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When Is the Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise?

by Mommy Frog on December 25, 2023
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Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise - Pinterest ImageIf you've ever dreamt of setting sail with Mickey and friends — you're in the right place! A Disney cruise is a surefire way to have the ultimate vacation experience with that added sprinkle of pixie dust. But the best time to embark on your most perfect voyage can be as tricky as escaping Captain Hook! Your favorite frogs are here to guide you through the seas of decision-making. While it's true that almost any time is a frogtastic time to hop aboard a Disney cruise, we're about to chart a course through the nuances of timing — from avoiding sea serpent-sized crowds to navigating the weather whims of the high seas. So without any further ado, here's the best time to take a Disney cruise!

When Is the Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise?

Not to sound lazy or lame but … ANYTIME is the best time to take a Disney cruise. No, really!

OK, OK — if you really want a helpful answer other than "anytime," we’ve got some pointers below. But the great news is: You really can’t go wrong.

Peak Sailing Seasons

The most popular times to cruise are spring break, summer break and winter break (meaning during and/or between the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday timeframe). It makes sense, right? The tadpoles are off from school. Adults have vacation and holiday time off. The lure of blissfully balmy beaches and warm, salty air breezes during the cold, winter months sounds just as perfect as soaking up rays and working on your tan during the summer months. But a word of Mommy Frog caution: BOOK EARLY! These prime, peak season sailings book up quickly. And even if they’re not sold out, you might not get the stateroom or deck you’re hoping for if you procrastinate on locking in your sailing.

And since we're on the topic of booking early, be sure to take advantage of our exclusive Disney Cruise Line savings here at Undercover Tourist! Get a FREE in-room decor set for all Disney Cruise Line bookings, courtesy of Undercover Tourist, when you book a Disney Cruise Line sailing (this offer expires April 30, 2024)

Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise - Disney Wish Grand Hall

Did you book super early like we recommended? If you’re not 100% sure about your sailing, make sure you review the fine print of your reservation terms. Know the cancellation fee policies and schedule any reminders if you think there's a chance your plans may change!

Seasonal Sailings on Disney Cruises

Another favorite time to take a Disney Cruise Line vacation is during Halloween and Christmas. These special seasonal sailings are called out by name as either a "Halloween on the High Seas" sailing or "Very Merrytime" sailings. And of course, Disney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations take place during all voyages that are at sea on Dec. 31 across all five ships.

Halloween on the High Seas sailings feature spooky and silly decorations, characters in trick-or-treating costumes, dance parties, candy stations and a variety of other Halloween-themed activities.

Halloween on the High Seas - Family dressed in Halloween costumes on the ship deck

If you take a Very Merrytime sailing, you’ll be treated to Christmas trees in every nook and corner of the ship, lighted garlands, big red bows, seasonal music and special themed activities and events, such as a heartwarming tree-lighting celebration hosted by Mickey, Minnie and friends. Even Castaway Cay gets decked out with Christmastime décor for the holidays!

Disney Cruise Line’s New Year’s Eve celebrations include special food and drink menus, a rockin’ deck party, festive swag such as hats and noise-makers, seasonally dressed characters and private holiday parties catered to kids, tweens and teens. And the icing on the cake ... fireworks at sea!

Seasonal sailings typically tend to have pretty good availability since the Halloween and early Christmastime cruises coincide with school time and hurricane season. But if you’re looking to sail on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, be sure to reserve your spot early before they’re all booked up.

And here's a hop tip for ya! Disney, and your fellow sailors, go all out for holidays, so pack accordingly! Sailing for Halloween? Bring those froggy family costumes. Guests typically dress up for one — or multiple — nights. Sailing for Christmas? Feel free to pack a mini Christmas tree, door magnets or stockings to spruce up your stateroom for the holidays. Sailing for New Year's? You might want to dress up in your finest suits and sequins for an adult-only dinner and the evening’s deck party. And of course, don’t froget to take a lot of photos. You might just end up with your best family photo of the year on one of these voyages!

 Off-Peak and Last-Minute Sailing Deals on Disney Cruises

Last but not least, if you’re looking to get a deal on your Disney Cruise Line vacation, consider an off-peak or last-minute sailing.

Off-peak times are typically late August, early September, October and November. Why?

  1. Kids have just gone back to school.
  2. While hurricane season officially lasts from June through November, many people believe the brunt of it falls in those September, October and November months.
  3. Most families will have booked and sailed during the summer or are waiting to sail during spring break, versus late summer and fall months. And … the sailing prices often reflect that ebb in demand with heavily discounted itineraries.

Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise - Disney Wish stateroom

Last-minute sailings, if you’re flexible and able to travel quickly, also afford some hefty savings. Cruise lines want to fill as many of their staterooms as possible for each and every sailing. Disney is no exception to this. So keep an eye on rates and keep refreshing those browsers as your preferred sailing gets closer. While you could risk missing out if the ship sells out, oftentimes you'll see those prices fall as the sailing gets closer and closer.

Here's a ribbit-ing tip for savvy cruisers: Opt for a "Guaranteed Stateroom" to snag a lower fare. Just pick your category, and your stateroom number is a surprise until check-in day. Bonus: Though not guaranteed, you might even score a sweet upgrade! It's an effortless way to save some bucks without fussing over details.

When NOT to Sail?

While we’re inclined to say you can sail anytime (see above!), there are a few considerations you might want to think over about times to avoid:

Best Time to Take a Disney Cruise - Castaway Cay

Remember that hurricane season? Well, usually you’ll be in the clear. But of course, sometimes, there will be storms.

  • In most cases, you'll have some scattered rain and maybe spend some extra time in the ship’s movie theater, spa, lounges or stateroom.
  • During rarer situations, you may be stuck inside 100% of your sailing and your ship skips docking at Castaway Cay or other port destinations. Or, if a storm is dangerously close to where your ship will be sailing, Disney will have to change course, stay at sea longer to avoid coming home through rough seas, or — very rarely — they’ll cancel and refund/reschedule your voyage because #SafetyFirst.
  • So, if you don’t want to risk any of the above, you might want to skip booking a cruise between June and November. Just remember though — you could get great, or not-so-great, weather at ANY time of the year.

The BEST Times to Take a Disney Cruise

Do you get claustrophobic? Hate big crowds? Then you'll want to avoid spring break, Christmas, New Year's and peak summer travel months. While these are still GREAT and super fun times to sail, if you want a little bit more room to spread out at the pool deck or Castaway Cay, consider a less popular timeframe when the ships will be less likely to be sold out — in late August, September and the January-to-February timeframe minus the New Year’s, Martin Luther King Jr. and Valentine’s Day holidays.

Disney cruise to Alaska - Alaskan channel landscape view with turquoise water and snow capped mountains

A simple look through the available sailings will give you a sense of how sold out a particular cruise is. Nearly sold-out cruises will have very limited options available whereas lighter sailings will have every single category, tier, deck and an array of stateroom options pop up as you browse the booking section.

 So much of the best time to take a Disney Cruise is subjective. For you veteran sailors, what DO you do? What is your favorite time to sail? What times of year do you avoid? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: Choosing the Right Disney Cruise Stateroom for Your Family

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Jan 26, 2024 at 7:26 p.m.
Melody Henry Says...

Disney Cruise specials

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