One or more of these credit card offers may no longer be available. See our Hot Deals page for the latest offers.
Disney Cruise Line Summer 2018 itineraries are available to the public to begin booking TODAY! Get the scoop on all of the itineraries on the Disney Cruise Line Blog. If you are thinking about sailing with DCL next summer, today is the best day to book your trip. Why? It’s all about DCL’s unique pricing structure as well as supply and demand.
DCL’s Pricing Structure
Disney Cruise Line has a pricing structure that is different from other cruise companies. On opening day, each cabin category has a starting price. As the cabins fill up, the prices increase. DCL does not have regular sales and promotions like you see with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.
To see an example of this, you can look at prices over time on CruiseFish. If you mouse over the price of a cabin category, you can see the pricing history.
This first screenshot is a cruise on the Disney Wonder. Notice how the price increases over time (in the yellow box).
This next screenshot is a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. Notice how the price fluctuates both up and down over time.
The price of a Disney Cruise will go down only on rare occasions. On cruises that are not selling as well, DCL might release last-minute Florida resident, military and other discounted restricted rates. However, these rates are not the norm. And sometimes, these last-minute discounted rates are more expensive than opening day rates!
For my upcoming Disney Alaska Cruise, we booked on opening day. If we booked the same cruise now, it would cost us over $1000 more.
Benefits of Booking Early
Booking early has several advantages:
- Lower price. As you can see from above, the earlier you book, the lower the price.
- Cabin selection. If you book early, you have more category options. Some specific cabins and categories sell out early.
- More time to save. The earlier you book, the more time you have to save up to pay off the cost of your cruise. Sure, you can start saving before you book, but I find that actually making the reservation is the kick in the pants I need to get serious about paying it off.
There’s really no downside to booking early. Your deposit is fully refundable (except for concierge suites) up until your paid-in-full date (which is usually 75 days prior to sailing, longer for cruises departing from international ports).
Is Summer the Best Time for a Disney Cruise?
In my opinion, there is no bad time for a Disney Cruise! During summer, the days are long, the ocean is warmer and the itinerary choices are plentiful! However, the rates for summer cruises are higher than most other weeks of the year, excluding holidays.
If you want to cruise on DCL to Alaska or Europe, you have no choice. Those itineraries are only offered in summer, and you have to suck it up.
If you can only cruise during the summer due to school or work reasons, choose a week toward the beginning or the end of summer. Late May/early June and late August cost less compared to late June through early August.
If are not locked into a summer vacation, consider waiting a few months until DCL releases Fall 2018 itineraries, or check out early 2018 itineraries that are already released. Prices are drastically lower than summer prices, depending on the week.
Use a Travel Agent!
If you decide to book a Disney Cruise, use a travel agent! Many agents give you back a part of their commission in the form of an on-board credit. My family is getting a $300 on-board credit from our travel agent for our Alaska cruise. The price of the cruise is the same whether you book with DCL directly or book with a travel agent.
An experienced travel agent can also provide insight to the best itinerary, ship, and cabin for your family. This service costs you nothing extra!
Credit Card and Miles/Points Strategies for a Disney Cruise
I haven’t forgotten that Miles For Family is a miles and points travel blog! There are several credit card strategies you can use when booking and paying for a Disney Cruise.
If you have the Chase Disney Visa, you can charge your deposit (or any amount) and take advantage of 0% interest for six months. You can also add money to your on-board account a few days before you set sail, and that amount qualifies for 0% interest. (If you use your Disney Visa on-board for charges without pre-paying, it does not qualify for 0% interest). When you list your Chase Disney Visa as the card for on-board expenses, you get a discount on photos and merchandise.
If you are looking to earn points or cash to pay down a Disney Cruise, there are cards with higher sign-up bonuses than the Chase Disney Visa (see this post). However, if you want the card for the 0% financing and discount benefits, you can get a $200 Disney gift card bonus through my referral link on the no-annual fee version. This card is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Update: Offers on the credit cards below have changed. See our Hot Deals page for the latest bonuses.
Other credit card bonuses that are useful to pay for a cruise include the Barclaycard Arrival Plus with a $400 bonus, t
he Merrill + Visa with a $500 bonus, and the Capital One Venture Card with a $400 bonus. You can also book a cruise with Citi ThankYou points, or use Ultimate Rewards to get 1.25 cents per point towards cruises with Chase Sapphire Preferred /Chase Ink Preferred or 1.5 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You will have to book by calling Chase Travel Center at 1-855-234-2542, but prices are usually the same as those you can find elsewhere. Do check first if you can still get on-board credit if you go this route. Otherwise, you may be better off saving your UR points for something else.
If you are new to collecting miles and points via credit card sign-ups, please read our Beginner’s Guide. Also, don’t forget you can use many strategies to buy discounted Disney gift cards for your cruise!
If you’re planning to sail on Disney Cruise Line in Summer 2018, get with your travel agent and book soon. You will get the lowest price and the best cabin selection the sooner you book. Use a travel agent for the expertise and on-board credit, and take advantage of credit card perks and sign-up bonuses.
Do any of these Disney Cruise Line Summer 2018 itineraries excite you? Who is booking a Disney Cruise?!?!?!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.