Set Sail in Style: The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Staterooms

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Mickey and Minnie in front of the Disney Wish, one of the best cruises for kids

Suppose you’re considering a Disney Cruise for your next family vacation. In that case, you’ve probably clicked around a bit on Disney Cruise Line’s website to find the perfect ship and route that aligns with when you want to go on the ultimate Disney vacation.

Perhaps you’ve made it to stateroom selection, and now you’re stuck. What to choose? Choices can be intimidating and confusing, especially when you’re making decisions about high-dollar vacations, and yes, Disney Cruises are among the most expensive cruise vacations out there. How do you decide what’s the best stateroom – or staterooms – for your travel party? Do you go cheap and put the savings into another part of your vacation, or do you play that YOLO card and splurge on the most expensive?

Only you can decide how much money you’re willing to part with, but hopefully, I can make the decision-making process a little easier by breaking down the different Disney Cruise staterooms.

I’ve sailed on four of the five Disney Cruise Line vessels: The Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream, and the new Disney Wish. My family is booked on the Disney Fantasy for spring break 2024, bringing us to what’s known in Disney Cruise Line circles as a Grand Slam.

We’ve booked a variety of cabins, from the least expensive inside stateroom to a concierge 1-bedroom suite. I prefer concierge – because of course I do – but our budget doesn’t allow us to drop that kind of money every time we go on a cruise. I’ve found something to love about all the Disney Cruise Line staterooms we’ve stayed in, so let’s take a dive into the different room types.

About the 10 Different Categories of Staterooms

Disney uses numeric categories to classify their staterooms. It can be confusing for newbies who read cruise stateroom reviews to try and decipher what “Category 1A or Category 7 means. I’ll provide a brief key below for reference:

  • 1A – Royal Suite
  • 1B – Concierge 2-bedroom Suite With Verandah
  • 2A or 2B (there’s some variation between ships) – Concierge 1-Bedroom Suite With Verandah
  • 3A – Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
  • 4 – Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
  • 5 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
  • 6 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah (Undersized, Obstructed View, or White Wall)
  • 7 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Navigator’s Verandah
  • 8- Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom
  • 9 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
  • 10 – Deluxe Inside Stateroom
  • 11 – Standard Inside Staterooms

Essentially, the lower the category number, the more expensive the stateroom. When you’re on the Disney Cruise website browsing rooms, you’ll see the square footage listed, which includes the bathroom space as well as the verandah.

Concierge Rooms

Concierge rooms are not only nicer, more spacious rooms with more amenities but there are also extended services that go along with the extra room. Concierge services include shoreside services, such as assistance with booking shore excursions and onboard activities. Concierge guests also get an early booking window to get their first pick of activities and coveted extras like cabanas at Castaway Cay.

Concierge guests also get access to the ship’s Concierge Lounge. Lounge perks include private sundecks, near round-the-clock access to nibbles, bottled sodas, bottled water, juices, and specialty coffees, and an open bar in the evenings.

Disney Cruise Rooms - Boy at snack buffet concierge lounge Disney Dream.
In addition to more spacious staterooms, Concierge guests have access to a lounge with snacks and other perks. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Concierge Royal Suite

Each ship has at least one Royal Suite. These luxe accommodations sleep six and have separate living areas and dining areas, and private hot tubs. The newest Royal Suites on the Disney Wish are Sleeping Beauty-themed. If you want the highest of high-end and are prepared to pay the price, these suites are the ultimate experience on board a Disney Cruise.

I recommend booking with a travel agent who can help you navigate the availability of these suites. Since they’re in limited numbers, they tend to book up fast, so if you’ve got your heart set on staying in a Royal Suite, a travel agent has a better view of availability across the fleet.

One and Two-Bedroom Suites

These suites offer space to spread out at a more affordable price than the Royal Suite, although affordable is a relative term when it comes to concierge staterooms.

