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The Best Ways To Book a Disney Cruise in 2024 [With Expert Tips]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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Sailing on a Disney cruise is a dream vacation for many families. Beautiful ships, incredible destinations, and Disney-themed, family-friendly activities are a huge draw. But planning such an extraordinary — and expensive — vacation can be daunting, and every question seems to turn into a dozen more.

What are the best ways to book a Disney cruise to save money and get extra perks? When can you book shore excursions? What stateroom is the best for your family?

We get it, and we’ve been there. In this post, we’re going to detail the best ways to book a Disney cruise — some offer simplicity, while others include extra perks. Plus, we’ll show you how to earn points and miles on your cruise and how to use them to pay for your cruise. Finally, we’ll go over important predeparture details to remember once you’re booked.

Let’s set sail and explore Disney Cruise Line bookings!

The Best Ways To Book a Disney Cruise

Before booking your Disney Cruise Line cruise, gather the following important information to ensure a smooth booking process:

  • The itinerary you want to book
  • The number of people, including ages at the time of embarkation, in each stateroom
  • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and birthdates of each guest on the reservation
  • Payment information (a credit card, Disney gift card, or Disney Rewards Redemption Card)
  • Castaway Club member ID, if you have one

Book Direct With Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line Website
Image Credit: Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Cruise Line website is often the simplest way to book your cruise. It’s a one-stop shop that lets you quickly and easily book the best cruise for you.

You can filter the options by travel dates, destinations, departure port, and cruise length. This booking method is especially easy if you already know where you want to go or what ship you’d like to sail on.

If you’re not sure what room to book, Disney Cruise Line offers detailed looks at each ship’s stateroom options in the Our Ships tab online.

Disney cruise staterooms info
You’ll find details about each ship’s staterooms online. Image Credit: Disney Cruise Line

If you’re still not sure, just ask. According to Disney Cruise expert and planDisney panelist Tracie M., you shouldn’t hesitate to call Disney Cruise Line if you need guidance. She knows from personal experience what a great resource that can be.

“During my first voyage on the Disney Fantasy, the agent told me about a few staterooms on board that had extra-large windows. I never would have discovered this cabin on my own,” she told us.

Hot Tip:

You can reach Disney Cruises at 800-951-3532 or 888-325-2500 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

When you book your cruise directly through Disney, you can hold your reservation for up to 3 days without a deposit. Then you can confirm your reservation with a payment of (usually) just 20% of your cruise cost. The length of the cruise determines the date that your final payment is due — sailings up to 5 nights long require a final payment 90 days before the sail date, while cruises 6 nights or longer need to be paid in full 120 days before sailing.

Cancellation policies vary based on the specific itinerary.

Book Through a Travel Agent

Many people prefer to book Disney cruises through traditional travel agents. Finding an agent who specializes in Disney cruises is a great way to get personalized guidance when planning your vacation.

Hot Tip:

Even seasoned travelers love using travel agents to book Disney vacations since there can be many moving parts to keep track of. While booking a Disney cruise is more straightforward than booking a trip to a Disney park, many people still love using a travel agent to make things easy.

Online Travel Agencies

There are so many websites for booking cruises that it can be confusing to know which offers the best deals. We have found that most online travel agencies offer the same basic prices on cruises. The difference comes in the extras, like shipboard credit or bonus miles, that come with a booking. Here’s a quick look at some of the best places to book Disney cruises.

Costco Travel

Booking a Disney cruise through Costco Travel is great for Costco members. That’s because cruise bookings through Costco often come with a digital Costco Shop card as a bonus. The cruise price dictates the amount of the Shop card. For example, we found a 7-night Caribbean cruise on Disney Treasure (set to debut in December 2024) for 3 people in an oceanview stateroom with a verandah that cost $7,411.94 and came with a $590 Shop card.

Costco shop card with a Disney cruise
Disney Cruise Line bookings made through Costco Travel often include a shop card. Image Credit: Costco Travel

Bookings made through Costco Travel can be confirmed with a deposit or can be paid in full at the time of booking. Cancellation policies vary by cruise itinerary.

Cruise.com

Cruise.com is one of the only online travel agents that allows you to book Disney cruises online. Most other websites require you to book over the phone. We did multiple searches for different itineraries and found Disney cruises booked through Cruise.com were about $200 cheaper than booking directly through Disney Cruise Line. While this won’t always be the case, Cruise.com could be good for those looking to save money on a Disney cruise.

