Carnival Australia vs Royal Caribbean

Which top cruise line is worth cruising with, Carnival or Royal Caribbean from Australia?

It’s no secret that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are two of the best and most popular cruise lines in the industry, but which cruise line is better for you?

We compared everything from price, to destinations, Wi-Fi services and onboard entertainment to see which cruise line delivered the best.

Carnival vs Royal Caribbean

Features Carnival Australia Royal Caribbean Verdict
Where does it sail to?
  • Asia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Honolulu
230+ destinations in these regions:
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Transpacific
  • Asia
  • Dubai/Emirates
  • Europe
  • Transatlantic
  • Canada/New England
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Alaska
  • Honolulu
  • South Pacific
  • Panama Canal
  • Bermuda
Royal Caribbean offers more cruise destinations.
Does it have Wi-Fi? Yes. For a fee. Yes, for a fee. Both offer Wi-Fi.
Does it provide towels? Yes. They can be taken ashore. Yes. Both cruise lines have towels included in the price onboard.
Contact options
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Email
Both have the same contact options.
Is it all-inclusive? No. No. Neither cruise line is all-inclusive.
How much is the deposit? Deposits range from $150-400 depending on the destination and length of the cruise. Deposits range from $100-400 depending on the destination and length of the cruise. Royal Caribbean offers lower deposits for 1-14 night cruises.
Does it have a gym? Yes. Yes. Both have gyms onboard.
Does it have hairdryers, laundry and irons? Yes, full laundry service, self-service laundry and irons are available on all ships. Hair dryers are available on most ships. Yes, full laundry service is available and hair dryers are available. Irons are not available to guests. Carnival provides more laundry services and irons to guests.
Does it include food? Yes, but speciality restaurants are an additional cost. Yes. Speciality restaurants are not included. Both cruise lines include complimentary food options.
Does it have casinos? Yes. Yes. Both have casinos on board.
Does it have an ATM? Yes. Yes. Both are equipped with ATMs.
Does it have formal nights? Yes. 1-day cruises have no formal nights, 2-5 day cruises have one and 6-day or longer cruises have two. Yes. 3-5 night cruises have one formal night, 6-11 night cruises have two formal nights and 12+ night cruises have three formal nights. Both cruise lines have formal nights.
How much are drinks? Unlimited soft drinks and juices are available for $7.25 per day ($5.50 for kids). No alcoholic packages are available but individual drinks can bought on board. Drinks packages range from USD$8.50-52. Royal Caribbean offers alcoholic drink and coffee/tea packages, but Carnival offers cheaper soft drink packages.
Is it good for families? Yes, onboard activities for kids and teens are available. Yes. Activities are available on board for all ages. Both cruise lines offer activities for families.
Does it have child care? Yes. Children must be registered for the onboard programs a minimum of 24 hours before departure. Yes. Youth programs and sitters are available at sea. Royal Caribbean offers babysitting services, Carnival does not.
Does it have virtual balconies? No. Yes. Only Royal Caribbean offers virtual balconies.
Does it have a waterslide? Yes. Yes, on select ships. Carnival has waterslides on all ships.
Does it have a promenade? Yes. Yes. Both cruise lines have promenades.
Does it have free room service? No. No. Neither cruise line offers free room service.
What are my payment options?
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Diner’s Club
  • Debit
  • Direct payment
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Diner’s Club
  • Discover
  • Optima
Carnival offers more payment options.
Can I price match? Yes. If a lower price is found within 2 days of booking Carnival will refund 110% of the price difference in the form of onboard credit. Yes. Royal Caribbean will honour a cheaper price if found within 48 hours of booking. 110% of the price difference will be refunded in the form of onboard credit. Both cruise lines offer the same price matching restrictions.
Does it allow for cancellations/changes? Yes, however fees may apply. Yes. Depending on how far in advance changes or cancellations are made you may receive 100% of your deposit back. Changes or cancellations can be made to bookings on both cruise lines.
How much are airport transfers to the departure port? $20 each way. Prices vary. Contact the liner direct. Both offer airport to departure terminal transfers.
How much are gratuities? Tips are accepted but not required. Automatic gratuity is USD$13.50 (USD$16.50 for suite guests) and is applied daily for guests of all ages to the SeaPass account. Carnival does not have automatic gratuities.
Has a ship ever sunk? No. No. Neither cruise line has had a ship sink.

Who offers the best price?

We found similar cruises leaving from Sydney and exploring New Zealand for 10 nights in March to compare prices from both Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean.



Royal Caribbean:


The verdict? When it comes to price there is no comparison. Carnival Australia offers the same length of cruise for over $700 cheaper.

Is this cruise line good?

We took a look at what awards each cruise line received and what guests had to say to determine which cruise line has better customer feedback on Cruise Critic.

Carnival was awarded best service and best value for money in 2017 while Royal Caribbean was awarded best cabins, best entertainment and best for families in 2017. When it comes to reviews both cruise lines have the same ratings for excellent, good, average, poor and terrible but Royal Caribbean has more reviews overall.

What are the deals like?

We compared some of each cruise lines top deals to find out which one has better sales.

The verdict?

We found that Carnival Australia has better deals for shorter cruises such as 3-day samplers that start from $359 whereas Royal Caribbean starts at $599. But for longer cruises that are 7-nights or longer Royal Caribbean starts with prices as low as $699 and Carnival starts at $949 for cruises to New Caledonia.

Top Carnival and Royal Caribbean deals

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 50% off second guest with Royal Caribbean

Valid from 1 November 2018 - 20 April 2020 with Royal Caribbean, plus up to 25% off third and fourth guests. Destinations are Sydney, Dunedin, Wellington, Bay of Islands and more. Includes a deluxe beverage package and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $600 free onboard credit with Carnival

Valid from 23 November 2018 - 30 December 2019 on select Australia and South Pacific destinations. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
15 Nov 2018 Sydney New Year's Eve cruises from just $400 ********
14 Nov 2018 Free double upgrade with Cunard ********
7 Nov 2018 Up to $1,100 off European river cruises ********
30 Oct 2018 Free premium drinks package on select cruises ********
7 Nov 2018 Up to 50% off second guest with Royal Caribbean ********

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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