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Almost every week, I see a discussion on social media about the cost of Disney Cruise Line. Yes, it’s high, higher than other comparable cruise lines. I wrote a detailed cost comparison of two nearly identical cruises on DCL vs. Royal last year (see this post).
Within these discussions, people who have never sailed on Disney swear that the price is higher only because of the Disney name. “You’re paying more for the name, that’s it.”
Well, I beg to differ. I’ve sailed on both Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, and I can definitely see areas on DCL where that money is passed along to higher quality features. But where exactly does all that extra money go? (Ha ha–As I write this, I have a certain Robert Palmer song running through my head….”She’s so fine, there’s no tellin’ where the money went.”
Disney Cruise Line has more crew members per passenger than its competitors. According to this chart, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy are ranked well ahead of other large cruise ships (the top ships are smaller, luxury lines). Also, DCL doesn’t have any casinos on board, so that means more crew members are dispersed throughout other guest areas. The more crew members per passenger, the better the service.
There really is no comparison between the kids’ clubs on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and the clubs on Disney Cruise Line (see this post). The clubs on DCL have better theming, more technology, more activities, etc. The hours are longer, they don’t shut down during meals and there is no charge for late-night hours.
While most large cruise ships have one Broadway-style show, Disney ships have three on each ship. The characters are out each day. There was so much entertainment on our recent Very Merrytime cruise that there was no way we could possibly see everything.
Soda, Texting, Room Service, Character Breakfast
Most cruise lines charge extra for soda. On DCL, soda is free on the pool deck and in the dining rooms. While other lines charge for other things like person-to-person texting, room service and character breakfasts, those things are free on DCL.
The things listed above account for some of the price discrepancy between DCL and its competitors. DCL has a high-quality product with great service, no doubt.
But, how much are those differences worth to you? It’s easy to quantify the soda and room service prices, but quantifying the quality kids’ clubs, entertainment and service is difficult.
For my family, it’s easier to justify the price difference with off-season prices. But during peak times, the prices are so high that the extra money just goes right into Disney’s profit.
Our next cruise isn’t on DCL, but we’re not turning our backs on DCL forever. Maybe I’m sentimental, but my memories on DCL are priceless. I still see a DCL cruise in our future.
Readers who have sailed on Disney Cruise Line, do you agree with my assessment on where the extra money goes? Is the extra cost worth it to you?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.