You’re ready to set sail on a Disney Cruise! But how you choose an itinerary? And how do you choose a room? There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a Disney Cruise and we are here to help you with that. Here’s our tips for choosing a Disney Cruise itinerary and stateroom.
How do I choose a Disney Cruise?
A Disney Cruise vacation can be a big investment, but it can also be one of the best vacations you’ve ever taken! Choosing a Disney Cruise should be fun, not stressful! The first things to consider are your budget, where you want to go and how long you’d like to be gone. Once you decide these things, it’s a little easier to start narrowing down your options. If you feel overwhelmed by the process of choosing a cruise, feel free to contact a Disney Travel agent who can help you book and plan everything to make your life easier.
Decide on a Budget for your Disney Cruise
First decide on a budget for your Disney Cruise. This will likely be one of the biggest determining factors when choosing your Disney Cruise. Keep in mind when setting a budget that there are other costs included that are outside of your cruise fare. Travel insurance, cruise ship gratuities, transportation to and from the port, excursions, alcohol, WiFi and other expenses should all be taken into consideration when deciding on a budget.
Choose a Disney Cruise Destination
Choosing a Destination for your Disney Cruise
Next is the fun part! Decide where you’d like to go! This may seem like a more difficult question than it is. But we recommend asking yourself, why a cruise? Are you more interested in staying on the boat? Or are you more of an adventurer who wants to explore? Are you a bit of both? If you’re mostly intrigued by staying on the boat, then sometimes a simple Bahamas cruise may be your best bet. You can usually find a good deal on these cruises and many people don’t spend a ton of time at the Bahamas port. Or if you’re able to cruise out of New York City, there is a Bermuda itinerary a couple times of year that sails to and from Bermuda, with mostly sea days and only one or two days at port on a 5–6-night cruise.
There are plenty of destinations to choose from. And a good place to start is to figure out what you want to do on your cruise. Some itineraries are best for relaxing and others for exploring and adventure.
Decide how long you want your Disney Cruise to be
Along with deciding a destination, choosing a length of your trip goes hand in hand. Some itineraries are only offered for specific lengths of time. For example, it takes a long time to get to the Virgin Islands, so if you want to cruise there, be ready for about a weeklong cruise. Other destinations like Baja Mexico from San Diego or the Bahamas from either Port Canaveral or Miami, are both shorter trips so you can easily find shorter cruises for these. A transatlantic cruise with Disney Cruise Line will almost always be close to 2 weeks, and Alaska cruises are never shorter than 5 nights. You get the point.
The length of the trip may determine the destination. Or it may be the other way around. We personally love the longer cruises; but we know some people may not have that much time off of work or school, or just don’t want to be gone that long.
How to choose which ship to sail in with Disney Cruise Line
If your main goal is just to sail, then you’re in luck! You can choose from pretty much any ship you want to sail on. If you’re sailing so that you can go somewhere and experience a destination, then you will be bound to whatever ship is taking you there. Sometimes there are a few different ships to choose from for each itinerary. But many of them have specific routes that they take, and that may be your only choice. You can read our guide to the Disney Cruise ships here.
Comparing Staterooms on a Disney Cruise
Now that you’ve selected a cruise, it’s time to pick a room! Your budget may determine what kind of room you are able to get on the cruise you’ve chosen. But if you’re not bound to a specific budget, there are several categories to choose from. Inside, Oceanview, Verandah and Concierge are all types of rooms to consider. The rooms on a Disney Cruise are generally called staterooms or cabins.
Inside rooms tend to be a little smaller. And on some ships, they have what’s called a magical porthole. This is essentially a digital “window” that looks out into the “ocean” Sometimes you can spot characters through the magical porthole, so this can be a fun one for kids.
Oceanview Rooms typically come in two sizes, and can come with either one or two portholes. Usually, the staterooms on the lowest levels, generally deck 1, will have two small portholes. And rooms higher up have one large porthole. We definitely recommend the large porthole if your budget allows, as the smaller portholes are not as scenic. The larger portholes are also nice because they’re big enough that you can sit in them too! Here’s an example of a Disney Cruise Oceanview Stateroom: Disney Wonder Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom 2510.
