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Comparing Carnival Mardi Gras vs Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas

25 May 2023

Ask almost any loyal cruiser, and most will agree that there’s something extra special about sailing on a newer cruise ship. Not only is everything onboard spick-and-span, but you’re also experiencing the most advanced innovation and technology from the cruise line. 

This isn’t to say that I don’t like sailing on older cruise ships by any means; I’ve actually sailed on some of the oldest cruise ships in the industry. I also find that older ships can sail more unique itineraries since size isn’t a concern for docking in less popular ports. But, I have to admit that I do love setting sail on a newer cruise ship, especially the most modern cruise ships that a cruise line has to offer. 

Carnival Mardi Gras

Last month, I set sail on Carnival Mardi Gras, which is one of Carnival’s newest cruise ships. Launched in 2021, this cruise ship was the flagship vessel for Carnival’s new Excel-class of cruise ships. In my opinion, this shift towards modernizing their fleet was revolutionary for Carnival Cruise Line. 

In fact, some might argue that the new Excel-class of ships is giving Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships a run for their money. With fantastic entertainment and more eateries than most, Carnival has certainly upped its game.

As someone who has sailed on every Royal Caribbean ship class, I was eager to see how Mardi Gras compared to an Oasis-class ship. Last year, I sailed on Harmony of the Seas with my family for a 7-night Caribbean sailing. The two ships are similar in size, holding around 6,000 passengers, and offer a similar type of cruise experience centered around family fun for all. 

Harmony of the Seas

Here’s how Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas compared to Carnival’s Mardi Gras, along with some of my honest thoughts about each cruise experience. 

Ship Class Overview

Overall, Carnival’s Excel-class and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships represent important new eras of ship design and technology for each respective cruise line. 

Royal Caribbean has always been known to push the envelope on innovation and advancement in the cruise industry. As such, the debut of its Oasis-class ship in 2009 was met with much excitement from the cruise industry. At the time, there was no other cruise ship like it due to the ship’s sheer size and its unique entertainment. 

Harmony of the Seas

These ships are best known for creating an unparalleled design with multiple neighborhoods, including an open-aired space in the middle of the ship. This space is home to Central Park - a serene space with real greenery and open air - along with the aft-facing Boardwalk, which includes a carousel, Johnny Rocket’s diner and AquaTheatre with diving shows. 

Aquatheater on Harmony of the Seas

With Oasis of the Seas being a smash-hit for Royal Caribbean, the cruise line continued to build similar vessels in the same class. Harmony of the Seas was launched in 2016; at the time, it was the biggest cruise ship in the world. The cruise ship has endless amounts of options for dining, onboard thrills, entertainment and accommodations onboard. 

Personally, I love Oasis-class ships and find they are easy to navigate with their distinct neighborhood designs. Harmony of the Seas was no exception and the open-air spaces were some of the highlights for me. At maximum capacity, Harmony of the Seas can hold 6,700 passengers and weighs 226,000 gross tons. 

Harmony of the Seas

On the flip side, Carnival Mardi Gras is the second largest vessel in Carnival’s fleet, only coming in second to sister-ship Carnival Celebration. In comparison, Mardi Gras is smaller than Harmony of the Seas, weighing 180,000 gross tons and holding 5,500 passengers at full capacity. 

Carnival Mardi Gras

Although smaller than Harmony of the Seas, Mardi Gras was revolutionary for Carnival because it was 40% bigger than anything the cruise line had built before. Carnival had resisted the industry’s shift towards building massive mega ships for many years. Instead, Carnival built new vessels that were designed with the same look and feel as previous ship classes. This led to a stagnant innovation from the cruise line - that is, until the debut of the Excel-class ship.  

Carnival Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras was the first introduction of Carnival’s take at having different designated zones onboard. Similar to Harmony of the Seas’ neighborhoods, you can find similarly themed bars, lounges and eateries in Mardi Gras’ six different zones. 

Mardi Gras Bar

Similar to Harmony of the Seas, Carnival Mardi Gras has an extensive list of dining options, onboard thrills and entertainment choices. The newest vessel debuted a brand-new entertainment venue called Center Stage, which is an outward-facing atrium in the center of the ship that transforms into a nightly space for headliner productions. 

Carnival Mardi Gras

As someone who had cruised previously on older Carnival ships, I was blown away by Carnival Mardi Gras. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what to expect since my prior experiences were on ships that felt dark, cramped and outdated. However, Carnival’s new ship was not only modern, but it was surprisingly stylish and very well designed. 

Dining and Restaurants

If you’re like me, then trying out all of the restaurants onboard is one of your favorite cruise ship activities! Lucky for me, Mardi Gras and Harmony of the Seas both had a seemingly endless amount of places to eat onboard. I ran out of time to try everything onboard, only to the praise of my jeans back home in my closet. 

Harmony of the Seas had 9 different dining options onboard that were complimentary. The main dining room serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner during the cruise, offering world-class cuisine in an upscale restaurant. The Windjammer Buffet - which we all know and love as a Royal Caribbean staple - was also great for grabbing breakfast or lunch. 

Windjammer Buffet

Harmony of the Seas also features a variety of spots to grab a quick bite to eat, such as Sorrento’s Pizza, Dog House, Mini Bites, Cafe Promenade and Park Cafe. However, it’s really tough to beat Mardi Gras’ dining options for casual spots to eat. Ask anyone who has sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and I would bet they agree with this statement. 

Guy's Burger Joint

Comparatively, Mardi Gras has 20+ complimentary eateries onboard - and they’re all pretty dang delicious. We ran out of time to try every option onboard, although we did try our best. Mardi Gras has Carnival’s signature dining options, such as Guy Fieri’s restaurants Guy’s Burger Joint and Pig & Anchor BBQ Smokehouse. Our personal favorite was Big Chicken, which is a Chick-Fil-A dupe serving crispy chicken tenders and sandwiches thanks to another celebrity partnership with Shaq O’Neal. 

Big Chicken

Celeb-chef, Emeril Lagassi, has also partnered with Carnival to debut Emeril’s Bistro, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a creole flair. We loved coming here for breakfast during our cruise, even with the extra $5 surcharge per menu item. 

