Last week, I shared my revised dream vacation: a Disney Cruise to Alaska. The prices for the cruise (first sailing in 2011) came out yesterday. The rock bottom price is just over $5,300. Add in airfare and other costs for us to get to the departing port of Vancouver and my low-end guesstimate of $6,000 is looking overly optimistic.
One thing I hadn’t considered in deciding that 2011 would be too early for us was that if the Alaskan cruise isn’t popular enough, Disney might discontinue them before we get a chance to go. That possibility is disheartening, but it’s not enough to make me rush into something we’re not ready for.
However, I have started researching the types of discounts available to see what I might realistically expect to pay. Right now, there are some “kids sail free” deals, which would take $1800 off the price tag. Obviously, that would be awesome. But I don’t expect to see a deal like that for a while, since I’m guessing Disney will want to evaluate the popularity of the Alaska option without offering any major incentives.
During my research, I found a nice summary of how Disney Cruise fares work and suggestions on saving money. The article helped me understand some of the lingo when looking at the Disney booking site. It also made me realize that (1) it really is best to book early; (2) using an experienced travel agent can have significant advantages; and (3) I’ll have to plan for cruise insurance.
I think the bottom line here is that unless something changes dramatically in the next couple of years, we won’t be taking this vacation until Alex is closer to being 10 rather than 5. The cost is just too high to justify when there are so many other financial priorities – things like paying off the mortgage and sending the kids to private school if we decide that would be best.
But, by saving a nominal amount every month in a specially designated account, we might be able to take our Disney cruise to Alaska in five years or so without suffering any financial pain at all.