Thousands of people wait with excitement and anticipation for the next release of Disney Cruise Line itineraries and prices. If you have sailed on Disney Cruise Line before, you may understand. There is just something so special about a Disney Cruise! How cool is it to run into Ariel on Deck 5? And eating dinner at Tiana’s Place while she performs onstage with her band? It’s surreal.
I belong to several online Disney Cruise Line fan forums, and the most frequently asked question is always “When are the next cruise dates going to be released?”
Other cruise lines have already had early 2019 dates available to book for a few months now, but Disney likes to keep us waiting. The frenzy grows until we think we just can’t take it anymore.
And then, finally! Itineraries for early 2019 were announced last Thursday. Platinum Castaway Club members could book over the phone starting on Monday, Gold on Tuesday and Silver on Wednesday. First-time DCL customers can book starting tomorrow (Thursday, Nov 2).
In the middle of all the excitement of picking a cruise date and itinerary, there are always several online discussions that go something like this: “Has Disney lost its mind? You want how much for that cruise? We’re done with DCL.”
And this time, I have to agree. Is Scrooge McDuck now in charge at Disney Cruise Line? At those prices, Tiny Tim isn’t the only one who will need a miracle to go on a future sailing.
Crazy 2019 DCL Prices
Yes, with every new release, there is a sub-group in each online forum that “quits” DCL. The prices are just too insanely high.
And I get it. I really get it.
Disney Cruise Line prices are not in line with other cruise lines. We can cruise on Royal Caribbean or almost any other line for less than Disney. Way less.
The fact that we have five people in my family just exacerbates the issue. We either have to book a higher category room that fits five people or two rooms in a lower category.
We have been sailing on Disney Cruise Line since 2012. In retrospect, we have gotten some crazy good deals on DCL in the past. We sailed in two connecting rooms on a 4-night cruise out of Galveston on a “Kids Sail Free” rate for less than $2000 for all five of us. I’m afraid there is no way to ever replicate that again.
In addition, Disney Cruise Line’s yearly price increases are way worse than regular U.S. inflation rates. I compared the price of a cruise we sailed in January 2016 to the price of a comparable cruise for early 2019, and the price has gone up nearly 40%. Yikes!
Supply and Demand
Some people think that Disney is just being greedy and cruel. How could a company we love so much price the middle class out of its product?
But the reality is that demand for Disney Cruise Line keeps going up, yet the supply remains the same. Since 2012 there have only been four Disney Cruise ships. That is much less than other cruise lines. Although DCL has three new ships in the works, the first one won’t be ready until 2021.
At the same time, the popularity of DCL is soaring. Back in 2012 when we took our first cruise, I didn’t personally know anyone else who had sailed on DCL. Now, many of my friends and family have sailed.
It’s partially my fault. I blogged about each of our trips in excruciating detail. I told everyone how DCL is so over-the-top awesome. Maybe I should have kept it a secret.
Disney charges those outrageous prices because it can. Every year, people book cruises at those prices and keep filling the ships. DCL rarely offers last-minute discounted rates anymore because it doesn’t have to. People are willing to pay full price.
So if people will pay it, Disney has the obligation to its shareholders to demand those prices.
For us Disney Cruise Line fans, we are on the losing side of this equation. We have to pay the big bucks if we want our Disney Cruise fix. Dang it, DCL! I hate you. I love you. I hate that I love you.
Playing Hooky for Disney
Within a month of our last Disney Cruise to Alaska this past June, our kids were already asking when our next cruise is. We can’t deny it, we just love Disney Cruise Line! So, we will try to make it work. Plus, Scrooge’s swimming pools of cash won’t fill themselves. Am I right?
Originally, we were thinking about going on a Disney Cruise during our Spring Break. However, the prices are just too insane. So instead, we have a deposit down for a cruise in January 2019.
We will have to pull our kids out of school for five days in order to make the January cruise. That’s not ideal, considering my oldest will be in 8th grade. But, the price of that cruise is several THOUSAND dollars lower than the same cruise during Spring Break week.
We did book placeholders on our last Disney Cruise to Alaska which give us 10% off our next cruise and a $200 onboard credit from DCL per stateroom. So at least that’s something. However, even with that, prices are still crazy.
The good thing about booking a cruise is that we can change our minds up to 90 days in advance. If we decide it’s just too much, we can cancel the cruise, change our stateroom or move the cruise to another date.
My husband will apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards card (currently has a bonus worth $500 in free travel, see this post) to help offset some of the expenses. And you can bet that if any other great credit card offers come around that will help with these expenses, I will jump at them.
Have you checked out the prices on Disney Cruise Line? Are people insane for paying that much? Or, do you get what you pay for?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.