5 things I dislike about a Disney Cruise

"This post may contain affiliate links. Check my disclosure policy for more information"

We have had 2 amazing Disney Cruises and I would go back in a heartbeat but due to the increased costs, I’m not entirely sure when that will be to be fair! I today wanted to share with you 5 things I DISLIKED about our most recent Disney Cruises, some things that are out of Disney’s control entirely some that aren’t.. there are still things that we personally were a little annoyed about, disappointed in or didn’t know until it was too late!

Disney Cruise hint & tips

Disney Cruise gratuities

It’s worth noting that these don’t have to be paid but it is customary to ‘tip’ over in America in recognition of good service which you do get on board a Disney Cruise so obviously we do however the fact you have to bare in mind the tips before you even Cruise and add them to your budget to get a true reflection of the cost does annoy me a little!

It’s calculated per guest per night of the Cruise and covers your server ($4), your servers assistant ($3), your head server ($1) and stateroom host ($4) at the very least.

You should also expect an 18% gratuity to be added to any Spa service and anywhere you create a ‘tab’ with discretionary gratuities that cover dining manager, room service, signature restaurants & any port adventures.

You can pay the gratuities when you pay your remaining balance which is something I will seriously consider doing next time.  I believe we will receive the same high standard of service either way we do it but it will just allow us to budget the full cost of the trip rather than getting the bill at the end of the cruise and realising either you still need to pay x-amount of money on the last day of the trip or you know you will get home to a credit card bill with the full amount.

Shops onboard are closed when the ship is in port

Sometimes you don’t want to get off the ship when it’s in port; well don’t expect to shop!  The stores are closed when the ship is docked due to local custom regulations.  I totally respect the reasons for it but it’s such a pain!  It’s an ideal time when most are off the ship to explore the ship a little and browse the shops but no can do I’m afraid! Not something that Disney has control over I accept that entirely but still a pet peeve .. I want to browse with no crowds… I’m British and know the Queen don’t you know! 😉

The Rainforest Spa costs!

It’s to be expected that you pay for treatments in the spa but I didn’t expect to be charged to just enter the spa and sit on their seats, have a sensory shower or relax in their steam room!  You can get day/week passes but I still I feel they could at least allow you to relax if only for a limited time for free!

One place you can go to relax on the ship for free is the Adult area .. there are no children around, they have their own small pool and it’s a lovely place to just chill!

Disney Cruise fireworks are too late!

Not all itineraries include fireworks and/or Pirate Night but the 3n & 4n Bahamas cruise we’ve been on have an evening where we are all ‘Pirates IN the Caribbean’.  There are two pirate shows featuring the ‘fab 5’ (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald & Daisy) early on in the evening with a MASSIVE break of nearly 2 hours before the fireworks at sea at 10:30pm!

(Matt Stroshane, photographer)

I originally thought the fireworks show on our May cruise were after 10pm because it got dark later in the Bahamas but then when they were on at the same time in November and it was dark a lot earlier I realised that that wasn’t the reason at all!?

Because we have small children we have early dining meaning we have dinner around 5 and early breakfast around 8am because the kids are kids that get up early whatever time they go to sleep!  Ours aren’t the only ones that can’t make it to 10:30pm either…. in comparison to a few hours earlier at the Pirate party there are very few kids out on deck watching the fireworks which is such a shame!



  • E. McKay 18th December 2018 at 17:47

    You make it sound like these (non)issues are only Disney Cruise ones. Not so.

    -Gratuities: Um. Yeah. Whatever. I don’t see the problem – (other than the cruise lines should pay the cast members more and not have a gratuity.) -All cruise lines
    -Shops closing: Tax law demand that onboard concessions close down when the ship is in territorial waters, so when you come into port, ship stores will be closed. -All cruise lines
    -Paying to enter the spa: All of the cruise lines charge for this – even the cheapo Carnival. They are all run by One Spa Corp and are about the same.
    -Fireworks shows are too late for kids: I was just on the Magic in November. The pirate show started at 7:30 and fireworks right after and were over by 8:15 – just in time for second seating dinner. (https://disneycruiselineblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Personal-Navigators-Magic-6N-REPO-Day-4-At-Sea-20181127.pdf)
    -Getting off: I couldn’t get off my Carnival cruise fast enough. I’ll pay the premium and do Disney anytime. Not even a big fan of Princess, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean (talk about extra fees!).


