Are you wondering when is the best time to go on a Disney Cruise?
There are a number of things that you really need to think about when choosing when you should sail on any of the Disney Cruise Line ships.
I will take you through these in turn so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.
When Can You Cruise?
All the articles ever written could tell you that the best time for a Disney cruise is the second week in December (no I’m not saying it is), but if you can’t actually sail at that time, that isn’t very helpful.
In other words, the first thing that you have to think about when you’re deciding when to book your Disney cruise is the times of the year when you can actually sail.
We all have different restrictions on our time.
If you are retired with no commitments then you can probably sail at whatever time of year you want.
However, if you have children you may not be able to take them out of school.
If you have your own business, you may not be able to travel at certain times of the year.
Spring Break or summer vacation may be your best option even though it is likely that that will be one of the more expensive times to sail.
There are many reasons why you may not be able to sail at a certain time of year, and of course, this is the first limiting factor you look at.
After you have worked out your own limits of when you can actually cruise, you start to look at the other factors that are important to help you decide.
Where Will Disney Cruise Ships Sail?
Another thing that you need to think about is where the Disney Cruise ships sail from and which port stops they make.
For instance, don’t set your heart on sailing on a cruise to Alaska at Christmas time!
Some guests may dream of a Caribbean cruise. For others, Alaska will be their dream destination.
There are many options of where you can sail on a Disney cruise and this will also have an impact on when the best time to sail on a Disney cruise is for you.
Here is a guide to all of the currently released Disney cruises for 2024:
Now there are five Disney Cruise Ships:
Some cruises sail year-round, whilst others are limited to certain times of the year.
- Disney Wish – sailing from Port Canaveral on 3 and 4-night Bahamas Cruises
- Disney Fantasy – sailing from Port Canaveral on 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean Cruises
- Disney Magic – sailing from Galveston, New Orleans, and San Juan on Caribbean Cruises
- Disney Dream – sailing from Fort Lauderdale on Bahamian and Caribbean Cruises
- Disney Wonder – sailing Australian, New Zealand, Transpacific, Pacific Coast, Mexican Riviera, and Baja Cruises
The picture below shows the later 2023 and early 2024 Disney Cruise
Now we know where the Disney ships sail to at different times of the year, we can look at when the best times of year to cruise to those different places.
Best Time to Cruise to the Bahamas and the Caribbean
Which is the best time of year to cruise to the Bahamas and the Caribbean?
You can find a Disney cruise to the Bahamas at any time of the year. The weather is generally great all year round.
The months between December and May are generally seen as ideal weather for cruising to the Bahamas. The summer months can get very hot and humid.
If you don’t enjoy high temperatures and humidity, avoid July and August in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Even though you can easily find an air-conditioned space on the ship, or have a dip in the pool you really might not enjoy those port adventures as much if you are baking in the sun!
The other consideration when sailing from May to November is that this is Hurricane Season. Historically, August and September are the most active times for Hurricane Season.
Cruisers are quite understandably concerned about Hurricane Season. The good thing is though that there is usually a considerable amount of warning before a storm develops and these storms tend to be slow-moving.
This means that a cruise ship can usually divert to get out of the path of the storm.
I spent almost a week sailing on the Disney Wonder in 2014 avoiding the path of a hurricane.
At no time did I ever feel unsafe.
I trusted the Disney Captain and his Crew would keep everyone safe and they did.
What is absolutely essential at all times, is that you never sail without travel insurance. Whilst you will most likely be perfectly safe if there is a hurricane in the area, travel plans do get disrupted.
Cruises are diverted, canceled, lengthened, and shortened. In other words, expect the unexpected and always have travel insurance when you travel.
Best Time to Visit Castaway Cay
Most of the Disney Bahamas and Caribbean cruises visit Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay.
Disney cruise guests consistently say that the port stop of Castaway Cay is the highlight of their cruise.
Castaway Cay is located in the Bahamas so the comments above are relevant for Disney’s Private Island too.
You can see a chart below which shows the average temperatures, rainfall, and ocean temperature for Castaway Cay.
The weather can get pretty hot and humid during the summer. However, one thing that you do have to consider is the temperature of the ocean at Castaway Cay.
It is likely that you will want to spend at least some of the time on the island relaxing on the beach and going into the water.
It can be a little cold during the winter, in particular in December and January.
This might be a little disappointing, particularly if you have children.
As you can see, the rainy days tend to be in the summer months. Often the showers are over quickly and it doesn’t impact your day too much.
Castaway Cay Weather
|Daily High Average||74||74||77||80||83||86||88||88||87||84||80||76|
|Daily Low Average||64||64||66||69||73||77||79||78||77||73||69||65|
|Ocean Temp Average||73||73||75||79||81||82||82||82||82||81||79||75|
|Rain (inches) Average||2.3||2.3||2.6||2.1||5.6||6.5||5.6||8.1||9.9||6.7||3.4||3|
Best Time to Cruise To Alaska
The Disney Wonder sails to Alaska from Vancouver from May until September in 2023 and 2024.
As you can see, the Alaskan cruise season is relatively short. The weather simply doesn’t support it being any longer than this. The winter months are not an option for cruising Alaska!
There are a few factors that you want to take into account when considering when the best time to sail on an Alaskan cruise.
This may seem like an obvious point but Alaska has cold weather! In May and September, temperatures are likely to be in the mid-thirties to the low forties Fahrenheit, but the highs can get up to the upper fifties.
The weather is most likely to be warmer during the months in the middle of the season.
Here you can see this chart which shows average high and low temperatures and rainfall for Juneau Alaska.
September has significantly more rainfall on average than any of the other months in the Alaskan cruise season.
|Average High F||Average Low F||Average Rainfall Inches|
A huge part of the experience of an Alaskan cruise is the wildlife that you will see.
It is difficult to describe the emotions you feel when you see a humpback whale in its natural environment.
The summer months of June, July, and August will give you the most opportunities to see native wildlife in Alaska.
If you want to have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights then September will be your best bet.
Prices are relatively high for Disney Alaskan cruises and it is rare that you will find a deal.
However, you will usually get a lower price for an Alaskan cruise in May or September shoulder season, rather than in the peak summer months of June, July, and August.
We can see that once again the highest prices are going to be during the summer school holiday.
If you possibly can I would say choose a Disney Alaskan cruise at the end of August or the beginning of September. You get the best deals at this time and the weather should still be fine for your vacation.
Best Time to Sail on a Cruise to Mexico
The Disney Wonder sails on cruises to Mexico in the Spring and Fall of each year.
I have sailed on many cruises to Mexico from San Diego and Los Angeles and the weather is consistently reliable year-round on the Mexican Riviera.
The Disney Wonder is sailing to Mexico from San Diego in March and April and September and October of 2022.
These are reliably warm months in Baja Mexico and the Mexican Riviera.
You should expect that it can be cooler in the evenings though so you will need some warmer clothing if you are going to be on deck later in the day.
Here is a chart for year-round weather in Cabo San Lucas. This is one of the port stops on most of the Disney cruises sailing out of San Diego.
This should give you an idea of the land temperatures for each month in Cabo San Lucas.
As you will see. March and April have more comfortable temperatures than September and October.
The first and last day of your Mexican cruise itinerary may be considerably cooler than these temperatures though as you are sailing off the Southern California coast.
|Average High F||Average Low F||Average Rainfall mm|
What is the Best Time for a Cruise to Europe?
Disney Dream sails some very varied itineraries to Europe. These include a great diversity of different port stops with lots of different weather patterns.
Summer in Barcelona is considered to be the months of June, July, and August.
You can expect temperatures in the mid-70s to low 80s.
The British weather is well known for its unpredictability.
One day can be wonderfully sunny and then the rain starts pouring down! You can have a glorious day in April and a cold rainy one in August.
All of the Disney cruises within Europe are from May to September.
This is the warmest and dryest time of the year for most areas where the Disney Magic sails.
Prices are likely to be lower in May, June, and September.
European school vacations follow a different pattern to those in the US. They start later, usually around mid-July until the end of August
A large proportion of the guests sailing on European Disney cruises will be British.
