How to Plan a Budget for a Cheap Disney Cruise Trip

How to Plan a Budget for a Cheap Disney Cruise Trip

If you’re looking at your Family Vacation Budget and wondering if you have enough for a Disney Cruise, let’s take another look. Is it possible to Plan a Disney Cruise on a Budget? While you may be thinking that a Disney Cruise is an expensive vacation, you may be surprised to realize that this kind of all-inclusive vacation actually may be budget-friendly. Dare we say it’s often cheaper than the parks? Here are all the things to consider when planning a Disney Cruise on a Budget and ways you can Save Money on Your Disney Cruise.

Okay, before we dive into how much a Disney Cruise costs, and what’s included and what’s not, let’s level-set. First, be sure to check out the ways you can Save Money on a Disney Cruise. That post gives you tips about buying discounted gift cards ( automatically saving you 5%), choosing the best rooms, and booking during special offers. Remember, that, unlike other vacations, Disney Cruises are often the cheapest when booked a year or more in advance. Blame it on inflation, but Disney Cruises rarely get cheaper closer to the sail date. It’s helpful to know that there are options for getting your final cost down once you see what you’re paying for. So, how do you Plan a Disney Cruise on a Budget?

Disney Cruise at Skagway Port

Disney Cruise Budget

A Disney Cruise Budget includes the following line items. From the basic Disney Cruise Vacation Package itself to all the EXTRA things you can pay for, if you want. Know that everything in addition to the package is up to you. You can easily explore port towns without booking cruise excursions. And you can easily get coffee from the drinks stations or at the restaurants. You don’t need to spend the extra 6 dollars a day for that. So, keep that in mind. A Disney Cruise without all the extras is still a pretty great cruise if you’re on a tight budget.

  • Disney Cruise Vacation Package
  • Specialty Drinks
  • Port Excursions
  • Specialty Classes
  • Nursery Childcare Services
  • Specialty Dining
  • Internet
  • Specialty Services
  • Tips on a Disney Cruise
  • Transportation
  • Tips for Tour Guides at Port
  • Souvenirs

Disney Cruise Line Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Vacation Package

Paid ahead of time, your Disney Cruise Vacation Package includes the bulk of everything you need to pay for on your cruise. For those NOT doing excursions at the port, drinking fancy coffees, or alcoholic drinks, utilizing the nursery service, or using spa services onboard, the package cost will be your entire cost for the cruise. No extra money is needed. Your Room, Food, and Entertainment are all included in this package.


There are some factors that affect your Disney Cruise Package Cost. Your room type, for example, is a huge factor in the overall cost of your room. As such we recommend reading up on How to Choose Your Disney Cruise Itinerary and Stateroom for an overview of options. And if you’re on a tight budget, it may be best to consider a Guaranteed Stateroom on a Disney Cruise instead, which allows Disney to choose your room for you. While that may seem risky, it is one of the cheapest ways to take a Disney Cruise.


Another factor is the destination. Obviously, a transatlantic 14-day cruise is going to be pricier than the 4-day Caribbean Cruise. That said, consider your itinerary wisely. If you’re on a budget, one of the cheapest Disney Cruises to take is to the Bahamas. A great cruise, you get one day at port and one day at Castaway Cay or Lighthouse Point. Plus, you’re still getting the experience of a Disney Cruise with excellent service, entertainment, food, and characters, for much cheaper than other destinations.

Time of Year

The time of year also plays a huge role in the cost of a Disney Cruise. The cheapest times to go on a Disney Cruise are mid-to-late January and early February, due to being low travel season. Also, you can find good deals for Cruises sailing in early May, ahead of the summer vacation crowds. The best and cheapest time to take a Disney Cruise tends to be September. And if you’re looking to take advantage of the Halloween on the High Seas Cruises or the Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise, both early November and early December see lower prices than later in each month.

Skagway Alaska on a Disney Cruise nassau bahamas

Disney Cruise Extra Costs

Here we’ll dive into the MAIN THINGS that will cost extra during your Disney Cruise Vacation. So, as you’re planning your Disney Budget, be sure to have a piece of paper, with these things jotted down. This will help you decide how much you want to allot for each. To get an idea of what a Disney Cruise includes, check out our Disney Alaska Cruise Itinerary for a full picture of days at sea and days on shore with a Disney cruise.

