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What Is the Difference between MSC Vs. Royal Caribbean?

Find out what makes MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises different from each other so that you can make the best decision on your cruise experience.

By Cruise Booking Team

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MSC and Royal Caribbean Cruises are very popular cruise lines known for providing splendid and extravagant experiences to travelers from all over the world. Both cruises offer a more regal setting to passengers, prioritizing experience and customer satisfaction over everything else.

MSC originates from Europe and provides travel across multiple places on the globe; it is also recognized as one of the fastest-expanding cruise companies in the world. Focusing on incorporating European elegance into its cruising experiences, MSC caters to a large audience. It is also labeled as one of the number-one cruises in Europe, South Africa, South America, and the Gulf.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is one of the oldest cruise companies in the world. It came into existence when three shipping firms formed an association. The cruise certainly started in Norway, but currently, all the main operations take place in Miami, Florida. Royal Caribbean is known to be the trendsetter in the cruise industry and to provide innovative and diverse experiences to its passengers.

Both cruises have great reputations, offering a wide range of activities and fun-filled events and a long list of destinations to choose from. It can get a tad bit confusing to understand what differentiates the two. Don’t worry, for we’re ready to provide you with assistance and help you understand why both cruise lines are different.

Differences between MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises

compare MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises
Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises/Royal Caribbean International

Taking into account the varying factors that can be used to draw comparisons between the two cruise lines, we’ve compiled a simple list that can help you understand the differences between the two. Hopefully, this can help provide you with better insight and assist you in making the right decision:

1. Size of the Ships:

Both cruises are known to feature some of the largest operating ships in the cruising industry. You won’t find any ships on either of the cruise line’s fleets that provide enough space for a minimum of 2,000 passengers at a time.

For MSC, even their smallest ship, Armonia, measures 902 feet, with 65,542 gross tons, while their biggest ship, World Europa, measures 1,093 feet and 215,855 gross tons. Royal Caribbean’s smallest ship, Grandeur of the Seas, measures 914 feet with a gross tonnage of 73,817, while their largest cruise, Wonder of the Seas, measures 1,188 feet with 236,857 gross tonnage.

2. Dining Facilities provided Onboard:

Royal Caribbean features a large variety of dining options made available for passengers, a lot of which are complementary and already included in the base cruise fares. With various dining rooms and even the renowned Windjammer buffet available, Royal Caribbean stands as a top pioneer in cuisine varieties. Some known mentions available on various Royal Caribbean cruises are Chops Grille, where you can find juicy steaks or Giovanni's Italian Kitchen meant to provide a hearty Italian meal. Are you craving some good old fried snacks? Don’t worry. Options like Playmakers Sports Bar are there to feed your cravings.

MSC might have fewer complementary food options available but still does not fall back on providing only premium-quality dishes. There are various dining main halls available that guests can expect to get allotted depending on their packages as well as the ability of the passengers to incur any extra dining costs. Also available with a buffet-themed system, guests can enjoy various cuisines, such as Italian, Japanese, and American, all at once. Providing some special mentions, restaurants like Hola! Tacos and Cantina are available for Mexican and Latin American cuisine, while Ocean Cay is suitable for those who wish to taste a little Mediterranean food.

3. Activities, Entertainments, and Events Onboard:

With Royal Caribbean, the varieties are never-ending. From live theatre to live music, as well as game nights, catering to all age groups, as well as adult-only events specifically catered for couples, there is nothing that you won't be able to find on Royal Caribbean cruises. The fleet of one of their most premium class, the Oasis class, features special live theatre performances of  well-known Broadway musical pieces like “Hairspray” and “Mamma Mia!.” They also feature high-end high-dive performances in the Aqua Theatre and even ice shows in Studio B. Royal Caribbean also features some of the largest and most thrilling waterslides, namely Ultimate Abyss slide and The Perfect Storm. Other famous activities available onboard Royal Caribbean include rock climbing, ice skating, and even ziplining at sea!

MSC does not fall behind in terms of entertainment, activities, and events, as they offer more nighttime events that are bound to keep you entertained all night long. With a large variety of musical productions, MSC provides only the best experience. The Meraviglia class features an all-rounder lounge called The Carousel. Originally made for Cirque du Soleil performances, it now features various other events following a similar lively theme. MSC’s latest addition, Euribia, features a redefined version of this lounge and is their first ship to feature a 19-piece orchestra band, always available to provide only the best music choices. In terms of activities, MSC offers more arcade-style activities and also features large amusement park-like rides. They feature Formula 1 simulator rides, as well as the longest zip line available on a cruise ship.

4. Passenger Capacity on both Cruises:

The passenger capacity on both cruise lines falls within the similar range, with the lowest passenger capacity falling around 2000+ passengers at double occupancy and around 5,000+ passengers on the higher end.

Royal Caribbean’s latest additions to its fleets even hold enough space for around 7,000+ guests at full capacity! This is one of the highest passenger capacities ever made available on any cruise ship. Both ships cater to a wide variety of crowds, ranging from solo travelers to couples, friend groups, and even large family groups. There is something for everyone.

5. Cabin Facilities:

Both cruises prioritize functionality over flashy and overdone interiors. A wide variety of cabin classes are available onboard, from windowless rooms to ocean views and even large-capacity suites.

Royal Caribbean offers around 34+ varieties of cabins for booking, all of which offer varying features and amenities to the guests. From ocean-facing cabins to family suite cabins that feature a gaming area and a slide that connects the sleeping area to the living room area (bound to keep the kids entertained.) There are even cabins available that feature LED screens inside that show the outside scene in perfect clarity. Don’t worry if you’re a solo traveler, as some of the cruises available under Royal Caribbean offer 101-square-foot and 199-square-foot studios just for you.

MSC features around 19+ varieties of cabins, ranging from the large 377-square-foot Grand Suite Aurea that comes with terrace access to balcony cabins that feature large balcony areas for maximum enjoyment. Some balconies feature a size of 248-square-foot and 753-square-foot balcony as well. It also features a 269-square-foot premium balcony Aurea cabin that boasts stationary bunk beds adjacent to the entrance, a king-size berth, a double sofa converted into a bed, and a larger bathroom offering a privacy zone with a shower and bathtub. This suite is the perfect choice if you wish to spend a relaxing vacation with your family.

6. Overall Costs of both Cruises:

The overall cost for both cruises varies depending on various factors, such as which ship, itinerary, or time of year you book, what package you opt for, and any extra costs that you may incur on board the cruise throughout your stay.

Related: What Is the Difference between Carnival Cruise Vs. Royal Caribbean?


Various things set MSC and Royal Caribbean apart, such as the attractions available on board or the cabin facilities, but one thing is for sure. Both cruise lines prioritize customer satisfaction the most and strive to provide only the best. Guests are bound never to get bored, whether it be day or night; there will always be something available to keep them occupied. Use as your booking partner to find the best deals available in the market.

Also ReadRoyal Caribbean vs. Celebrity: Comparison of Cruise Lines

Tags: cruise lines

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