This is the first in a series of articles we will be running on Disney Cruise Line. Please let us know what you think in the comments!
One of the factors that causes guests to shy away from a Disney Cruise Line vacation is its up front costs. When you book a Walt Disney World vacation, you have complete control over the number of nights you spend, which resort you choose, and how you want to eat. On DCL a lot of those decisions are made for you and included in your costs.
For fun, let’s do an apples to apples comparison of 2 similar land and sea-based trips:
At Walt Disney World, your choices are Value, Moderate, or Deluxe. On the Cruise Line, you have 11 (11!) categories of stateroom from which to choose. This can be a little intimidating so let’s try to simplify it a bit. You really have 4 major room types from which to choose:
- Outside with porthole
- Outside with verandah
- Suite with concierge
To match these up to WDW room categories, the closest approximation would be:
- Inside = Moderate
- Porthole = Deluxe standard view
- Verandah = Water view or Savannah view
- Concierge = Club level
The beauty of the cruise line is that even inside stateroom (including the one I stayed in on Deck 2 of the Fantasy last spring) has twice daily housekeeping with turndown service and a dedicated stateroom host. You’re not going to get that at Port Orleans.
All meals and beverages, including room service, but not including alcohol or specialty drinks are part of the cruise fare. This is roughly equivalent to the Magic Your Way Plus Deluxe Dining Plan, only far more flexible. The table service restaurants on the ships for lunch and dinner are better than WDW table service restaurants, but not quite as good as a Signature dining experience such as Jiko or Yachtsman Steakhouse. The buffets on the ships (Cabanas on the Fantasy and Dream, Topsider Buffet on the Magic, Beach Blanket Buffet on the Wonder) are better than most Walt Disney World buffets except Boma.
A cost you have on the Cruise Line that you do not have at Walt Disney World is Port Adventures. For the purposes of our article, we will compare it to park admission. Of course, Port Adventures are completely optional and there is a wide range of activities at many price points you can sign up for. Some of them are fantastic values, like the onboard beverage seminars and sting ray experience on Castaway Cay. Others, like the Dolphin interaction at Nassau’s Atlantis resort are pricy, but once in a life time experiences.
Now let’s hit the numbers. We will compare the costs of 4 night cruise from Port Canaveral to 4 nights at Walt Disney World for family of 4. Our family is 2 adults, one 14 year old, and one 7 year old. The 4 night cruise stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay. For Port Adventures, our family will experience the Aquaventure water park at Nassau’s Atlantis Resort and the Extreme Getaway Package on Castaway Cay, which includes all-day snorkel, float, and bike rentals, plus the one-hour sting ray experience. For the Walt Disney World vacation, we include the Deluxe meal plan and 5 day non-park hopper tickets.
|November 4 to November 8||Port Orleans FQ||Animal Kingdom Savannah||Inside Stateroom – Cat 11||Outside with Verandah – Cat 4b|
|Deluxe Meal Plan (2012 rates)||$1121.40||$1121.40||n/a||n/a|
|5 day MYW Base for 4||$1122.51||$1122.51||n/a||n/a|
|Port Adventure Castway Cay||n/a||n/a||$201||$201|
|Port Adventure Nassau||n/a||n/a||$622||$622|
So what do you think? Does a cruise cost more or less than you expect? Do you think its value is reasonable compared to what you get on land? Do you have plans to cruise on Disney Cruise Line in the future? Let us know what kind of information you’d like to hear from us to help you with your planning.