Is Disney Cruise Line concierge level worth it? We tested it to find out.
When you sail on a Disney cruise, everyone gets access to included food, good service and great entertainment. But there’s a class of cabins and guests that get a little bit of extra pixie dust — Disney Cruise Line concierge guests. Disney Cruise Line sits toward the pricier end of the cruising spectrum, even in …
When you sail on a Disney cruise, everyone gets access to included food, good service and great entertainment. But there’s a class of cabins and guests that get a little bit of extra pixie dust — Disney Cruise Line concierge guests.
Disney Cruise Line sits toward the pricier end of the cruising spectrum, even in the most basic of staterooms. But let’s assume you’ve already decided that the cost to cruise with Disney — with the Disney characters, access to an included rotating dining room schedule and evening Broadway-caliber Disney shows — is worth it for you.
Looking at the cabin and amenity options available on Disney cruise ships, you may eventually go further down the rabbit (er, mouse) hole and wonder if Disney Cruise Line’s concierge-level rooms and service are worth an additional premium.
To answer this question, we’ve sailed in a concierge-level room (twice) to see what exactly all that extra cash gets you on Disney Wonder and, more recently, on the new Disney Wish. Here’s what we found out about Disney Cruise Line concierge-level rooms, benefits, service and lounge, and whether or not the perks are worth the additional cost.
What is Disney Cruise Line’s 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 pay more for this type of accommodation in exchange for access to a lounge, more attentive service and additional benefits. But the extras for concierge service on a Disney cruise ship actually go much further than the added benefits of a club room at the Disney parks.
Those who decide to spend the extra cash for a concierge-level room will be spoiled with earlier booking dates for excursions and activities, special onboard meals and offerings, the ability to book cabanas at Disney’s Castaway Cay private island before others, early access to the theater in the evening to nab the best seats and a private lounge to utilize on the ship.
To access the concierge level on a Disney cruise, you have to book a concierge room type, and the benefits and upgraded service then convey with that cabin type. It’s not an add-on you can tack onto an otherwise non-concierge stateroom.
Stateroom types within that concierge class of rooms start at the verandah-level room (i.e., a cabin with a private balcony) and go up in price and size to include a variety of suites. If you’re already thinking you want to book a suite, you don’t also have to decide about concierge level; you will automatically get Disney Cruise Line’s concierge service included with your premium accommodations.
However, if you plan to book a cabin with a balcony, you will need to decide whether you want a room with the standard inclusions or if you want to upgrade to a concierge room with a balcony and all the extra Disney Cruise Line concierge benefits. The difference can be thousands of dollars.
When I priced out Disney Cruise Line concierge rooms, cruise fares started at just over $3,000 for a short sailing for two people. Prices go up to tens of thousands of dollars for concierge level for the larger suites or on longer sailings.
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Disney Cruise Line concierge benefits
Booking a concierge-level room on a Disney cruise brings many perks beyond access to the physical concierge lounge. Here’s a quick summary of some of the Disney Cruise Line concierge benefits.
- Priority booking of activities and excursions 120 days before sailing.
- Priority boarding — be among the first on the ship.
- Access to the concierge lounge with included food and drinks.
- Complimentary wine, beer and spirits in the concierge lounge in the evenings.
- Free popcorn in the movie theaters.
- Priority seating for the evening shows.
- Priority walk-off on debarkation day.
- Room service ordering of hot breakfast or dinner from the main restaurants.
- Access to knowledgeable and helpful concierge hosts.
To appreciate the value of these perks, you have to understand how activity bookings work 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 and schedule onboard activities.
On Disney Cruise Line, 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 Club status.
However, if you book concierge level, the concierge team asks for your activity preferences via email 125 days before your sail date. They put in your requests precisely when the 120-day booking window opens, so essentially no one can book anything before you. This jump-start increases the odds that you get the spa times, onboard tastings, adults-only restaurant reservations and excursions you want.
Notably, if you want to book a private cabana at Castaway Cay, you basically have to sail in concierge level or have a high tier of status within the Disney Cruise Line program to snag one, as they book up quickly. This strategy works better on Disney’s smaller ships; Disney Wish has so many concierge rooms that there’s no guarantee you’ll get a private cabana if everyone else is vying for the opportunity, as well.
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 hot breakfast delivered to your stateroom.
Disney Cruise Line concierge guests also get priority tendering to ports, when required. Thanks to priority boarding times on embarkation day, we were the third family to come aboard when we sailed on Disney Wonder, which meant we got several more hours on the ship than we did on our first cruise. Boarding first also meant we had the pools and slides to ourselves for a long time.
Port Canaveral, the departure port for several Disney cruise ships, offers an entire lounge with a stocked fridge where concierge guests can wait before boarding starts for that group. Your special treatment starts before you even walk on board.
Once onboard, plan on stopping by the exclusive embarkation-day lunch for concierge-level guests, so you can avoid the lunchtime crowds and get to know your concierge host team. While it’s not mandatory to attend, the lunch is a good way to kick off your cruise (before or after you’ve gotten in any early swimming you want to do).
Pro tip: Get the welcome-aboard sundae if it’s on offer.
For me, the best part of the concierge magic is the final thing the concierge staff can do for you on the last morning of your sailing.
On our first cruise, getting off the ship literally took hours. We burned off our “vacation high” in a hurry. But when you cruise in the concierge level, you can enjoy a light breakfast in the lounge, and then the staff can take you and your luggage down a private elevator and straight to the walkway off the ship. Debarkation takes mere minutes.
This may not sound impressive until you’ve done it the other way, battling thousands of cruisers also ready to disembark. I’m here to tell you that experiencing no lines, no stress and no regrets as the concierge staff escorted us off the ship made for an easier transition back into the real world.
Inside the Disney concierge lounge
The physical concierge lounge is a tangible hallmark of Disney Cruise Line’s concierge-level service.
On Disney Wonder, the lounge is located midship on Deck 10, which is almost as high as you can go on the ship. On Disney Wish, the concierge lounge is on decks 12 and 13, which was also one of the topmost decks on that ship.
You must use your keycard to get into the lounge. Near the entrance, concierge staff are waiting to assist you; they will quickly get to know you 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, so don’t do that.)
The lounges themselves each have a food and beverage area (with a great coffee machine!), along with various seating areas. On Disney Wish, the lounge had a good-sized bar, plus hot tubs and a small pool deck just for concierge guests.
Except on debarkation day and for a private Disney character meet-and-greet when we sailed on Disney Wonder in early 2020, the lounge was rarely crowded during our visits.