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Disney Cruise Lines
Topic: I want to take a cruise!!!

Wed 1/16/2013 3:57p
My wife and I have never taken a cruise, and I could never bring myself to go on vacation anywhere else but Disneyland...

But now I really want to take a cruise but there is so much uncertainty about it for us. We know how to plan a budget and the expenses to anticipate on our normal DL trips, but I'm not sure what to budget for a cruise.

So what incurs additional cost on the Disney Cruises? I know alcoholic drinks and such do. (I like to drink) What else? Are there some "upgraded" dining experiences that are additional cost? Any help you guys have on what incurs cost on the cruise would be helpful. We don't have all the money in the world at our fingertips, but I want to make sure we budget well and save enough money to have fun. If we wait till we can save enough to do EVERYTHING, we may never go. So your insights on what things are a must experience, and what things can be passed up are helpful also.

Wed 1/16/2013 4:31p
I don't know if my experience is typical, but having gone on three Disney Cruises in the last three years our extra charges average about $800. That includes drinks (I also like having a few), gratuities, photos, souvenirs, etc. We probably spend about $300 each trip on souvenirs and gratuities run about $120. Surprisingly what runs up the total the most is the photos... EXPENSIVE!
Thu 1/17/2013 6:57a
Thanks, Road trip. And is that for you and your spouse? That's not too bad!
Thu 1/17/2013 7:24a
<<Are there some "upgraded" dining experiences that are additional cost?>>

Palos is the standard upgrade option on all 4 ships. It is an Adult Exclusive restaurant (over 18s). The upscale is $20 per person now. The champagne brunch is still the most popular option but the dinner service is pretty good too. Jackets are required.

Remy is the other option but it is only on the Fantasy and Dream. It is exceptional - Michelin starred quality (I'm sure in a few years it will get at least one star). The upscale charge is $75 per person but it is a wonderful experience. The dining room is absolutely stunning too.

On the two newer ships there is also a great little bar between the two called Meridian that anyone can use. A nice quiet oasis.
Thu 1/17/2013 7:26a
The other chargeable activities are the excursions. Some do sell out in advance so it is important to pick them as soon as you know your itinerary.
Thu 1/17/2013 8:36a
What is a price range on the excursions?
Thu 1/17/2013 12:34p
You definitely CAN take a cruise without spending extra (other than the gratuities, don't forget to budget those in). But here's where we spend our money;

1) Internet. Even when cruising I have to be connected and that's always my biggest expense. Hopefully you can skip this one.

2) Photos. We never plan to buy so much, but they do such an incredible job we always do.

3) Food and Drink: We always do Palo (usually brunch) and enjoy buying a few drinks and smoothies here and there. They add up.

4) Souvenirs: Other than pictures we don't buy much - maybe a t-shirt or something.

We usually stay on the ship so excursions aren't an issue for us but may be for you. Excursion prices can vary greatly from the pretty inexpensive ($20 or less per person) to the extremely expensive. So it's up to you.

Might also recommend when you're ready to book :)

Thu 1/17/2013 12:34p
BTW, you can look at short excursion options and prices here:

Thu 1/17/2013 12:51p
Thanks, Doobie!
Fri 1/18/2013 3:50p
My typical experience on DCL has been that we spend about $100 per person per day on a cruise in addition to the cruise fare, with the biggest expenses for me being souvenirs (I'm not as careful as Doobie when it comes to shopping), photo ops with the characters, and shore excursions. We usually end up doing at least one meal at Palo and participating in at least one booze seminar. Actually, it's a little easier for me to not spend as much on DCL, thanks to the free soft drinks - a Coca-Cola addict like me would get eaten alive on most other cruise lines!

Shore excursions will probably represent your biggest expense if you're not a Disney shopaholic, a spa fanatic, or a heavy drinker. In most ports, you can hire a tour bus at the entrance to the port, or you can look into websites that offer to book shore excursions independent of the cruise line, such as,, or It'll be cheaper than booking through the DCL Port Adventures desk, but you have to be careful not to miss the boat - unlike the excursions booked through the ship, the ship won't wait for you if you get back late from an excursion you do on your own.

Depending on the port, you can skip the shore excursions entirely and explore the port on your own on foot or by car, although many people don't care for running the gauntlets of local hawkers.

If you can deal with not using the Web while on the ship - which is no real sacrifice, because the ship's at-sea Internet connection is so bloody slow - there's usually an Internet cafe in the vicinty of the dock in most ports for the benefit of the crew. It'll cost, but not as much as it will on the ship. Some gift shops in the Caribbean will offer free e-mail/Internet for their customers, or offer it cheap - consider looking for such stores and going on the Web there. Use all the standard precautions when using a shared computer, of course!

As far as pictures, remember to BYOC - the pictures may not be as nice as the ones the ships' photographers take, but they'll definitely be cheaper, and there'll usually be a cast member at most photo ops willing to take a photo with your camera.

All times are Pacific Time (US)

Note: Information on the discussion boards is sometimes based on rumors or incorrect information and should not be assumed true. Messages do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or its editors.

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