This means that demand will be higher during school holidays which will be from mid-July until the start of September.
This will probably mean that you will find lower prices outside of these times.
Prices for Disney Cruises
Prices for Disney cruises vary considerably according to what time of year you will sail, the cruise ship you are sailing on, the itinerary, and the type of stateroom that you have.
There are some general rules that you can apply to thinking about the prices for Disney cruises.
Cruises at peak times cost more than cruises at quieter times.
This is a pretty obvious statement, but an important one!
As we have just discussed, an Alaskan cruise in early May or late September is usually priced lower than one in the peak of summer.
Peak times are Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving, Summer School Vacation, and Spring Break.
It is all about the law of supply and demand.
If the cruise is extremely popular you can see that prices will rise quickly from the date that they are released.
Very popular stateroom categories will also most likely increase in price quickly. A very good example of this was when the sailings for the Disney Wish were first released.
The prices of many stateroom types for the Disney Wish remained pretty steady.
However, this was not the case with the Disney Wish Concierge staterooms.
The demand for Concierge Staterooms on the Disney Wish is very high and therefore they increased in price rapidly after the release date. Many were sold out before they were released to the general public.
Castaway Club Members always have priority booking for new Disney cruise itineraries and many concierge staterooms were sold before the general public could book.
Themed Disney Cruises
There are also a number of different themed cruises which only sail at certain times of the year.
If you are interested in any of these themed cruises this will influence the time of year that you want to sail on a Disney Cruise.
Here are the themed cruises which have been running for a number of years:
- Pixar Day at Sea
- Marvel Day at Sea
- Halloween on the High Seas
- Very Merrytime Cruises
Pixar Day at Sea
This is a great opportunity for Pixar fans to meet their favorite characters.
There is a Woody, Jesse, and Bullseye character breakfast, a Pixar-themed dinner, a nighttime spectacular featuring the Incredibles, a theatrical performance based on Coco, and a Pixar character dance party.
These limited sailings are offered on the Disney Fantasy 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral in early 2024.
Eastern Caribbean sailings are:
- January 6 and 20
- February 3 and 17
- March 2
Western Caribbean Sailings are:
- January 13 and 27
- February 10 and 24
Marvel Day at Sea
If superheroes are your thing then you are going to enjoy a Marvel Day at Sea on a Disney Cruise. These are exclusive to the Disney Magic 5-night sailings from the Fort Lauderdale cruise port.
Marvel Day at Sea will take place on select Disney Dream 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale in 2024:
- January 7, 12, 21, 26
- February 4, 9, 18, 23
- March 3 and 8.
Get the chance to meet our favorite Marvel characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man.
There are special menus, entertainment, and events.
Halloween on the High Seas
Halloween on the High Seas cruises are found on all of the Disney ships.
They seem to start earlier and earlier each year, but they usually start around mid-September and finish with the cruise where October 31st falls.
I have sailed on many of these themed cruises and they are a lot of fun. The ships are all beautifully decorated with a Halloween theme.
There is special entertainment including trick or treating.
One of the best features of Halloween on the High Seas is that many of the characters will wear their exclusive Halloween costumes.
There is also a chance for guests to dress up in costumes.
This is an amazing event to either participate in or just people-watch and see what amazing costumes guests have!
Very Merrytime Cruises
Christmas is a very magical time on a Disney Cruise – one of my favorite times to sail. Even if you can’t sail on Christmas Day, you can sail on one of the Very Merrytime cruises to get you into the Christmas spirit.
All of the Disney ships have Very Merrytime Cruises. The decorations are spectacular.
There are lots of Christmas-themed events, and of course, the characters wear their amazing Christmas-themed costumes.
The Very Merrytime Cruises start around the second week of November – usually, there is a non-themed cruise after the last Halloween on the High Seas cruise.
Then the Christmas decor will miraculously appear and the Very Merrytime cruises will start.
Of course, if you want to sail on any one of these themed cruises you need to work out when they are available so that you can work out the best time to go on a Disney Cruise.
Planning a Disney Cruise? These guides will help:
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.