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Norwegian Cruise Line vs. Carnival Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line vs. Carnival Cruise Line (Photo: Norwegian & Carnival Cruise Line)

Norwegian Cruise Line vs. Carnival Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line vs. Carnival Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line vs. Carnival Cruise Line (Photo: Norwegian & Carnival Cruise Line)
Dori Saltzman
Contributor
By Dori Saltzman
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Cruise Critic breaks down the different offerings from two cruise industry giants. We compare fleet size and age, pricing, cabins, dining, entertainment, family and more. Discover which line is best suited for your needs.

In a Nutshell

Casual, family-friendly cruise line for the budget-conscious who appreciate a we-don't-take-ourselves-too-seriously vibe.
Freestyle cruise line designed for those that want a larger choice of dining and entertainment options, even if it requires paying more for them.


Fleet size, ship sizes and ages

Carnival Cruise Line

  • 27 ships by end of 2019, eight built before 2000
  • Smallest ships: Fantasy Class (2,052 passengers) -- Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Sensation
  • Largest ships: Carnival Vista (3,954 passengers), Carnival Horizon (3,960 passengers)
  • Oldest ships: Carnival Fantasy (1990), Carnival Ecstasy (1991)

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • 17 ships, two built before 2000
  • Smallest ships: Norwegian Sun (1,936 passengers), Norwegian Sky (2,004 passengers)
  • Largest ships: Norwegian Escape (4,248 passengers), Norwegian Epic (4,100 passengers), Norwegian Bliss (4,004 passengers)
  • Oldest ships: Norwegian Spirit (1998), Norwegian Sky (1999)

Pricing

Carnival Cruise Line

  • Offers some of the lowest cruise fares available
  • Prices include most alternative restaurants on each ship
  • Most entertainment included (exceptions are the 3D Thrill and IMAX theaters, which are only available on select ships)

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Known for adding extra fees, but cruise fares are comparable to mainstream industry averages
  • Pricing includes less than half of the restaurants offered onboard
  • Most entertainment included (exceptions are lunch and dinner theaters, as well as alcohol-included special experiences such as Prohibition, the Musical, all of which are only available on select ships)
  • Two ships (Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Sun) offer "all-inclusive" cruise fares on short sailings from Florida that include all drinks (soft and alcoholic, with premium exceptions) onboard and on Great Stirrup Cay

Updated January 08, 2020

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