This doesn’t even scratch the surface for the eateries, as Mardi Gras also has BlueIguana Cantina, the pizzeria onboard, a panini shop and JavaBlue coffeeshop. Sit-down restaurants include the Italian Cucina del Capitano and Asian/Mexican fusion ChiBang. Both of these have the look and feel of specialty dining, but these dining options are complimentary. 


Of course, Carnival has a main dining room, which is home to the cruise line’s famous SeaDay brunch. I appreciate having a brunch option that goes until early in the afternoon, as we had some late nights on Mardi Gras and needed to sleep in. You can also find the Lido Marketplace buffet and specialty dining restaurants, although I’d argue this is where Harmony of the Seas shines in comparison. 

Mardi Gras Buffet

Harmony of the Seas features upwards of 10 different specialty dining venues, including specialty options for steak at Chops Grille, Italian at Jamie’s Italian, Izumi sushi and even 150 Central Park for fine dining. Although I’ve tried the steakhouse and sushi-equivalent on Mardi Gras, I much prefer the specialty dining on Harmony of the Seas. The food was higher quality, portions were more generous and service was more attentive. Overall, the ambiance was more elegant and upscale too.  

Chops Grille

I also found that Harmony of the Seas had better service and food at the main dining room in comparison to Mardi Gras. The appetizers, entrees and desserts were higher quality and provided more variety, in my opinion. However, no one can beat Carnival’s melting chocolate cake, which is served each night in the dining room! As a chocolate lover, this one is heavenly each night.

Carnival Melting Cake

From my experiences, Carnival’s buffets have always left me feeling disappointed - and the Mardi Gras buffet was no exception. The cramped Lido Marketplace space lacked variety and quality in comparison to the Windjammer, which has never let me down.

Overall, Mardi Gras has unbeatable food when it comes to quick, casual options onboard, such as Guy’s Burger Joint and Big Chicken, while Royal Caribbean’s dining room, specialty dining and buffet options are superior. 

Headliner Productions and Entertainment

In general, cruise ships have their best entertainment and headliner productions on the biggest cruise ships. Mega cruise ships tend to have more resources to perform the big-name headliner shows and Broadway productions. For me, this was definitely the case for us when sailing on Harmony of the Seas and Carnival Mardi Gras. 

Aquatheater on Harmony of the Seas

Generally speaking, the entertainment we experienced on both of these cruise ships were incredible with lights, music, dancing, acrobats, ice skaters, divers, comedians and much more. We were throughly impressed by all of the entertainment provided. Regardless of which cruise line you sail on, I can almost guarantee that you will be awestruck by the entertainment onboard.

As an Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas has some of the best entertainment that Royal Caribbean has to offer. The highlight of the entertainment for me was a 90-minute production of Grease, which felt like I was transported to New York for a Broadway musical.


Harmony of the Seas also features an onboard ice skating rink and AquaTheatre, which are unique venues that showcase even more spectacular production shows. The AquaTheatre had a production show with high-divers, synchronized swimmers and aerial acrobatics. It’s truly unlike anything you’ve seen before on land and truly took our breath away. 

Similarly, Harmony of the Seas features 1887: A Journey Through Time as its main production  in Studio B Ice Skating Rink. The production has skaters with twirls, turns and flips in gravity-defying stunts.

Ice Show

Of course, Harmony of the Seas also offers evening headliner theatre shows, including comedians, magicians, and other singing and dancing productions. You’ll also found bars and lounges with parties, live musicians and more throughout your cruise. 

While Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas has fantastic production shows, Carnival has definitely taken its entertainment to the next level onboard Mardi Gras. Other production shows from Carnival had always felt low budget to me, although the daily comedians are normally a spotlight on any Carnival ship. 

For starters, Carnival debuted the Center Stage concept on Mardi Gras as a main venue for its production shows. This atrium is located midship and spans across multiple decks with an outward facing design. Here, you can find some of Mardi Gras’ biggest productions. 

Carnival Mardi Gras Entertainment

During our cruise, we enjoyed shows like Celestial Strings (an electrifying strings performance with acrobats), VooDoo Moon (a spooky musical production with aerobatics), Vegas Nights (a flashy production, Vegas-style) and We Are One (a worldly journey with singing and dancing). 

Carnival Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras also features Production Playlist shows in a smaller, more traditional theatre with another group of onboard performers. Special to Carnival is the live gameshows of Family Feud and Deal or No Deal. Finally, you can enjoy Punchliner Comedy Club with multiple shows each day featuring rotating comedians. Fun Fact: Carnival employs more comedians than any other company in the world!

Punchliner Comedy Carnival Mardi Gras

Comparing the two, Harmony of the Seas has more specialty-style entertainment with Broadway musicals, diving shows and ice skating productions. These are entertainment options that are uniquely available on Harmony of the Seas (and other Oasis-class ships).

RCL Diving

On the other hand, Mardi Gras certainly has wonderful entertainment headliner productions too. In addition, those who enjoy late-night deck parties and energetic nightclubs will definitely enjoy the fast-paced environment on Mardi Gras.

At the end of the day, I personally think you can’t go wrong with entertainment from either cruise line.

Activities and Thrills

The bigger the cruise ship, the more onboard thrills, activities and amenities you’ll be able to find. For me, this is one of my favorite parts of sailing on a cruise line’s largest ship, as you’ll have an endless amount of things to do. Both Harmony of the Seas and Carnival Mardi Gras are two of the largest vessels in each cruise line’s fleet. As such, we found these ships features more things to do than we had time for!  

Ultimate Abyss

To start, Royal Caribbean is known for creating jam-packed cruise ships with nonstop fun thanks to a plethora of onboard thrills. Harmony of the Seas is one of the most innovative ships sailing for the cruise line. Even as an adult, many of the onboard thrills were enticing. Best of all, pretty much all of the onboard thrills are complimentary on Harmony of the Seas. From the Ultimate Abyss (the tallest slide at sea), along with an ice skating rink, zip line, miniature golf, FlowRider surf simulator and a rock climbing wall. 

