Disney Cruise Line Summer 2018: Opening Day Analysis

The published fares for the Summer 2018 cruising season with Disney Cruise Line have been available for just a couple of hours now. This is my analysis of what I have seen so far. Since Bahamian cruises are readers’ favorites, I really dug into those cruises first. I kept my search parameters very simple – Family of four with 2 adults, 2 kids (ages 10 and 7). So we are comparing apples to apples, all of these cruises are on the Disney Dream (as she specializes in cruises to the Bahamas) and depart from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Cruises to Alaska on the Disney Wonder are about what we expected, meaning they are expensive now, and will continue to get more expensive. See my analysis below for specifics.

European Cruises on the Disney Magic are a bit harder to compare, as the routes are not the same and the ship is visiting different ports in 2018. If you want to sail to Europe this summer, you still have time to book in many categories, though these will fill as summer approaches. *Post may contain affiliate links.*

When are the Best and Worst Prices Cruises

As usual, the best summer deals are found once the traditional U.S. school calendar begins. This means for both 3-night and 4-night cruises the best prices are mid to late September. However, as you approach late August, you will see a steep decrease in fares. While I can only speculate, I believe these factors affect August prices:

  • Many school districts are beginning to place the start of the school year in early August.
  • Middle and high school fall sports and activities begin camps/practices in August, limiting travel options.
  • Hurricane season is more active as summer progresses.

Mid June through Mid July are when fares skyrocket, sometimes by the thousands.

3-Night Cruises to the Bahamas

Today, you will find your best prices on the Sept. 7, 21 and 28, 2018 sailings. These are the current best available fares:

  • Inside Stateroom: $2407
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $2503
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $2659
  • Concierge: $4547

How does this compare to 2017? Well, we can compare to the September 8, 2017 rates as of today (Feb. 23, 2017):

  • Inside Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $2572
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $2590
  • Concierge: $4424

… and September 29, 2017

  • Inside Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $2591
  • Concierge: $4513

4-Night Cruises to the Bahamas

These prices are the best available (as of today 2/23/17) for our same hypothetical family of four with two adults and two kids (ages 10 and 7). Lowest Fare for Summer 2018: Sept. 17th sailing

  • Inside Stateroom: $3074
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $3202
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $3410
  • Concierge: $5966

This same cruise in 2017 (Departs Sept. 18th)

  • Inside Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah:$3388
  • Concierge: $5873

Lowest Price for Summer 2018 (while most kids are still out of school): August 20th.

  • Inside Stateroom: $3826
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $3938
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah:$4146
  • Concierge: $6520

Compare that to the same cruise on Aug. 21, 2017:

  • Inside Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $4665
  • Concierge: $6981

For 4-night cruises, 2018 is similar, but you have more room options and prices are slightly better now. But remember, those fares will rise!

7-Night Alaskan Cruises

As with other itineraries, the best prices are for when kids are still in school. I know that it is super hard to pull kids out for travel, but a few weeks can make a $2000 difference in the overall cost of your cruise. Plus, if you want to get absences excused on the basis of educational experiences, then the Alaskan cruise is perfect! Best Fares of the 2018 season: 5/21 and 9/3. Only a few hundred dollars separate these two sailings, so here are the best deals.

  • Inside Stateroom: $5836
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $6242
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $8684
  • Concierge: $12,671

What does the same cruise cost in 2017? Great question.

  • Inside Stateroom: $6233
  • Oceanview Stateroom: Sold Out
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: Sold Out
  • Concierge: $18,539

Best Alaskan Fare of 2018 If You Can’t Pull Your Kids Out Of School: 8/6 and 8/20 Fares for August 6, 2018:

  • Inside Stateroom: $6883
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $7513
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $11,643
  • Concierge: $18,184

Fares for August 20, 2018

  • Inside Stateroom: $6405
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $6965
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $9765
  • Concierge: $15,398

7-Night European Cruises

DCL did not make year-to-year comparisons on European cruises easy. They shuffled the itineraries, meaning if the Disney Magic is in Copenhagen this June, next June she’s in Barcelona.

Best deal for 2018 Europe: 7-Night British Isles Cruise 9/21 which departs from Dover, England.

  • Inside Stateroom: $4888
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $5308
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $7128
  • Concierge: $9637

Best 2018 Mediterranean Cruise: 7-Night Cruise from Barcelona

  • Inside Stateroom: $5721
  • Oceanview Stateroom: $6141
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah: $7956
  • Concierge: $11,506

Disclaimer

These are not price quotes. These are lowest fares available on DisneyCruise.com for a family of four as of noon EST 2/23/2017. Prices in individual categories will vary based on room selection and number of people in your party.

If you would like a quote on any Disney Cruise Line vacation from a member of Key to the World Travel, you can submit your request here: Request a Quote 

My Conclusions

Cruise prices look about the same now for Summer 2017 and Summer 2018, but appearances are deceiving. The 2018 prices will continue to rise, making what looks comparable now, not-so-comparable in the near future. The best summer fares are in May and September – great for year-round or those not on traditional school calendars. If you cannot take your kids out of school, mid-August is your target zone for the best fares. It makes a great end-of-summer vacation.

My Advice

Same as always: Book when you know your dates. These prices aren’t going down any time soon. These comparisons for Bahamian cruises which run year-round. If you are looking at limited runs for Alaska or Europe, book those right away as I have seen some room categories sell out for 2018 already.

A Note on Hurricane Season

As I mentioned above, prices drop in late August through September because of an increased chance of tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Disney’s primary concern is always Guest safety. Unlike the Walt Disney World Resort, which is in one location, your ship can sail in many directions, away from the storm. Does this mean you should reconsider cruising this time of year? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What does it mean?

  • Buy travel insurance! This is true for any cruise. Weather, airline computer malfunctions and a number of other factors can affect travel. So get your insurance.
  • Be flexible. If tropical weather threatens your planned itinerary, your captain will do their best to sail around the bad weather. This may mean a change in your ports of call or simply missing some altogether. But, you are still on a Disney cruise, so you will have fun, as long as you remain flexible.
  • Be prepared. Pay attention to the weather in the tropics a week before you sail. This is a great time to learn about tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. (Which is great for summer essays.)

In 2016 Hurricane Matthew was the only storm to affect the fleet. So, with any luck, 2017 and beyond will be the same. *Post may contain affiliate links.* Other Articles You May Find Helpful: