The Disney brand often evokes feelings of childhood joy and adult luxury.
The company has put a lot of effort into providing a playground for both children and adults at their various theme parks.
One thing that Disney has a reputation for is luxury, especially for its adult sections.
Like many other corporations, Disney also runs a cruise line.
Before anyone can start dreaming about their Disney cruise vacation, however, they’re often brought back to reality by the steep price tag.
Considering the cost of the cruise, you may wonder what makes Disney so expensive.
Here are 10 reasons Disney cruises are expensive.
Why Are Disney Cruises So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
Part of the reason that cruises are expensive, and Disney cruises, in particular, is the location that the ship takes you.
You’re not merely out on the ocean for a few nights.
There’s usually a destination in mind.
Disney offers several different cruises.
One takes you through the Caribbean.
Another takes you to Europe and one even takes you to Alaska.
These destinations can take time to get to, which means the ships have to load up on a lot of food, water, and other supplies.
That costs them a good amount of money since these ships can practically carry a small city population.
The locations themselves also cost the cruise liners money to bring their tourists there.
There are also international sailing costs that Disney has to deal with.
Because Disney doesn’t stay within the waters of the United States, there are a lot of costs associated with the travel.
The locations themselves can also seem exotic to some travelers.
For example, those interested in experiencing European culture may be more inclined to pay more to take a cruise there.
Others who want a private, adult vacation to one of the luxurious islands in the Caribbean may be more willing to pay for that kind of experience.
Disney cruises are expensive because of the distant locations that they take their tourists.
2. Disney-Owned Islands
Disney works hard to give its guests the best experiences possible.
They knew going into the cruise industry that they needed to provide something that other cruise liners didn’t.
They also didn’t want their guests to feel like they were typical tourists when visiting the same islands as everyone else.
Other cruise ships tend to go to the same islands.
As a result, the islands become packed with tourists all trying to do the same thing in a limited amount of time.
That isn’t fun for anyone.
Disney decided to buy its own private island in the Caribbean.
The island is Castaway Cay.
The corporation built its own resort there and provides various activities for its guests.
Besides the cruise, the island is also a resort for those who just want a tropical getaway for their vacation plans.
Buying the island and making it suitable for a luxury resort took a lot of money.
If this weren’t enough, Disney recently did it all again.
They spent between $250 and $400 million to buy an island near Castaway Cay where they plan to build another resort.
Clearly, that’s a lot of money to invest in any project.
Once the resort starts up, they’ll need to pay those who live and work there.
They also have to import food and other supplies that the island can’t provide.
To cover these expensive costs, Disney charges their guests a high ticket price.
The advantage is that you don’t have to share the island or the island’s activities with other cruise liners.
Disney is expensive because it owns its own private tropical islands with luxury resorts on them.
3. Shore Excursions
Disney has several different ticket prices available.
Some include short excursions and some do not.
Shore excursions are trips to the islands and ports that the ship passes through or stops at.
If you don’t buy a shore excursion, then you’re unable to depart from the ship unless it’s an emergency.
You can buy shore excursions after buying your ticket, but it’s usually more expensive.
Those who buy shore excursions included with their tickets get a small discount.
Disney does this to encourage people to partake in their shore excursions.
It also helps them get an idea as to how many people will be leaving the ship and where.
Shore excursions are, for many people, the main allure of the cruise.
For their European cruise, for example, it gives people the chance to walk the historic streets of famous locations.
Others can visit museums or see art galleries that they’ve always wanted to visit.
Some may not find the excursions worth paying more for.
These individuals likely save the most money by buying the most basic ticket available and staying on the ship the entire time.
Shore excursions are expensive because it means the crew has to spend money transporting passengers to and from shore.
That usually means fuel costs and equipment costs to ensure their transport boats are operating correctly.
They also need to pay their staff in charge of ensuring that the transport ship makes it to port and back without any problems.
These are trained individuals with experience in handling those types of machines and what to do during an emergency.
As such, their wages tend to be higher than others on the ship.
Shore excursions are also expensive depending on the type of activity.
Disney will usually reserve a time at specific locations to ensure their guests are able to enjoy them before returning to the ship.