Harmony of the Seas slides

Similarly, Carnival Mardi Gras is designed with family-fun in mind. One of the most innovative parts of Mardi Gras is Bolt - the very first rollercoaster at sea. As a rollercoaster aficionado, this was one of the best thrill rides I’ve ever experienced on a cruise ship.


However, Bolt is not complimentary. For $15 each, you can take two quick laps around the top deck of Carnival Mardi Gras. I found it worth the cost to ride this coaster, as you’ll whip around the ship in a way you’ve never experienced before.

Ropes Course

For complimentary onboard thrills, Mardi Gras also offers plenty onboard thrills at the Ultimate Playground, where cruisers can enjoy adrenaline-pumping waterslides at WaterWorks, participate in a round of miniature golf or play some basketball at the sports court. One of the craziest onboard thrills includes the complimentary ropes course, which takes you across the top deck of the ship while doing an obstacle course. You can even hang over the side - if you’re brave enough! 

Onboard Vibe and Atmosphere

Harmony of the Seas and Carnival Mardi Gras are designed to offer an incredible vacation for everyone in your family. As such, you’ll definitely find a little something for everyone onboard these two ships. 

During my Caribbean cruises on both of these ships, Carnival Mardi Gras certainly had an edge when it comes to the party and nightlife scene onboard. Mardi Gras cultivated a more casual ambiance as well with carefree cruisers looking to have a blast. This isn’t to say that things were out of control - and I think Carnival gets a bad rep for this, honestly. 

If party isn’t your vibe, you can enjoy the adults-only area called Serenity onboard. This is located at the front of Mardi Gras and features tons of padded loungers, daybeds and pools to be used just for adults. This is where we spent our afternoons at sea, as we appreciated the quiet space in comparison to the always busy pool deck. 


In a more subdued manner, Harmony of the Seas was still very lively with cruisers looking to have a fantastic vacation. The nightlife wasn’t quite as prominent. In general, the onboard atmosphere of Harmony of the Seas was slightly more upscale with so many specialty restaurant and quality production shows.  

Adults can especially enjoy the beautiful Solarium on Harmony of the Seas. Similar to Serenity on Mardi Gras, you can enjoy an adults-only pool with loungers and daybeds surrounding the space. It’s quiet and peaceful - the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail, read a book or take a nap.

Solarium on Harmony of the Seas

While Serenity is entirely open-air, most of the Solarium is enclosed though with glass panels surrounding the space, meaning it can be enjoyed during less-than-ideal weather.

Staterooms and Suites

To appeal to a wide range of cruisers, both Harmony of the Seas and Carnival Mardi Gras have a variety of accommodations onboard. These include everything from budget-friendly inside cabins to luxurious suites. 

When sailing on Harmony of the Seas, my sister and I stayed in our typical choice: an inside cabin. We were impressed with the stateroom’s decor, design and functionality - it had everything we needed for a comfortable stay. Since Royal Caribbean tends to be slightly more expensive than Carnival, we opted to save money by choosing a cheaper cabin. 

Harmony of the Seas interior cabin

For those looking to splurge, Harmony of the Seas has some very unique staterooms available onboard thanks to neighborhood zones like Central Park and the Boardwalk. You can choose to stay in these inward-facing balcony rooms where you’ll have views of each respective neighborhood. 

Harmony of the Seas also features massive suites for those looking to splurge, including the aft-facing AquaTheatre Suite (including unparalleled views of the diving spectacles) and Crown Loft Suites.

On the other hand, Mardi Gras’ stateroom selection and prices allowed us to splurge a bit more. We opted to spend a but more so we could try out an Ocean Suite onboard the snazzy new ship, and it did not leave us disappointed. Our room was very large and featured a separate living room and extended balcony. This entry-level suite was only about 50% more than our inside cabin on Harmony of the Seas. 

In as similar way to Harmony of the Seas, Mardi Gras also features themed staterooms to accommodate different cruisers and families. These include the Havana Club staterooms, which provides convenient access to the Havana Club and an exclusive lounge area. Families can enjoy the Family Harbor deck, which are conveniently located near Mardi Gras’ childcare programs in Camp Ocean and include a special family lounge with snacks like PB&J sandwiches and cookies.

Final Thoughts: Is one better?

It’s no surprise that Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line are two of the most popular cruise lines in the world. This is especially true in comparison of each cruise line’s biggest and most modern cruise ships. After sailing on both, Carnival Mardi Gras and Harmony of the Seas showcase the best-of-the-best from each cruise line.

Harmony of the Seas vs Mardi Gras

Do I think one cruise ship is better than the other? Maybe for me, but that’s not the case for everyone. 

I’ve been a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser for most of my life, which inherently sets a bias towards Harmony of the Seas. However, I love to cruise and can truthfully say I’ve enjoyed every single cruise I’ve taken, although some fit my travel style better than others. 

If you prefer your cruises to focus on headliner and unique entertainment, along with more upscale dining choices in specialty restaurants (like Jamie’s Italian, which is one of my favorites), then you’d perhaps lean towards Harmony of the Seas. 

I’m not a huge partier on a cruise; I like to spend my Caribbean cruises taking it slow with a cocktail and good book in hand. I prefer to relax onboard while exploring ports during the day. You won’t find me staying up late at the nightclub most night, which tends to align with onboard vibe on Harmony of the Seas. I also preferred the entertainment onboard Harmony of the Seas with the diving show, Grease musical and ice skating spectacles. 

However, I wouldn’t hesitate to sail on Carnival Mardi Gras again. I loved that the cruise ship's ambiance and the vibe was very carefree and chill. Everyone was having a blast, but it never felt rowdy or out-of-control. Carnival’s quick and casual food options, like Big Chicken and Guy’s Burger Joint, are the best in the business and a huge highlight for me - it’s where the cruise line shines!

Carnival Mardi Gras

You can also expect to find massive sailaway parties and deck parties late into the night while you sail, along with great entertainment each evening. The fast-paced environment is perfect for those looking to let their hair down with the whole family. 

At the end of the day, each cruise ship offers a fantastic cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean vs Carnival: Which is a better choice?

12 May 2023

Are you debating if you should book Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise Line for your next cruise vacation?

Royal Caribbean vs Carnival

While there is an abundance of cruise lines in the industry, the two biggest cruise lines in the world are Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line. Both of these mainstream companies offer an affordable approach to cruising, with a major focus on family and fun.

