Disney Cruise Line Price Comparison

We will be going on our 3rd Disney cruise in a couple months. In addition, Kelli and I have cruised with Carnival twice. When talking about Disney Cruise Line, one of the first questions or comments is about how expensive DCL is compared with other cruise lines.

First, before we get to looking at actual prices let’s talk about why Disney Cruise Line charges more.

DCL was started and continues to be a vacation for families. Everything on the cruise is tailored toward the family. The staterooms, restaurants, activities, excursions are all built around the idea of a family traveling together. Sure there are adults that go on Disney cruises alone or without children. Disney has activities for adults. But overall these trips are geared toward a family.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and others do not have that distinction. Yes, there are family activities on these ships—great activities. You will also have activities for singles, college students, couples, etc. Other cruise lines even have themed cruises for groups.

You aren’t likely to end up next to a bachelor party on the Disney Fantasy!

Disney Cruise Line also considers themselves a premium cruise line. There are only 4ships to choose. Supply is limited and demand is high. And it’s Disney! Just for the name alone they can add a premium charge!

Disney advertises their ships as having the “Disney Difference”. This is the extra services and features that only Disney can offer such as characters, split bathrooms, fireworks at sea, AquaDuck, Castaway Cay and rotational dinning. Disney’s ships are also very new! Many ships on other cruise lines are more than 10-15 years old.  Disney’s cabins are also much larger then Royal Caribbean.  On a DCL ship you also get unlimited fountain soda, plain coffee, tea and water.  RC charges about $6/person/day for this service.  For a 7 night cruise for our family that is an extra $126.

Whether or not these differences are enough of a reason to justify the difference in price between Disney and other cruises is up to you.

Now, let’s look at some real numbers. How much more is Disney charges for the “Disney Difference”?

I did a comparison of 7 night cruises and 4 night cruises in January, July, and October of 2015. I compared the price on a Disney ship versus Royal Caribbean.   I did not include Carnival in this comparison.  Carnival is known as a discounted cruise line, so the comparison doesn’t really work.  The prices are for staterooms with balconies for 2 adults and 1 child.

January 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Disney Fantasy – $4,177
Oasis of the Seas – $3,410
Difference – 18%

July 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Disney Fantasy – $6,484
Oasis of the Seas – $6,293
Difference – 3%

October 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Disney Fantasy – $3,820
Oasis of the Seas – $3,227
Difference – 15%

January 2015 – 4 Night Cruise

Disney Dream – $2,136
Liberty of the Seas – $2,104
No 4 night option, this is for 5 nights
Difference – 1.5%

July 2015 – 4 Night Cruise

Disney Dream – $3,937
Enchantment of the Seas – $2,187
Difference – 44%

October – 4 Night Cruise

Disney Dream – $2,293
Enchantment of the Seas – $1,489
Difference – 35%

The numbers above were surprising to me. I thought that Disney would be 15-20% higher across the board. The price differences really depend on when and how long you are going. Disney is very competitive in the 7 night cruises. Don’t assume that Disney is always going to be a much higher priced cruise. When shopping for your next cruise, check all the cruise lines carefully for the best price. If price is your number one factor, then Disney probably isn’t going to be your choice. However, if you are looking for that special family vacation consider DCL. The price isn’t necessarily out of range of other cruises.

When planning your next cruise, also note the differences in the same trip at different times of the year! The price difference can be thousands.

Update

On a Disney Cruise Facebook group there has been an ongoing discussion about the value of a Disney cruise.  Several times people brought up that DCL gives everyone free soda.  I really didn’t think much of that until I saw the prices of Royal Caribbean’s drink packages!  This does add some cost to your trip.

With a 7 night cruise on RC our family would spend $140 just for soda!  $87.50 on a 4 night cruise.  That’s more than we are paying for some very nice excursions on DCL.

This does change the percentages above.  Here are the new numbers factoring in drinks.

January 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Difference – 15%

July 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Difference – 0.7%

October 2015 – 7 Night Cruise

Difference – 12%

January 2015 – 4 Night Cruise

Difference – -2.6% – DCL is the cheaper option here!

July 2015 – 4 Night Cruise

Difference – 43%

October – 4 Night Cruise

Difference – 33%

Remember when doing your comparison of vacations to take into account all factors, not just price!

 

 

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