What’s included on a Disney cruise (and what you’ll pay extra for)

What you’ll pay extra for:

1. Alcohol. As is customary in the cruise industry, you’ll pay for all alcohol on the ship. (This includes at dinner, where the rest of your meal is included.) I didn’t find the drink prices onboard to be unreasonable. In fact, for a quite cheap (under $7) and really good martini, try La Piazza in Europa!

2. Pre-packaged room service items, including bottled water. This is a tricky one. While all prepared room service food is free, pre-packages foods are not. And the room service menu will not indicate this. Look for the items that are designated at ‘snack packs’. Also beware of all drink packs, even the bottled water. If you want a snack, order the fruit and cheese plate for free instead!

3. The Arr-cade. And it’s not worth it! In fact, my kids, who love arcades, wondered aloud why Disney even bothered putting an arcade on the Fantasy, if it wasn’t going to be ‘great like all Disney things’. There are so many video game options in the kids’ clubs, there’s no need to pay to play in the arcade!

Oceaneer's Lab games

4. Sports simulators. For our sports-loving kids, these simulators, located on Goofy’s Sports Deck, were worth the up-charge, unlike the arcade. They had a lot of fun playing the games together; you can have as many people as you’d like join one session (within reason, I assume!), and kids can pick at will between hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer. The charge is $12/half-hour. There’s also a golf simulator for more (I believe $45/hour), but it’s a complicated course, and intended for advanced golfers only.

5. Spa treatments. Spa treatments in the Senses Spa are heavenly (or so I heard…I didn’t take the plunge) but pricy. A more frugal option: buy a day pass, which will get you into the hot tubs, Rainforest room, and more.

6. Dining at Remy or Palo. The up-charge for the adult-only dining options on the Fantasy is downright reasonable (though you’ll be tempted to pair your meal with wine!). Making a reservation to eat at either one is a great way to treat yourself without breaking the bank!

Castaway Cay bike rental

7. Some activities on Castaway Cay. This would include bike rentals ($6/hour and totally worth it!), snorkel gear (we paid a total of $70/day for our family of four), boat rentals, including paddle boats, kayaks, and water bikes, and the stingray excursion ($35/adults, $30/kids…we were content to watch only). Remember to budget for any alcohol on Castaway Cay as well.

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A few obvious (and maybe not-so-obvious) things to budget for:

While you’re considering the cost of a cruise, be sure to budget for the extras just about everyone will need to include: an excursion or two (depending on your cruise destination and length), souvenirs (hard to avoid the temptation!), and cruise tips. While a tip is automatically added to any drink orders you place on the ship, at the end of your cruise, you’ll be expected to (and should) provide a tip for your stateroom hosts and dinner servers. Disney will do it for you automatically if you’d prefer–just ask at Guest Services–or you can designate your own amount. I used this chart for cruise tipping amount, which is based on the length of your cruise and number in your party.

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