When financially conscious people are considering taking a cruise with the Disney Cruise Line, one of their first thoughts is, “what is the lowest possible price I can pay for this cruise?” In other words, they are looking for Disney Cruise Line specials, the subject of a recent investigation of ours. In this previous article, we explained what a Disney Cruise Line special is by exploring a few different deals the company offers. However, we did not cover exactly how you might go about securing one of these deals. The present article fills this hole, explaining how to find Disney Cruise Line specials.
As is almost always the case when considering cruise vacations, you will have to decide if you want to work directly with the cruise line or if you will book your cruise through some third party. If you book directly with Disney and you’re looking for a deal, the first place you can look is the “Special Offers” page of the Disney Cruise Line website. On this page, you’ll find the special rates available to certain individuals (e.g., members of the U.S. military), and you will also find any deals that the company is directly advertising. At the moment, there are specials rates for cruises from Miami, for instance, although of course these deals will vary as vacation possibilities come and go. You might also be able to secure a “Restricted Stateroom Discount” if you are working directly with Disney. These deals are available a few weeks to a few months before a cruise is set to sail. You can pick which type of room you want, but not a specific room, and there are other restrictions (reservations can’t be canceled, they are non-transferable, etc.). However, if you can deal with these restrictions and you’re flexible about your cabin location, you can get a good deal on a cruise this way. Unfortunately, the cruises for which these deals are applicable are not simply posted on the Disney’s “Special Offers” page, so you might have to contact Disney Cruise Line’s toll-free number (1-800-171-2312) to talk to a sales representative about these options.
Instead of working directly with Disney when booking your cruise, you could use one of the numerous cruise deal websites (Travelocity, Expedia, etc.), which operate exactly the way they do for airline tickets. Always make sure to check the price of a given cruise on multiple sites to make sure you are getting the best deal (and check the best deal against the “official” price listed on Disney’s website). In addition to (potentially) providing you with a cheaper vacation, some of the deal sites will have their own special offers. For instance, there is currently a “Priceline Bonus” that will give you up to five nights in a hotel that can be used before and after your trip. Not all deal sites offer their own exclusive specials, however. Expedia is offering up to $200 on-board credit for select cruises, but this credit is advertised directly on Disney’s site. In other words, Expedia is merely calling attention to a deal that Disney is already offering, not providing the deal itself. Finally, the deals sites, having no special connection to Disney and Disney alone (at least for most of the sites), will of course list deals offered by other cruise lines. This is the great strength of these sites. So, if you aren’t entirely set on taking a Disney cruise, and if you can find a comparable trip offered by another cruise line, it might be much cheaper to go with the other cruise line.
Before concluding, it is worth mentioning that you could always consider using a travel agent. They are somewhat overlooked nowadays thanks to all the cruise deal websites, but they are often able to find very good deals just because of their industry knowledge and contacts. For instance, presumably most travel agents wouldn’t have any trouble finding you a “Restricted Stateroom Discount” (assuming they are available), and they might know other tricks to get you further discounts. Some travel agencies will even give their clients giveaways like on-board credit.
Clearly, there are lots of different options to keep in mind if you are trying to find a Disney Cruise Line special. You should explore as many options as possible before reserving your spot on the ship. It’s always worth searching the Disney site for their deals, and then you can check these against the prices listed on third-party sites. Of course, this all takes time, and if you are short of it you could outsource your efforts to a travel agent (which after all is essentially the reason they exist). In any case, you can find a Disney cruise deal if you try, at least for certain cruises.