If they don’t own the shore, for example, their European or Alaskan cruises, then making reservations may cost them money.
Some shore excursions are also left to the island or port residents themselves.
For example, you may choose to go to shore and find a zip line tour that you want to take.
The cost for this type of activity comes completely out of your pocket.
The more experiences you want to have, the more you’re going to need to pay.
Disney cruises are expensive because of the numerous shore excursion opportunities available.
You may have to pay for more activities on top of an already expensive ticket.
4. Spa Services
You can find several different activities and services on the ship while you’re cruising along the ocean.
Because Disney does its best to serve both children and adults, you can expect them to have some upscale spa services.
The problem with spa services is that they cost extra.
They’re not included in basic ticket prices.
One of the famous spa services is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
This spa caters to young girls.
It dresses them up in princess dresses, then treats them to a spa treatment.
Adults can find luxurious spa services, too.
Whether you want your nails to be taken care of or a massage, Disney provides.
As you can imagine, the prices for those services are on the higher side.
It’s a service for those looking to splurge while they’re on a cruise.
Considering that Disney cruises, and any cruise, can be exhausting, a spa day may be well worth the money, however.
Their spa services are expensive because Disney uses a lot of their own product lines for their shampoos, massage oils, and other supplies.
They need to pay for these costs via their services.
They also hire staff who have experience providing spa services.
They want their staff members to be able to give their guests the best possible experience.
Disney cruises are expensive because you have to pay even more money to enjoy their spa services.
5. Alcohol And Premium Dining
You’ll quickly discover that alcohol is not free on a Disney cruise ship.
The good news is that they do have alcohol available even on ships that aren’t adult-focused.
Alcohol is a separate bill that you’ll need to pay during the cruise or at the end of the cruise.
You can also set aside a certain amount that you can use for your alcohol purchases through your ticketing system.
This automatically tells the cashier how much alcohol you can afford to purchase.
In the future, you can always put more money into the budget if you know you’re going to want to buy more alcohol.
As you can imagine, alcohol prices are going to be expensive.
That’s because Disney imports all its alcohol.
Since they have a limited supply available, they have to make sure that it lasts until they can resupply.
That means the price tends to be a bit higher on their various bottles than it would normally.
Besides alcohol, you’ll also find that if you want premium dining, then you’re going to have to pay extra, too.
Disney has two different restaurants that cater to premium diners.
They’re called Remy and Palo.
At these restaurants, you’re able to receive top-notch cuisine.
The very best of their cruise chefs cook the meal and the hosts wait on you hand and foot.
Because it’s more expensive, there are also fewer people dining in these areas.
If you want a small break from the crowds, then you might find premium dining worth it.
Premium dining is expensive because Disney pays a bit more money for high-quality ingredients for their chefs to use.
They also have skilled chefs working in these restaurants and preparing meals.
Premium dining is essentially a fine-dining experience on a Disney cruise ship.
It also comes with a fine dining bill.
Disney cruises are expensive because you have to pay extra for alcohol and their premium dining experience.
6. Broadway-Tier Entertainment
If there’s one thing that Disney has a reputation for, it’s entertainment.
Most cruises have some form of entertainment onboard.
It’s usually a comedy show or a musical.
Disney owns several different intellectual properties.
Because of that, they’re able to spare little expense in providing some incredible entertainment experiences for their guests.
Because of the fact that they’re on a ship, Disney could take the easy way out and scale back on their entertainment.
They do the opposite.
The company wants to provide the same level of quality entertainment that their guests would expect if they were visiting one of their parks.
Because of that, Disney put a lot of money into building stages and entertainment areas.
Whether it’s to ensure their cast members are safe while performing acrobatics or ensuring the sound system delivers the best sound possible, they use cutting-edge technology.
In fact, the Disney Wish cruise liner recently announced a new stage show that it would be debuting.
They’re doing a live-action version of The Little Mermaid on the stage.
One of the things they’re doing is using the latest in 360-degree video projection technology to bring the entire theatre underwater.
With tons of special effects and a carefully-selected cast to play the title roles, Disney intends to deliver a performance that Broadway would love.
This kind of commitment is prevalent on all of their ships.
However, it also means that it adds to the expense of a Disney cruise.