Port Excursions

When you Plan a Disney Cruise on a Budget the biggest expense outside of the Disney Cruise Package Cost are the Port Excursions. Offered at your Port Destination, there are excursions worth taking, and others you can skip. Most port towns are walkable, and near enough to the cruise ship that you can simply get off the boat and explore. No extra cost is needed. However, consider your location when making the choice to choose, or not choose excursions for your port days. However, keep in mind that often combining both shore excursions and free time at port can give you the best kind of vacation at a smaller cost.

Certain Excursions, like those on a Disney Cruise to Alaska, are often once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that offer a glimpse into the history of the location, or the marvels of the area. While Skagway, Alaska was very walkable, and we didn’t need an excursion, our White Pass Railroad and Scenic City Tour gave us so much Gold Rush History, that it would not have been the same without it. In the Bahamas, on the other hand, we had no interest in visiting Atlantis and were content exploring the churches, pirate museum, and beach.

Port Excursions are not included in your Cruise Package and are added to your Cruise Folio during your cruise, to be paid before disembarking. Often an attached credit card to your Disney Cruise account will simply be charged the day of your excursion, so be sure to have one attached. If adding excursions, be sure to peruse the excursion options before your Disney Cruise Port Excursion Booking Window opens.

Disney Adult Cruise Drinks on a Cruise

Specialty Drinks

From specialty coffees made at Cove Cafe, to any of the Coffee Bars on the Disney Wish, you can expect to pay about 5 dollars plus tip for your fancy coffee. While we love grabbing these when we cruise, if you’re buying coffee daily or for a couple of people in your family, the costs can add up. So, if we’re on a tight budget, we just skip this, and head to the drinks station instead for a Homemade Mocha, of the free coffee and hot cocoa.

Alcoholic beverages and specialty mocktails are also NOT INCLUDED in your Disney Cruise Package. This includes the drinks of the day and any drinks your order from the bars and Disney Lounges. Again, while we love trying the specialty drinks onboard, on trips where we need to save money, we just skip these and happily carry around our refillable tumbler instead.

Specialty Classes and Bingo

Another extra expense on a Disney Cruise is the specialty classes offered onboard. While almost all the Entertainment, Trivias, Craft sessions, and classes like Towel folding and Anyone Can Cook are FREE, there are some that come with a cost.  Specialty Classes are found in the Disney Cruise Navigator App, and are able to be added to your cruise before your sail, or while you’re onboard. You’ll know that these classes require a charge because you can have to register for them. They include Wine Tastings, Mixology Classes,  Drink Samplings, and more.

Bingo is another add-on you can play or not. Often about $40 for the base-level bingo cards, if you’re hoping to strike it rich while onboard the Bingo games can often pay out between 5k-10k dollars for the avid players. Mind you, if you’re planning to play, add this to your budget.

Disney Wish Cruise Activities for Kids

Nursery Childcare Services

The “It’s a Small World” nursery onboard Disney Cruise ships is a godsend to many parents. There is, however a fee for using these services. Typically about $9 per child for one hour, if you know you’ll be utilizing this during your cruise, read up on all the “it’s a Small World Nursery” details before you go, so you can plan accordingly.

Palo Restaurant on Disney Wonder

Specialty Dining

On a Disney Cruise, your food is included in your Disney Cruise Package Cost, with a couple of exceptions. On a Disney Cruise, meals at any of the Rotational Dining Restaurants, and any of the quick service counters on the pool deck, as well as Cabanas and Marceline Market are INCLUDED. This means your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are all covered.

Food NOT INCLUDED  on a Disney Cruise can be found at Palo and Remy, both Signature Dining Experiences that need to be booked in advance and paid for separately. And anything served at the Disney Lounges on a Disney Cruise is also not included. As such, meals, drinks, and appetizers at the specialty dining locations will be added to your Cruise Folio as an extra charge.


Ahhh, the joys of cruise Wi-Fi. It may come as a surprise, and disappointment to realize you DO NOT GET FREE WI-FI on a Disney Cruise. While this is devastating, we try to look at it as a good way to ensure we’re vacationing on our vacation, and not working. Still, it’s a darn nuisance to not have access to Wi-Fi. As a result, you can buy a Wi-Fi Package while onboard. Ranging from $15 to $90 typically, the Wi-Fi packages get you very sub-par Wi-Fi, which is MB based. Meaning, if you hoped to watch videos, play games or do anything more than send emails, and do some light internet searching, you may need another option.

Senses Spa Disney Cruise Line

Specialty Services

Certain services onboard like Spa Services, Hair and Nail services, massages, consultations, etc. all cost extra. Many need to be booked ahead of time, so you’ll be aware before you go, of just how much everything is going to be, plus tips of course. If you’re trying to save money, we’d recommend skipping these as many are more expensive than if you were to book similar services at home.

Coffee at the Disney wonder French Quarter Lounge

Tips on a Disney Cruise

One of the relatively mandatory extra expenses you are billed is tips. This is in addition to the amount of your Disney Cruise Package. Keep in mind that some tips, like the ones for the baristas at the coffee shop, and the spa service staff, are decided by you the moment you sign the credit card receipt and write that tip down. The mandatory tips, however, are tallied for you throughout your trip. This is helpful because it shows you the cost of the tips your Room Host, Server, Assistant Server, and Lead Server will receive.

Once you have this in hand, you can adjust those tip amounts as needed. But, the amounts given are industry standard, and if you don’t make modifications at the customer service desk, your card on file will be billed for those amounts before you disembark. Check out the Cost of Tips on a Disney Cruise for estimated amounts per night.

disney cruise line bus


Your transportation to and from the port is not included in your Disney Cruise Vacation Package. As such be sure to read our post on Transportation with Disney Cruise Line. This will give you a good idea of the cost if you’re combining a land and sea vacation, or parking and sailing.

Tips for Tour Guides at Port

If you have booked a Disney Port Excursion during your Disney Excursion, be sure to plan for Tour Guide Tips. No matter which port excursions you take, there is someone who is sharing their knowledge, time, expertise, and help during your time with them. While tips for guides vary depending on the type and length of the tour, people typically aim for between $5-$20 per tour guide. This varies depending on the role of the guide. And some tours have multiple guides that may need to be tipped. As such, we recommend making a list of any excursions you’re taking, and plan to have cash on hand accordingly.

Disney Alaska Cruise Merchandise


There’s always something to buy on a Disney Cruise. And depending on what kind of vacationer you are, this may be a budget item you take or leave. Since we’ve been on several cruises, and plan to go on several more, there is never a feeling of a “Must Have” for certain items in Disney Cruise Gift Shops. That said, if you’re heading to a unique destination, like a Disney Cruise to Alaska, then there are exclusive items for that cruise, you may want to get. Consider this when planning your budget. Are you going to get the $20 mug? Or a $60 blanket? If so, add it to your budget plan.

Coffee Places on the Disney Wish Cruise

What is Not Included in the Price of a Disney Cruise

When planning your Disney Cruise Budget, it’s important to consider how much extra you NEED to spend, above and beyond your cruise package. On our first cruise, we spent about $100 dollars on Tips. As Cast Member Tips were the only thing we “needed” to cover, we felt that vacation was a bargain. Mind you, we didn’t have anything special. No specialty drinks, dining, or service. We only had one day in the Bahamas and didn’t buy excursions. And simply skipped the other things that required more money. Here are the things not included on a Disney Cruise, that you may, or may not want to include in your budget. Check out our post on What’s Not Included on a Disney Cruise to help drive this list home.

  • Specialty Drinks
  • Port Excursions
  • Specialty Classes
  • Nursery Childcare Services
  • Specialty Dining
  • Internet
  • Specialty Services
  • Tips on a Disney Cruise
  • Transportation
  • Tips for Tour Guides at Port
  • Souvenirs

What is Included in the Price of a Disney Cruise

As mentioned before the things included in your Disney Cruise are your stateroom, all your dining, and entertainment. When you consider that any Disney parks vacation never includes food, that alone could give you pause. Especially as dining at a Disney park typically runs about 80-100 per person per day, that adds up. Luckily, on a cruise, all your meals are included in the price of the Disney Cruise Vacation. With the exception of specialty dining, alcohol, and fancy coffees.  Read more about What’s Included in the Price of a Disney Cruise.