Cruise.com discount on Disney cruise
We found slightly lower prices on Disney cruises through cruise.com. Image Credit: cruise.com

Bookings made through Cruise.com must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Cancellation policies vary by itinerary.

CruiseDirect

CruiseDirect also allows online bookings for Disney cruises. We found the prices to be identical to those found directly through Disney. However, there were often small extras included, like a $100 Visa gift card and a Walt Disney World official autograph book. These bonuses vary by itinerary and sometimes require a bit of work to receive (for example, you need to fill out a request form after your cruise to get the Visa gift card).

Be sure to read the details of these bonuses carefully. You can see a bonus offering 10% off shore excursions in this example, but that discount only applies to shore excursions booked through CruiseDirect, not ones booked through Disney Cruise Line.

CruiseDirect Disney Cruise Line booking
Booking a Disney cruise through CruiseDirect often comes with extra perks. Image Credit: CruiseDirect

Bookings through CruiseDirect can be confirmed with a deposit, and cancellation policies vary by itinerary.

Airline and Hotel Cruise Booking Sites

If you want to earn a big chunk of airline miles or hotel points with your cruise booking, you may want to look to an airline or hotel cruise booking site.

The good news is that you have the opportunity to earn lots of miles by booking a cruise this way. The bad news is that each of these websites charges a $24.99 booking fee on each reservation, and you need to call to make a reservation. While we usually don’t recommend sites that charge a booking fee, sometimes the miles you earn outweigh the booking fee.

Book Through an Onboard-Only Offer

Lobby atrium on Disney Fantasy
You can save money on a Disney Cruise by booking through an onboard-only offer. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

If you’ve ever cruised before, you know that there’s always an incentive to put a deposit down on your next cruise before you disembark. It can’t hurt to do this because if you end up taking the cruise, you get a discount. If not, the deposit is refundable.

If you’ve never been on a Disney cruise but have friends who will be on one and are planning to put a deposit down on their next cruise, they can secure a second room using the onboard-only offer. Then they can transfer that second reservation to you, and you get the onboard booking benefit (both parties must travel on the same sailing.)

I took advantage of this trick for an upcoming Disney cruise, and it saved me 10% (which was about $700 for a 7-night cruise!) Our friends put a deposit down on a second room while they were on their last Disney cruise, and then they transferred that second reservation to us. We ended up with a Disney Cruise Line booking with a 10% discount.

Onboard-only offers generally just require a $250 deposit, which is fully refundable until you choose a date for your cruise (then the cancellation policy for your specific cruise applies), so there’s not much downside.

Hot Tip:

To insure or not to insure, that is the question. But seriously, is insurance really necessary, and which policy is best? We answer these questions in our guide to cruise travel insurance.

How To Book a Disney Cruise With Points and Miles

If you want to save money, you may be wondering if you can book a Disney Cruise with points. The answer is yes, but your options are limited. Plus, unlike using points to book hotels and flights, there’s no opportunity to get outsized value when using points for a cruise.

Capital One Miles (Best Way To Book a Disney Cruise)

One of the easiest and best ways to book a Disney cruise with points is by using Capital One miles. Simply book your cruise (through any method) using a card such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. Then use the miles in your account to redeem against your cruise purchase (within 90 days) at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

Capital One miles are easy to earn (many cards earn 2x miles on all purchases), so they are great for a wide variety of travelers.

Since this method doesn’t require booking through Capital One Travel, you can take advantage of any available sale or promotion, whether it’s directly through Disney or a traditional or online travel agency.

Hot Tip:

Disney cruises can’t be booked through AmexTravel.com, Chase Travel, or Citi Travel.

Alternative Ways To Book

Disney Fantasy in port
Use points to book a sailing on a Disney ship. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

There are additional ways to book Disney cruises with points and miles, although these don’t offer tremendous value. If you’re flush with points and really just want to go on a Disney cruise, then by all means, go for it. However, if your goal is to use your points and miles for the highest cents-per-point value, you may want to skip these.

You could book a Disney cruise with points through Marriott Cruises. This site allows you to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for a discount on your cruise. While that’s great news, the not-so-great part is that you’d only get 0.4 cents per point, significantly less than the 0.7 cents we value Marriott Bonvoy points at.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Number of Marriott Bonvoy PointsDiscount Certificate Awarded
63,000$250
125,000$500
250,000$1,000
625,000$2,500
1,250,000$5,000
Varies based on priceFree cruise

Another option is to use United MileagePlus Miles via United Cruises. You’d only get about 0.7 cents per mile in value instead of the 1.2 or so cents per mile you could get using them for flights. While the value isn’t great, if you’d rather go on a cruise than fly somewhere, it could be worth considering.