Those sort of stage investments and technologies don’t come cheap.
They also need to hire actors and musicians who can perform on the ocean.
Since their shows change every few years, you can expect the costs of running them to continue.
To cover those costs, Disney has to put a high price on their tickets.
Disney cruises are expensive because of the incredible stage shows they host and the costs associated with them.
Another reason Disney cruises are expensive is their focus on children and young teenagers.
Many other cruise liners target adults.
Since Disney tends to target families with young children, they also have to make sure that their ships are child-friendly.
That means they pay a lot of money to childproof their ships.
Whether it’s adding extra guard rails or investing in more safety equipment, Disney is aware that having a lot of small children on board can lead to problems.
This also means that they need to invest in more pieces of furniture or other items.
They’re not focused only on adults.
They’re focused on adults and kids.
They need lots of chairs for both adults and children.
They need lots of silverware for adults and children.
They need activities for both adults and children.
Other cruise liners can get away with focusing on more adult-oriented activities with a few things for kids, too.
This helps them save money since they don’t have to spread themselves so thin.
Disney doesn’t have that luxury.
They have to ensure that every member of the family, no matter their age, has something to do.
This ends up adding a lot more costs to their operations.
As a result, their ticket prices have to be high.
8. Character Meet-And-Greets
It wouldn’t be a Disney cruise without the chance to meet some of the beloved characters of Disney.
Depending on the cruise you’re on, you can meet the famous Disney princesses, heroes, and even Marvel superheroes.
Sometimes, you might even see some villains walking around the deck.
Like Disney’s theme parks, you sometimes need to pay extra money to attend certain special character gatherings.
If your child is adamant about meeting a character, then it may be worth the extra cost.
Disney has regular meet-and-greets, too, but they’re on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Since the characters are only there for a limited time, there’s a chance that you might not be able to see them.
The special character meet-and-greets, on the other hand, are a bit more private.
You get a bit more time with the character, and you’re practically guaranteed to meet them since you paid the extra cost.
If your child has a lot of characters that they want to meet, then it might become expensive.
Disney is also inherently expensive because of these meet-and-greets.
Walking around with Disney characters is part of the experience and fun.
That also means they need to pay talented actors to play those parts.
Disney cruises are expensive because of the experience they provide meeting Disney characters.
9. Cabin Size
Disney ships run a little larger than some of the other cruise ships.
When comparing the latest Disney models with competing models, their cabins, in particular, tend to be on the slightly larger side.
This matters a lot when you’re trying to cram an entire family into a room.
Disney has a few different room options like most other cruise lines.
You can get inside cabins which are the cheapest options.
These cabins don’t have a window to look outside, but some do come with a magical porthole that depicts live coverage of the outdoors with Disney characters showing up now and then.
The size of an inside cabin tends to be around 169 to 214 square feet.
That may seem small, but it’s actually bigger than Royal Caribbean’s inside cabins.
Royal Caribbean’s average sizes are 109 to 170 square feet for inside cabins.
Disney also offers balcony cabins.
These are a bit larger and come in sizes varying from 246 to 304 square feet.
Royal Caribbean has the same thing, but again, their sizes vary from 192 to 264 square feet.
Disney also usually includes two bathrooms for larger families.
The size and amenities of the rooms add to the price of the Disney ticket.
That’s because they built them bigger, which means it costs more materials to make them.
Disney cruises are expensive because their cabins are slightly bigger than other cruise liners.
10. The Disney Name
There’s no question that when you buy anything Disney-related, you’re paying for the name.
Disney had made a name for itself for providing luxury services and experiences for children and adults.
They often take on costs just to ensure that their guests are having a great time.
That sort of experience is difficult to find anywhere else.
Like any other big-name brand, part of the price you pay is for the name itself.
Disney is no different.
Disney cruises are expensive because you’re buying the type of magical experience that only Disney and its brand can offer.
Disney cruises are expensive because they spend a lot of money providing high-quality services and experiences for their guests.
Their decision to buy their own private islands and build their own resorts to ensure their guests can enjoy themselves is part of the reason they’re so expensive.
When you buy a ticket for a Disney cruise, you’re buying a ticket for a one-of-a-kind experience on a luxury cruise ship.