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My family and I stayed in a one-bedroom suite on the Disney Dream, and we enjoyed the extra space and privacy. The king-sized bed had pocket doors that separated our sleeping space from the rest of the room, and we had two full baths, one with an oversized bathtub. Our kids slept on a pullout couch and a Murphy bed in the living room.

Disney Cruise Rooms - concierge 1-bedroom suite  Disney Dream.
Our 1-bedroom concierge suite on the Disney Dream had a King bed with Frette linens. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah

The Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah is the least expensive concierge room. The room is very similar to a non-concierge oceanview stateroom with a verandah and is essentially a category 4 or 5 stateroom with concierge room decor and amenities and access to concierge services, such as the lounge and pre-arrival assistance. If you want the white glove VIP service but don’t need a bunch of extra room, this is the way to go.

Oceanview Staterooms

If you want to see the water from your stateroom, Oceanview is the stateroom for you. There are several categories to choose from here. The big decision to make is whether or not you want a balcony, AKA verandah. If you decide to go with a verandah, there are some nuances regarding views so if unobstructed ocean views are a must, make sure you’re reading carefully when you book or specifying exactly what you want when you talk to your travel agent.

Disney Cruise Rooms - Queen bed on Disney Wish
The Classic and Dream Class ships have an Art Deco room theme but the new Disney Wish rooms have fairytale/movie themes. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms and Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

When it comes to Disney Cruise Line staterooms, the word “family” is going to mean a larger room that sleeps more people.

Think of the oceanview as the middle-of-the-road choice between a room with a verandah and an inside room. The rooms have porthole windows where you can see outside and get that natural light. The oceanview stateroom is more money than the inside staterooms but not as costly as the verandah or concierge rooms, so, if you want to land somewhere between those two options, this can be a good choice.

The oceanview stateroom may also be a good compromise for parents of young children. Sometimes parents have the worry that their little ones are going to try and climb the balcony and fall overboard, so the oceanview sans balcony eliminates that situation.

The verandah staterooms do have high locks on the doors to the balcony, though, so it’s easy for parents to manage, safety-wise.

The balconies are about 45 square feet – not huge, but large enough for three to four people to comfortably stand on to look out. There are two chairs and a small table, quite comfortable to sit in and enjoy a drink or your morning coffee.

Oceanview Staterooms With Verandah

As you can see from the list above, there are many variations and multiple categories listed for rooms with a private verandah. The difference between the verandahs in Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah and Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah is going to be the size of the stateroom and the number of people it can sleep, five versus four people. Categories 4 and 5 have the same type of unobstructed verandah.

When you get into categories 6, 7, and 8 on Disney Cruise ships, you get smaller verandahs, potential obstructions, or a white wall verandah. Most of the verandahs are acrylic, where you can see ocean views even while seated. A Navigator’s Verandah is a mostly enclosed verandah that has a large, circular hole for viewing. The smaller or obstructed view verandahs will be priced lower than categories 4 and 5. The differences are very minor, so if you have an opportunity to save or your selection of verandah rooms is limited, consider how much time you’ll spend on the verandah and decide from there.

Inside Staterooms

Inside staterooms are the cheapest staterooms. Depending on availability, you’ll be able to choose from a standard inside stateroom and a deluxe inside stateroom.

Inside staterooms are exactly that – inside. There’s no porthole window or balcony to let in the natural light or ocean breezes.

Disney Cruise Rooms - Deluxe Inside Stateroom bathroom Disney Magic.
The big difference between Deluxe and Standard Inside Staterooms is the split bath. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Deluxe Inside Stateroom Vs. Standard Inside Stateroom

The big difference between standard and deluxe is that the deluxe has a split bathroom. The split bathroom means a toilet and vanity separate from the shower and second sink. It’s a great feature and allows someone to be in the shower without holding someone up if they need to use the toilet. The extra square footage in the deluxe – about 50 feet – is all the split bathroom.