Although it might sound cliched, these two well-known cruise lines truly have something for everyone. Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean aim to offer the complete family vacation, with plenty to do on their ships. While your kids will have a blast trying out the onboard thrills and the kids clubs, parents and grandparents alike will undoubtedly enjoy the food, entertainment and service offered on both. 

Millions of passengers set sail onboard these cruise lines each year. Carnival’s current fleet of 24 vessels competes closely with Royal Caribbean’s fleet of 26 cruise ships. With a literal boatload of fun to be had, it’s no surprise that these two cruise lines are very popular with the cruising population.

Royal Caribbean and Carnival in Nassau

Personally, I’ve set sail on more Royal Caribbean cruises than I can count, although my Diamond Plus status should be an indicator of my likeness and loyalty towards the brand. Growing up, I cruised with Royal Caribbean and have continued to do so into my adulthood. 

Read moreCrown and Anchor Society loyalty program info, tips & secrets

However, I’ve also taken five sailings with Carnival, with the majority of these having taken place within the last year. The debut of Carnival’s new Excel-class ships, which rival some of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis- and Quantum-class ships, have piqued my interest in the brand again.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are seemingly two types of people in the cruising world: those who love Carnival and those who love to hate on Carnival. However, Carnival has its place in the cruising industry - and I’d argue their newest and most innovative Excel-class ships will redefine the cruise line in the years to come.

Here’s everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean versus Carnival Cruise Line, including how Carnival’s “Fun” ships compare to those seeking Royal Caribbean’s “WOW” cruising experiences.

Overview of Fleet

While Royal Caribbean’s fleet is slightly larger than Carnival’s with two more vessels, the two cruise lines are very similar in size. Today, both cruise lines are focusing on building modern and massive cruise ships that can hold more than 5,000 passengers.

Both lines have relatively smaller ships as well, with passenger counts ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 passengers. And the ships ages range between brand new and going as far back as approaching 30 years old.

For many years, Carnival’s approach to ship design was implementing “tried-and-true” deck plans that had already proven successful for the cruise line. Each ship class was built similarly (some nearly identical) to the last with only minor changes to accommodate larger vessels. 

Wonder of the Seas docked in St. Thomas

This approach was used until 2021 when Carnival Mardi Gras set sail. The building of this ship started a new era for the cruise line with the Excel-class of ships. Mardi Gras paved the way for the equally modern and advanced Carnival Celebration to set sail in late 2022, in which my sister and I were onboard one of the inaugural sailings.

On the other hand, Royal Caribbean has always been pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation across its fleet. The cruise line is constantly creating ship classes that are bigger and better than ever before. 

The Oasis Class ships hold the title as the largest in the world, and Royal Caribbean has held the title as world's biggest ships for many years now.

With the upcoming release of Icon of the Seas, the first of a new astonishing class of ships, this approach still stands. Royal Caribbean continues to be a pioneer in the cruising industry and sets the bar for other cruise lines, like Carnival, to follow.

Regardless of which line you pick, you'll find big ships that have plenty to do.  Neither line truly offers a small ship experience, but they have sister brands that fill that gap.

Dining Options 

Food is arguably one of the most important aspects of a cruise, right after the places in the world the ship visit.

Comparatively speaking, I think Royal Caribbean comes out on top with its traditional and specialty dining, while Carnival’s plethora of complimentary, quick dining options onboard are second to none.  

Where Carnival truly shines is its approach to casual dining onboard its ships - and the food is pretty darn good too. Carnival crushes the competition when it comes to its complimentary dining. Cruisers have a wide range of eateries to choose from on their ships.

To start, Carnival has partnered with Food Network celebrity chef, Guy Fieri, to create the popular Guy’s Burger Joint and new Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewery.

In addition, the cruise line debuted a new partnership with Shaq’s Big Chicken, which is nearly as good as Chick-fil-a in my opinion.

This is just the start of the complimentary dining options and doesn’t even include the pizza shoppe for Napoli-style pizza, fresh made sandwiches from the panini grill and authentic tacos from BlueIguana cantina. 

Another favorite onboard Carnival is the SeaDay Brunch, hosted into the early afternoon for those who stayed up past their bedtime. Some signature dishes include (possibly the best) 12-hour French toast topped with roasted peaches and skillet pancakes with freshly whipped ricotta. 

Finally, Carnival’s newest ships have debuted complimentary, speciality-style restaurants called ChiBang and Cucina del Capitano. While ChiBang serves up Mexican and Asian dishes on two separate menus, Cucina del Capitano is the Italian speciality restaurant onboard. While other cruise lines would certainly charge for this experience, it’s free for guests on Excel-class ships.

This isn’t to say that Carnival’s main dining experience is lackluster (that award goes to the cruise line’s buffet, which has always left me disappointed); rather, the cruise line truly shines with its quick service options. 

And don’t even get me started about Carnival’s Chocolate Melting Cake. It’s the best dessert at sea for chocolate lovers and the cruise line has perfected this molten, warm decadence. Best of all? It’s on the menu every day. 

Where Carnival falls short is where Royal Caribbean sparkles. Specialty dining on Royal Caribbean is top-notch food and service, from Chop’s Grille steakhouse, Izumi Sushi and Teppanyaki and Jamie’s Italian - to name a few. 

Royal Caribbean’s main dining room service is also more sophisticated with a diverse menu compared to Carnival. You won’t find the servers dancing each night on tables like you will in Carnival’s dining room where you get a small ‘show’ each evening you dine. Royal Caribbean focuses on offering a varied menu with quality food for cruisers. 

The onboard buffet is the main spot for meals on the majority of the cruise line’s fleet. The food is similar quality to what you’d find at a hotel; while it might not be the most impressive thing you eat onboard, it will hit the spot. 


Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival offer an excellent range of daily entertainment for cruisers. You might even run out of time to see everything during your cruise; however, the cruise line take a different approach to entertainment. 

Royal Caribbean offers large-scale production shows on most of its Oasis and Quantum-class ships. You can find 90-minute, Broadway-style shows like “Hairspray” and “Mamma Mia”. The cruise line also offers one-of-a-kind aquatics shows on Oasis-class ships, along with jaw-dropping, ice skating spectacles on some of the larger vessels.

