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Is Disney Cruise Line concierge level worth it? We tested it to find out.

Feb. 12, 2020
14 min read
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If you've ever even priced out a cruise, you've probably realized that the price can vary -- widely.

A short cruise during the offseason on a budget-friendly line can start at or below $200 per person. There are also cruises that start at $35,000 per person or more. Even pretty similar cruise itineraries can vary in price by extreme amounts depending on your cabin selection, cruise line and travel dates. In airline terms, think about the pricing difference between a Spirit Airlines ticket and a Lufthansa first class ticket, and you're in the right mindset regarding potential cruise price differentials.

While it's unquestionably popular among Mickey-loving families, Disney Cruise Line sits toward the pricier end of the cruising spectrum. You're paying a "Disney premium" over an otherwise similar line, such as Royal Caribbean, even in the most basic of staterooms. But let's assume you've already decided that the cost to cruise on Disney -- with characters, access to an included rotating dining room schedule and evening Broadway-caliber Disney shows -- is worth it for you.

You may then eventually go further down the rabbit (er, mouse) hole and wonder if Disney Cruise Lines' concierge-level rooms and service is worth (yet another) additional premium.

Related: Comparing, Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines

There's only one way to find out, so for our second Disney Cruise, we booked a concierge-level room to see what exactly all that extra cash gets you. (I know, it's a tough job.)

Related: Review of Disney Wonder's concierge-level suite

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

What is Disney Concierge Level?

Disney Cruise Line's concierge level is similar in some ways to a club level room at a Disney World or Disneyland resort hotel. You're going to pay more in exchange for access to a lounge and extra services. However, the extras for concierge service on a Disney ship actually go much further than a club room at the Disney parks.

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(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

To access Disney Concierge Level on a Disney Cruise, you have to book at least a verandah-level room, and even then, not all verandah rooms come with the concierge-level option. The cheapest concierge rooms I've seen start in the mid-$3,000s for a short sailing for two people. Prices go up to tens of thousands of dollars for concierge level in larger staterooms or on longer sailings. (More on the pricing situation shortly.)

Those who decide to spend the extra cash will be spoiled with earlier booking dates for excursions, activities, special onboard meals and offerings, the ability to lock-in cabanas at Disney private island Castaway Cay, etc. Concierge guests also have a private lounge to utilize on the ship and special access to some extras that make sailing with Disney even more comfortable.

Related: Best credit cards for cruises

Hot room service breakfast only available to concierge-level guests in suites. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney Concierge Lounge

The physical concierge lounge is a tangible hallmark of Disney Cruise Line's concierge-level service. On the Disney Wonder that we sailed, the lounge is located midship on Deck 10, which is almost as high as you can go on the ship.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You must use your keycard to get into the lounge, and then there is a front desk with concierge staff, who you quickly get to know over the course of the cruise. The staff are basically your cruise fairy godparents. (On the flip side, they'd totally know if you tried to bring in a non-concierge guest.)

The lounge itself has a food and beverage area (with a great coffee machine!) after you first walk in, followed by some hightop tables that overlook the adult pool.

Disney Wonder concierge lounge (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

To the left or right from there, you'll find two equally-sized sitting areas with tables and chairs. (Turn left for the one with cartoons and kid-sized chairs.) There's also an outdoor top-deck lounge that is exclusively reserved for concierge guests.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The lounge was rarely crowded, with the exceptions being a during private Disney character meet-and-greet and again on debarkation day.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Private character meet-and-greet in the lounge (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

In the lounge, you'll find light snacks that rotate throughout the day.

A sampling of food options at the concierge lounge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Disney Wonder concierge lounge lunch. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

We had a quick bite for breakfast in the lounge on the final morning of the cruise and occasional pre-dinner appetizers with a drink, but for the most part, you can get better food elsewhere on the ship. In terms of food, the lounge was really just for snacks in my view.

My kids, however, loved grabbing desserts on every trip through the lounge.

Related: How we made our second cruise better than the first

Dessert time in the concierge lounge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

What I truly loved was the help-yourself-fridge. We stocked the mini-fridge in our stateroom from this main fridge, as well as loaded our backpack before shore excursions.

Each evening, complimentary beer, wine and spirits are served in the lounge by a bartender who knew everyone's names by the second evening.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney Concierge perks

In addition to the physical concierge lounge, there are many perks of staying in concierge-level room on a Disney cruise. Most cruise lines, including Disney, have an elite status pecking order in terms of when you can board, book premium onboard restaurants, make spa appointments, secure shore excursions, schedule onboard activities, etc.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

With Disney, first-time cruisers can make those bookings starting 75 days before sailing. That sounds like plenty of time, but unfortunately, those who have sailed with Disney before can make the bookings 90 to 120 days before setting sail, depending on their Castaway Cay elite status. The top Castaway Club tier requires 10 prior Disney Cruise Line sailings to get first dibs on activities.

