If you’ve ever heard the rumor that Disney Cruise Line doesn’t serve alcohol, let me squash that for you now. This popular cruise line is ideal for families and multigenerational groups, but there’s still plenty of adult fun on board, including drinks.
First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. If you’ve sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or any other major cruise line, you’re probably familiar with alcohol packages. Passengers pay a set rate per day – usually about $55 – for as many alcoholic drinks and soft drinks as they care to have.
Disney does not offer these all-inclusive, discounted alcohol packages, although it does include soft drinks on deck and in dining rooms in the price of the cruise, which may or may not be a consolation.
While some may see Disney’s lack of unlimited alcohol packages as a con, there are ways to imbibe on board and save money. I hope these tips help you enjoy your Disney cruise and get more bang for your bar buck. Cheers!
1. Bringing Your Own Alcohol On Board
Disney allows passengers to bring their own alcohol on board. Each passenger (21+) may bring two unopened bottles of wine (no larger than 750 milliliters) or six beers (no larger than 12 ounces) in their carry-on bag. Alcohol in checked luggage will be confiscated and not returned.
Make sure you pack your own corkscrew and bottle opener. Disney Cruise Line charges a hefty $25 uncorking fee to enjoy your own bottle of wine in the dining rooms. The alcohol policy also states beer and wine brought on board cannot be consumed in the lounges or public areas.
2. Look Into Beer Cards
If you enjoy draft beer, the Disney Cruise Line Beer Cards are a decent deal. You’ll pay a one-time fee of around $15 for a 21-ounce beer mug. This mug holds five ounces more than the 16-ounce pour you’ll get at the bar. You’ll still pay the regular price every time you get a beer, but you’ll get that extra five ounces each time.
If you’re afraid you’ll lose your beer mug or don’t want to carry it around when you’re not actively drinking it, turn it in at the bar in exchange for a card to keep in your wallet or lanyard. When you’re ready for another beer, present the card at the bar and you’ll receive the larger pour in a fresh mug.
Exchange your card for the mug at the end of your cruise to keep as a souvenir, or save the card for a future cruise — just put it somewhere you’ll remember. If you think you might lose your card, it’s best to go ahead and take your mug with you. If you opt to take your mug home, exchange it at one of the inside bars or lounges — you’ll get a nicer glass mug. If you exchange it on deck, you’ll get a plastic mug.
3. Don’t Forget The Beer Packages
Disney Cruise Line offers beer packages on embarkation day. You’ll see cast members on the pool deck selling these packages and if they see you drinking a beer, they’ll likely approach you about beer packages.
As of this writing, a six-pack of aluminum bottles is $33.75, which is slightly discounted from the per bottle price at the bar. On our most recent Disney Cruise (May 2022) we purchased six beers plus a souvenir insulated bag for $47.20. We took the bag and beers ashore at Castaway Cay, Disney’s island in the Bahamas, and got ice from the bar on shore to keep our beers cold at the beach. I like the bag and use it frequently at home and on the road. The amount we paid for the beers is less than what we’d have paid for the frozen drinks we’d have ordered if we didn’t purchase the beer, so that was a win.
4. Avoid The Wine Packages
If you enjoy wine with dinner, Disney Cruise Line offers wine packages in the dining room. Your server will present options on your first night. You can select from Classic or Premium packages. Premium is more expensive, with better quality wines — although “better quality” is relative. We recognized several names off the list of white wines from the wine sold in our local supermarket, and none retail anywhere near what Disney charges.
You can purchase wine packages in three-, four-, five-, and seven-bottle increments. On our recent three-night cruise, we purchased the three-bottle Classic package for $98 (Premium would have been $148.) An 18 percent gratuity is applied.
I wasn’t happy with the quality of two of the wines and probably won’t purchase the package again. I didn’t compare wine list pricing against the wine packages, but in the future, I plan to bring wine from home or just order what I know I like and spend the extra money.
5. Hunt For Happy Hours
One of the best ways to save money on drinks on a Disney Cruise is to scout the happy hours. Download the cruise line’s app, the Disney Cruise Line Navigator, before you sail, and check the events daily once on board. On our last cruise, there were two to three happy hours daily. Each happy hour lasted an hour and was at a different bar or lounge. The discounts ranged from 30 to 50 percent off all drinks, so it’s definitely worth scouting these deals if you plan to drink.
There’s no rule that says you have to stay at the lounge where happy hour is happening. We ordered a discounted drink at one lounge and took it to the theater to see a show.
6. Try The Drink Of The Day
Most of the mixed drinks at the pool bar are around $8 each. There’s a full bar, so passengers can order any type of drink, but there’s a menu featuring the types of drinks you’d typically expect to sip while relaxing on deck, like mai tais, rum runners, and piña coladas.
There’s a designated drink of the day each day. The drink of the day will be announced in your Navigator app, or you can just ask any bartender. The drink of the day is around $5 each, so this is a fun way to save money.
Splurge-Worth Activities: Mixology And Beverage Tasting Seminars
While booking a Mixology class or beverage tasting seminar doesn’t count toward saving money on drinks during your Disney cruise, I wanted to mention these opportunities because they can be fun and book up very quickly, usually before embarkation.
Mixology classes are hands-on classes under the direction of a mixologist where the participants make the drinks. Beverage tasting seminars are exactly what they sound like — guided tastings where a sommelier or other expert guides you through tasting alcoholic beverages. Champagne, wine, rum, and beer tastings are available.
These seminars currently run $40–$50 per person, so they’re in the splurge category for most people, but they’re a fun way to meet other passengers and learn a little something. Book these activities when your window opens for shore excursions and other onboard activities.
Pro Tip: These are available for purchase prior to sailing, although there’s no discount for advance purchase. I recommend purchasing on board when you’ll have a better sense of what you’ll want.
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