Sailing the Seas with Disney Cruise Line is a slightly different kettle of fish than booking your standard Disney theme park getaway. There are different timings for everything from booking your cruise, to selecting excursions and even managing payment and cancellation deadlines. Here at Disney Addicts we’ll help you keep things straight with our run-down of important Disney Cruise Lines deadlines.
When can I book my Disney Cruise? If you’ve paid a visit to Walt Disney World before you know that vacation packages will typically become available 365 days or less. In addition, should you book a Walt Disney World vacation as soon as packages are released, you’ll be booking at the full-priced rate with discounts being released the closer you get to your departure date. With Disney Cruise Line it kinda works in reverse. The early prices are typically the cheapest the you may see. Then as the ship starts to fill up for that particular sailing the prices will go up. There will also be less stateroom availability forcing potential cruisers into slightly higher price points. So get in as early as you can, it’s easy with DCL as itineraries go on sale well in advance. Here’s a rundown of itinerary openings for 2017 into 2018 to give you an example.
- January- April 2017– The bookings for early 2017 cruises opened up in October 2015
- May – September 2017 – Itineraries that fall within these dates went on sale in April of 2016
- October – December 2017 – Cruisers were able to book for these dates starting in May of 2016.
- January – April 2018- This will be the next round of itineraries released. These are expected to go on sale in October 0f 2016.
When can I book my on-board and shore excursions? This depends largely on whether or not you have cruised before. Disney Cruise Line has a loyalty scheme called he Castaway Club that rewards visitors every time you cruise. The more you cruise, the better the perks with frequent visitors getting nice benefits like the ability to skip the long lines at check-in, welcome gifts as well as on-board booking offers. Probably the biggest perk of the program is the ability to lock-in your excursions well in advance allowing you to take your pick of the amazing offerings without the fierce competition. This includes port adventures, adult dining and spa treatments. However, if you’re new to cruising it also means that you must take your place at the end of the queue with your booking dates coming later. The windows to book excursions are as follows:
- Platinum Castaways (these are people that have been on 10+ cruises) get to book their excursions at 120 days out.
- Gold Castaways (5-9 cruises) are able to book their excursions at 105 days before sailing.
- Silver Castaways (1-4 cruises) can book in their extras at 90 days.
- New Cruisers will need to wait until the 75 day mark to make their inaugural bookings.
Guests also have the ability to wait and book their excursions when they arrive on-board. However, it should be noted that availability particularly with the more popular activities will be severely limited.
When do I need to make my final payment? Again, when it comes to Disney World vacation packages they need to be paid off before the 30 day mark to avoid cancellations. With Disney Cruise Line it varies slightly depending on length of cruises and the type of stateroom that you are booked into. Here’s a brief breakdown:
- Cruises of 1-9 days leaving from a US port will have a final payment due 75 days before departure.
- Cruises of 1-9 days that fall during holiday periods (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, 4th of July) or booked for concierge level staterooms (including Family Verendahs, 1 & 2 Bedrooms and Royal Suites) must pay in full 90 days in advance.
- Cruises of 6-9 nights leaving from a US port (including concierge level staterooms) will have a final payment due 90 days before departure.
- Cruises of 6-9 days that full during holiday periods must be paid 105 days out.
- Cruises of 10 nights or longer from a non-US port must be paid by the 120 day mark.
- Cruises of 10 nights or longer with concierge level staterooms must be paid for at least 150 days in advance.
What if I need to cancel my cruise? Like Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line has a pretty hefty window by which you must cancel your reservation to avoid penalty. However should you need to cancel for any reason after that window that penalties can be stiff. Here’s a break down of cancellation fees:
- Non – holiday cruises of 1-5 nights: 75+ days out – no penalty, 45-74 days out guests lose their deposit, 44 to 30 days out 50% of cruise is non-refundable, 29 – 15 days before departure at 75% is non refundable, 14-0 days 100% of cruise is non-refundable.
- Holiday cruises of 1-5 nights: 90+ days from sailing – a full refund, 89-65 days out guests lose their deposit, 64-43 days out 50% of the cruise is non-refundable, 42-15 days out 75% of the deposit is forfeit, 14-0 days 100% of cruise is non-refundable.
- Non- holiday cruises of 6-9 nights: 90+ days from sailing – full refund, 89-56 days out guests lose their deposit, 55 – 30 days out 50% of the cruise is non-refundable, 29-15 days out 75% of cruise is non refundable, 14 – 0 days 100% of the cruise is non-refundable.
- Holiday cruises of 6-9 nights: 105+ days out from sailing – full refund, 104-75 days from sailing guests lose their deposit, 74-43 days from sailing 50% of cruise is non-refundable, 42-15 days out 75% of cruise is non-refundable, 14-0 days out and 100% of the cruise is non-refundable.
- Cruises of 10 nights or longer (from any port): 120+ days out- full refund, 119-56 days guests lose their deposits, 55 to 30 days out 50% of cruise is non-refundable, 29-15 days out 75% of cruise is non refundable, 14-0 days guests lose the full cost of their cruise.
Guests not wanting to run the risk of losing their deposits due to a last minute cancellation should consider adding Disney Cruise Line Travel Insurance coverage on to their vacation package. In the event of a last minute cancellation, rather than forfeiting all of the money paid towards the cruise, guests will be able to use the amount paid toward another Disney Cruise Line sailing.
Do I need to book dining reservations in advance? It depends. Disney Cruise Line has a rotational dining service meaning that during your cruise you will be assigned a rotation allowing you to sample a different restaurant each night of your cruise. At the time of your booking you are able to select whether want the first seating starting at 5:45 or the second seating starting at 8pm. The rest is taken care of by Disney. However, if you are interested in taking advantage of one of the adult only dining experiences at Palo or Remy, you must book these in advance and can do so the same time you are able to book your port adventures/excursions.
When do I need to book the Disney airport transfer service? Disney has buses that will take you directly from Orlando International Airport or your Walt Disney World Resort to Port Canaveral for $35pp or $70 roundtrip. This service can be booked in at the time you are making your cruise reservation but can also be added to your package at any time up to 3 days before the start of your cruise.
There are so many Disney Cruise Line ins and outs for those new to the cruising game that hopefully we’ve helped make the process a wee bit easier. If you’re ready to take the leap and book in a Disney Cruise you can fill out our form below for a FREE quote.
Ready to sail the seas with Disney Cruise Lines? Why not work with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? Not only can I help you find your perfect cruise but I’ll also be on-hand to advise with port excursions, keep track of important deadlines and help you unlock all of the exciting things that you can do on-board. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. You’d pay the same as if you were to book directly with Disney Cruise Lines. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025, at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along on Facebook.
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