it on the plane home.
3. We brought princess dresses from home (rather than the purchasing on the ship – wowee those things were expensive)
4. We brought our own booze – you are able to bring a 6 pack of beer and one bottle of wine each time you board the ship. We still purchased alcohol and frozen drinks, but we saved a bit by bringing our own alcohol, too.
5. Here are more ideas on ways to save on a Disney Cruise!
What We Would Do Differently Next Time:
As far as the actual vacation goes, I actually don’t think we would do anything differently. We chose a 5-night cruise that went to Key West, Nassau Bahamas, and Castaway Cay – it felt like the perfect amount of time for us. We were all sad to leave but also ready to get home! We loved the excursions we booked, the meet-and-greets we signed up for, and the amount of time we were at sea.
As I mentioned earlier, the only thing I would change would be to utilize a Disney Vacation Planner like Pixie Vacations simply to help us get the lowest possible price as they have access to the latest discounts and special offers. Additionally, I hope to work on my husband to get him to agree to Disney World in the near future especially now that we know about the planning services of Pixie Vacations. Some other benefits to their FREE services include:
- They offer a concierge level of service with extensive background knowledge of all things Disney (the owners were both Cast Members at the parks for years).
- They have a pulse on special discounts and offers, finding you the best price on a Disney trip. This also includes the knowledge of all the free things to do that you may not know otherwise!
- They will help coordinate Disney Dining reservations and Fastpasses. These were some of the logistics that kept us from going to the parks because they seemed confusing, and I honestly didn’t want to spend time planning. However, that’s where Pixie Vacations comes in.
- If interested, book a Pixie here!
It’s safe to say after our recent trip, we have officially been bitten by the Disney bug and can’t wait to plan another!