Using United Miles to book a Disney Cruise
You can use United miles to pay for a Disney cruise. Image Credit: United Cruises

What About the Disney® Premier Visa® Card?

Is the Disney Premier card the best option for booking a Disney cruise? Let’s take a look at it:

NEW OFFER
Disney® Premier Visa® Card

Disney® Premier Visa® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

2% back Disney Rewards Dollars at Disney, gas stations, grocery stories, and restaurants means more rewards dollars for Disney fans.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Disney® Premier Visa® Card

2% back Disney Rewards Dollars at Disney, gas stations, grocery stories, and restaurants means more rewards dollars for Disney fans.
Earn a $400 Statement Credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
$400
$49
19.24% - 28.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Mickey and his friends are like part of the family. Your kids can recite the words to everything from Aladdin to Toy Story. And there’s no question where you’re going on Spring Break (Space Mountain, anyone?).

As a premier Disney fan, you always have the Disney® Premier Visa® Card on hand. It earns you cash back and discounts at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and more.

Pros

  • Save 10% on select purchases at shopDisney.com when you use your card
  • Earn 5% in Disney Rewards Dollars on purchases at DisneyPlus.com, Hulu.com, or ESPNPlus.com
  • Earn 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on card purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney U.S. locations
  • Earn 1% on all other card purchases
  • Redeem Rewards Dollars for a statement credit towards airline travel
  • Get a one-year complimentary DashPass if activated by 12/31/24

Cons

  • Does not earn transferrable rewards
  • Has a foreign transaction fee
  • Earn a $400 Statement Credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% in Disney Rewards Dollars on card purchases made directly at DisneyPlus.com, Hulu.com or ESPNPlus.com. Earn 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on card purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney U.S. locations. Earn 1% on all your other card purchases. There are no limits to the number of Rewards Dollars you can earn.
  • Redeem Rewards Dollars for a statement credit toward airline purchases.
  • 0% promo APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages from the date of purchase, after that a variable APR of 19.24% - 28.24%
  • 10% off select merchandise purchases at select locations and 10% off select dining locations most days at the Disneyland® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort.
  • Save 10% on select purchases at DisneyStore.com
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.24% - 28.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Disney Rewards

This card comes with the following benefits:

  • 5% in Disney Rewards Dollars at DisneyPlus.com, Hulu.com or ESPNPlus.com
  • 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars from purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations
  • 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all other purchases
  • 10% off select merchandise purchases on Disney Cruise Line
  • 10% off a Castaway Cay Getaway Package
  • Special vacation financing when purchasing through Disney Cruise Line

Alternate Credit Card Recommendations

While those earning rates aren’t bad, there are plenty of other cards that can match or exceed them. Consider the Capital One Venture card, which earns 5x miles on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases. Plus, Capital One miles aren’t limited to Disney trips — they can be redeemed for any type of travel or transferred to hotels and airline partners.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)
  • Access to Capital One transfer partners

Cons

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Other good options would be cash-back credit cards. These cards earn cash-back rewards on all purchases, which can be used toward a Disney cruise, a trip to a Disney park, Disney gifts, or anything else. Multiple cards earn 2% cash-back or even 5% cash-back on everyday purchases, which could end up being more lucrative than using the Disney Premier card.

Bottom Line:

The Disney Premier card could be good for those who would rather save money for Disney trips than other types of travel, or it could make sense for those who want special financing arrangements. However, there are lots of alternatives that earn flexible points or cash-back that may offer a better return on everyday purchases.

How To Earn Points on a Disney Cruise

If you’d like to earn lots of points by booking a Disney cruise (and who wouldn’t want that?), there are plenty of options.

Of course, you could pay with the Disney Premier card to earn 2% back in Disney Dollars. Alternatively, you could use a card that rewards travel purchases. These cards all earn 3x points on all travel, including cruises:

Pay With Disney Gift Cards

A fantastic option that earns a lot of points is paying for your Disney cruise with Disney gift cards. These can be purchased at office supply stores or grocery stores — categories where you can easily earn 5x points or 5% cash-back.