Ice Skating Show

Older Royal Caribbean ships will still offer a variety of entertainment, but on a smaller scale. You can still find production shows, comedians, magicians, acrobatics and more on a Royal Caribbean cruise. 

On the other hand, Carnival’s entertainment leans into a variety of comedy shows with singing and dancing productions. Something unique to Carnival is the cruise line’s Punchliner Comedy Club with daily comedy shows and rotating comedians. Each show lasts just 30 minutes, so you have plenty of time to try the other entertainment available. 

Carnival also features Playlist Production shows where the singers and dancer’s showcase familiar tunes with dazzling choreography. If that’s not your cup of tea, you might enjoy live gameshows of Deal or No Deal or Family Feud, which can only be found on Carnival’s cruise ships. 

With Carnival’s newest Excel-class of cruise ships, the entertainment has been kicked up a notch. The cruise line has developed some really incredible shows for its transformative Center Stage, like the Most Magnificent Circus on Carnival Celebration. This acrobatic-style headliner show was quite possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen at sea. 

Kids and families

Playscape on Wonder of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean program offers programmed activities for kids and teens to mingle with peers their own age. It's supervised, which means parents can drop their kids off and then enjoy time with their children.

Adventure Ocean caters to kids and teens between the ages of 3 and 17, dividing them into five different groups:

  1. Aquanauts (3-5)
  2. Explorers (6-8)
  3. Voyagers (9-11)
  4. Pre-teens (12-14)
  5. Teens (15-17)

Now, depending on which category your child falls into, they'll likely be able to take part in karaoke showdowns, pajama parties, carnival games, epic games of crazy tag, sports tournaments, and dance parties that will have them busting moves all night long.

RelatedBest Royal Caribbean cruise ships for Kids

If you have younger kids, there is also Royal Babies and Royal Tots, which costs extra and is for toddlers between the age of 6 and 36 months years old.

Camp Ocean is Carnival's complimentary youth club and is also split by ages:

  1. Penguins (2 - 5)
  2. Stingrays (6 - 8)
  3. Sharks (9 - 11)

Tweens and teens have their own spaces, too, in the form of Circle C and Club O2. They can keep themselves busy with stuff like video and board games, sports and karaoke.

Attractions and Thrills


When it comes to onboard thrills, no one in the cruise industry does this better than Royal Caribbean. This has been Royal Caribbean’s bread and butter for decades. 

In fact, the cruise line pioneered many firsts for the cruise industry, like the first zip line at sea, the first FlowRider surf simulator, and the first ice skating on a cruise ship. This doesn’t even encompass all of it, like the waterslides, rock climbing walls, bumper cars, bungee jumping and skydiving you can try!

For the most part, these onboard thrills are all complimentary for Royal Caribbean cruisers (other than the iFly sky diving simulator). 

Read more15 free things to try on your next cruise

Comparatively, Carnival’s showcase plenty of pools, hot tubs and waterslides. The biggest ships, Carnival Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, feature The Ultimate Playground where guests can find the cruise line’s onboard thrills. Here, you can take your turn on the ropes course or dare to try the thrilling waterslides for free. 

This is also where you’ll find the first rollercoaster at sea, called Bolt. Costing $15 each for two laps, cruisers can twist and turn around the aft of Carnival Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration!

Although pricey, my sister and I would recommend this unique experience at least once for all Carnival guests.

Experience Onboard

Undoubtedly, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line offer incredible cruise experiences. Both cruise lines aim to provide affordable, family-friendly cruises with something onboard for everyone. 

Carnival’s entire brand revolves around having “the most fun ships at sea”. You can’t get off a Carnival cruise without seeing the word “fun” multiple times each day.

As such, the environment onboard is very casual with a major focus on fun. No one takes themselves too seriously and this creates a very carefree style of cruising. 

Entertainment Carnival Mardi Gras

Carnival attracts a younger crowd, including young adults and families. It’s a popular cruise line for spring breakers because of its notoriously cheap cruise fares. Carnival cruises have a lively nightlife scene with plenty of parties, although this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily out of control. Imagine everyone - even your mom and grandma - simply letting loose together on a cruise!

I will say, nobody does a sailaway party like Carnival Cruise Line. Everyone onboard shows up with their drinks in hand, ready to celebrate the start of vacation. In fact, I would verge to say it’s a right of passage to attend a Carnival sailaway party if you consider yourself a seasoned cruiser! 

With Royal Caribbean’s cruises, you’ll find a more varied crowd thanks to the cruise line’s international presence. Comparatively, Royal Caribbean offers more international cruises to places like Europe, Asia and Australia.

Along with young adults and families, you’ll also find solo travelers, couples and grandparents onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. Because of Royal Caribbean’s slightly higher cruise fares thanks to high-end suites, the parties onboard tend to be more subdued and upscale. 


For those traveling without kids, Royal Caribbean’s adult-only areas are superior for relaxing during your cruise. Each ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet offers a serene space for adults called The Solarium - it’s my favorite place to relax.

Comparatively, Carnival also offers an adults-only area called Serenity, although it’s not as large or secluded. I also prefer the motif of the Solarium over Serenity. 

If you’re sailing around spring break or on a short getaway itinerary, your Royal Caribbean cruise will likely entice a more energetic crowd.

Read moreEverything you should book before the cruise to avoid it being sold out

Itineraries and where they sail

Aerial view of CocoCay from balloon

Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival focus primarily on North American cruises, with lots of cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico.  Both have seasonal sailings to Alaska, Bermuda and Canada.

Royal Caribbean has a larger presence in Europe and Australia compared to Carnival.

Both have private destinations in the Caribbean, although Carnival has one more than Royal Caribbean: Amber Cove, Half Moon Cay, and Princess Cays vs Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee.

Read moreThe best cruise itineraries for every type of traveler

Final Thoughts

Serenade and Mariner of the Seas docked in Cozumel

When it comes to comparing Royal Caribbean and Carnival, the two cruise lines are more similar than they are different. Each aims to provide an amazing and affordable cruise vacations for families. You can’t really go wrong between the two, as long as you have the right expectations. 

If you’re a major foodie or someone who loves to really let loose and party the night away on a cruise, you might find that Carnival is the best cruise line for you. The upbeat and carefree atmosphere is perfect for cruisers who want a casual getaway without any of the fuss. 

Those who might want a slightly more upscale experience with better specialty dining options and innovative onboard thrills would probably prefer Royal Caribbean. This is also the best cruise line for an adults-only cruise vacation or those looking to truly relax. 

Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to book another cruise on Carnival’s Excel-class ship, as it truly changed my opinion of the cruise line and amplified the fleet. I’m excited about the future of the cruise line as it starts to put innovation and technological advancement at the forefront.

However, I still prefer Royal Caribbean overall as a cruise line as it fits my budget and travel style; of course, the lucrative loyalty benefits don’t hurt either! 

Carnival and NCL raised their daily gratuities

04 Apr 2022

Two major cruise lines have raised their daily gratuities this year, which could be an indicator of what Royal Caribbean may do as well.

Carnival funnel

CruiseRadio reported Carnival Cruise Line will raise its gratuity beginning on sailings that depart May 1, 2022.

The new gratuity rate for Carnival will be as follows:

  • Standard staterooms will pay $14.50 per person, per day
  • Suites will pay $16.50 per person, per day

Carnival will allow anyone with a cruise booked right now to lock in the old gratuity rate if they prepay gratuities before May 1, 2022. Cruises booked after May 1 will be subject to the new rate.

Carnival Vista restaurant

According to Carnival, 100% of gratuities are distributed to the crew members, such as stateroom attendants, dining and culinary services staff, as well as others who work behind the scenes.

Carnival's change comes just weeks after Norwegian Cruise Line announced they would increase the daily gratuities.

As of April 1st, NCL increased their gratuity amount as follows:

  • Balcony and lower cabins: $16.00 per person, per day
  • Haven and Suite guests: $20.00 per person, per day
  • Club Balcony Suite guests remains at $18.00 per person, per day

NCL says their gratuities compensate crew members in tandem with a salary for crew members such as complimentary restaurant staff, stateroom stewards and behind-the-scenes support staff.

Will Royal Caribbean do the same?

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation | Royal Caribbean Blog

With two of Royal Caribbean's biggest competitors changing the daily gratuity amounts, Royal Caribbean cruisers may be wondering if a change is coming soon for them as well.

Royal Caribbean hasn't touched their gratuity rate since the end of 2017, when they announced a change to the gratuity to begin in 2018.

The current gratuity for Royal Caribbean is: $14.50 per guest per day in non-suites. For guests in a Grand Suite or above, the amount is $17.50.

Just like the other cruise lines, the daily gratuity is shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes.

Read moreShould you prepay gratuities for a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean has not announced or said anything about changing the gratuity rates, but it's not unusual from a historical perspective for cruise lines to match each other with changes like this.

When Royal Caribbean announced a change in gratuity in 2017, they mentioned keeping up with other cruise lines, "Royal Caribbean is constantly reviewing our competitive environment and this adjustment positions us in-line with our competitors. The additional gratuity collected will be disbursed to our onboard crew".

The good news is Royal Caribbean has in the past done exactly what Carnival is doing now, by offering passengers booked with an existing reservation to lock in the old rate if they pre-pay before the new rate goes into effect.

Two cruise lines shorten the window of time to get a pre-cruise Covid test

02 Sep 2021

Following an update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week, two cruise lines have changed the amount of time guests have to get a negative Covid test before their cruise.

Carnival announces new health protocols including masks, social distancing, testing and more | Royal Caribbean Blog

The CDC revised their screening testing and documentation requirements late last week for fully vaccinated passengers and those who are not fully vaccinated, for pre-embarkation, embarkation, and back-to-back sailing.

Specifically, the CDC updated their testing guidelines to recommend fully vaccinated passengers get their Covid test no more than 2 days before boarding or get a test on embarkation day.  It also lists unvaccinated passengers get their test no more than 3 days before the cruise.

As an apparent result of this change, both Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises have changed their policies on Thursday.

Both lines are still accepting either an antigen or PCR test.


Carnival Cruise Line | Royal Caribbean Blog

Beginning with sailings that depart as of September 13, 2021, vaccinated guests must take a covid test within two days prior to the sailing date.

According to Carnival, if the sailing is on Saturday, the test may be taken on Thursday and Friday, and as late as Saturday, if you are guaranteed to receive your results in time for check-in.

Carnival is working to set up mobile pre-cruise rapid testing sites at all of its homeports as a back-up alternative for vaccinated guests who aren’t able to make arrangements. Additional details are forthcoming.


MSC Cruises releases new policies to keep guests safe from Coronavirus | Royal Caribbean Blog

MSC Cruises also updated their policy for all cruises departing from Miami and Port Canaveral beginning November 1, 2021 and onward.

For these sailings, All guests 2 years and older — regardless of vaccination status — must provide documentation of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 2 days before arriving at the terminal for embarkation.

What is Royal Caribbean's policy?

As of right now, Royal Caribbean's policy has not changed for sailings from U.S. Homeports and Nassau, Bahamas.

All guests age 2 and older — regardless of their vaccination status, departure port or the length of their cruise — will need to take a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) with an accredited test provider, such as a drugstore chain or diagnostic lab, no more than 3 days before arriving at the terminal and show their negative test result upon arriving. 

In addition to the pre-cruise test, kids will take one or two more tests, depending on the length of the cruise. Royal Caribbean’s test provider will administer these, at no cost to children under the age of 12.

  • On boarding day, kids will take a complimentary rapid PCR test during check-in at the terminal. We’ll send registration details via email before departure.
  • For cruises that are 5 nights or longer, kids will take a complimentary antigen test onboard before the cruise ends. Vaccinated guests who require a COVID-19 test for re-entry into their country may receive one onboard as well. Guests will be notified onboard about how to register for this test.

Guests under the age of 2 have no testing requirements.

Read moreI tried the at-home Covid-19 test that Royal Caribbean accepts

Carnival joins Royal Caribbean in requiring pre-cruise Covid tests and masks for vaccinated passengers

04 Aug 2021

Less than a week after Royal Caribbean said it would require vaccinated passengers to get a Covid test for certain sailings, Carnival Cruise Line announced a similar protocol.

Carnival informed guests of new testing and mask guidelines, where cruise ship passengers will be asked to wear masks in certain indoor areas of their ships and all guests, including those who are vaccinated, to have pre-cruise Covid tests.

Beginning on sailings the depart on August 14, 2021, all fully vaccinated cruise ship passengers will need to get a negative Covid-19 test (PCR or antigen) within 3 days of when their sailing will begin.

This means fully vaccinated guests will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test along with proof of full vaccination upon arrival in the terminal and can then proceed on board.

Like Royal Caribbean, Carnival will not provide testing opportunities at the cruise terminal, so guests must take the test at home before they arrive.

Guests who are not fully vaccinated are still required to show the negative results of a PCR test taken between 72 and 24 hours prior to the sailing date, and will be tested again in the terminal prior to boarding the ship and again within 24 hours of debarkation (for itineraries five days or longer).  Unvaccinated guests approved for an exemption will continue to be charged US$150, per person, for testing, reporting and health safety screenings, and also must provide proof of travel insurance if departing from the states of Florida or Texas. 

Children under two are exempt from testing requirements.

Royal Caribbean's policy is similar, with the requirement for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to provide a negative Covid-19 test, regardless of vaccine status, prior to boarding on sailings 5-night or longer.

Royal Caribbean's testing policy went into effect beginning July 31, 2021.

Mask policy change

Carnival is also adding a mask rule for passengers on its ships while indoors.

The new mask rule begins on August 7, 2021 and "strongly encourages" all passengers to wear face masks when indoors, particularly guests who are unvaccinated including children under the age of 12 who should wear masks in public areas, except when eating or drinking.

All guests age 2 and older will be required to wear face masks in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino, except when eating or drinking.

Guests will be required to wear face masks prior to being seated in the main dining rooms and in the Lido Buffet area and occasionally in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate.  

Masks are required during embark and debark in the terminal, and masks should also be worn during the debarkation process on board.

Carnival says the new rule is being added, "to protect our guests and crew while on board."

Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy spoke about the change, "These new requirements are being implemented to protect our guests and crew while on board, and to continue to provide confidence to our homeports and destinations that we are doing our part to support their efforts to protect public health and safety."

"We expect these requirements will be temporary and appreciate the cooperation of our guests. Our first month of guest operations has been met with tremendous enthusiasm and very positive guest feedback, and we are committed to continue our restart with both fun and safety in mind."

Carnival will bring back all of its cruise ships by the end of the year

21 Jul 2021

Carnival Cruise Line announced this week the next phase of its restart plans, which includes bringing back its entire fleet by the end of the year.

Parent company Carnival Corporation outlined plans for resuming cruises across eight of its nine brands, representing a total of 54 ships.

The Carnival Cruise Line brand has restarted sailings on some ships, will have the remaining nine ships in its fleet back to operations by the end of 2021.

The three ships for September are the Carnival Glory from New Orleans, starting Sept. 5, the Carnival Pride from Baltimore, starting Sept. 12, and the Carnival Dream from Galveston, starting Sept. 19.

In October, the four additional ships to restart will be the Carnival Conquest from Miami, effective Oct. 8, the Carnival Freedom from Miami, effective Oct. 9, the Carnival Elation from Port Canaveral, effective Oct. 11, and the Carnival Sensation from Mobile, effective Oct. 21.

Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy talked about bringing back the entire fleet, "Our plan envisions successfully bringing back our entire fleet by the end of the year, returning to full service – most especially for the millions of families who sail with us – and building back our business for the benefit of our guests, employees and the tens of thousands of jobs and local businesses that depend on our company."

Carnival Cruise Line first resumed cruises from the U.S. during the first weekend in July.

Carnival ships sailing in the summer and fall will have mostly fully vaccinated passengers onboard, although exemptions can be made for unvaccinated passengers depending on space.

Essentially, Carnival will offer exemptions to unvaccinated guests on a limited, capacity-managed basis within 14 days of sailing as the cruise line finalizes the vaccinated guest count. The more bookings Carnival initially secures for cruises with fully vaccinated guests, the more exemptions they can ultimately offer for unvaccinated guests already booked and those wishing to sail.

Carnival will operate these sailings with at least 95 percent vaccinated guests, which means the ships will not have to do test cruises.

Unvaccinated passengers who are admitted to sail will need to undergo additional pre-cruise and mid-cruise testing and pay a $150 fee to cover screening costs. Unvaccinated travelers on specific Carnival itineraries from Florida and Texas will also need to show proof of travel insurance.

These requirements of unvaccinated passengers is similar to Royal Caribbean's policies, although Carnival is handling how they book unvaccinated passengers differently.

Anyone booked on Carnival that does not wish to sail due to the vaccination requirements and protocols is able to request a full refund with no penalties.

Royal Caribbean's restart plans in the U.S. are only outlined for 9 of its ships so far.  A few ships are sailing in Europe this summer, and Quantum of the Seas is operating out of Singapore.

Royal Caribbean has not yet spelled out exactly what its restart plans will look like in the fall and winter of this year.

Carnival and NCL announce summer cruise ship restart plans from United States

07 Jun 2021

Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line to announce it will restart cruises from the U.S. this summer.

Both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines announced on Monday plans to restart cruises as early as July.

Royal Caribbean lead the restart plan charge last week, when it announced cruises from the U.S. in July and August, signifying a major milestone in the cruise industry's return to service.

Here is a look at what each of the other major cruise lines announced today.

Carnival will restart in July

Carnival confirmed it will return to service with cruises out of Galveston on two ships.

Carnival Vista will sail on July 3rd from the Port of Galveston, followed by Carnival Breeze on July 15.

These cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of a CDC-approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Carnival also has plans to restart cruises on the Carnival Horizon from PortMiami in July.  No specific date was shared, as the line is working with the State of Florida and the CDC for Carnival Horizon sailings.

Carnival also said plans to provide an update by Friday concerning protocols specific to these sailings to all booked guests.

August sailings will be announced by Carnival "over the coming days."

Norwegian will restart in August

NCL admitted its restart plans in the U.S. are contingent on obtaining a conditional sailing certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said that all its initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew.

First, NCL said it would replace Norwegian Bliss on its Alaska cruises with the Norwegian Encore instead.

In terms of new U.S. sailings, here is what NCL announced:

  • Norwegian Gem will begin sailing 7-night cruises from PortMiami on August 15
  • Norwegian Breakaway will sail to Bermuda from New York on September 26
  • Norwegian Bliss will sail from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on October 2
  • Norwegian Escape will sail from Port Canaveral on November 13

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said the additional planned U.S. voyages build on earlier plans for 23 of the company's 28 ships across its three brands beginning in July and phasing in through early 2022.

Carnival announces agreements with Port Canaveral, Miami & Galveston to restart cruises

28 May 2021

Carnival Cruise Line is moving forward with its restart plans from the United States.

Carnival announced the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) has approved its plans in place with three major cruise ports.

Specifically, Carnival now has agreements with PortMiami, Port of Galveston and Port Canaveral that have been approved by the CDC under Phase 2A of the Conditional Sail Order (CSO).

These port agreements are part of the Phase 2A of the CSO and need to be signed by executives from the cruise line, as well as port and state health authorities, as will as be approved by the CDC.  The agreement explains what the cruise terminal would do in the case of Covid-19 cases on a cruise ship, as well as how it intends to keep the cruise terminal and gangways sanitized.

Royal Caribbean has a similar agreement with PortMiami, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral.

With the port agreements in place, it supports Carnival's plans to restart Carnival Horizon from PortMiami, and Carnival Vista and Breeze from Galveston.

Port Canaveral has also been identified as a restart priority, and Carnival expects to announce plans for operations from there over the coming days.

"These agreements move us one step closer to sailing with our loyal guests,” said Lars Ljoen, executive vice president and chief maritime officer for Carnival Cruise Line.  

“We appreciate the support from not just these three homeport partners, but all of our homeports, that are eager to have us back as soon as possible.”

The agreement will also include information social distancing guidelines and plans for using commercial operators for any required evacuations at sea.

Each cruise line must have signed contracts with shore-side medical facilities to treat patients and shore-side housing facilities to isolate and quarantine sick passengers.

With the port agreements in place, likely Carnival will either need to apply for approval for test cruises, or skip test sailings if they can get at least 95% of its passengers vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean International has opted to conduct test cruises, but Celebrity Cruises will be able to skip them since they can get at least 95% of their passengers vaccinated.

Carnival plans to run test cruises from Galveston

25 May 2021

Carnival Cruise Line appears to be ready to start the first of its test cruises in a matter of weeks.

During a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Galveston Wharves, the Port of Galveston said Carnival plans to run its test cruises from the port, although no exact date was set.

The Galveston County Daily News reports Carnival has informed the port of its plans.

According to the report, the Port of Galveston and local health officials say they are close to signing a port agreement with the State of Texas.  Royal Caribbean recently signed similar agreements with Port Canaveral and Port Everglades.

It also appears that Carnival will follow Royal Caribbean's plan to not make the optional 95% vaccinated cruise ship passenger mandate in order to skip test cruises.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave cruise lines the choice of going through the test cruise option outlined in the Conditional Sail Order (CSO), or skip them if they can reach 98% of crew and 95% of passengers fully vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said yesterday in a video update that Royal Caribbean International cannot meet that goal of 95% vaccinated passengers because of all the families with young children who go on a cruise. 

The Port of Galveston was told by Carnival's President that standard would be difficult, since vaccinations aren't yet available for children under 12 . That's a significant portion of their normal customer base.

Royal Caribbean is also planning to start test cruises soon, although the location nor the ship to be used has been shared publicly. 

Royal Caribbean applied to be able to start at least one test cruise last week, and the cruise line expects that authorization to be granted "shortly".

The simulated voyages are the test sailings mandated by the CDC in order to receive permission for a cruise ship to sail from the United States.

Under the CDC's Framework for Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), cruise lines must first get an agreement with each port for the health and safety of crew, passengers and port personnel.

Test cruises are when cruise lines can operate ships with volunteer passengers in order to prove their new protocols work.

Carnival Corporation announces it will sail to Alaska in 2021

20 May 2021

Hours after new legislation has opened the door for cruises to Alaska, Carnival Corporation announced plans to offer cruises there this summer.

Carnival Corporation announced three of its brands, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, will offer cruises to Alaska this year.

The new sailings will begin in July, and depart from Seattle, Washington.

The announcement was made a few hours after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Bill to allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without stopping in Canada.

Carnival said each of the lines has received guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as coordinated with Alaskan officials in order to sail again.

It is not clear what this guidance is exactly since the Conditional Sail Order is still in effect, but the line issued a statement that it seemingly has the go-ahead to make these cruises happen.

These Alaska cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. Crew vaccinations will be in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Princess Cruises will resume operations in Alaska starting July 25 through September 26, with seven-day cruises onboard Majestic Princess, a MedallionClass ship.

Its cruises will visit signature ports, glaciers and attractions in Alaska including Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

Holland America Line will resume its cruise operations to Alaska with seven-day itineraries aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, calling at Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan, with scenic cruising in Alaska's iconic locales, including Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage.

The first cruise for the brand is scheduled to depart July 24, with 11 Saturday departures that will operate through October 2.

Carnival Cruise Line has already opened Alaska sailings departing from Seattle beginning July 27, with weekly departures through September 14 aboard Carnival Miracle. There are seven 7-day cruises featuring calls in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, as well as scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord.

The September 14 departure is an 8-day cruise with an additional stop in Icy Strait Point.

Carnival Corporation also said plans for these itineraries to fulfill obligations under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) are expected to be approved. Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line are each continuing the return-to-cruising preparation already underway.

Each of the lines will announce more details in the coming weeks.

More U.S. sailings to come

Carnival Cruise Line is also working to finalize its plans to operate Carnival Horizon from Miami, and Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze from Galveston in July.

Itineraries along with specific details about protocols are expected to be finalized and announced next week.

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