Here’s everything you need to know about Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club, including membership tiers and exclusive perks.
Disney Cruise Line has gained a huge following since the Disney Magic first set sail in 1998, and for good reason. With Broadway-quality shows, some of the best food on the open seas, and unparalleled customer service, travelers of all ages are loyal to the line. Disney Cruise Line rewards this loyalty with the Castaway Club, a program with tiered categories based on how many voyages you’ve completed. Each of the different tiers holds unique perks, from free meals at Palo, an adult-exclusive restaurant on board, to discounts on merchandise and even free gifts each time you sail.
Here’s everything you need to know about Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club, starting with the status tiers.
Castaway Club Membership Tiers
Guests are awarded Silver status after completing one voyage with Disney Cruise Line. “Silver Castaway Club Members receive their membership perks as soon as they complete their first sailing. This means that when it’s time to book your second sailing, you have early access to both reserving new itineraries and planning your cruise activities for your upcoming sailing online. To make the most of your benefits, be sure to keep up with Disney Cruise Line’s itinerary releases,” says Adrianna H., a PlanDisney Specialist. Silver status allows guests to book new itineraries at least one day before the general public can. This is a huge advantage for some of the more popular routes and even new ships, like the upcoming Disney Treasure.
Silver Castaway Club members can book onboard cruise activities like spa treatments and specialty dining as well as Port Adventures, Disney’s lingo for shore excursions, 90 days before sailing. Some of the more popular activities and restaurants fill up fast, like reservations for the private cabanas at Disney’s island, Castaway Cay, and brunch at Palo, the adults-only Italian restaurant on board, so this extra time can help ensure that you get to spend your vacation exactly as you’d like.
Silver Members can complete online check-in, select their port arrival time, and register children for youth clubs 33 days before sailing. By securing an early port arrival time, you’re able to board the ship early and start your vacation right away.
Some ports also have exclusive cruise terminal check-in for different tiered members, allowing you to access a shorter line for day-of check-in protocols. Silver members are also given an exclusive phone number to call for any questions or requests before their sailing.
All Silver members receive a “Welcome Back Aboard” gift during their sailings. Castaway Club members of every tier receive a Castaway Club lanyard for easy access to their Key to the World card, which allows you to charge purchases to your room, open your stateroom door, and enter and exit the ship while at port. “My favorite Castaway Club perk is the Welcome Back Aboard gift. The lanyards are a great conversation starter with fellow passengers. I love to hear about everyone’s favorite ship and itinerary. It’s these connections with other guests that make cruising with Disney special,” according to Tracie M., a PlanDisney Specialist. In addition to the lanyards, Silver members currently receive a complimentary tote bag, which is great for carrying towels to the perfect beach lounger at Castaway Cay.
Guests are awarded Gold status after completing five sailings with Disney Cruise Line, and they receive all the same perks as Silver members, plus some new ones. With this status, members can book new itineraries at least two days before the general public. As some itineraries sell out quickly and prices generally only go up as the sail date gets closer, it’s a good idea to book your trip as soon as possible.
Gold Castaway Club members can add onboard activities and Port Adventures 105 days before sailing, and they can complete online check-in, select port arrival time, and register any children for youth clubs 35 days before sailing. These extra two days might not seem like much, but on crowded sailings, it can be the equivalent of additional hours on board as the early time slots fill up quickly.
Gold members are also invited to a private reception for higher-tier Castaway Club members on sailings that are eight nights and longer, featuring special entertainment, refreshments, and a chance to meet the ship’s captain and officers. And that’s not all — sometimes Gold sailors can get exclusive access to other members-only experiences on the ship. “On a transatlantic itinerary I experienced last year, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at one of the musicals in the Walt Disney Theatre,” says Adrianna H.
Once you reach Gold, you receive a small discount on select experiences and merchandise on board, generally about 10 percent. “To make the most of your status, I recommend visiting the Disney Cruise Line website to see your exclusive perks because sometimes they can change. My son’s favorite perk is the discount in the gift shop. He recently added the towel animal plush elephant to his collection. He even used his Platinum discount to purchase it himself,” says Tracie M. from PlanDisney. Gold members also receive a Castaway Club lanyard denoting their tiered status, the tote bag gifted to Silver members, and a wet/dry bag.
Guests are awarded Platinum status after completing 10 sailings. This tier allows you all the same benefits as the Gold tier, with some additional perks. Platinum Castaway Club members can book new itineraries at least three days earlier than the general public and add onboard activities and Port Adventures 120 days before sailing. Platinum-level members can also complete online check-in and select their port arrival time 38 days before sailing.
