Although cruising offers a very “inclusive” vacation experience it’s important to watch out for those little non-inclusive items that will have your stateroom account screaming for mercy before you know it. The themed buffets and free 24/7 room service may have drawn you in, but before you know it the “drink of the day” may be the demise of your cruise vacation experience.
Alcohol isn’t included in your Disney Cruise cost, it is however, in abundant supply, for a cost. There are little ways to save on alcohol during your cruise that are perfectly acceptable by cruise line standards and it will add up to big savings by the end of your voyage.
- Bring your own-the biggest way to save on alcohol is obviously, to bring your own. Surprisingly, Disney Cruise Line has a very friendly alcohol policy with limited restrictions (see below)*. Breakfast room service offers a selection of juices that can be kept in your mini fridge for a mid-morning Mimosa and you can request Cranberry juice as well. The complimentary beverage station has soda so if you're a rum and coke kind of person, just bring the rum.
- Drink of the day-Disney offers an alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink of the day every day. The drink of the day generally offers a slight discount from the regular price and will be listed on your Personal Navigator each day. Don’t fall into the “commemorative cup” trap because trust me, you don’t have room in your luggage for that cheap plastic cup by the end of your trip!
- Drink specials-Check your Personal Navigator or ask a bartender if there will be any drink specials that day. Common specials include a morning deal for Bloody Mary’s or a 2-for-1on select drinks in the late afternoon before dinner. These are always subject to change, and frequently do, so check your Personal Navigator or ask a bartender before you make any assumptions about these deals.
- Corking fee-If you bring your own bottle of wine onboard you will be charged a $20 corking fee (per bottle) in the dining room (including Palo and Remy). The “what if my bottle is already open and there is a glass missing” factor is at the discretion of your dining room manager. There are wine packages offered onboard as well, but be sure to check the wine list carefully to make sure it suits your palate before you purchase the package.
- Beer buckets-Given the option for a carry-on bag of alcohol I’d choose liquor over beer any day. Carrying your liquor guarantees you have the brand you want on hand in the quantity you need at a much better price. The mark-up beer isn’t as bad as the alcohol and there are “discounts” on beer packages onboard and there’s always the option of the popular beer bucket, which you will undoubtedly see floating around at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay, or even in the adult pool.
*Note on alcohol policy: Be mindful of how much you plan to bring onboard because you will be carrying it on with you. All fragile items, including alcohol, must be hand-carried onboard. The official Disney Cruise Line alcohol policy reads (in part) “Beverage containers are considered fragile and have previously caused damage in checked luggage. All fragile items must be transported inside carry-on luggage". An adult guest (age 21+) can carry a bag onboard that contains alcohol, the dimensions of the bag cannot exceed 22” wide, 14” high and 9” deep). Be sure you understand the official onboard alcohol policy before you pack your own. If you're flying in for your cruise consider stopping at a local liquor store like ABC liquor on your way to the port.
Now that you know how to save money on alcohol you can put that money toward booking your future cruise onboard!