I’ll say it – GT rates on Disney Cruise Line are confusing! Apparently very confusing based on some comments and questions I’ve seen in Facebook groups… So, I’m here to help clear up the confusion. Hopefully this will answer all your questions you have about these rates.
1. What are IGT, OGT, and VGT rates? They are non-refundable, discounted, restricted rates. IGT stands for Inside Guarantee, OGT for Oceanview Guarantee, and VGT for Verandah Guarantee. With GT rates, you save money and are picking a general “type” of stateroom which prevents you from reserving specific staterooms or locations. If you choose IGT, for example, you are booking an inside stateroom in category 10 or 11, while OGT is an oceanview stateroom in category 8 or 9, and VGT is a stateroom with a verandah in category 4, 5, 6, or 7. You are not picking a specific stateroom number, or a specific category like a Deluxe Inside or Standard Inside. This means that if you desperately want an inside stateroom with a split bathroom (as are found in categories 10 and up) and will be very disappointed if you don’t get it, then do not book an IGT rate because you may very well get a category 11 stateroom. You will have no input regarding the specific stateroom you are assigned because you are paying less for the IGT rate and allowing Disney to select your specific category and stateroom for you. On the other hand, if you just want a verandah at a good price and could care less where you are on the ship and how huge, small, or obstructed your verandah is, then booking a VGT is perfect.
2. What does “restricted rate” mean? A restricted rate means there are, not surprisingly, restrictions! You cannot make changes to your reservation, like taking off a guest or changing dates. You also must pay in full at the time of booking, no matter how far into the future the cruise is. Disney is charging you a lower rate in exchange for you giving up the normal flexibility you get when you pay a traditional (i.e. higher) rate. Now Disney isn’t heartless, and if you accidentally misspell a name, they’re usually going to let you fix it. There are times Disney will let you make certain changes that increase the price. For instance, if you want to add someone to your stateroom, and there is availability, Disney will probably let you do that. Disney tends to look the other way when you make prohibited changes that increase their revenue. (I know. This is shocking information. A company that likes to make money…)
3. Does booking a GT rate increase my odds of an upgrade? It does not. Do upgrades happen? Sure. More frequently than non-restricted rate bookings? No. If you book an IGT, odds are you will get an inside stateroom. Don’t book it hoping that you will be upgraded. Disney just doesn’t upgrade guests often. There are rare occasions where Disney needs to work on a stateroom or group of staterooms, or maybe they want to put some less expensive staterooms back in the inventory, and they will upgrade guests. But trust me, Disney will upgrade guests who have paid full price just as frequently as guests who paid GT rates. They do sell upgrades at the port for steep discounts, and I always recommend checking options after you arrive at the port!
4. Is GTY the same thing? No! And I cannot say that enough times. No. Nope. And no. GTY is not the same thing as IGT, OGT, or VGT rates. GTY is not a discount in any way, shape, or form. It stands for Guarantee, and it’s not even a “rate”. It’s more of a category status. When a category gets close to full, Disney stops letting guests pick a stateroom number and the stateroom assignment will say GTY instead of an actual stateroom number. That means you are guaranteed whatever specific category (i.e., 9C, 7A, 4B) you booked – or better. Did you catch that? You are picking a more specific category than with the above GT rates. You can pick a 10A Deluxe Inside Stateroom and you will get a 10A or above. Unlike the risk you take when you book an IGT rate, you will not get an 11 Standard Inside Stateroom under any circumstances when you book a 10A GTY. As long as you are outside the penalty period, you can also make whatever changes you like to your reservation. You can change names, drop someone, change the sail date, cancel, etc. There’s no great advantage to picking a stateroom in GTY status. It’s not cheaper, and it also does not increase your odds of being upgraded. All together now – GTY is not the same as IGT, OGT, or VGT rates! Plus, the letters are different…
5. Can I rebook if a GT rate is released after I am booked? You can. Should you? That depends. If you are outside of the penalty period, you can rebook and apply whatever amount you’ve paid to the new reservation. If you are inside the penalty period (which is more the norm), then you need to see if it’s worth it. You’ll pay some penalty for cancelling your old reservation and rebooking the GT rate. How much depends on how close the cruise is, and what type of cruise it is. You may lose just your deposit, or you may lose more. It’s still worth it sometimes! If you were booked in an inside stateroom and a VGT rate came out soon after you entered the penalty period, there’s a chance you can upgrade to a verandah and not pay much more. If a GT rate comes out for your sailing, you should always do the math.
6. When is my stateroom number assigned? That’s hard to say. Stateroom numbers are often assigned about 30 days before the sail date. But I’ve seen them assigned three days before the cruise date as well. Sometimes you will find out via an updated email from Disney, but more often a stateroom number will just appear in your online reservation. I usually start obsessively checking at the 35-day mark.
7. What if I hate my stateroom? Am I Stuck? Well, yes. You can’t make any changes at this point since you paid for a non-changeable room. And not to say I told you so, but you really shouldn’t have booked this if you wanted something specific. See Frequently Asked Question number one, above. But all hope may not be lost. IF your sailing is not full, and IF you get to the terminal early, and IF there are still upgrades available when you check in, just like every other interested passenger, you may be able to get a discounted upgrade in the terminal. Booking one of these rates does not leave you ineligible for these great deals. Also, if you booked an IGT and there is an OGT or VGT available, Disney will sometimes let you upgrade to the more expensive restricted rate. Remember, Disney tends to look the other way when you make prohibited changes that increase their revenue.
8. Can I Make Requests? You cannot put in requests for stateroom location or category. The good news is that you can still make all the normal requests like a specific dining rotation you would like, table for two, specific servers, etc. You can also still link your reservation to your traveling companions. And Disney pays attention to those links! I’ve seen two VGT rates who were traveling together end up right next to each other on more than one occasion. There are no guarantees, but Disney likes happy cruisers!
9. Should I book now, or wait and hope for a restricted rate? As a general rule, opening day prices are about the cheapest Disney cruises get. Usually these rates take you back down to those opening-day prices for your sail date. Rarely they are a little better, more often they are the same or more. If you didn’t get in on opening-day prices, these rates may be calling your name. IGT, OGT, or VGT rates are offered if it looks like a ship isn’t going to sail full or close to it. They’re usually offered 60-90 days before a ship sails, occasionally sooner. If your itinerary still has a ton of stateroom categories and choices available as it gets close to final payment date, there’s a decent chance that a GT rate will be offered.
10. How do I find these rates? Here! In Heather’s weekly Disney Cruise Line News posts, she keeps track of upcoming GT rates for you. It’s super easy! If you don’t see your sailing listed and want to double check, search for a price for the date you are interested in on the DCL website. If a particular sailing is offering the rate, it will be the first option that shows up under each general category (e.g. inside, oceanview, verandah). It’s the first option because it’s the best price. Or better yet, get a travel agent you trust and ask her or him to get all the information for you. These rates used to be very rare and only offered during the slowest times of the year, but that’s not the case anymore. We are seeing them on a regular basis now! Good news for all of us!
Do you have any questions about GT rates? Have you booked one yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation!