Disney Cruise Line announced its itineraries and ports for 2020, including a brand-new home port in New Orleans (with Caribbean and Bahamian sailings!) plus returns to Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In this post, we’ll offer some general press release style info on the new Disney Cruise Line ports of call and destinations, followed by our thoughts and some tips for booking.
The exciting Disney Cruise Line news all concerns the Disney Wonder, which will be the ship repositioning to make New Orleans its home port in early 2020 for six cruises during this limited-time season from Louisiana (Western Caribbean and Bahamian cruises before a 14-night Panama Canal voyage). The Wonder will also return to San Juan for Southern Caribbean sailings, and seven sailings to Baja and Mexican Riviera from San Diego. Finally, after a five-year hiatus, the Disney Wonder returns to Hawaii with two cruises around the Hawaiian Islands (to or from Vancouver).
In addition to the new DCL itineraries, the other ships will keep doing their thing. Disney Magic will sail to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean before its Transatlantic cruise. Meanwhile, the Disney Dream and Fantasy will continue their popular Port Canaveral sailings through early 2020.
The first thing that jumped out at us when looking at these new itineraries were the Hawaiian Islands cruises. This seems like a convenient way to island-hop, and these sailings stop in a couple of new-to-us places in Hawaii. Then I saw that these sailings would be to or from Vancouver, and that instantly killed our interest.
We’re not really interested in doing 5 days at sea unless we get a killer deal on a repositioning cruise, and we’re betting the limited availability of these cruises will mean they don’t see steep discounts. I’d rather just do a different cruise line’s round-trip Honolulu itinerary, but that’s just me.
The New Orleans sailings also grabbed our attention. It’s been a while since we last visited New Orleans. I went several years in a row for conferences, and my impression was…not favorable. (Sorry!) However, that was before we got serious about traveling, and I’m somewhat interested in returning. I’d love to see what everyone else seems to see in New Orleans. Those Western Caribbean sailings are intriguing, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for deals there (not holding our breath on that one, though).
If you’re eager to book one of the unique or low supply sailings, we’d recommend booking on or as close to opening day as possible. General public booking begins October 4, 2018, with Castaway Club booking as follows:
October 1: Platinum Castaway Club
October 2: Gold Castaway Club
October 3: Silver Castaway Club & Disney Vacation Club Members
Of these cruises, the only ones I’d be in a rush to book are the ones sailing from New Orleans. Six cruises is not that many, especially with a few unique itineraries. As it’s the first time Disney Cruise Line is sailing from Louisiana, I’d expect it to be popular with locals, as well as tourists who want to experience New Orleans for the first time.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawaiian Islands itineraries are a different story. Even though some people will jump at the chance to visit, those 5 days at sea could be a dealbreaker for a lot of people. Only having two cruises like that could keep this from being a cruise that gets discounted, though.
On that related note, we’ve noticed a steady increase in deals for Disney Cruise Line over the last several months, which has culminated in an unprecedented number of discounted cruises right now. Most of these have been aimed at Florida and Canada residents, U.S. Military Personnel, or Cast Members, but there have been good general public offers as well. A good example of that is Disney Cruise Line’s current 20% off promo for IGT/VGT categories, which is a good deal for several cruises.
We didn’t think this merited its own blog post, but it is worth mentioning as discounts were pretty scarce for Disney Cruise Line last year, but have rebounded this year (at least for sailings we’ve checked). There was even an excellent deal on the Quebec City itineraries, which really piqued my interest, but they just didn’t work with our plans. If those sailings were a couple months later and the famed German Christmas Market was taking place, we would’ve dropped everything we were doing to go.
I don’t know how to explain the rise of discounts aboard Disney Cruise Line, but it is interesting that this is happening right around the same time as Walt Disney World is experiencing unexpectedly soft attendance. One explanation that would explain both is last year’s active Atlantic hurricane season, which made a lot of headlines. Another mutual explanation could be prices reaching a tipping point.
Irrespective of the explanation, we’re pleased by this development, and hope this trend continues. We’ve scored some good deals on Disney Cruise Line over the years (and cover how you can do the same in our How to Save Money on Disney Cruise Line Sailingspost), but haven’t had much luck over the last year–and paid more than we would’ve liked for our Alaska cruise. While that’s not really ‘on-topic’ for these new 2020 Disney Cruise Line itineraries, I think we can all agree that paying less rather than more is ideal!
Planning to set sail aboard one of the Disney Cruise Line ships? Read our comprehensive Disney Cruise Line Guideto prepare for your trip, plan entertainment and other activities, and learn what to expect from your Disney cruise!
What do you think of these new and returning Disney Cruise Line itineraries? Any that appeal to you? Are you intrigued by the Hawaiian Islands sailings, or is the number of nights at sea a deal-breaker for you? Any thoughts on which you think might have good deals come along later, and which you’d recommend buying now? Do you think Disney Cruise Line is worth the premium pricing? Any other tips to add or recommendations? If you have questions or thoughts, please share them below in the comments!