A vacation with Disney Cruise Line can be expensive. Especially when compared to other cruise lines, they are some of the most expensive cruises you will find. While it might seem impossible to save money on a Disney Cruise, it’s really not! You just have to know where to look. We’re sharing all about one of the most underrated ways to save money, Guaranteed Staterooms on a Disney Cruise.
Saving Money on a Disney Cruise
There are lots of ways to save money on a Disney Cruise. They might not all be available for every Disney Cruise. But if you’re planning to take a cruise anyway, you might as well see what’s possible. We have a whole post dedicated to saving money on a Disney Cruise. And one of the best ways to save money is by booking a Guaranteed Stateroom.
What is Guaranteed Stateroom on a Disney Cruise?
Guaranteed Staterooms are a bit of a mystery to most. They’re not for everyone, but they can save you a ton of money. The way that they work is, you choose the category of your room, and Disney chooses the room. Easy right? Well, it does get a little more complicated with that, as there are restrictions and rules that go along with it. But if you’re ok with not choosing your room, then this may be a great solution for you when it comes to booking a Disney Cruise on a budget. Think of it like booking a hotel. You don’t get to choose your room, the hotel does. It’s the same idea.
A lot of people like being able to choose their exact room on a Disney Cruise. They like to be able to pick how close they are to the places they spend the most time. And they want to see if there are any potential issues with their room beforehand. Some people have a favorite deck. Others have a room they’ve previously stayed in that they want to return to. The Guaranteed Stateroom rate takes all of this away. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though! Especially if you’re a first-time cruiser, who may or may not have any preference in the matter. The times we’ve stayed in a Guaranteed Stateroom, we’ve been happy with our room. And in one case, we were even upgraded! This is probably more rare of a situation but it can happen.
You choose the category you want, for example an Inside, Oceanview or Verandah, and Disney assigns the room. Sometimes there is an option to choose more specific room types, like a Deluxe Family Oceanview stateroom, but this isn’t always the case. It just depends on what Disney is offering at the time!
How to find a guaranteed stateroom on a Disney Cruise
Guaranteed Staterooms are not available on every Disney Cruise. Disney actually uses this as a way to attract guests on cruises that they may be having a hard time filling. So, if you want to cruise to Alaska in May, which is considered the slower portion of the Alaska cruising season, you may be able to find a Guaranteed Stateroom. Or maybe you’re looking for a cruise to the Caribbean during Hurricane Season, a Guaranteed Stateroom may be available. The same goes for any cruise sailing out of a port that isn’t Port Canaveral. Disney sometimes has a hard time filling these types of cruises, and so they introduce the Guaranteed Stateroom offer.
To find a Guaranteed Stateroom, select the cruise you’re interested in on the Disney Cruise Line website. From there, select the type of stateroom you’d like. When you reach the screen, you’ll be able to see if a Guaranteed Stateroom is available for that sailing. They usually don’t become available until the sail date gets closer, but I’ve seen them pop up as early as 6 months out. Usually these are easier to find when the date gets closer to the 4-month sail date, as this usually constitutes it being a “last minute” cruise. From my experience, once that final payment date has passed for guests already booked on the Cruise, that’s when Guaranteed Staterooms start to show up.
Restrictions of a Guaranteed Stateroom on a Disney Cruise
Guaranteed Staterooms aren’t for everyone. Not only do you not get to choose your room, but there are also a lot of rules. One of them being that once you get assigned your room, you can’t change it. Full payment is due at the time of this type of booking. And the fare is non-refundable. Now if you get the Vacation Protection Plan, or another form of travel insurance, you may be able to be able to recoup the costs should you need to cancel. You’ll also have to pay in full upfront regardless of how far ahead of time you’re planning your cruise.
In addition to that, the offer isn’t able to be combined with other offers. So, if you were hoping to use your 10% off a future cruise onboard offer from a previous cruise, this type of fare isn’t eligible for that. The offer is also only available for new bookings. So, you can’t take an existing reservation and have it switched to a Guaranteed Rate without penalty.
How much can I save with a Guaranteed Stateroom on Disney Cruise?
It varies! You can save hundreds, and sometimes even thousands. Yes, thousands of dollars, I’m not kidding! The Guaranteed Stateroom we previously booked was over $2000 cheaper than the same category stateroom if we had chosen our room. These rooms may not be for everyone, but if you’re willing to take the risk, it can really pay off.
You can see a few examples of the savings you can get with Guaranteed Rates in the photos above.
Who shouldn’t book a Guaranteed Stateroom Rate?
Like we said, this rate is not for everyone. If you’re traveling with a large party and would like your rooms to be close to each other, then you’ll be better off booking specific rooms. If you need a wheelchair accessible room, then you’ll also want to make sure you can secure that type of room without leaving it up to Disney. And if you have a specific thing that’s non-negotiable, like being on deck 8, or having a large verandah, then you’ll also want to skip out on this type of rate. Lastly, keep in mind, these rates tend to fall more on the last-minute side of things. If you need to give your job a lengthy notice for time off work, then you’re best off booking a cruise on a date you know works for you, rather than waiting to see if the sailing of your choice ends up having this type of savings available.
Overall, if you’re not someone who needs to plan your vacations really far out, and don’t really care about where you stay on your Disney Cruise Vacation, then a Guaranteed Stateroom with Disney Cruise Line is a great way to get onboard for less. Being able to save that much on your rooms means more money for port excursions, onboard fun or even just more money in the bank. For some, it could even mean the difference between being able to go or not. And to that, we say book the Guaranteed Stateroom.
Have you ever stayed in a Guaranteed Stateroom? Were you happy with your room assignment? Let us know, we’d love to hear about your experience!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .