One of the really great things about a Disney Cruise is that most things are already included in the cost.
You can sail on a Disney cruise and just pay the basic cost without incurring much more expense.
However, you have to budget. To do this you also need to know what is not included on a Disney Cruise.
Here is our guide to the things that you will pay extra for on a Disney Cruise.
What is Not Included on a Disney Cruise?
To understand what isn’t included I will start with what is included on a Disney Cruise!
The price that you pay to Disney cruise lines includes your chosen stateroom, meals, entertainment, port taxes, and fees.
The cost of your Disney cruise will depend on the stateroom that you choose and the number of guests in your party.
With the exception of Disney Cruise Gratuities, which I will explain in more detail below, the basic price of the cruise that you have paid is all you need to pay.
Once you have either prepaid gratuities or paid them on board, you really do not need to spend any additional money on your Disney Cruise.
However, when you check in online you will give your credit card details to be used for your Key to the World Card.
This is your key to everything.
Your door and it is your charge card for anything that you want to spend onboard.
Note that Magic Bands are being introduced onto the Disney ships, but right now are only on Disney Wish, and they are not required.
You can still have a free Key to the World Card if you do not want to upgrade to a Magic Band for a fee.
Disney Cruise Gratuities
A lot of people get confused about Tipping on a Disney Cruise. However, once you break it down it really is easy to understand.
There are two types of gratuities on a Disney Cruise. Automatic Gratuities and Additional Gratuities:
Automatic gratuities which are charged at the end of your Disney cruise, are given to these four people:
- Your Stateroom Host. This is the person who cleans your stateroom every day.
- Your Server. This is the main server in your rotational dining restaurant.
- Your Assistant Server. This is the person who will get your drinks and assist your main server.
- The Head Server. In each rotational dining restaurant, there are 4 head servers. You will be assigned one who will make sure you are happy with your dining experience overall. If you have any issues at all with your dining they are usually excellent and will work very hard to resolve things for you.
You can pre-pay these Disney Cruise Tips via your Disney Cruise Personalizer up to 3 days before your cruise starts.
If you do not want to pre-pay the gratuities this is fine. They will simply be added to your onboard account and your credit card charged at the end of the cruise.
You do have complete control over the amount of the tips that you pay. You can lower or increase them by visiting guest services.
However, remember that these people work very hard and are dependent upon your tips for their livelihood.
This Disney Cruise Gratuities Calculator lets you know the amounts which will automatically be added to your stateroom account.
These amounts are per person including any children that you have in your stateroom.
In addition to these Disney Cruise Tips for these specific Cast Members, there are certain other charges where an automatic tip is added.
Note that tips may automatically be included for some of these items below on the Australian and New Zealand Cruises. It is not yet clear exactly what the policy will be but it is clear that the list price of the Beverage Tastings is higher for these cruises,so we assume this is because the tip is included. This will only be confirmed once these cruises start sailing.
- When you buy a drink at any bar or in a restaurant, you will automatically be charged an additional 15% gratuity. This will be shown on the bill that you have to sign. You can add an additional gratuity if you want to.
- The Spa automatically adds an 18% tip to the price of all services. I admit I tend to forget this once and then end up with serious sticker shock when I get the bill that you have to sign. This also includes the Disney Cruise Rainforest Room
- Don’t miss this one either. Beverage Tasting Seminars are a great adult-only activity on a Disney Cruise. The gratuity is not automatic, but it is customary to leave at least an additional 15%. The bar staff who run these tastings tend to be excellent so you will want to reward them for their service.
- Most items on the Disney Cruise Room Service Menu are free. However, you do need to tip your Server. The customary amount is at least $1 per plate. You can either tip in cash or add it to your account when you sign the delivery bill for them.
- Palo and Remy are the adult-only restaurants on the Disney Cruises. The service here is exceptional and although an automatic gratuity is not added, usually you would expect to tip at least 18%.
- If you are staying in Disney Cruise Concierge it is customary to tip your concierge Cast Members. There are no guidelines as to the amount and it is entirely left up to your discretion.
There are some Disney Cruise Cast Members who are not allowed to accept tips at all.
- Kids Club and Nursery Cast Members are not permitted to accept tips.
- Bibbidi Boppidi Boo Cast Members are not permitted to accept tips.
Is Food Included on a Disney Cruise?
All of your meals in the three main Disney Cruise Rotational Dining Rooms are included.
You can sail on a Disney cruise without spending any additional money at all on food. You will most definitely not go hungry!
However, there are some things that you may want to pay extra for.
The main one of these is the Disney adult-only restaurants of Palo and Remy. Palo is available on all of the Disney Cruise ships.
Remy is exclusive to Disney Dream and Fantasy.
Enchante is the fine dining restaurant found on Disney Wish.
Disney Palo Brunch or Dinner costs an additional $50 per person.
I would say that it is well worth the additional cost. It is difficult to choose between the two experiences.
However, if you want a discussion of this check out Disney Cruise Palo Brunch or Dinner?
If you are looking for the ultimate dining experience on the Disney Fantasy and Dream you should definitely go to Remy.
This 18-and-over restaurant is recognized as not only one of the best experiences on a cruise but a rival to the finest land-based dining restaurants as well.
There are a number of different Disney Cruise Remy experiences including Champagne Brunch and Dinner.
For Palo and Remy an 18% gratuity is suggested as a starting point.
Enchante is the ultimate dining experience on Disney Wish.
Even though you could easily have a huge amount of Disney Cruise Food and not pay any extra there are some items that are an extra charge to tempt you.
On all of the Disney ships, there is a concession stand outside the Walt Disney Theater and the Buena Vista Movie Theater.
You may not be able to resist the popcorn and candy, but you will pay extra for it!
There are also some extra charge menu items in select bars on the Disney ships.
For example on the Disney Wonder in the French Quarter if you love the beignets in Tiana’s Place you can order some extra here.
The Crown and Finn Pub on the Disney Wonder also has an additional food menu.
Or if you just can’t do without a Dole Whip these are now available for an additional charge on all of the Disney Ships on the pool deck.
Perhaps you want to try one with rum for the ultimate indulgence.
So, as you can see, there really is no need to spend additional money on food on a Disney Cruise, but you may be very tempted!
Disney Cruise Alcohol
You may not realize this but you can take a limited amount of wine or beer on a Disney Cruise. For a full explanation of this, you should read Disney Cruise Alcohol Policy
Most cruise lines don’t let you take any alcohol on board, so the Disney Cruise line policy is pretty generous in giving you the chance to bring your own beer or wine on board in limited quantities.
Disney Cruise Line Guests 21 years and older can bring up to 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage.
If you buy any drinks from a Disney Cruise Bar there will be an automatic 15% additional charge for the gratuity.
You can add more if you want to.
If you know that you want to drink wine at dinner you should consider buying a Disney Cruise Wine Package.
This can save you money by giving you a discount on bottles of wine.
Specialty Drinks on a Disney Cruise
It is very possible to spend absolutely nothing extra on drinks on a Disney cruise. A lot is already included on Disney Cruise lines.
If you just want to drink soda, coffee, and tea you can have an unlimited amount of this 24/7 by going to the pool deck on any of the Disney Cruise Ships.
You really do not need to spend any extra money on drinks on a Disney Cruise unless you choose to.
I love my Disney Tervisand use it all the time on cruises and at home.
The Cove Cafe is a great place to relax if you are over 18. Here you can get really great coffee, cocktails, and drinks.
All are at an extra cost but I think it is definitely worth going to Cove Cafe on any of the different Disney ships to find a quiet place to relax for the grown-ups.
An additional 15% is automatically added to any drinks you buy at Cove Cafe.
However, you do not have to buy anything to enjoy the Cove Cafe. It is perfectly fine just to enjoy the quiet atmosphere without purchasing anything. I sometimes take a book to read and just relax for a while.
You will probably be tempted by the selection of free pastries that are available all day.
Disney Cruise Port Adventures
Disney Cruise Ships visit some amazing ports.
At all of the different port stops, there will be the opportunity to purchase an excursion or Port Adventure as they are known on a Disney Ship.
All of the Port Adventures are at an extra cost. Disney offers a huge range of different Port Adventures.
Of course, you do not need to book Port Adventures.
There are many ports that Disney Cruise Line visits where it is easy to explore on your own. Or you can always stay on the ship.
Castaway Cay is one port where you definitely will want to enjoy every moment.
There are excursions and activities on Castaway Cay, but you do not need to spend any money to have a great time on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
All food and soda are included on Castaway Cay so you really do not have to spend anything unless you want to.
Disney Cruise Photo Package
As soon as you arrive at your cruise port you will realize that there are plenty of opportunities to have your photo taken by professional photographers.
Usually. Mickey and Minnie will be there at the port before you even board your cruise.
There are so many opportunities to meet and greet Disney Characters on a Disney Cruise.
There will always be the Shutters photographers available to take photos for you, and of course, there will be a chance to buy either individual photos or a photo package.
This does not mean that you have to buy photos from Shutters.
You are encouraged to take your own photos and the photographer’s assistant will even take photos for you with your phone or camera.
However, it can be very tempting to buy at least one of the professional photos!
If you want to buy individual prints on your Disney cruise these are the prices:
- Photo Print 8 X 10 $20.95
- Photo Print 6 X 8 $14.95
- Any 6 prints or digital images are $99.95
- Any 10 prints or digital images are $149.95
- Any 15 prints or digital images are $199.95
- Any 20 prints or digital images are $249.95
You can then choose which photos you want and choose the number of images you have paid for. You can then unlock the full-resolution images and print them as you wish.
You can also buy a length of sailing Disney Cruise Photo Package.
This can be a good value if you are planning on taking a lot of photos. This will give you all the photos that you have taken on your cruise
If you think you are going to buy a number of photos it will bring the cost per photo down if you buy a package.
- 2 Night Sailing $194.95
- 3 Night Sailing $194.95
- 4 Night Sailing $194.95
- 5 Night Sailing $211.95
- 7 Night Sailing $295.95
- 14 Night Sailing $339.95
Prices onboard the ship will be higher:
- 2 Night Sailing $199.95
- 4 Night Sailing $229.95
- 5 Night Sailing $249.95
- 7 Night Sailing $349.95
- 14 Night Sailing $399.95
You will get your photos on the last night of the cruise or the final morning before you disembark.
Note that these prices are for all your photos on USB.
They will not be printed out for you unless you pay extra for them. Packages are available which are individually priced for this. You can also print out your photos at home.
Another great option is the Disney Cruise Photo Book.
The price, if you buy it online up to 3 days prior to your cruise, is $139.95. There is also a Shipping Charge of $10 for the Continental United States, Alaska & Hawaii. All other countries are $15.
You can add up to 34 photos to your Disney Cruise Photo Book.
This is a really good way to make sure that you get a good selection of your Disney cruise photos to keep.
Disney Cruise Senses Spa
If you choose to have any spa treatments on your Disney Cruise there will, of course, be a charge for this.
Remember too that there is an automatic gratuity of an additional 18% for all spa services.
Always make sure that you understand exactly what price you will be paying for any spa treatments.
This includes the pricing for the Disney Rainforest Room.
If you buy a Day Pass or a length of Cruise Pass for the Rainforest this will be subject to the 18% gratuity.
All of the ships have a Rainforest but the one on Disney Wish is very different as it has outside as well as inside space.
The 18% gratuity can come as a surprise for this – particularly as there really is no element of service attached to this as all the Spa Staff does is hand you a wristband!
This adds quite a bit to the cost.
You can, of course, visit the gym on the Disney Cruise Ships for free.
There are some classes in the Fitness Center that are free but if you want individual instruction there is a charge.
Disney Cruise Shops
There are plenty of chances to spend money in the Disney Cruise Ship stores.
From magnets to pens, clothes to artwork, you will find some fabulous items, some of which are exclusive to the Disney Ships.
The stores also sell items that you may have forgotten such as toothpaste or diapers. However, it is always cheaper to make sure that you bring everything you need.
There is a significant upcharge on essential items that guests frequently forget.
Disney Cruise Royal Court Tea
If you have young children you may be tempted by the Royal Court Tea on the Disney ships.
You will have plenty of chances to meet and greet characters on a Disney Cruise, but the Royal Court Tea is a very special (and pricy) experience.
At $210 for children and $69 for adults, this is an experience that is not inexpensive. However, many think it is well worth it.
The Disney Cruise Royal Court Tea is very much an experience designed for children aged between the ages of 3 and 12. All children have to be accompanied by an adult.
There is plenty of one one time with the Disney Princesses.
You will be seated at a table with other guests and be served a traditional high tea of sandwiches and pastries. The attraction here is not about the food, it is definitely the experience.
As soon as you arrive you will notice a beautiful Disney Princess doll on your child’s chair. This is for them to keep.
Your little princess will also receive a link bracelet, a necklace with Disney Princess charms and an autograph book.
If you bring a boy to the Royal Tea they will receive a Duffy The Bear, an autograph book, a cinch bag, and a sword and shield.
Disney Cruise Internet
One of the attractions of a cruise is that you can disconnect from reality.
However, often there are good reasons to need the internet onboard your Disney Cruise, and you do need to connect.
Fortunately, all of the Disney ships now have internet available that is charged on a daily, per devise basis. This replaces the very expensive, outdated system which was the pay-per-use model.
There are 3 levels of internet service available.
To find out more you can see the guide at Disney Cruise Internet Explained
Do You Have to Spend Extra Money on a Disney Cruise?
Even though there are all these extra-cost items to tempt you onboard your Disney cruise, you really can sail without spending any additional money.
If you prepay your gratuities before you sail, it is entirely possible to have a zero balance on your cruise account.
Possible, but it is likely?
In reality probably not!
There is a lot to tempt you, but of course, it really is up to you how much more money you spend.
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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.