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MSC Vs. Carnival: Which Cruise Line is Better?

Learn more about the differences between MSC Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line so that you can make your final choice based on the amenities and services offered on board.

By Cruise Booking Team

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MSC and Carnival are quite well-known cruise lines that have made a name for themselves in the cruising industry. These cruises are known to provide grand and extravagant experiences to their passengers.

About Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is a more fun and laid-back cruise line. Its overall theme follows a very chill vibe, and it prioritizes providing travelers with exciting rides, interactive events, and a large variety of dining options, all of which are bound to keep you occupied and entertained throughout your whole trip!

About MSC Cruise Line

MSC cruise lines, compared to Carnival, have a more elegant vibe and ensure an amazing experience with just a touch of European magic. This cruise line is also one of the fastest expanding and provides only the highest-quality tech services to its passengers. The itinerary for this cruise line is quite large and features destinations such as Europe, South Africa, and South America.

Features of MSC Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line

MSC Cruises and Carnival Cruises both feature quite a lot of attractions for passengers onboard, both have an extensive variety of dining options, and overall, they provide passengers with the cruising experience of their lifetime. Since both cruises offer quality services, it can be hard to decide between the two. To make it easier for you, though, we've put together a list of some features you can use to make this comparison a little easier. They are listed below for your reference:

1) Ship Size and Passenger Capacity

You'll find that ships from both  MSC Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line are more often than not on the larger size and have a lot of amenities and activities provided alongside. Both of the cruise lines also feature more than 20 ships in their respective fleets, all equipped with the latest designs and technologies.

World Europa, MSC's biggest cruise ship, measures up at about 1,093 feet and 215,855 gross tons and features space for 6,850 guests when maximum capacity is taken into account. Carnival's Celebration cruise ship, being the biggest ship in their fleet, comes at 1,150 feet with a gross tonnage of 183,000 tons. It has the feature to provide space for 5,200 passengers at double occupancy and 6,500 passengers at maximum capacity.

2) Dining options onboard these ships

Both MSC Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines offer a large and wide array of cuisines and dining options for guests, that are available both on a complimentary basis as well as at an extra cost. Most of Carnival's dining options are complimentary and part of the base cruise fare that you pay, so there won't be any hassle with finding something that you like on this cruise line. Some notable mentions that you can find aboard Carnival are Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana, and Chibang.

MSC, though, in comparison, has fewer complementary options available for guests to dine in, but don't worry, as this does not hinder the variety or quality of food available on board. You can find various dining halls and buffet options available in complementary settings all across the ships. These complimentary meals offer different cuisines like Asian, American, Italian, and many more. From the specialty restaurants, some notable mentions that you can try are Hola! Tacos, Cantina, and Ocean Cay.

Also, ReadWhat are different dining options on a cruise?

3) Activities, Events and Amenities

Carnival cruises are known to provide endless amounts of activities, events, and amenities to ensure that you are never bored throughout your trip. They feature some classic go-to activities such as golf, laser tag, basketball courts, and even casinos. One thing you should look out for is Carnival's comedy club. The cruise line is known for hosting various comedy shows on their ships and it slowly has become one of the main features that people look forward to while on their trip.

MSC provides outstanding nighttime shows that will provide you with full-on entertainment no matter the time. One of their ships features The Carousel, which initially was made to feature Cirque De' Soleil performances, but now holds various other shows that follow the same themes as well. They also feature some amazing live Broadway musicals and even a tribute show for the singer Michael Jackson.

Also, ReadWhat are different activities offered on MSC cruise ships?

4) Cabin Facilities

Both cruise lines feature various kinds of cabin facilities, so that there is something available for everyone, as you can find budget-friendly interior rooms as well as a little more costly, but worth it ocean view rooms and deluxe suites on both cruise lines. MSC and Carnival are both known to be passenger-centric and provide only the best amenities with their cabins, no matter the type.

Cabins on Carnival Cruises are known for their generous spacing, ensuring that no matter the type of cabin you choose, you'll have enough space to relax, lay back, and have a good time within your own space. A special mention for Carnival Cruise cabins is that there are special 'family harbor' cabin options for large families that offer more space, more bedding, and more amenities to ensure that you and your loved ones have a comfortable trip.

MSC Cabins also feature a lot of amenities and are more careful about the attention to detail within the cabins. You'll find that the crew members aboard the MSC are dedicated to maintaining cleanliness within cabin areas and work tirelessly to provide passengers with the best service. Another tech-savvy feature that you can find aboard the cabins of MSC is the virtual assistant options available within the cabin so you don't have to call for a crew member again and again.

Related:  Can I Upgrade Your Cruise Cabin after Purchase?

5) Overall Costs

Both cruise lines have budget-friendly options for all, so you can thoroughly enjoy your trip no matter your package. As per average costs, Carnival Cruise Lines can cost approximately $200 to $300 per person, and on the higher end, it can go up to  $1000 per person. MSC on the other hand is available for much lower costs, though this differs depending on cabin type, class, and cruise, along with the itinerary. Their lowest pricing stands at $59 per person, per day, while on the higher end, it can go up to $1000+ as well. MSC also offers tiered pricing as well, which ensures that you can customize your stay to your liking.

The gratuity rates for both cruise lines are almost the same on most of their ships. The gratuity rate falls to around $16 to $18 per person per day.

Also, Read: How much does a 1 week cruise cost?


Overall, you'll find that no matter which cruise you choose, your trip is bound to be enjoyable and filled with thrilling experiences. MSC cruises have more budget-friendly options available for passengers, while Carnival features amenities at a little higher cost. Choosing between the two is totally up to you depending on these factors, but remember, offers the best package deals for cruises and more to ensure that you have a fun time and don't have to worry about the costs!

Tags: cruise lines

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