However, if you book concierge level, the concierge team takes your activity and services preferences via email 125 days before your sail date. They then enter them exactly at the 120-day booking window, so essentially no one is booking before you. Unlike on our first Disney Cruise, this time we got all of our requests for spa times, onboard tastings, the adults-only restaurant, excursions, etc.

While this cruise didn't go to Disney's private island in the Bahamas, if you wanted to book a private cabana there, you basically have to sail in concierge level or have a high tier of status within the Disney Cruise Line program to do so, as they book up very quickly.

Peek inside a cabana on Castaway Cay. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Those in a concierge-level suite can also order from an expanded room service menu that includes meals from a main dining room on the ship. This is the only way to get a true hot breakfast delivered to your stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line concierge guests get priority tendering to ports, when required. But, my favorite part of all might have been how easy the concierge staff made it for us to board and get off the ship exactly when we wanted.

We were the third family on the ship the first day, which means we got several more hours on board than we did on our first time cruising.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Getting on first also meant we had the pools and slide to ourselves for quite a long time.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

After we did all the swimming we could stand, there was a private concierge lunch in Tiana's restaurant on embarkation day where you got to know the concierge staff a bit and eased right into cruise life.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

But the best part of magic, for me, was the very final thing the concierge staff did for us on the last morning.

On our first cruise, getting off the ship literally took us hours. Tthis time, after a light breakfast in the concierge lounge, the staff took us and our luggage straight down a private elevator from Deck 10 to the walkway off the ship. This may not sound impressive until you've done it the other way, battling thousands of cruisers also ready to get disembark.

The first time I did this we spent hours in line and burned off our "vacation high" in a hurry. This time, there were no lines, no stress and no regrets as we re-entered the real world.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

How much do Disney Cruise Concierge rooms cost?

We've already established that cruise prices vary dramatically, but here are a few numbers.

Looking about a year out on a short three-night Disney cruise from Florida to the Bahamas (including Disney's Castaway Cay), prices for a family of four in an interior stateroom start around $2,700. On the same cruise, a non-concierge verandah room starts around $3,000. The lowest level concierge stateroom (with verandah) for a family of four starts close to $5,000.

For that extra $2,000 to go up to concierge you would get more time on the ship, likely be able to book exactly what you want to do with no stress, enjoy included evening drinks, have snacks at the ready, get popcorn at the movies, order hot room service breakfast, etc.

Will almost doubling the cost of the cruise for those extras be worth it to everyone? Absolutely not. But for those who really enjoy lounges, streamlining processes, free-flowing drinks and the highest level of service, I'd argue it can be worth it for a special or once-in-a-lifetime Disney Cruise.

On the other hand, for a seven-night Alaska Disney cruise for a family of four, prices start around $7,000 for an interior stateroom. (I know, it's nuts.) A verandah room is more than $11,000 and a concierge room currently starts at a staggering minimum of over $25,000.

Yes, it can easily cost roughly the price of a Honda Accord for concierge service on a weeklong Disney cruise. You'll find similarly-staggering prices for concierge rooms when the Disney ships are cruising around Europe in the summer.

Related: How to book a cruise using points and miles

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

I'm just going to assume those prices are out of the realm for most of us -- they certainly are for me.

Is Disney Cruise concierge level worth it?

To be clear, you don't need to spend extra money to book a concierge room to have a great cruise with Disney. But if you are debating whether concierge level is worth it, I'll try and help you decide.

For us, the biggest perks were the advance booking for meals and activities that just wouldn't have been easy for a second-time Disney cruiser to otherwise secure. The evening lounge drinks, free popcorn at the movies, available sunscreen and help from the concierge staff when our plans would change at the last minute (which happened a few times) were also pretty great.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

OK, so the private deck was nice, too.

I'd 100% book Disney concierge level again -- but probably only on a shorter cruise where every minute matters more than it would on a seven- to 10-day cruise and when there are fewer opportunities to fit in the adult-only restaurants, spa treatments, drink tastings and on-shore activities.

While it would be indulgent to have all that concierge access and service on a longer cruise, the price alone would likely make me say thanks-but-no-thanks unless money simply isn't a concern

I'd certainly sail with Disney without concierge. But on shorter cruises (and especially while I'm still a lower-tier Castaway Club member), I will do my best to buy up concierge service and amenities whenever I can. While a Disney cruise is a ton of money no matter how you do it, the experience we had on the second cruise was a big enough step up from the first that I'm comfortable saying it was worth it for us.


FOR NO COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.


Featured image by Disney Wonder concierge lounge (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023