Disney Cruises are expensive. But Disney Cruises to Alaska? Really expensive. You can often find other cruise lines with the same itinerary for considerably less. But if you’re dedicated to Disney Cruise Line, there are some ways you can save money on a Disney Cruise to Alaska. Read on for all of our favorite money-saving tips!
Alaskan Disney Cruise
Our recent Disney Alaska cruise was probably one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. Though we would love to say this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s definitely one we’d do again if time and money allowed. They are expensive. And you can easily cruise another cruise line at a much cheaper price. But if you’re set on Disney Cruise Line as your Alaska cruise of choice, never fear. There are ways to make it more affordable! And we are here to share some of the best ways to save money on a Disney Cruise to Alaska.
How to Save Money on a Disney Cruise to Alaska
There are lots of ways to save money on a Disney Cruise to Alaska. We’ll start with the ones that will save you the most! Many people will say things like “skip Cove Cafe” and “buy the drink of the day”. Yes, these things will save you small amounts of money, and yes small amounts do add up. But the thing that’s going to save you the most money is when you can save on the actual cruise fare. Disney doesn’t tend to run a lot of discounts on their cruises in general. Especially now that cruising is back in full force and potentially more popular than it ever has been. But even though Disney Cruise Line doesn’t tend to have a ton of sales, it is possible to save thousands of dollars on your Disney Cruise using several different tricks.
Book your Disney Cruise in the shoulder season
The Alaska Cruise season runs from late May to late September. The cheapest times to book your Disney Cruise will be in the shoulder season, which includes May and September. As with all travel, the lowest prices are going to be when kids are in school. Not only will these cruises be more affordable, but so will flights and your hotel before or after your cruise. Obviously, this is a tough time to travel if you have school-age kids. Most people don’t want to pull their kids out of school right before the end of the year or right after it starts.
But that makes it a great time to go if you are a homeschool family, if you have preschool-age children or if you’re traveling without kids. These rates can save you thousands of dollars depending on the type of stateroom you choose. So keep it in mind if you’re trying to travel to Alaska on a budget.
Look out for Guaranteed Stateroom Rates
Guaranteed Stateroom Rates may just be the best-kept secret among Disney Cruise Line fans. Though these rates aren’t for the faint of heart, or for someone who may not be 100% committed to the trip they’re planning, they can save you a ton of money. And this goes for all Disney Cruises, not just the ones that go to Alaska. We have a full guide to booking Guaranteed Staterooms here. Take a look and see if it’s for you! Basically, just like a hotel, you choose the category and they assign you a room. There are other restrictions to this type of rate, but if you don’t have a strong preference for where your room is, it can be a great option. I’ve seen savings on Guaranteed Rooms anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Even recently, I found a Guaranteed Rate that amounted to about 50% savings. That’s huge!
These rates are only available on select cruises. And usually just on ones that they’re having a hard time filling. Lucky for you, the Disney Cruises to Alaska are often some of the most difficult for Disney to fill. So keep an eye out for Guaranteed Staterooms.
Book your Disney Cruise to Alaska with the onboard booking offer from a previous cruise
Even if you’re unsure of when you might take your next cruise, we always recommend booking the onboard offer if you are able to. The onboard booking offer allows you to save 10% off your next cruise. And only requires a $250 deposit. This is done easily in your Disney Cruise Navigator app. When you’re ready to book the cruise you want to use it on, just let your travel agent know and they can call in the itinerary for you. Or if you prefer to book on your own, you can call when you’re ready to select a cruise.
Since Alaska cruises are so expensive, you can easily save hundreds by booking it with the onboard offer. For the terms and conditions of the Disney Cruise onboard booking offer, click here.
Book your Alaskan Excursions directly
Disney Cruise Shore Excursions can be quite pricey in Alaska. And unfortunately, unlike some other ports, you may be used to, if you don’t book excursions, there might not be a whole lot to do. The port towns are easy to navigate, but you won’t really see the “real” Alaska by staying in town. We recommend trying to book at least a couple of excursions during your Disney Cruise to Alaska, so you can get out and see what Alaska is known for. To save some money on your excursions in Alaska, book directly! Yes, there are a few caveats to this. However, you can easily find reputable tour operators in the area. And many are the same you’d be using through Disney anyway. They’re just cheaper!
If you’re still unsure about booking directly, join a Facebook Group for Alaska cruises, or for your specific cruise. Many members here can make recommendations based on their own personal experiences. And also makes you feel more comfortable about booking outside of Disney.
Skip the Verandah on your Disney Cruise to Alaska
While this may be a controversial topic amongst many Disney Cruisers, skipping the verandah can save you thousands. For our Disney Alaska Cruise, which was in early June, it was about $3000 less for our party of 3 to get a porthole rather than a navigator’s verandah. A regular verandah would have cost us an additional $4500 over what we paid for our Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom. And for us, we wouldn’t have used it nearly enough to justify that kind of cost. It was usually too cold and windy in the mornings and evenings. We were often busy during the day and were rarely in our room. Now if you don’t plan on being busy, or if you’re going during a time when the weather might be warmer, then it’s quite possible you can get your money’s worth booking a verandah. Just keep in mind, that that’s not always the case. So don’t let anyone online make you feel like it’s a must.
Obviously, getting a verandah has its perks. Like having access to fresh air quickly and giving you a larger room in general. And many people love being able to see the scenery from their balcony. But if you don’t need the extra space, and really just want to save some money, booking an Inside Room or Oceanview Room with a porthole can be one of the biggest savings you’ll find.
Book Through a Travel Agent
Planning a Disney Cruise to Alaska can be a lot! So booking your Disney Cruise to Alaska through a travel agent definitely has its perks. They can arrange hotel stays before and after your cruise for you, and help secure adult dining options, the Royal Gathering, and other onboard activities. They can help you with transportation options and help you choose your excursions. But one of the biggest perks is that it doesn’t cost you anything to use one. They can monitor your cruise and find you the best deals. Many travel agents offer onboard credit with cruise bookings, meaning you’ll have a little extra to spend on things like excursions, beverages, and more.
Buy what you need Beforehand
Packing for a Disney Cruise to Alaska can be a daunting task. Trust us, you’ll be tempted to book everything but the kitchen sink! But having a packing list for Alaska and preparing for things you’ll need before your trip can save you a ton of money. Need Seabands for seasickness? You can find them pretty cheap on Amazon. You can also find them onboard the cruise for about 3 times the price. Want binoculars for watching wildlife? We love this pair of binoculars for your Alaska Cruise for $35. If you don’t bring them, plan to spend around $100-$150 onboard.
You can find everything we recommend packing for a cruise to Alaska in this post. We hope it helps!
Those are just some of the ways you can save a lot on a Disney Cruise to Alaska! For more tips on saving on Disney Cruises, see this post. We share a lot of different ideas that can save you money regardless of where you want to travel next!
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 .