Saving Money on a Disney Cruise Vacation [Guide]

Disney Magic Cruise Ship

Even with paid vacation time, it can get pretty expensive to take a trip. I have found; however, that you can actually save money by sailing on a Disney cruise line. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Booking:
1. As with any vacation, utilize all resources available to you. Visit your favorite Disney forums and travel websites as you plan your trip.
2. If you work for a large company or are a member of AAA they may offer exclusive discounts. Additional discounts can be found on the Special Offers page at DisneyCruiseLine.com

Airport:
1. Some people think you need to prepare for anything when packing for a cruise. Truth is most likely you won’t need it. Limit one checked suitcase per person. Most men only take up half a suitcase. Double up to save money.
2. Take advantage of any offer that allows the first suitcase per person to be checked for free.
3. When on board, take advantage of the free snack cart. If the person next to you is sleeping go ahead and order for them too and keep it for yourself. Chances are they don’t want anything anyway or they would have stayed awake long enough for the cart to come by.
4. If you are traveling with four people or less, use Disney Express. You’ll save on gas, a car rental and insurance, and you won’t have to worry about your luggage during any part of your trip.

On the ship:
1. You haven’t eaten anything but airplane snacks and you’re getting hungry. Thankfully, as soon as you board the ship, a buffet lunch will be provided for you.
2. On a Disney cruise all food and drinks, including room service, are included (excluding alcohol and some snacks). Feel free to eat as much and as often as you would like. I ate about $600 worth of food on our 7 day cruise.
3. Attend the art auction even if for only 5 minutes. The auction on my cruise offered champagne and a $100 painting at no cost just for attending.
4. If you find a painting you like, lock in a bid during the preview. Often you can lock in a deeply discounted offer. When it comes to the auction, most of the time no one will even try to out bid you. These bidders aren’t looking to spend a lot and very few have any auction experience.
5. Occasions will arise where free alcohol and prizes can be had with very little to no work involved. Ex. Free shots for naming songs or artist currently playing. Free cowboy hat for learning dance moves.
6. Many new and first run movies can be seen through out your cruise. If you really want to see a movie but don’t want to pay extra for 3D or not sure if it will be any good. Now is the best time to check them out, it’s free!
7. Bring a digital camera with you at all times. There will be many character photo opportunities and you can save money by not buying the professional photo package at the end of the cruise.
8. Start planning your next vacation. Far greater discounts will be offered if you book your next cruise while on board.

Other Resources:
Guide2Disney.com
WDWinfo.com and DisBoards.com
@TheRealTimJones (Thanks Burton)

Have you taken a cruise vacation before? What are some of your tips for getting the most out of your vacation?