Book Review: The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016

The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016 was recently published and has been expanded by almost 75 pages from the 2015 release. The 2016 edition features returning authors Len Testa, Erin Foster, Laurel Stewart and Ritchey Halphen. Timeout… What about the 2015 guide? Ok, I never reviewed the book. I bought a copy, but honestly I never got around to reading it in time for a proper review. As a result, my review of the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016 will mention content added in the second edition remains in the current edition.

Unofficial Guides To Disney Cruise Line 2014 2016

I think it is important to reiterate what I said in my review of the first edition. The Unofficial Guide is not a brochure for Disney Cruise Line. It is not a marketing tool created by Disney’s PR department; the guide is set up as an objective planning guide based on the authors’ personal cruise experience as fare paying guests. Personally, I find this refreshing.

One of the sections added in 2015 was a comparison between Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean based on various aspects of the overall cruise experience. Spoiler alert… DCL didn’t get picked in each category, so for anyone still undecided on which cruise line is ‘better,’ this will provide some things to consider.

The latest edition aims to help future cruisers find the best deals based on pricing trends. The authors provide some suggestions on how far out to book various stateroom categories for the various itineraries. The port of call sections have been enhanced and cover the ports of call for itineraries though the end of the year. Each port overview includes a bit of history of the port, key tourist highlights, weather and suggestions on what local foods to try, and tips on what is unique in terms of merchandise in the area. This sub-section alone should help save some money for the unique souvenirs unless you are adamant about keeing up with your keychain and magnet collection.

Given the fact that Disney fares are ever increasing, there is a section dedicated to pointing out what is and what is not included in the price of your Disney Cruise. To take it a step further, the authors included a ‘Top 10 Best Bangs for Your Buck’ list that will enhance your vacation while not breaking the budget.

One of the biggest decisions people have after they’ve booked their cruise is what to do in the ports. The Unofficial Guide offers the pros and cons of booking an excursion on your own or through Disney.

Unofficial Guide To Disney Crusie Line Walking Tours

My favorite addition to the book was a section that debuted in 2015 – Walking Tours. These walking tours provide you with alternative to Disney’s port adventures and even the local tours. More so, the walking tours presented in the book help you get more of an immersive port experience and potentially will allow you to see so much more of the port than you would on a single port adventure for a fraction of the price.

We have long been fans of going out on our own, but it is always important to know the risks. The biggest is being left behind if you miss the all aboard time. The flip side is that we’ve found that we can save a considerable amount of money and in some cases, we can experience more of that particular port.

The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line has grown over 100 pages from the first edition. The guide offers everything you hope to find on this website but have not, plus it includes content for veteran cruisers. The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016 is an excellent resource for anyone planning for their first cruise. However, veteran cruisers will find value in the newer additions such as the expanded port descriptions, tips on finding a better cruise fare, and port walking tours.

The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016 is available now at your local book store as well the usual online retailers such as Digital copies are available from the iBook store, KindleNookGoogle Play.

Book Giveaway

Unofficial Guide To Disney Cruise Line 2016 Giveaway

Although I preordered my own copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016, The Unofficial Guide series and authors were kind enough to provide us with some additional copies to give away. I would really like to give at least one of these away to someone who is considering or has booked their first cruise. Please remember to use a valid email address so that I can contact you in the event that you are selected.

There are a couple of ways to enter the giveaway:

How to Enter the Book Giveaway

  • For anyone: Rafflecopter giveaway below. Entry period opens at 12 am on 2/16/2016 and will end on 2/24/16.
  • For first time Disney Cruisers – let us know in the comments section below which cruise you booker or are considering booking for your first Disney Cruise and what you are looking forward to the most during your first cruise. When the Rafflecopter giveaway ends I will randomly pick from a winner from the comments section at the same time as the Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


@PirateMomPenny and Steve M were our randomly selected winners from the Rafflecopter giveaway. Jessie and Amy R were the winners of the comment giveaway. Emails have been sent to the winners. In the event, I do not hear back from all the winners I will draw another name.

103 Replies to “Book Review: The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2016”

  1. Stuart McKenzie

    We’ve booked our first DCL cruise (sailing on the Fantasy on October 22nd) and so would really appreciate the guide.