Platinum members receive a Castaway Club lanyard denoting their tiered status, the tote bag gifted to Silver members, the wet/dry bag gifted to Gold members, and a beach towel. “One benefit that Platinum guests sometimes forget is the Platinum Member Gift. Once on board, they can call room service and ask what the gift options are — for example, a cheese and fruit platter, a truffle chocolate box, or a bottle of Prosecco,” says Chris Konecny, owner of DCL Cruising Dad.
Finally, one of the most exciting benefits of being a loyal passenger aboard Disney Cruise Line is a complimentary dinner at Palo or Palo Steakhouse, an adults-only restaurant aboard the fleet of ships. The Northern Italian-inspired menu is a fan favorite, offering a four-course prix-fixe menu for $45 per person or the option to order à la carte. If you opt to order à la carte, you will receive a $45 credit per guest to apply to the final bill. Only guests 18 years and older can dine at Palo, and reservations are subject to availability, so be sure to book as soon as possible.
The newest Castaway Club tier, Pearl, debuted last May. To qualify for this level, guests must have completed 25 sailings, and members of this elite tier are granted all the benefits from the Platinum level, as well as some additional advantages.
Pearl Castaway Club members can book new itineraries at least four days before the public, and they can add onboard activities and Port Adventures 123 days before sailing. Pearl Members can complete online check-in and register children for youth clubs 40 days before sailing. Plus, Pearl Castaway Club members are not required to select a port arrival time when checking in for an upcoming sailing. They are automatically placed in the first boarding group for their cruise, a perk they share only with guests traveling in concierge staterooms.
Additionally, Pearl members are given a complimentary unlimited digital photo package which allows guests to download all the photos from their journey. Pearl members also receive a Castaway Club lanyard denoting their tiered status, a tote bag, a wet/dry bag, and the beach towel and room service offerings provided to lower tiers, plus a pair of insulated stemless flute tumblers.
Finally, the highest honor of all: Once you have completed 50 cruises with Disney Cruise Line, you will have the opportunity to display your family’s last name on a commemorative display at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Status
Utilize your Castaway Club status to book itineraries as soon as they are released as prices will generally only go up as room availability goes down. “Use your early cruise booking window for best pricing and room availability. The prices for Disney cruises typically only go up after opening day, and room types become more limited on special sailings,” advises Brian Flock and Samantha Kanner, hosts of the DCL Duo Podcast.
Figure out which popular activities you want to do and prioritize these as soon as your booking window opens. This includes Palo reservations — especially brunch and seatings on Pirate Night — private cabanas on Castaway Cay, and any popular Port Adventures you may want to experience, such as the Glacier Explorer onboard Alaska itineraries.
Be sure to use your status to your advantage and check in for your sailing as soon as you can. Select the earliest possible port arrival time, and if you’re a fan of swimming, either wear or pack your swimsuit. One great way to spend these first few hours is to hop in the pools before everyone else does; in the past, I’ve had the whole pool deck to myself on the first day, something that rarely happens for the rest of the voyage.
Disney Cruise Line Tips and Tricks
Fans of DCL: Don’t wait too long to book your next trip. As of December 2023, Disney Cruise Line changed the eligibility requirements for Castaway Club membership effective immediately. In order to maintain their status, Castaway Club members must book or sail on at least one eligible cruise within five years of their last voyage.
If you find yourself plotting your next Disney Cruise Line vacation before you even disembark, take advantage of the placeholder deal before you leave the ship. “For a small deposit, you can make a placeholder reservation for a future Disney Cruise. It’s a great way to save some money on your next Disney vacation at sea,” says Tracie M. This placeholder includes a 10 percent discount on your next voyage, as long as it’s within 24 months after the placeholder reservation is booked.
If you see something you want in the gift store, don’t wait. Adrianna H. explains, “If you see something in the onboard stores that you can’t live without, it’s a good idea to purchase it sooner rather than later. Some popular items sell out and do not get restocked during your voyage.”
And don’t be afraid to try something new on your next trip. While the onboard restaurants are all fantastic, sometimes the best days are the most spontaneous ones, and you might as well take full advantage of Disney Cruise Line’s unique complimentary room service policy. “If you’ve never skipped your dinner seating to enjoy room service in your stateroom while watching a Disney movie, the next cruise you take is the perfect opportunity to do so. Don’t forget to order a Mickey Bar!” says Adrianna.
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