Disney Cruise Cost

Okay, so how much does a Disney Cruise Cost? You may think this is a Disney Vacation out of reach but think again. If you’re planning out your Disney Cruise on a Budget, we can get you started with round figures. However, we highly recommend, just playing on the Disney Cruise Website, so you can add a number of people, preferred dates, destinations, and more to see what potential costs may be.

How Much is a Disney Cruise Per Person?

The price of a Disney Cruise depends on the number of people, room chosen, destination, and time of year. That said, on average the cost of a Disney Cruise per person ranges from $300-$600 per person, on average. Of course, suites and concierge levels are higher. This cost per person includes the room, food, and entertainment onboard. Check out What’s Included on a Disney Cruise for everything you’re Cruise Package includes.

Do you need extra money on a Disney Cruise?

That depends. Are you getting anything extra? The only “mandatory” extra charge you need to incur is the Tips for Cast Members we discussed early. And these are automatically taken out of the card you have on file. If you’re taking port excursions, drinking alcohol, buying souvenirs, etc. then yes, you need extra money.

Do you Need Cash on a Disney Cruise?

While you will not need cash or a credit card onboard a Disney Cruise Ship, it is beneficial to have for your ports of call. Mainly for tipping tour guides or paying for souvenirs. On board a Disney Cruise, everything is attached to your card on file, so if you charge anything to your room, it simply is added to your folio. Read all the details about Cash and Currency on a Disney Cruise.

Debarkation Day on a Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise Budget Totals

Okay, now for some number crunching. We’re going to throw some figures together so you can see what your budget number may look like. Keep in mind these estimates will be “estimates” based on what is on the Disney Cruise Website at the time of this writing. Also, these are retail rates and could be less if you book at a discounted rate or special offer. Estimated based on 4 PEOPLE room occupancy, Sailing in September, ( the cheapest month to sail). Be sure to check out the Disney Cruise Costs for Extra Activities so you’re prepared before you go.

  • Disney Cruise Vacation Package ( 4 People, Sailing in September)
    • 3- Night Bahamas from Miami- $3500
    • 5- Night Western Caribbean from Miami- $4500
    • 7-Night British Isles from Southampton, England- $5100
    • 7-Night Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral- $5500
    • 7-Night Alaska from Vancouver, Canada- $6400
  • Specialty Drinks
    • $7-$16 per drink, on average.
  • Port Excursions
    • $50- $4000 per person, depending on what you book.
  • Specialty Classes
    • $40- $120 per person, depending on what you book.
  • Nursery Childcare Services
    • $9 for the first child, $8 for any additional children, per hour.
  • Specialty Dining
    • $45 per person ( Brunch at Palo)- $125 per person ( Dinner at Remy) not including Chef’s Table, or Specialty Menus.
  • Internet
    • $12-$36 per day. More for each device. Can be purchased for the length of the cruise.
  • Specialty Services
    • $24- $499 depending on service. Ranging from a haircut to the Spa Suite Experience.
  • Tips on a Disney Cruise
    • $14.50 USD per night, per stateroom Guest, including infants and children.
  • Transportation
  • Tips for Tour Guides at Port
    • $5- $20 per tour guide
  • Souvenirs
    • $10 and up.

Planning a Disney Cruise Budget

As you can see, you have quite a bit of control regarding your Disney Cruise Budget. Skipping the extras can easily make this a budget-friendly vacation. Even just being mindful about choosing excursions, or which souvenirs you buy can have a huge impact. Whatever your plans we hope this post has given you a jumping-off point for planning. Be sure to read through all the ways you can Save Money on a Disney Cruise to help you get your best deals before and during your next Disney Cruise Vacation.

Planning a Disney Cruise Vacaiton Budget. Everything to know about How Much it Costs to Take a Disney Cruise.

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.