    • themoneysavingmum 5th May 2019 at 14:39

      I can’t comment on other cruise lines as we haven’t been on any cruise other than Disney 🙂

      I mentioned that it is to do with the law re the closing of the stores… it’s still annoying and something that I disliked because not everyone gets off the ship when it’s in port… we didn’t want to get off in Nassau.

      Obviously each trip is different because the Fireworks on San Diego one is also late for children.. I don’t like the idea of not knowing when they are going to be… you don’t know until you are onboard which is disappointing 🙁

  • Laura Elmore 21st May 2019 at 04:01

    I believe the primary reason for the fireworks being late is that the late dining time is 8 pm. That means that they are going to be in dinner until about 9:30. On our recent Disney Cruise on the Wonder, we were told that the pirate party began at 9:45 and it did. I believe all Disney cruises have the time in the Navigator, and the phone app.
    Gratuities, shops and spa costs— yes, those are issues on ALL cruises. You can pre-pay gratuities and a professional travel agent would advise of that option. The lack of shopping in port is frustrating, but that is totally out of the cruise line’s control.
    One of the positive aspects of Disney over most family cruises is that they do not charge for soft drinks. That is one of my pet peeves with all but the luxury lines.

    • themoneysavingmum 22nd May 2019 at 21:00

      Yes they do you are correct but you don’t find out about times until you are actually on the ship which is a little annoying. We have never been on any other cruise but Disney so can only comment on what they offer and my opinions of it. We don’t book through TA’s over here in the UK as they are over inflated.. we do it ourselves via Disney or a US TA we’ve used once in the past but it was easier to just book when we wanted to. I will look at pre-paying gratuties for sure next time though! Thanks for your heads up about the soft drinks too.. thats crazy that they charge!]

  • Genni 16th September 2019 at 22:31

    All cruise ships are required to close their shops and casino in port! This is common knowledge!

  • baccarat 5th December 2019 at 15:45

    Best what you can get from drinks , is Water !

  • Leave a Reply

    About The Money Saving Mum

    About The Money Saving Mum

    I've always been financially savvy but when the kids came along I needed to up my game! Our finances and priorities changed overnight and it felt like I was spending money as if it was going out of fashion! I needed to start earning extra money just to make ends meet and continuously make sure we got the most out of every single penny we had! Sound familiar? Keep reading... I'm sharing my story to help people like you!





    Do you know exactly what funds are coming in to your household and  what exactly is going out… to the exact figure?

    If you are pretty good at keeping a tally but could do better OR you aren’t keeping track whatsoever then this FREE budget planner will help you manage your finances a little better today, next month and for the years to come!  

    The planner will help you analyse your finances as well as helping you manage and control your cash. It will also give you the opportunity to sign up to our mailing list too.

    You’ll receive it in your inbox quicker than you can say ‘Happy Easter’!


    I’m Kirsty.  A mother of two (three if you include the hubby!) and I created this blog back in 2016 as a way to make myself accountable for the savings I had to make myself to my day to life after reducing my hours at work.

    Childcare costs would’ve meant I was pretty much working for nothing and we refused to pay it!

    It is now my mission to help other Mum’s find ways of doing the same & show that you can live within your means without feeling deprived.  The blog will provide you with ways you can make some extra money online, share frugal living tips you can take away and use yourself and encourage you to manage your money correctly!

    Luxury doesn’t have to mean buying a Chanel bag or having a Ferrari on your drive but if you budget well, watch your spends, make the right decisions then you just never know… by cutting down or saving on just one element from your life may open other doors to things that you’ve only ever dreamt about!

    As featured in:

    Trips100 Top 10 Travel Vloggers 2018

    Best parenting and money blog & Best money vlog

    %d bloggers like this: