How Much Should I Budget For A Disney Cruise?
How much do you think I can expect to pay for a Disney Cruise, five years from now (say July 2016), for a family of five adults and two children under 10? I know this is a bit far off but I need to budget and the youngsters are not out of diapers yet! Thank you so much for any insight you can give.
Good for you for planning so far ahead! Budgeting and planning ahead are crucial to finding a cheap cruise. Having just sailed on my first Disney cruise (watch the video of my niece’s experience on the Disney Dream ), I can tell you without reservation you are making an excellent choice for a family vacation.
Though it’s impossible to predict where travel prices in general and cruise prices in particular will be five years from now — so much depends on the economy and the resulting travel demand, not to mention oil prices — I hope a look at the present plus a few practical tips will help you get started.
First, let’s look at how much a Disney cruise will cost you this July. As of today, prices on Disney cruises in July 2011 range from $1,479 per adult (inside cabin) to over $5,400 (suite) depending on length of sailing, itinerary, ship and cabin type. Keep in mind that July is the high season for a Disney cruise, meaning you’ll pay more in July than you will virtually any other month of the year, though August will be a close second. If you have any flexibility to take your cruise in June, or better yet May or September, you’ll likely get a lower price.
Prices also vary depending on the newness of the ship. For example, at present the Disney Dream is the newest in the Disney Cruise Line fleet and commands the highest prices. But by the time you take your cruise Disney will have introduced at least one more ship (the Disney Fantasy will debut in March 2012), which means pricing on the older ships will go down.
Keep in mind too, that you’ll want to budget plenty of money for extras. While cruise vacations include so much — accommodations, transportation between ports, onboard ship entertainment and meals — they don’t include shore excursions, trips to the spa, alcohol and a few other things.
Insider tip: Try to book your Disney cruise in January or February of the year of your sailing. The first few months of every year are known as “wave season,” and this is the time when cruise lines try to fill their ships for the year by discounting prices and offering freebies like stateroom upgrades. Don’t wait until the last minute to book — it’s unlikely you’ll get a deal, especially since you plan to travel during the high season.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in airfare. You’re from Memphis, so count on at least $300 in round-trip airfare for every member of your party if you plan on sailing from Port Canaveral and more if you plan to sail out of New York or a European port. With a group of your size, finding cheap flights will help bring down total vacation costs.
While your Disney cruise won’t be cheap, it will be an experience you and your family will always remember. I think the best advice I can give you when planning any vacation is the old travel adage “bring half the clothes and twice the money.”
Find me on Twitter @GSBrown
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My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.
How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.
Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.
Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.
First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.
First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.
Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.
My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.