Disney Cruise Prep: Managing Onboard Charges

Your long awaited Disney Cruise is FINALLY paid in full- what a great relief!!
When sailing, there are some onboard charges you’ll want to be prepared for, ensuring your cruise goes off without a hitch. Because no one likes sticker shock when getting your portfolio on Debarkation Day, we’re sharing the 5 most common onboard charges and the best ways to mitigate them.

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As soon as you walk onboard the ship, gratuities are added to your account. The amount added is based on a suggested amount for your Stateroom Host, Head Server, Main Server and Assistant Server.

Hi Ho Vacation Planners encourage our clients to prepay gratuities. We can add the recommended amount to your booking to make things as simple as possible.  Keep in mind that you may want to adjust the amount for an incredible experience, for Concierge services, etc. You’ll have the ability to make changes, pay with cash or gift cards, etc. Just be sure you’ve budgeted for tips- you’ll have a magical time and want to reward the Cast Members for all their help!

Port Adventures
Port Adventures are a great way to explore the different locations you’ll sail to on your cruise. You’ll have the ability to sign up for any port adventures and payment is NOT due upfront. However, we suggest to our clients to add funds to your onboard account as an amenity ahead of your sail date to cover these expenses.

Spa Services
Massages, facials, exfoliations and other services sound and are fantastic. One of our favorite tips for our clients is to book Spa Services while onboard and possibly offered at a discounted rate.

Also, check the Disney Navigator App for daily specials. Another “protip” is to expect for the spa representatives to upsell products and services at check-in. It’s totally fine to let them know you’re not interested. Don’t feel pressure to increase your services unless it’s something you REALLY want. An 18% gratuity will automatically be applied to all spa services.

Alternative Dining
While your meals are included in your booking, there are two options for exclusive, adult-only dining experiences, Palo and Remy. Neither are included in your package, both require a reservation and the automatic gratuity does not cover the servers for your alternative dining meals.

Palo is a private dining venue featuring Italian cuisine offered on all Disney ships. Prices at Palo are approximately $30 per person for entrees (and you may want to add a bottle or two of wine!).

Remy is a private dining venue featuring French cuisine and is available on Disney Dream and Fantasy. If booking Remy, you’ll want to estimate about $95 per person for a meal, excluding adult beverages.

Photograph Packages
If you choose to purchase a Photo Package, one quick way to reduce the price is to prepay and receive a 15% discount. You’ll have this option on mycruisephotos.com from Day 60 – Day 2 before you set sail. Package prices range from $149 up to $400 and are, admittedly, very enticing.

However, you can opt to take your own photos or go ala carte and select the photos and sizes you want.

Whether it’s your first time sailing or your 20th, being prepared will make all the difference in your overall experience! The team at Hi Ho Vacations is committed to making sure our clients are well informed and know exactly what to expect. Contact your Hi Ho Planner for ways to save on your next Disney Cruise!


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Mark Kechula
Hi Ho Vacations Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
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Mark Kechula – Hi Ho Vacations Independent Travel Consultant
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