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P&O Australia vs Carnival Australia
Find out which cruise line between P&O or Carnival will take you on the ultimate vacation to paradise.
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We put Australia's branches of P&O and Carnival head-to-head and compared every aspect of cruise travel that you need to know about.
From types of cruises offered, to gratuities, waterslides, gyms and cancellation policies. After reading this article you'll be heading to one cruise line to book your next holiday.
P&O vs Carnival
|Feature||P&O Australia||Carnival Australia||Verdict|
|Where does it sail to?||Carnival Australia explores further.|
|Does it have Wi-Fi?||Yes. Prices vary based on package.||Yes. Prices vary based on the ship and itinerary.||Both cruise lines offer Wi-Fi onboard.|
|Does it provide towels?||Yes. Towels are free to be taken off the ship.||Yes. They can be taken ashore.||Both cruise lines offer towels.|
|Contact options||Both cruise lines offer the same contact options.|
|Is it all-inclusive?||No.||No.||Neither cruise line is all-inclusive.|
|How much is the deposit?||Deposits start from $1.||Deposits range from $150-400 depending on the destination and cruise length.||Deposits with P&O Cruises can come in cheaper compared to Carnival.|
|Does it have a gym?||Yes.||Yes.||Both cruise lines have a gym onboard.|
|Does it have hairdryers, laundry and irons?||Yes, self-service laundry is available with ironing facilities. Each room has a hairdryer.||Yes, full laundry service, self-service laundry and irons are available on all ships. Hair dryers are available on most ships.||P&O supplies complimentary self-service laundry, irons and hairdryers on every ship.|
|Does it include food?||Yes. Charges apply for speciality restaurants.||Yes, but speciality restaurants are additional.||Both cruise lines include food.|
|Does it have casinos?||Yes.||Yes.||Both cruise lines have casinos on all ships.|
|Does it have an ATM?||Yes.||Yes.||Both cruise lines have ATMs on board.|
|Does it have formal nights?||Yes. 7-night cruises typically include two formal nights while four formal nights are on 14-day cruises.||Yes. 1-day cruises have no formal nights, 2-5 day cruises have one and 6-day or longer cruises have two.||Both cruise lines have formal nights.|
|How much are drinks?||Drink packages range from $7-105 per day. Soft drink and alcoholic packages are available. Individual drinks can be bought on board.||Unlimited soft drinks and juices are available for $7.25 per day ($5.50 for kids). No alcoholic packages are available however individual drinks can bought on board.||P&O offers more drink package options, including alcoholic options.|
|Is it good for families?||Yes. Programs for children aged 2-17 are available on board.P&O Cruises won peoples choice award at the Family Travel Awards.||Yes, onboard activities for kids and teens are available.||Both cruise lines are family-friendly.|
|Does it have child care?||Yes. Group programs are available.|
During the day, private babysitting onboard is unavailable. Late night babysitting is available from 10:30pm- 1am $5.00/per hour/ per child, with reduced rates for extra siblings. Book at the kids club, before 8pm. Kids clubs/Group Programmes organised by age are available to access during the day.
|Yes. Children must be registered for the onboard programs a minimum of 24 hours before departure.||Both cruise lines offer group child care options but not private child care.|
|Does it have virtual balconies?||No.||No.||Neither cruise line has virtual balconies.|
|Does it have a waterslide?||Yes. The Pacific Explorer has a waterslide and waterpark. The Pacific Adventure and Encounter ships are having waterslides added at a later date.||Yes.||Both cruise lines have waterslides onboard.|
|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?||Carnival has more payment options.|
|Can I price match?||No.||Yes. If you find a lower price within 2 days of booking Carnival will refund 110% of the price difference in the form of onboard credit.||Only Carnival promises to price match lower fares.|
|Does it allow for cancellations/changes?||Yes, but fees may apply.||Yes, but fees may apply.||Both cruise lines offer options to make changes and cancellations.|
|How much are transfers?||Prices vary from $18-20 depending on the departure city in Australia.||$20 each way.||P&O offers cheaper departure transfers.|
|How much are gratuities?||Tips are accepted but not required.||Tips are accepted but not required.||Neither cruise line has mandatory gratuities added to fares.|
|Has a ship ever sunk?||No.||No.||Neither cruise line has had a ship sink.|
Who offers the best price?
Both P&O Australia and Carnival Australia offer 7-day/night cruises from Brisbane to the Great Barrier Reef and back so we compared these cruises leaving on very similar dates to see which cruise line offered the better price.
P&O comes in at $49 cheaper than Carnival for the same amount of nights and to roughly the same destinations.
Is this cruise line good?
While both cruise lines have mostly excellent reviews on Cruise Critic, P&O won Readers Digest Trusted Brands Quality Service Awards 2019 in the Cruise Operations category and Best Cruise Line for Shore Excursions in the Australian Cruise Critic Editor's Picks Awards 2019. P&O has also gotten commendations and wins in the Readers Digest Most Trusted Brand awards in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
It doesn't stop there as P&O took home Best Cruise Operator in New Zealand between 2014-17.
Carnival does has significantly more reviews than P&O, most of the reviews are also rated excellent. Carnival has won best service and best value for money in 2017.
In terms of which cruise line is bringing in the awards, P&O Cruises pulls ahead in this round.
Any other differences worth noting?
P&O offers many event cruises that Carnival does not. P&O has cruises to the Melbourne Cup, Australia Day in Sydney, the Australian Open, cruises to festivals and speciality cruises such as comedy cruises, 80's, Elvis Tribute to the King and more.
What are the deals like?
P&O has a much easier to use deals section on its website giving you the option to choose to find deals to specific destinations, for specific times of the year and more. Carnival offers top deals of the week and last-minute deals.
We compared P&O's domestic cruises with Carnival's and sailing costs were around the same mark. A 4-night cruise to Moreton Island - Tangalooma from Sydney with P&O sits at $499, whereas Carnival's itinerary starts from $488 per person. We also looked at the South Pacific itineraries, finding an 8-night sailing to Noumea, Isle of Pines and Mare starting from $1,099 with P&O and $753 with Carnival.
If you're travelling exclusively around Australia, there isn't a massive difference between the two cruise lines. Although P&O Cruises offer many more deals, Carnival does come out cheaper if you are booking South Pacific itineraries.
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