Planning a Disney Cruise can be overwhelming: deciding where to go, what ship to sail on, the length of cruise, when to go, and what excursions to partake in can be enough to make you reevaluate your sailing dreams. Take a deep breath and evaluate these six important considerations when deciding on the right cruise for you:
Ports of Call and Cruise Itineraries
First, consider the cruise ports of call and overall itinerary. There are many different destination options, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Alaska, Europe, Transatlantic, and more. For some people, visiting Disney’s private Bahamian island Castaway Cay is a must-do. For others, the destinations don’t really matter at all. Do you have an ideal cruise locale? Do you want to visit new places? Do you want to do a combo land and sea vacation, where you can experience a Disney cruise and a Walt Disney World vacation? Also worth noting: some itineraries are rare, so if there is a specific cruise itinerary you have your heart set on, book it as soon as you can.
Next, ask yourself where do you want to cruise from? Disney has a mix of 13 U.S. and international departure ports including:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dover, England
- Galveston, Texas
- Honolulu, Hawai’i
- Miami, Florida
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- New York, New York
- Port Canaveral, Florida (Bahamas/Caribbean)
- San Diego, California
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Vancouver, Canada
Do departure ports matter to you? For some travelers, choosing a departure point close to home is a must, as it will save them money on airfare. Departure ports can also provide an extra level of vacation fun. Always wanted to visit The Big Apple? How about combining a long weekend in New York with a Disney cruise? Two vacations in one! Keep in mind that some ships only depart from certain ports during specific times of the year, which may factor into when you can book your cruise.
Ideal Cruise Dates
Speaking of booking dates, when is your ideal cruise time? Are you looking to travel over the summer when the kids are out of school? Are you looking to escape the cold winter with a Caribbean cruise? Do you have a specific time of year when you can or cannot take time off? Dreaming about celebrating Christmas or Halloween on the high seas? Interested in immersing yourself in a Star Wars– or Marvel–themed cruise? Tip: holiday- and specialty-themed cruises only sail certain dates and on specific itineraries, so keep that in mind.
How long do you want your cruise vacation to last? Disney Cruise Lines offer a wide variety of cruise lengths ranging from 2-Night cruises all the way to 14-Night Cruises. When thinking about cruise length, also take into consideration how many at sea days vs. in port days a particular sailing has.
Do you have a preferred ship you would like to cruise on? Currently Disney has four ships in its fleet: The Magic, The Wonder, The Dream, and The Fantasy. While some ships have overlapping amenities, entertainment, and dining options, there are also some offerings that are ship-specific. Do any of the ship-specific amenities appeal to you?
Are excursions, or port adventures in Disney-speak, important to you? Do you want to experience a certain activity in a specific location? If so, it is important that you research the excursions in each port before deciding on a final itinerary.
Knowing what you and your travel party’s preferences are will help you narrow down which Disney Cruise is right for you.
Born with the "D" gene and happily passing it along to my son. Still mad that I can't wear my Minnie ears 24/7. Love Dole Whips and Mickey Pretzels with plastic cheese, but think Turkey Legs are overrated. Lives on Long Island, NY but looks forward to annual pilgrimages to WDW.