We stayed in a deluxe inside stateroom on the Disney Magic. We initially booked the standard inside stateroom, but Disney upgraded us shortly before we left for the port, and we appreciated the extra space in the bathroom. Otherwise, I thought the inside cabin was just fine. I thought I would miss the verandah but didn’t. The dark cabin was great for sleeping. Also, many of the inside staterooms are on the lower decks. When we were in an inside stateroom on Deck 2, catching the stairs and bypassing the crowded elevators was easy.

Inside staterooms on the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream have a virtual porthole, which is a digital screen that shows real-time views of the ship’s exterior with the occasional visit from a Disney character. You can turn off the virtual porthole if you choose.

Disney Cruise Rooms - Inside stateroom Disney Magic.
Inside stateroom ready for bed. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Standard In-Room Amenities

The Inside and Oceanview staterooms are all very similar, and the main differences between the stateroom categories are verandahs and split bathrooms versus single bathrooms. Regarding the available beds and storage space, there’s not much difference between non-concierge rooms.

The rooms typically sleep four, with a few sleeping five, so larger families or groups may want to consider adjoining cabins if not comfortable splitting up. When you enter the room, you’ll see a queen bed, a couch, a coffee table, and a combination desk/storage unit. There’s a curtain divider guests can use to close the bed off from the rest of the stateroom.

The couch converts into a bed, and there’s an additional bed housed in the ceiling. The stateroom attendant will convert the couch into a bed and handle the pull-down bed during nightly turndown service. Although the quarters are pretty close, this setup does well for a family of four, with the kids sleeping on the bunk beds and the parents sleeping on the queen bed. The curtain provides a small amount of privacy.

Staterooms have a small flatscreen TV that’s mounted on a swivel so they can be positioned to be seen from the bed or the couch. Although no one goes on a cruise to watch TV, there are a variety of channels that include information about the ship’s route and activities as well as Disney programming and news.

Bathroom Amenities

In addition to towels and soap, standard DCL bathroom amenities include shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, and soap. Concierge staterooms have elevated toiletries. The Disney Wish provides bathrobes as part of the standard stateroom amenities but on the other ships, they’re only for concierge guests.

Storage Space

Storage space in a Disney Cruise Line stateroom is adequate but tight. If you have four people in a cabin, storage space is more at a premium, but unless you’re big over-packers, everyone has enough space to store their belongings.

There’s a bit of closet space – if you have a lot of hanging garments, I recommend travel hangers – and storage cubbies and drawers in the bathroom and the main part of the cabin. The under-bed area has room for suitcase storage.

Best Advice When Choosing Staterooms

Budget is going to be most people’s driving factor when choosing a stateroom. Depending on the length of the cruise, there’s usually a several thousand dollar difference between an inside stateroom and the cheapest concierge stateroom.

Cruise ships are so filled with activities and other things to do, and guests aren’t meant to spend a ton of time in their stateroom, so don’t think you’ll be shortchanging your experience if you book an inside stateroom. If you have a larger budget and prioritize that extra level of elevated service, concierge is a fun splurge.

I also recommend you look at a deck plan before you lock in a stateroom to see where you’ll be in relation to everything else on the ship. If your cabin is directly below the sun deck, you might be woken early by the sounds of the deck crew setting up the chairs for the day. If your cabin is near the elevators, you might hear lots of foot traffic, although the upside is that being near the elevators means it’s faster and easier to get around the ship.

Midship staterooms on a high deck are generally the most stable, so this might be a necessary choice if you’re prone to seasickness.

Travel Agents Can Be Excellent Advisors

When it comes to choosing a stateroom, a travel agent can be a great resource, especially if you’re a first-time cruiser. They’re familiar with the ships, deck plans, and what the passengers want and need, even when the passengers may not fully know.

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Jill Robbins is a freelance writer covering lifestyle, travel, health, and commerce. Her writing has appeared in SheKnows, HuffPost, Tripsavvy, Insider, AARP, and other publications. Jill lives in San Antonio with her husband and two youngest kids, although she’s usually somewhere else. You can find out what Jill is up to by reading her blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.
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