Friday, 25 July 2014

Disney Cruise Line

This is a guest post by the very lovely Emma from the blog From Aldi to Harrods. If you have never seen her blog, please check it out as she has brilliant money saving tips on her blog.

I'm a very frugal person, so I'm always looking for the best deal and I don't like parting with my money. However, as we were going to Orlando for 23 days over November and December last year, I decided to add on a 3 day Bahamas cruise with Disney Cruise Line. It wasn't cheap, at over £600 for a deluxe stateroom with a balcony, but it was possibly the best 3 nights of our lives. We loved it so much that we're going on a longer Disney cruise for our honeymoon. We sailed on the Disney Dream.

Disney Cruise Liner photo from Shutterstock

The first thing to remember with a Disney cruise (as with most cruises) is that the price is all inclusive of food, drinks (not alcoholic) and entertainment, but it doesn't include tips. At the moment these are $12 per guest, per day, and considering the service that you're provided with, I doubt you'd want to quibble this. Disney offer exceptional service, and alongside the great food you also get live Broadway style Disney shows each evening, and a cinema - Disney own a lot of the film companies, so when we were sailing both Thor 2 and Frozen were showing on the ship - the same time as the cinemas.

Things to do

The Disney Dream entered service in 2011 and has 1,250 staterooms available. The ship still has a very new feeling to it, and the lobby in particular was stunning and finished to a high standard. There is a wide range of activities available, including the cinema showing the latest Disney releases, 9 hole mini-golf, fitness suite, sport courts, a range of swimming pools and even an adults-only Quiet Cove pool with a pool bar. There is also a large screen on the funnel of the ship, playing Disney films called Funnel Vision.

Alongside all of this, Disney Dream has the AquaDuck, the first water roller coaster at sea. It is a 765-foot long waterslide that goes over the side of the ship and plunges those brave enough to ride into the lazy pool at the end.

In the room

Our stateroom was lovely. Located on deck 8, the air conditioned room had a queen sized bed, a large flatscreen tv playing Disney films on demand, a sofa, desk and vanity area with a hair dryer and postcards, a coffee table/storage unit hybrid, a fridge and wardrobe space for both of us to have separate wardrobes. The bathroom is in two rooms - the toilet and a sink in one, with the shower/tub combo and sink in another. It definitely made getting ready much quicker. The balcony was a fair size, equipped with a small table and two chairs.

Castaway Cay

One of the main reasons for picking a Disney cruise over any other cruise was the stop off at DisneyĆ­s private Island, Castaway Cay (pronounced key). Although other cruise lines are cheaper, we opted for the DCL because of DisneyĆ­s own private island, Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests where you can enjoy everything from laying on the adults only Serenity Bay to snorkeling. The island hosts beautiful white sandy beaches with clear water, alongside two shops, two beaches (Castaway Family Beach for families and Serenity Bay Beach for adults), 2 water play areas, open air BBQs served by the ship's chefs and some great excursions. It was lovely to go swimming in the clear sea.


Dining choices on the Disney Dream are among the best I have experienced. Each night you can attend a formal meal (although dressing up is not required) with other guests. If you prefer to dine on your own then you can ask at Guest Services. There are three restaurants to choose from, and Disney offer rotational dining,†so each night you will move to the next restaurant with your servers. There are also two adults only restaurants, but these come with a surcharge. If formal dining isn't you thing, or you're just hungry later on, there are plenty of other restaurants to visit, ranging from cheeseburgers to a world cuisine buffet. And if you're still hungry, there's always room service.


There are 11 nightclubs and lounges on Disney Dream, and they each have their own theme. My favourite was "Pink", an adult's only champagne bar. Skyline is also worth a visit, as each night a different city is featured.

Other observations

Being a Disney cruise, there were a lot of children on the ship. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but it seemed that a lot of the parents relax their parenting whilst on the cruise - perhaps because there weren't many places their child(ren) could run off to. We both found that the children were much more unpleasant than we had seen at Disney. You can, of course, skip going past the children's pool to get around the ship, but they were still around at dinner time. The adult's only area of the ship wasn't well policed, and a lot of children were walking through the area.

How to save money

There are plenty of cheaper cruises on the market, so only pick a Disney Cruise if it is something you will enjoy. There are very few savings to be made with Disney Cruise Line, but here are some suggestions:

  • If you have sailed with Disney Cruise Line before, and you book your next cruise whilst on board, you will get a 10% discount.
  • Shop around for different months - if we went on honeymoon straight after our wedding next year, the cruise would be £1,000 more than going a few months after the wedding.
  • You won't get money off (Disney don't allow it), but you can haggle with travel agents to get some onboard credit applied to your room. We booked through Virgin, who originally quoted us over £800. I mentioned how much Disney did the cruise for, and they instantly dropped their price to match Disney.
  • Take your own alcohol on board - we bought some flavoured vodka from Walmart for $0.99 for two measures, and these were great in our room for a late night drink.
  • Don't pay for expensive port parking - Park N  Cruise offer daily parking at half the cost of the port's parking. They offer a free shuttle bus to and from the ship.


  1. I'm so glad I came across this wonderful overview. My husband and I have never been on a cruise so this is nice to see what all can be done and money saving tips :)

  2. This is on my bucket list. I would love to go on a Disney cruise. I know they now sail around Europe so you don't have to travel as far. Great write up.

    1. I never knew they now visit Europe as well!

  3. We have never been on a cruise, but this sure makes me want to even more. Definitely one for the bucket list!

    1. I love the idea of a cruise, but I would worry I would feel seasick.

  4. My parents have been on quite a few cruises, although I've never been on one. I can't decide if it appeals to me or not. A Mediterranean cruise would probably suit me better

    1. I love the idea of visiting all those place in the mediterranean

  5. This sounds idyllic. I would love to go on a cruise one day

    1. Hope you get the chance to go one day Angela.

  6. I'm a big DCL fan, have sailed with them many times over the years including through the Panama Canal and around the Med. I'm sailing to Norway and Iceland with them this summer!

    I love, love, love being able to visit different destinations without having to pack and unpack all the time, I just go to sleep and wake up the next day in another cool city :D

    Some people aren't keen on having only a 6-7 hours in port, but I just look at it as being a taster - I figure if I visit somewhere on a cruise that I really want to see more of, I can go back another time on a land trip :)

    1. I would love to go to Iceland Penny. Sounds like you really enjoy DCL!


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