    To be honest we’ll probably purchase it anyway if we don’t win a copy. We’re based in the UK – would that be a problem?

  2. Jodi Rivera

    Thanks for the giveaway! We were married on the Dream 2 years ago and looking to do another one soon. We love DCL

  3. B Wayne Walker

    Looks like a handy guide! We just went on our first Disney cruise in January (Dream, 4 nights Bahamas). Loved it!

  4. Leah

    I went on the Disney Magic back in 1996 as a kid and I remember it being the most magical time ever! Now I have 2 children of my own and we are looking at booking a cruise for them next spring. I would love a copy of this book so I can get the most out of my vacation!

  5. Desirea

    We are planning our 1st cruise, with Disney of course! Hoping to go late this year or early next year. This will be our 1st big family vacation. So excited.

  6. Michelle L.

    We’re booked on the Disney Fantasy Star Wars Cruise leaving on April 2nd – a few short weeks away! I can’t wait to see the looks on our kids’ faces – they still do not know we are going!

  7. waltonsd

    Disney cruises are the best! Thanks for a chance to win the book. Always enjoy reading updated information to learn new tips and revisit old tips that I have forgotten about.

  8. Jessie

    I am waiting for the late 2017 itineraries to be released to book the first cruise for my family. We are a family of five, so I am particularly interested in tactics to help offset the additional costs of cruising with a “bigger” family. 🙂

  9. Phil

    First time cruising and taking a chance on DCL! Booked for Feb 2017. Any hints/tips would be appreciated. love the website!

  10. David Oakland

    Scott, great idea and thanks for the giveaway option. Set Sail for Cruise #8 in October aboard the Dream. Thanks again!

  11. HM McDowell

    We are looking to take our family on our first ever cruise next year. Looking at a Western or Eastern Caribbean cruise, but not yet sure if we should do 3-4 night or go all out for a 7 day cruise. Have heard such good thing about both Disney & Royal Caribbean, so the section comparing the two sounds perfect.

  12. Julianne Baker

    I read your blog daily and I would love to win a copy of the book! My family is taking a very special Disney Cruise vacation on the Disney Magic in July. We have five stateroom rooms booked for all 20 of us (mom, three daughters and their spouses and 13 grandchildren). My parents had always wanted to take all of their grandchildren to Disney but my dad died before the final grandchildren were born. This is the big trip we have waited many, many years for and it will be a first time Disney cruise for us. We will just be missing dad…

    I’d like to read the book looking for ways to save money and enhance our experience. Thanks for having some fun with this!

  13. Karri P

    We’re booked on our 4th – a Grand Slam – 1 cruise on each of the 4 ships, in April 2016. I’ve always wanted to get this book! I’m hooked on DCL and follow you on Twitter (but couldn’t post my URL..but did Tweet about it!) and check your blog every day. I’ve got a dream of being a Disney Travel Agent in the not too distant future, so this would be a great addition to my knowledge base! Thanks Scott – for providing such an informative blog.

  14. Mitchell Wilyman

    We want to cruise in 2017 to celebrate our 5th anniversary – maybe a 4 day cruise that has a stop at the beautiful castaway cay island !

  15. Aaron

    I’ve never taken a Disney Cruise, but would love to if the money ever worked out! Would consider any ship, any destination…just want to experience it.

  16. ceb104

    This is my third cruise, my husbands second, my kids and mom’s first. I’m excited to share the DCL experience with them this October!

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Be sure to check the personal navigator you receive in the terminal on embarkation day. It will have information on where to go to get the free character meet and greet tickets.

  17. Kathryn Larlee

    Even though I’m not a DCL newbie, I know there’s alway more to learn. This post has definitely peaked my interest!

  18. Jenifer Cummings

    We haven’t yet cruised with DCL. We’re considering any out of Cape Canaveral. I’m looking forward to seeing our daughter’s faces with all of the princesses.

  19. Diane Ringenberg

    We’re not first time cruisers, but I’d still like to read this book. Love your blog. Always great info. Thanks for doing it.

  20. Amy R

    My family and I are looking into booking our first Disney cruise in 2017. I’m interested in one of the 7 day Fantasy cruises. I’m still doing my research to figure out what we would like to do. Great blog post!