Disney Gift Card at grocery store
You can earn tons of points by buying Disney gift cards, which can be used to pay for a cruise. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

Here are a few great options for purchasing Disney gift cards:

Hot Tip:

You can easily apply Disney gift cards to your online account as payment for a Disney cruise.

What To Do Once You’re Booked

If you’re a first-time Disney cruiser, you’re probably wondering what to do before your cruise begins. Here are a few important things to remember before embarkation day.

Disney Cruise Line online check in
Check in for your cruise 30 days before sailing. Image Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Check In for Your Cruise

Complete your paperwork and check in for your cruise to get your boarding time. Check-in for first-time cruisers opens 30 days before setting sail. If you’ve sailed with Disney Cruise Line previously, you’re automatically a Castaway Club member and can check in earlier than first-time cruisers (you climb tiers based on how many Disney cruises you’ve been on, from 1 to 25 or more):

  • Castaway Club Silver: Check-in 33 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Gold: Check-in 35 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Platinum: Check-in 38 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Pearl: Check-in 40 days before sailing.

Passports and Documentation

Double-check your specific itinerary’s document requirements. Some cruises require a passport, while others may not.

Book Shore Excursions and Extras

Be sure to book dining reservations, shore excursions, and any extras like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations early. The activity booking window for first-time Disney cruisers opens 75 days before sailing, while Castaway Club members get early access:

  • Castaway Club Silver: Book activities 90 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Gold: Book activities 105 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Platinum: Book activities 120 days before sailing
  • Castaway Club Pearl: Book activities 123 days before sailing

Disney Navigator Mobile App

We asked Disney Cruise Line for advice for first-time Disney cruisers, and their experts pointed us to the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app (iOS or Android).

“You will want to make sure you have the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app downloaded to your phone. From the comfort of your home, you can explore your ship, reserve cruise activities, and countdown to your vacation. Once on board, you can quickly access the daily activities, rotational dining details, and entertainment schedules. Consider it your ultimate guide to the magic!”

Tracie M, planDisney panelist for Disney Cruises

Luggage Tags and Packing

Be sure to look out for your Disney Cruise Line luggage tags, which will be mailed to you about 60 days before your sailing. If you don’t receive them or forget them, the porters at the dock will have plenty of extras.

When packing for your cruise, don’t forget to include fun extras like costumes for onboard celebrations (like Pirate Night). Leave your rubber ducks at home, however. Disney Cruise Line recently banned the tradition of hiding them around the ships.

Bottom Line:

Check out planDisney for answers to any additional questions about booking a Disney Cruise.

Final Thoughts

Booking a Disney cruise can be intimidating if you’re not sure where to get the best deal. As we’ve detailed, there are lots of options that provide simplicity, while others offer extra perks — you can even use points to pay for your Disney cruise. On top of that, you can earn lots of points or cash-back by using a great travel rewards credit card.

Whether you’re booking your first Disney cruise or your fifth, we hope you enjoy the magic at sea!

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you book a Disney cruise through Costco?

Yes, Disney cruises are bookable through Costco Travel. The prices tend to be about the same as those offered through Disney Cruise Line, but bookings through Costco often come with a Costco Shop card as a bonus.

When is the cheapest time to book a Disney cruise?

The lowest prices on Disney cruises (not to mention the best availability) are usually found when booking as soon as an itinerary opens for sale.

Can you book a Disney cruise with points?

Yes! The easiest way to book a Disney cruise with points is through Capital One. You need to use a card like the Capital One Venture card to pay for your cruise. Then you can redeem your Capital One miles against your cruise purchase (within 90 days) at a rate of 1 cent per mile. You can also book Disney cruises with Marriott Bonvoy points or United miles at a rate that’s less than desirable.

When can you book excursions on Disney cruise?

First-time Disney cruisers can book excursions starting 75 days before sailing. Castaway Club members (anyone who has sailed on Disney Cruise Line previously) can book excursions 90 to 123 days before sailing.

How far in advance can you book Disney cruise?

New Disney Cruise Line itineraries are usually released about 15 to 18 months in advance.

Do Disney Cruises get cheaper closer to sail date?

Generally, no, Disney cruises don’t get cheaper closer to the sail date. In fact, prices tend to increase as the sailing date gets closer. While you may occasionally find a last-minute deal, it’s better to book as far ahead of time as possible.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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