If you’ve wanted to take a Disney cruise for a while, this summer or fall might be the right time for you. Why? The down economy is impacting everyone, and though the Disney company is still profitable, it’s taken a 40% hit in earnings over the last several months. This means that, in order for Disney to maintain its high service and entertainment level, they have to drop prices to attract more customers.
You see this most easily in the parks. For example, at Walt Disney World, a summer special offers not only great rates on Disney park ticket and room packages, but free meal plans at their excellent restaurants. One special gives a family of four a five-day vacation for less than $2000 — with everything included.
Though the Disney cruise lines are more popular and are not hurting for business quite as much as the parks, you’ll start seeing great deals coming up on them very soon, with some marketing strategies already giving you more for your buck.
When Disney’s parks start hurting for business because of a down economy, the cruises will still go strong for a few months– and then they’ll have a down period. Why? The Disney parks have more impromptu vacationers, people who book their vacations maybe a month in advance. But because of the limited space on a cruise and the requirement for more planning for transportation and time, Disney cruises have more vacationers who book six months or more in advance — and who must also put a substantial deposit down, non-refundable. This means that when the parks start seeing a dent in profits, the cruise lines still have several months of fully-booked or mostly-booked cruises. But those bookings will soon slow, and in a few months the cruises will start suffering just as the parks already had.
Disney Cruise Deals: Booking Specials
Because of the profit-dropoff pattern unique to cruises, Disney is offering a 50%-off deposit for new reservations. This doesn’t save you money, but it does allow you to free up cash instead of tying it up with Disney, and it makes it easier to book a Disney cruise for less right now, but pay more later when you get an anticipated bonus, tax refund, etc.
Also, those who book their Disney cruise online receive a special $25 discount — not much percentage-wise, but every penny counts these days.
Other Disney Cruise Deals
Disney is already among the most family-oriented of vacations, and they are leveraging this reputation by offering special deals on their Disney cruises to kids: 50% off for kids 12 and under traveling with two full-fare adults, up through the end of this summer.
These special offers are just the beginning of the Disney cruise deals yet to come. I’d suggest keeping an eye on open dates; as they start to come closer to the present, you’ll start seeing increasingly-good deals offered by Disney. However, it will be the lower-priced cruises that will offer deals, so if you’re looking at the Castaway Cay cruises and similar high-end trips, you may as well take advantage of the deals running right now; they probably won’t get better than they are right now.