How far ahead do you book your cruise?

lynnfitz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Hi, never cruised before, thinking of next summer, the 4 day out of PC. I didn't know if these ships gets filled quickly, how far in advance do you suggest for booking? Also, when you are on the ship and want to pay for extras (souvenirs, adult drinks, etc,) is a gift card a good option to use? Thanks!
 

soniam

Wooden leg named Smith...
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
I usually book the first day they are released for DCL. The price tends to go up after that. Also, some cruises do book quickly. I don’t know about the one you mentioned though. You can look to see what the stateroom availability looks like.
 

Mommb

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
when you are on the ship and want to pay for extras (souvenirs, adult drinks, etc,) is a gift card a good option to use? Thanks!
The Disney Cruise ships are cashless, so any purchases made onboard are charged to your stateroom account. Most passengers place a credit card on their account at check-in. You can then stop by Guest Services to apply a gift card to your account after you have charged at least the amount you are using from the gift card. You could also use a gift card to purchase onboard credit online in advance of the cruise. Any remaining balance at the end of the cruise (or mid-cruise, once charges reach a certain amount) will be charged to the credit card on file.

If you prefer, you can place cash on your account at check-in. You will then be notified if more cash needs to be placed on your account during the cruise.
 

auntlynne

Aunt Lynne
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
I like using gift cards for everything - including the cruise itself.

there are ways of buying Disney gift cards at a discount - big box stores (combine card discount with cash back rewards on your credit card). Target 5% off with their credit card. Anyway you can reduce the cost for DCL us a plus. And travel agents can accept Disney gift cards.

The drawback to paying with gift cards is if you cancel your cruise the refund goes back on the gift card(s). You lick yourself in to spending a chunk of money on something Disney.
 

DCLDVC1

Concierge Veteran
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
We've booked anywhere from 3 months before the cruise to opening day.
 

auntlynne

Aunt Lynne
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
As far as booking, I book it as soon as I make the decision to cruise. Why risk a price increase?

Typically, a lower price only happens if you are a FL resident, military, Canadian, or are willing to accept any room within a category (interior, balcony…)

And Concierge-level cabins have a non-refundable deposit, do make sure you really plan on sailing.

Otherwise, you can cancel booking until a stated date and get entire deposit refunded.
 

lynnfitz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
ok thanks everyone!-If you go to a gift shop to buy something, can you at time of purchase use a gift card, or does all the items get automatically charged to the room account? I wouldn't use them to purchase the cruise, sorry, we're so new to this! I feel like I'm pretty much of an expert at Walt Disney world, but this cruise is a whole new world to us!
 

Mommb

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
It is possible, but not guaranteed, that the main gift shops on board will accept Disney Gift Cards. Other venues (bars, restaurants, photo area, spa) will only charge to your room account.
 

onesam319

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
We have learned that the cheapest fare is on opening day for the new itineraries. If you like cruising with Disney, get a placeholder while still on board for your next cruise. A strategy we use is to have a Disney Premier Rewards Visa. Use that card to pay for your entire cruise fare. This gives you a reward of 10% off purchases on board. We also use that card for all our purchases to earn 1% in Disney Rewards dollars. The interest rate is high, but we pay our entire balance each month, so that doesn't matter to us. From the time we book our cruise until we actually board the ship, we have earned enough rewards to pay our gratuities and still have Rewards dollars to pay for other on board purchases!
 

dreamer17555

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
So I have booked both opening day and sailings less than a month out when I have noticed a VGT rate too good to pass up.
 

maui2k5

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
We have booked ours generally 1-4 months out. This coming cruise in Oct will be our second using the VGT rate which is 35% off the price of selecting a verandah stateroom. A pretty big savings which is one reason to book closer (if you do not care about your stateroom location).
 

Scalemaster34

°O° + °Õ° = °õ° & °õ° & °õ° & °o°
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
I live in Florida... and for use it's better to wait for last minute deals.
We wanted to do the Wish so we booked in on opening day for Gold Members, for September as that when we tend to cruise.
I'd book ASAP... then check the rates to see if they offer any discounts before the ability to cancel ends.

We used Gift Cards to make our finial payment, and to put on our onboard account to cover the "extras" we charge to the room. As we try to buy these at a 10% - 15% savings...
 

Calantha

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
I've also either book opening day (or close to it) or wait for a VGT rate.

Our original cruise in 2019 was booked opening day and all our cancelled cruises in 2020/2021 were opening day books.
2022 January was a VGT "GET ME OUT OF MY HOUSE" emergency.
2022 June was opening day.
2022 July was a VGT "Not going in September now but need to use the cruise credits - let's go with people who did book opening day."
2023 January was opening day (rebooked when we got a placeholder - price hadn't changed)
2023 May was also opening day (rebooked when we got a placeholder - price hadn't changed)
I'm in discussions with some family about Fall of '23, so those will not be opening day, but I'd still do it soon if we come to agreement.
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
The Disney Cruise ships are cashless, so any purchases made onboard are charged to your stateroom account. Most passengers place a credit card on their account at check-in. You can then stop by Guest Services to apply a gift card to your account after you have charged at least the amount you are using from the gift card. You could also use a gift card to purchase onboard credit online in advance of the cruise. Any remaining balance at the end of the cruise (or mid-cruise, once charges reach a certain amount) will be charged to the credit card on file.

If you prefer, you can place cash on your account at check-in. You will then be notified if more cash needs to be placed on your account during the cruise.
Well, yes and no on cashless. You can pay off your account with cash anytime. But except for tips for room service which are cash only, during the cruise you charge everything to your room and settle up with cash, credit card, gift cards or even check at the end of the cruise.
 

Calantha

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
4 cruises and we have not yet done room service. We rarely have cash. Does that mean we can't do room service?
I did room service almost every morning on our July cruise (tea for me and cereal for DS at 6/6:30 AM). We also did lunch one day and a cheese tray on 2 other days. They only handed me a receipt once. Every other time I tipped cash. You could still do it and not tip I suppose - or request the receipt to add the tip.

I never use cash in real life, I just go to the bank and break a $20 before we leave so I have it for room service, since we order it a lot.
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
4 cruises and we have not yet done room service. We rarely have cash. Does that mean we can't do room service?
Well, you have no way to tip them without cash. Just like a tip for your excursion guide. And I'm not charging a soda or snack in port in part because it's not uncommon for merchants to have a $10 minimum for a credit card use. 10 cruises, and Disney was the only one where one night we got their famous chocolate chip cookies and milk before bed one night.
 

otten

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2015
First cruise we booked at a discount at 60 days out. Next one we booked on opening day. That one ended up being the Panama Canal pandemic cruise so we booked the next one on board that one, a few weeks after opening day, around 17 months out. That cruise got cancelled so we booked the one we are hopefully about to go on on opening day. Feels like we’ve been waiting forever for it.
 





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