Early 2021 Disney cruises on sale this week; prices only go up from here

Sep 30, 2019

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If you’ve been thinking about an early 2021 Disney Cruise Line vacation, now is the time to lock in your plans. January through May 2021 itineraries go on sale today for Castaway Club Platinum members and then to the general public who has never sailed on Disney beginning Oct. 3, 2020.
When booking a family cruise on Disney, it almost always makes sense to book as early as possible so you can reserve the exact stateroom you want and have access to what often ends up being the lowest cruise fares. While other cruise lines have seasonal sales and inclusions that can save you money, Disney does things differently.
Essentially, demand for Disney cruises is high and school holiday and summer vacation itineraries often sell out way ahead of embarkation. This means that the price to sail with Disney usually only goes up from the time the sailings are put on sale until they either sell out or the boat pulls out to sea, whichever comes first. If you want to see how this plays out in reality, Touring Plans has a fare tracker for Disney cruises that can show you some historical prices for various sailings.
As an example, here’s historical price data for a December 2019 sailing out of Galveston for two adults and two kids in a standard inside stateroom. The beginning price for this room type booked over 500 days before departure was a little over $3,000 all-in. Now, with just a few months to go before the sailing date, the price has only gone one direction — up around $800 higher for the exact same trip.

Image courtesy of Touring Plans

This up, up and away pricing scenario may change a bit when Disney launches several new boats (aka more capacity), starting with Wish, DCL’s next new-build, in January 2022. But, for now, booking as early as possible is often the way to get the lowest price on a Disney cruise.
Here are some other ways to save money on a Disney cruise.

Related: Review of sailing on the Disney Dream

Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

Related: Which Cruise Ship Cabin Category Should Your Family Book?

Advance booking for past guests

If you’ve taken a DCL cruise and are a member of its Castaway Club, you have advance access to reserve a 2021 cruise. Disney Vacation Club members, Adventures by Disney Insiders and Golden Oak Club members also get advance access.

When to book

  • September 30, 2019: Castaway Club Platinum members and Golden Oak Club
  • October 1, 2019: Platinum and Gold members
  • October 2, 2019: Platinum, Gold and Silver Castaway Club members as well as Disney Vacation Club members and Adventures by Disney Insiders
  • October 3, 2019: All guests (you don’t need to be a Castaway Club member)

Related: How to Book a Cruise Using Miles and Points

How to book

There are three ways to reserve a 2021 Disney cruise. Castaway Club members can book online, call or use a travel agent. To reserve your cruise online, go to the Castaway Cay login page. To make reservations by phone, call (800) 388-4513. The phone line opens at 8 a.m. ET. Or, use your favorite travel agent. Just be sure to give him or her your Castaway Club member ID for the booking. It can make lots of sense to book via a travel agent to get hundreds of dollars in Costco gift cards if booking via Costco Travel or hundreds of dollars in onboard credit with other agencies.
Golden Oak Club members should call Golden Oak Club member services.
Disney Vacation Club Members can reserve with points by calling Member Services at (800) 800-9800. To make a cash-only booking, use a travel agent or call Disney Cruise Line at (866) 325-6348.
Adventures by Disney Insiders can use a travel agent to book or call (888) 272-0644.

Movie night aboard a Disney cruise. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney 2021 itineraries

So, where can Disney Cruise Line take you in early 2021? Here are the major embarkation ports and routes to choose from:

Head to the Bahamas or Caribbean from a Florida port

DCL sails to the Bahamas and Caribbean from both Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida so families have plenty of options to consider. Here are the itineraries to expect from Disney Magic, Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream:

  • From Port Canaveral: seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages aboard Disney Fantasy
  • From Port Canaveral: Disney Dream to sail three- and four-night Bahamas cruises
  • From Miami: three-, four- and five-night Bahamian and Western Caribbean cruises aboard Disney Magic
View of Castaway Cay in the Bahamas (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
View of Castaway Cay in the Bahamas (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney returns to New Orleans

Disney Wonder will sail a variety of cruises from New Orleans. This is great news for families that can drive to the New Orleans cruise port and cut out the expense of flying. Instead, put that money toward a four- or five-night voyage to the Western Caribbean or a seven-night Bahamas sailing. (This story has some great suggestions on where to stay the night before sailing out of New Orleans.)

Sail from Galveston or San Diego

After completing its New Orleans stint, Disney Wonder will sail on to Galveston and then San Diego. From Galveston you can book four- and six-night itineraries calling on Grand Cayman and Cozumel and one seven-night voyage that stops at Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay.
Once the ship gets to San Diego, it will explore Baja and the Mexican Riviera on three- to seven-night itineraries.
Here’s the full cruise lineup that will be available to book this week:

Which credit card is best for a Disney cruise?

TPG’s got lots of advice about the best credit card for booking cruises. For earning points for cruise spend, these are all solid options:

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining
  • 3x ThankYou points on travel, including gas stations
  • : 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (and dining)
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: 2x Venture Rewards miles, which can be used to “erase” a purchase coded as travel on your statement

You can also use your Citi ThankYou points to book a Disney Cruise Line voyage by calling 1-800-842-6596, say you’re redeeming ThankYou points at the first prompt, then select the travel rewards option, followed by the fourth presented option — cruises and tours.
The information for the Citi Premier card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

Now is the time to book your Disney early 2021 cruise if you want the lowest price possible. As usual, you can choose to just put down the deposit to lock in the lowest prices for now and work on the balance at a later date. (If you book directly with Disney, you can use discounted Disney gift cards to pay off the balance.)
Let us know what itinerary you pick!
For more Disney Cruise Line advice, go here:

Featured image courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

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