The Good and the Bad From Disney Cruise Line

Yesterday was a great day for Disney Cruise Line when the Disney Dream made her arrival at Port Canaveral.  Here’s one more photo for you from another friend who was at Jetty Park to welcome her in.

Yesterday evening we received some news that initially seemed to be continued good news from Disney Cruise Line.  After further inspection, I don’t believe this is good news.

One thing that Disney has differed with on their ships is how they handle the infamous GTY or guarantee status stateroom.  With many cruise lines, you can book a GTY stateroom in inside, outside or balcony staterooms.  What this means is that you are guaranteed to get this classification of room, however, you will not get a room assignment until much closer to your sailing.  You also would not be guaranteed a specific category, just a classification (inside, outside, verandah).  These rooms are consistently lower cost than rooms where you will receive a room assignment from the start.  If you select a category that is not GTY, you will receive a room assignment.  If the rooms have all been assigned in that category, the category will be considered sold out or not available.

With Disney, they did not have a GTY inside, outside or balcony room.  You could not request a GTY room in a category.  The only times you would receive a GTY status was when the rooms numbers in the category you selected were sold out.  At that point you would get a GTY stateroom which meant you would get that category or higher when the room was assigned.  The only exception to this was the category 12 (now 11C) on the Magic and Wonder which have always been a GTY status.

Yesterday we received noticed that Disney Cruise Line is changing this to be somewhat more consistent with the industry.  However, the restrictions and limitations make this an unattractive option.

Starting later this month, three new categories will start to be available:

  • Inside Stateroom with Restrictions (GTY IGT)
  • Oceanview Stateroom with Restrictions (GTY OGT)
  • Verandah Stateroom with Restrictions (GTY VGT)

The rates for these rooms are supposed to be great and are suggested for guests who are flexible with their room location.  The restrictions however, will make it difficult for many to sign on.

These rooms won’t be available until the sailings are within the final payment period.  You won’t be able to get a GTY stateroom when you start planning your cruise six months, a year or more before the sailing.  Here are some of the other restrictions:

  • You will not be able to select a cabin number, room location, area of the ship, etc.  Your room will be assigned within a week of the cruise sailing.
  • If you previously were booked on the sailing, you will not be able to switch to one of these categories.  In other words, it applies to new bookings only.  If you are booked, you will have to cancel your existing reservation (with penalties assessed) and book the GTY room.
  • You will not be able to get a courtesy 24 hour hold.  Payment in full is required at the time of booking.
  • The reservation is non-refundable, non-transferable and no name changes are permitted.
  • Full legal names and birthdates are required at the time of booking.
  • No changes to stateroom category or sale date can be made once booking is confirmed.
  • The Verandah guarantee is only good for up to four guests
  • This cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions with the exception of the $25 onboard credit for online bookings and Disney VISA benefits.

Does this interest you?  Will you hold off in booking your Disney cruise to save more money and avoid any potential penalties?  Or will this not change things for you?  Let us know what you think.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ruth on January 5, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    My questions are?

    How much of a discount. Since you get get on board booking credits and 10% off the price of the cruise. The higher you are as a repeat cruiser the better the incentive to book on board. So it would have to be dramactically different to change my booking habits.

    Also, for people needing a accessible room, this will not change their booking requirements. Seems to me the people who would benefit the most from this would be Florida residents. Since they would be the most flexibility.

    So my answer woulod be no I probably would not change my booking habits.

    Reply

    • The discounts would have to be better than the Florida resident discounts because they couldn’t be combined. I think anyone who plans their trips last minute would benefit, but most of the people I know like to plan well in advance.

      I also think this is totally against what they have been telling us all for years – You get the best deal by booking as far out as possible.

      I do think this is a good step, but I think there are too many restrictions and it is too limited. If I had an option to book a GTY room when the dates are first released for a reduced cost over an assigned room, I would seriously consider it. Even if the deposit was non-refundable. But only making those rooms available after final payment and on new bookings only makes some folks rethink giving a deposit to Disney 1-2 years in advance. I think it’s a bad business move.

      Reply

      • Posted by Sue on January 11, 2011 at 8:50 PM

        I sure would! It’s definitely fun to book well in advance and anticipate the cruise for a year or more. It is also fun to make a last minute trip to a destination because you found a FANTASTIC deal. I book cruises both ways now. So yes, I very well might book a GTY cabin at the last minute.

        Florida also has plenty of seasonal visitors that would jump at a last minute deal since they don’t qualify for Florida resident discounts.

        I don’t like the “new bookings only” rule either. There is NOTHING worse than seeing your already booked and paid for cruise cheaper online. Other cruise lines already do this, so I think Disney is, unfortunately, following the industry.

        I recently saw a “cruising 101″ type of show on TV and they were saying that bookings across all cruise lines are cheapest early or really late. It sounds like this’ll be the case for DCL too.

  2. Posted by Stephanie Clarm on March 4, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    I just found the gty on the Disney wonder for a sailing in early September. This is further than 6 months out and available now. I am concerned about the non refundable, transferable aspect as we are traveling as two groups and we have a toddler. This being said…I am booking. We were not going to be able to afford a balcony room and gty is making this possible for us. We want a first class ship and the risk that the balcony room isn’t in the most desirable location out weighs staying in an inside room that costs more.
    Thanks for having this information available, it helped me decide to take the chance. I hope my information is helpful.

    Reply

  3. Posted by A. Colley on March 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    We are Disney Castaway Club members and just got off of our third cruise one week ago. Last night we decided to go for it and booked a OGT (GTY) room, 5 night Disney Wonder Carribean Cruise. We are a family of four. We will let you know. Waiting for room assignment; sail date 3-16-2014. We usually get Deluxe family stateroom with verandah and love it!

    Reply

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