Verandah rooms come in several different styles. A Navigator’s Verandah is a closed-in balcony, with a large open porthole. These have benefits as well as drawbacks. They’re usually the cheapest verandah staterooms and can be nice if you’re traveling somewhere rainy or cold. But they also have an obstructed view since you can only see out of the porthole.
A white wall verandah has a white “wall” along the bottom of the balcony up to the railing. You usually need to stand to see the full horizon in these types of rooms, but they are slightly cheaper than full verandahs. A full verandah has a clear “wall” from the floor to the railing so you can fully see out even when inside your stateroom. Here’s an example of a Disney Verandah Stateroom: Disney Wish Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah 6162.
Concierge rooms are full verandahs that also come with concierge planning services. This is the ultimate luxury experience for Disney Cruisers and is also the most expensive. If it’s not clear on the room description, feel free to Google the exact stateroom, as there are many websites that have catalogs of stateroom photos.
How to Choose a Deck on a Disney Cruise
After you’ve decided what kind of room you’d like to stay in during your Disney Cruise, next you’ll need to decide which deck. Again, this is something that could be determined by your budget. But if not, then you get to pick! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a deck. Will you be spending a lot of your time by the pool on the upper deck? Then you may want to be closer to the top. Are you planning to do mostly indoor activities, like kids’ clubs, trivias or activities like towel folding? Then likely the middle decks (2-6) are a good fit for you.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a deck is looking at what will be below and above you. If you are an early to bed type, you’ll likely want to steer clear of anything directly above or below the lounges onboard. And if you’re sensitive to the little voices of children, you may not want to avoid being directly above or below the kids’ clubs as some children are dropped off quite early. If you’re a light sleeper, you might want to avoid being on deck 2 or lower at the aft, because on port days, the engine can be quite noisy when docking. There are other things to consider, but these are some the most prominent things that could disrupt your vacation, so keep them in mind!
Comparing Aft, Mid and Forward on a Disney Cruise
Another determining factor for choosing a stateroom is where exactly on the boat you want to be. You’ll feel the most movement on the Forward of the ship. If you’re prone to seasickness, you may want to avoid the front of the ship. And again, if you want to be close to something specific, like the elevators, you’ll want to take a look at the deck plans before selecting your room. Most of the ships, with the Disney Wish excluded, have elevators at the aft, forward and right at midship. So, if this is something you need or want, check the deck plans first.
For reference, aft refers to the back of the ship (think afterward), midship is the middle and forward is the front of the ship. Easy, right?!
Comparing Port Side and Starboard Side
Just more fancy ship lingo, Port side refers to the left side of the ship when facing toward the front and Starboard refers to the right side. Neither one is technically better than the other. And this is especially true if you’re on an inside room. But if you’ve spent the extra money on a Verandah or even an Oceanview, you may prefer one over the other. Every itinerary will be different, but most of the time, Port side faces the port at which you’re docked. Which means it’s usually the less pretty side of the ship. This is another instance where google can be your best friend! So many people have so many opinions that they love sharing online, that you’re sure to find reviews of which side of the ship is better for specific itineraries.
How to choose a Disney Cruise Stateroom if you get seasick
How do you know if you’ll be one of the unlucky ones to get seasick? Well, unfortunately, you usually don’t. It’s why we always recommend packing something for seasickness just in case. But if you tend to get motion sickness, then it’s very possible you’ll get a similar reaction at sea. Some people adjust to it and get their sea legs over time; but if you’re concerned about seasickness, there are a few choices you can make regarding your room selection that can help.
Generally, the middle of the ship will feel the least amount of movement. But it’s also the most expensive area to stay on a Disney Cruise. The aft is also a good choice for those prone to motion sickness but try to stay away from the very back of the ship. Also choose something on the lower deck. It really depends on the ship and the itinerary but generally anywhere deck 5 and lower should be pretty safe. The lower, the better. It’s also a good idea to book something with a window, like an Oceanview Stateroom or a Verandah. It may sound like strange suggestion, but trust me, your brain will appreciate the visual feedback from the window, which should help make you less motion sick.
Hopefully this post has helped you decide how to choose a Disney Cruise itinerary and stateroom! It can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never sailed with Disney Cruise Line before, but it’s well worth it!
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 .