  21. Shawna Ford

    My family has just booked our first cruise with Disney for the May 21st Eastern Caribbean 7 night cruise on the Fantasy. I can’t wait, and I’ve been scouring every tip site around for help planning everything!

  22. Stephanie

    I’ve never been on a Disney Cruise before, but hope to go on one soon. I’d like to try a 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream to test out DCL and have one night in each of the restaurants.

  23. Hans Addleman

    Unofficial guides take up a lot of my bookshelf. They are always great resources and each edition has enough updates to make getting the latest a great idea!

  24. Rebecca

    Love this blog – it has been a great asset in planning our first Disney cruise and have been debating on buying this book. We have just booked Disney Dream (Bahamas) in September 2016!

  25. Shannon Z

    We are definitely going on our first Disney cruise in 2018 but hubby and I might book a short one for just ourselves next year 🙂 Ssh don’t tell our kids!

  26. Megan

    My husband and I are taking our 4 and 6 year old girls on our first Disney Cruise in May. We have booked the Western Caribbean 7 night cruise. Our 4 year old will celebrate her 5th birthday. We would love a copy of the guide as all the help we can get travelling from Australia!

  27. Mindee

    First time cruiser on the Disney Fantasy. I am most looking forward to the “magic” that everyone keeps talking about;)

  28. Ben

    Cruised twice before, once on the Wonder and once on the Magic (after the refurb). Our four kids love Disney World and Universal, but the cruises are their favorite. Going to book for Fall 2017 once they are made available (hopefully on the refurbished Wonder).

  29. Cathy Bluem

    Taking our first Disney Cruise on the Fantasy in June and we are getting married on it 🙂 Looking forward to experiencing the Disney touch when it comes to cruising!

  30. Hannah

    Just booked our 4th Disney Cruise for next February. Spent our 25th anniversary on the Magic and will be spending our 30th on the Dream. Love reading all we can and planning. Thanks for the blog…I check in every day.

  31. Matt V.D.

    First cruise for our family, embarking in April on the Dream.
    Looking forward to my wife’s 40th birthday while at sea and my daughter’s faces the whole cruise!

  32. Aubrey

    Lokoking at first cruise June 2017, probably on the Fantasy. Taking the grandparents with us. Looking forward to family time with great Disney “magic” and Castaway Cay!

  33. Kate

    My family just got back from our 7th Disney cruise. I would love to read this book to research tips for our next Disney cruise. Thanks for posting my navigators and photos!

  34. cricket416

    I love the fact that they added a walking tour section! We did excursions for the first time in January and I wasn’t really impressed. I much prefer exploring “freestyle” when I visit new places.

  35. Eloise

    Ow, that will be very convenient for our yet booked cruise. We will go on 28 April 2017 for a 3-day Bahama’s cruise with the Disney Dream. Our first time ever on a cruise! Stateroom 8510 is ours!

  36. Sean

    Booked our first cruise with Disney on the Fantasy in May yesterday. Looking forward to seeing Castaway Cay! Thanks for the giveaway!

  37. Maryanne W.

    We are going on our first Disney cruise on the Dream in November 2016! I am excited to introduce my kids to a Disney vacation, especially with them being too little (in my opinion) to go to the parks.

  38. Elizabeth

    Thanks for reminding me about these “unofficial” guides. We got our first WDW one in 2002 and read it so many times that it is a mess! We need an update. Just went and ordered the 2016 for WDW and Disney Cruise Line on Amazon.

  39. Jon

    My husband and I are looking to book our first Disney Cruise for the October 22nd 2016 7 night out of NYC. Relaxing at Castaway Cay is what we’re looking forward to and an excursion to WDW is just icing on the “wedding” cake!

  40. Christie

    I would love to take a Disney cruise! I’ve been told the Alaskan cruises are amazing but personally I’d love to see Castaway Cay.

  41. Karri

    I can’t post my tweet link…but I am going to tweet again! Counting down the days until our next cruise – less than 60 to go…very excited!

  42. Aimee

    We have not yet booked our cruise, but will for sure be going on a Disney cruise in the near future! We love Disney, but have never been on a Disney cruise, or any cruise for that matter.


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