Updated Castaway Club Terms and Conditions Require Members to Book or Sail At Least Once Every 5 Years to Remain in Club

Disney Cruise Line revised their eligibility requirements for Castaway Club membership. Effective immediately, Castaway Club members must book or sail on at least one eligible cruise within 5 years of their last Disney voyage.

DCL Castaway Club Eligibity FAQ 20231220
Castaway Club – Frequently Asked Questions

Castaway Club members who do not book or sail on an eligible within the 5 year window will rejoin the program after completing one new eligible cruise.

There was no specific reason stated for this change aside from the statement that Disney Cruise Line periodically reviews the Castaway Club Program and may make updates accordingly. The Castaway Club – Frequency Asked Questions page directs guests to the Castaway Club Terms and Conditions page, which was last revised in March 2023 with the key change:

The Program will continue until such time as DCL, in its sole discretion, elects to terminate the Program (the “Program Term”). Members can only receive Program Benefits during the Program Term and only by the methods set forth by DCL from time to time in its sole discretion. Members may only use Program Benefits during the “Redemption Term,” defined as the Program Term and a period of sixty (60) days immediately following the last day of the Program Term. Membership in the Program will automatically terminate without notice if Member does not book or complete an eligible DCL cruise within the “Activity Period.” The Activity Period shall mean the five (5) year period after debarkation day of the Member’s last eligible DCL Cruise. However, DCL may (but is not required to) extend the Activity Period and/or continue making Program Benefits available to Member if Member does not book or complete an eligible DCL cruise within their Activity Period; such decisions shall be in DCL’s sole discretion.

The full version of the Castaway Club Terms and Conditions from March 2023 can be viewed in this PDF archive. According to Google’s search results, it appears this particular webpage was just indexed by the search engine on December 20th.

Google Search CC Terms Conditions 20231221
Google Search Result for Terms & Conditions URL as of 12/21/2023. “18 hours ago” suggests it was first indexed by the search engine on December 20, 2023.

CORRECTION – At the time of publication, it was stated the terms and conditions page was not updated as it had a March 2023 revision date at the end at the close of this article. After further review, the March 2023 Terms & Conditions DOES state the 5 year policy. Meaning, the revised eligibility requirement has been tucked away in the fine print for some time.

53 Replies to “Updated Castaway Club Terms and Conditions Require Members to Book or Sail At Least Once Every 5 Years to Remain in Club”

  1. Chris

    Interesting. Do other cruise lines have time limits on their loyalty programs? Seems Disney is narrowing their pool of frequent cruisers

    Reply
    1. S

      Apparently MSC removes people after 3 inactive years. But, as I understand it, they aren’t a company to aspire to be like.

      Reply
      1. RaeTravels

        MSC also matches status from other cruise lines, so that could have something to do with it. I can’t think of another right off that will bump you down for not cruising. This is more along the lines of hotel or airline programs I guess. Use it or lose it.

        Reply
  2. Dawn

    This would really suck. We haven’t cruised DCL through the high school/college years, but planned to come back. As of right now, DCL website still says I’m gold.

    Reply
  3. chandra

    Wow. That stinks. We haven’t been cruising for the same reason as Dawn. We plan on coming back to it once college ends for the 4 kids. I hate to think we will loose our tiers because we needed a break from it for a few years.

    Reply
  4. Melissa

    I’m sad about this. Who this hurts the worst are our children. Our teens are Platinum members because we have taken them on so many cruises. In their young adult life as they start new jobs, get married & start a family, they may not have the means to take their family on a Disney Cruise while they build their lifestyle. This will punish them & me for trying all these years to build their status & leave it to them as a legacy.

    Reply
    1. Cherie Stine

      I totally agree. My daughter and I have been sailing since she was 3 months old. She’s 19 now and we are Pearl Level. I can imagine a time when she will be growing a young family and may not said for 5 years and her history of growing up on the ships will be erased. It’s heartbreaking.

      Reply
    2. Missy

      We are in the same situation. We built our kids’ status while they were growing up, but they lost interest. Now recently married once the kids come they will want to cruise again and were excited for their status

      Reply
  5. Elizabeth

    Strange. The benefits of the Castaway Club silver level are so negligible it seems odd to limit membership. Maybe they plan to make the benefits better, but seems unlikely. Disney seems to typically go in the other direction with their consumer loyalty perks.

    Reply
  6. Brent Bolte

    So what do they consider an “eligible” cruise as that would indicate not all cruises would keep you current? Also if you are dropped and take a cruise to become a member again do you get your old status back or do you start over at step one again?

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      An eligible cruise would generally mean one that isn’t free/heavily discounted (e.g. Friends and Family type discount, competition win etc). Offers available to the general public would still result in an eligible cruise.

      Reply
    2. Koen Van den Broeck

      This is from the DCL website’s FAQ section:

      “About Eligible Sailings Sailings purchased at select fare types (such as media, vendors and Cast Members traveling on business) are not considered eligible cruises for calculating Castaway Club Membership levels.”

      Reply
  7. Oakwine

    “The Program will continue until such time as DCL, in its sole discretion, elects to terminate the Program (the “Program Term”). Members can only receive Program Benefits during the Program Term and only by the methods set forth by DCL from time to time in its sole discretion. Members may only use Program Benefits during the “Redemption Term,” defined as the Program Term and a period of sixty (60) days immediately following the last day of the Program Term. Membership in the Program will automatically terminate without notice if Member does not book or complete an eligible DCL cruise within the “Activity Period.” The Activity Period shall mean the five (5) year period after debarkation day of the Member’s last eligible DCL Cruise. However, DCL may (but is not required to) extend the Activity Period and/or continue making Program Benefits available to Member if Member does not book or complete an eligible DCL cruise within their Activity Period; such decisions shall be in DCL’s sole discretion.”

    No word if the Activity Period starts from today, or truly from the last Cruise. Seems a lot of people would get dumped because they paused cruising following the onset of COVID.

    Reply
  8. Penn

    The big question is if those of us who are already Gold members will be grandfathered in? I didn’t cruise the past 5 years due to various medical issues including COVID. We were planning to go again next year but will be outside that window.

    Reply
  9. Arthur Houston

    This is total height of stupid. We have been on board 4 cruises 27 days. Last cruise was 2016 been doing other things now the Great Grand Child is coming good reason to do one. Well now there is not. So RCL and NCL you will get all our cruise business.

    Reply
  10. Sally Weber

    Just reached Platinum with our last cruise pre-COVID. We have serious illness in our family and would not cruise with COVID & illness still makes it very difficult. So unfair if we lose our status and don’t get it reinstated. I think I may book one and keep moving it out as far as I can. It says book or sail. Very disappointing.

    Reply
  11. Jacquie

    I’m confused. Does that mean that every CC member gets dropped TODAY if it’s been more than five years since LAST DCL sailing?

    Reply
    1. Ane

      I am a bit confused as well. I checked my status which still is gold despite the fact I paused for quite some time. Maybe our next year booking was eligible ? Oh well, another complexity on top of an already extremely complex system

      Reply
  12. Lisa Reed

    How about all the time DCL wasn’t sailing thanks to Covid? % years as of today or 5 years from the last cruise? a lot of unanswered questions.

    Reply
  13. Sarah

    This is really disheartening. We had planned to book a cruise for next year, but in light of our status being removed, we might as well spend our money elsewhere. We were working on our 8th cruise. It may not be as many as others who are losing things in light of covid and other family events, but I really wish disney would have implemented it and allowed a grace period for people to say book a cruise within the next year.

    Reply
  14. Denny C

    Best guess is that they’re trying to clear the rolls of younger cruisers. Sail with mom and dad and you can achieve gold or platinum status by the time you’re out of high school. That means all of the perks and priviliges of gold and platinum without ever having spent a dime to get there.

    Reply
  15. CATHY

    I think it is pretty fair. One cruise every 5 years to keep your status. I really don’t understand why someone would think that isn’t fair.

    Reply
    1. Dave R

      We were cruising every other year until Covid. Our 5 years will be up on June 2024. 2 away from Platinum status. This sucks

      Reply
      1. CATHY

        Book a cruise lol.. You can move the date as many times as you need too if necessary. Bottom line Disney has the right to change their program and you have the right not to cruise Disney if you don’t like it. I still don’t see how this is a big deal. I read these comments and I just don’t get it.

        Reply
  16. MJ

    Let’s see, planned cruise in Apr 2020, covid cancelled, rebooked for 2021, vaccine required, booked for next year, will now cancel since last cruise was 2018. guess DCL doesn’t want platinum cruisers anymore

    Reply
  17. MJ

    Let’s see, last sail 2018, booked for 4/2020, covid cancelled, rescheduled to 2021, required vaccine, rebooked for next year, will now cancel. Guess DCL doesn’t want platinum members anymore.

    Reply
  18. Michael

    Some of these comments are hilarious. “I’m not going to cruise with DCL if they take my status”… What perks? You are going on a DCL cruise for Castaway Club perks? You are going to let a $50 dinner at Palo (if you are Platinum AND can book it) be the deciding factor? What Gold or Silver perks? A $2 lanyard or $8 bag? Ok… Go to Carnival or MSC… see how you like being nickle and dimed for beverages and everything else. It’s not like REAL perks on other cruise lines… the only thing you are really losing is the ability to book earlier. ‘woo hoo’.

    Reply
    1. CATHY

      I totally agree with you. The program is not that great anyway and if people would switch to Carnival as I have read in the comments they really aren’t hurting anyone but themselves. Programs change from time to time and I think this is fair. 5 years is a fair amount of time to either book or sail. You are also right in stating the perks are nothing to write home about lol

      Reply
      1. S

        If the perks are so small (which they are), it begs the question even more why make this change that does nothing to help Disney and makes their loyal guests feel slighted. You don’t have to agree, of course, but you could be empathic.

        Reply
        1. Scott Sanders Post author

          I initially saw this from a different perspective, data management. DCL potentially has 25+ years of passenger data on servers. Sure, this could be a mechanism to incentivize rebooking to maintain club status. However, I see this as a mechanism to archive and purge potentially 2 decades worth of stagnate passenger accounts on their servers in a data optimization project to help improve the database(s) used by the cruise line. Maybe it is a little of both and maybe it is something else driving the decision.

          Reply
        2. CATHY

          I do understand that people are upset. I do not understand how it is a big deal. We are pearl. The benefits are really negligible. 5 years sounds like a very fair amount of time to me to cruise with a company. Loyalty goes both ways.

          Reply
    2. Cherie Stine

      I agree the benefits aren’t much, but they at least ACKNOWLEDGED that we have spent a fortune and a significant amount of time with them. I think that is what makes it so shocking – to cancel our history together when it costs them so little to continue. My first response was “are you freaking kidding me?” What all about the “you are family” and “welcome home” messaging?

      Reply
      1. S

        I 100% agree with you. It was so nice to have cast members recognize your many sailings and loyalty with the designation on the Key to the World card and/or your lanyard. This change is just so completely pointless and so very disappointing.

        Reply
  19. Deann Fleming

    Does the 5 year clause take into account cruises cancelled by Disney, i.e. cruise cancelled because of hurricane Ian September 2022 to give you time to book another. Luckily we just just finished a reschedule cruise from that cancellation and hadn’t sailed since 2019. So I guess we just squeezed through. We, like many, did not know of recent change of policy in March. Just lucky I guess.

    Reply
  20. Sam

    We have our fifth disney cruised booked for next year. However disney prices and poor experience on the Wish in May made us rethink disney recently. This lack of loyalty from them just adds to it. We sailed a 3 night on Royal last weekend to try it out. It wasn’t bad just different and something we still enjoyed. We are now going to cancel the disney cruise we have booked for next year and sail 2 with RC instead. We are imcredipass AP amd DVC nut we have to say Disney is pushing us out between pricing, poor service, poor quality over the past couple years. We are holding on to DVC a bit longer tobsee what happens but at renewal will reduce our pass level and no longer cruise Disney. It’s sad as we used to love it all so much

    Reply
  21. Mark

    I mean when does this start. We were booked 12/2020 covid, rebooked 5/2021 covid, 8/2021 covid. Then for the next 12 months minimum services cancelled-same price. Perks of club is already crappy except for the early booking dates.

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Here is the important information from the Terms & Conditions:

      Membership in the Program will automatically terminate without notice if Member does not book or complete an eligible DCL cruise within the “Activity Period.” The Activity Period shall mean the five (5) year period after debarkation day of the Member’s last eligible DCL Cruise.

      Reply
      1. Mary

        Yeah but my last cruise was 2018 and I usually go every two years. 2020-21 Covid. Couldnt go in 2022. Now at end of 2023, are they going to knock off the pause year? I’ll book for 2024 for sure and I’m eyeing the Treasure in 25. They should clarify whether the Covid pause is added.

        Reply
  22. Anne

    I still do not understand ; when should we notice any change ? If already implemented, we should surely notice a new status or lack of ?

    Reply
  23. Gary

    This is all down to greed, forcing loyal customers to book with them. But what do you really get as a perk top tier a $30 meal and a photo package. The rest a tote bag if lucky. I’m a platinum member, and really don’t feel special when we sail with Disney. I’ve sailed with all the Major companies they let you keep your tiers. I’m top with MSC as they match you with who ever you have sailed with and wow what perks you get with them. Disney are clearly starting to punch above there weight and eventually they will self implode. They charge top $ and they also have jumped on the covid band wagon, service and food gone down hill

    Reply
  24. Deborah Garrison

    I just had an issue with my gold castaway club being reflected in my booking so I started researching this change. My last cruise was the summer of 2016. I ended up contacting Disney and found out the reason was because I changed my name after my divorce in 2021 and my cruise history was under my married last name. They changed my name in their system and reinstated my benefits. So I don’t know if there was a grandfather clause but I am happy to have my earlier booking dates.

    Reply

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