There’s no one that goes on a cruise to sit around and watch TV, but sometimes it can be a great activity. After a day in the sun and humidity of the Caribbean, we’ll admit that we love nothing more than to chill out in a cool cabin, watching some television or Netflix.
We also know that we are not alone. That’s why we’ve rounded up the channel listings for two of the biggest cruise lines: Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
Below we have full details on the channel listings. One thing to keep in mind is that we’ve never seen the same channels twice on a cruise line. It seems to be that the offerings vary regularly and from ship to ship.
Therefore the channel listings below should give you an idea of what’s available, but could be different from what you see on your cruise.
What to Know About TV Channels on a Cruise
If you want the full run-down of what to expect from television on a cruise ship, then see our guide here. In general, however, you should set your expectations a little lower than what you might see on land.
Cruise ships typically have a couple of dozen channels, and most of those are related to the cruise itself. There are often channels for port shopping, a guide to what’s going on around the ship, safety channels and more.
Then there are typically channels that you won’t recognize showing everything from kids programming to movies. The number of well-known stations (e.g. ESPN, Travel Channel, Discovery, etc.) can usually be counted on one hand. Local broadcast channels such as ABC, CBS, or NBC aren’t available either.
To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the channel listings from a recent cruise for two major cruise lines: Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
Note: TV lineups seem to change slightly every time you sail. The channels available and the order may vary for your cruise.
Carnival Cruise TV Channel Listings
You can see that there aren’t a ton of channels on Carnival — just about two dozen. In fact, many of the biggest cable channels aren’t available at all, like ESPN. Don’t worry though, if there is a big game you want to watch, it will be shown somewhere on the ship — most likely the SKYBOX Sports Bar that’s on many ships or the casino.
As for the rest of the stations, you have things like Nickelodeon for the kids, Discovery, Travel Channel, and some additional cable channels. Much of the rest is a ton of cruise line-specific stations. Also, the channels start at 11 instead of 2, like you would see on land. Notably absent are any networks like ABC or NBC.
Here are all of Carnival’s TV channels from a recent cruise:
- Channel 11: Channel Guide
- Channel 13: Safety Information
- Channel 14: Cruise Life TV
- Channel 15: Cruise Live TV 2
- Channel 16: Carnival Adventures
- Chanel 17: Choose Shopping
- Channel 18: Choose Fun Ashore
- Channel 19: Ocean View
- Channel 20: Complimentary Movie 1
- Channel 21: Complimentary Movie 2
- Channel 22: CBSN
- Channel 23: TCM
- Channel 24: Cartoon Network
- Channel 25: Nickelodeon
- Channel 26: HGTV
- Channel 27: Food Network
- Channel 28: Travel Channel
- Channel 29: Discovery Channel
- Channel 30: Good to Know
- Channel 31: What’s Happening (Audible)
- Channel 32: Map Channel
- Channel 33: Forward Camera View
- Channel 34: Lido Camera View
- Channel 35: Music Channel
Royal Caribbean Cruise TV Channel Listings
The TV channel lineup on Royal Caribbean is similar to Carnival in that the list is relatively short, along with a number of stations you won’t find anywhere and/or are related to the cruise.
One thing to note is that we find Royal Caribbean to offer more sports programming such as ESPN compared to Carnival. As well, it seems that during football season more games are fed into the cabin TV, allowing you to watch while at sea.
- Channel 1: Royal Entertainment
- Channel 2: Cruise Compass
- Channel 3: On the Map
- Channel 4: Peek-a-Boo TV (Kids 3 and under)
- Channel 5: Junior Cruisers
- Channel 6: Teens Stream
- Channel 7: Health and Safety Channel
- Channel 8: BBC World News
- Channel 9: MSNBC
- Channel 10: Fox News
- Channel 11: NextCruise
- Channel 12: Shore Excursions
- Channel 13: Shopping Ashore
- Channel 14: Daily Deals
- Channel 15: Prime One
- Channel 16: Prime Favorites
- Channel 17: National Geographic
- Channel 18: BBC HD
- Channel 19: Movies Now and Then
- Channel 20: Red Bull TV
- Channel 21: 21
- Channel 22: ESPN (International Feed)
- Channel 23: TVE International
- Channel 24: 24
- Channel 25: Music Videos
- Channel 26: Special Events/Music
- Channel 27: Music Only A
- Channel 28: Music Only B
- Channel 29: Music Only C
Note: We’ve noticed that channel listings change often on Royal Caribbean. We have been on cruises where ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, and SEC Network are all available, while they aren’t available on others.
Norwegian (NCL) Cruise Line TV Channel Listings
Like its rivals Royal Caribbean and Carnival, NCL has a lineup that’s a bit different than what you’d see on land.
As you can see, most channels are content for the cruise line and the ship. Meanwhile, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNBC are the only widely-known U.S. cable channels in the lineup.
The movie channels do show recent release movies 24 hours per day. Sports 24 features international sporting events from nightly NBA games to cricket matches in Australia.
- Channel 10: Safety Channel
- Channel 11: Ship Info
- Channel 12: Bridge Cam
- Channel 13: ShorEx/CruiseNext
- Channel 14: Feel Free
- Channel 15: Port Info Channel
- Channel 16: Activities Channel
- Channel 17: Onboard Offerings
- Channel 18: Shopping Channel
- Channel 19: SkyToday
- Channel 20: Sky TV
- Channel 21: Action Movies
- Channel 22: Drama Movies
- Channel 23: Comedy Movies
- Channel 24: Family Movies
- Channel 26: BBC
- Channel 27: MSNBC
- Channel 28: CNBC
- Channel 29: Fox News
- Channel 30: Sport24
- Channel 31: Prime Journeys
- Channel 32: Special Feed
Bottom Line on TV on a Cruise
While no one goes on a cruise specifically for TV, you should still know that if you do want to relax and watch some of the tube, the options are somewhat limited.
Given the lack of channels, we suggest bringing your own device to allow you to watch any movies or TV. Most shops offer streaming if you get the premium Internet package. As well, Netflix and other services allow you to download shows beforehand to watch without a connection.
You have Fox but not MSNBC. No thanks
On Royal Caribbean: Only channel worth watching is TBS but it’s only in Spanish?? Ridiculous! Oceanview Channel would be nice (since our cabin doesn’t even have a window) but it’s not on the lineup. Oh well, guess I’ll just play my iPod/speaker in the room. :-/
Shame on you Carnival!! We are platinum with you and have always sang praises about Carnival but maybe not so much now. You are not going to miss out on casino or drink money just because you have 3 major networks tv in cabins Really Carnival we didn’t expect this from you!!!. None of the other lines have done this. Maybe time to look at Oceania, NCL RCCL,HAL,Celebirty????
Carnival dropped all the network channels for cabin TVs in January. They never said why, but many people believe it’s another cutback. They’ve had a lot of those recently, including the quality of the food in the MDR.
Sorry to tell you, but carnival has apparently dropped all network TV channels. No explanation was given.
That certainly seems to be the case from what we are hearing.
No network tv on royal. bummer!
I was recently on the Liberty and they didn’t have all of those channels in our rooms; the sports bars had local(?) channels and ESPN, but all of the feed from TBS, TNT and TCM were from the Spanish Latin American feed. Not that I’m complaining; I wasn’t there to watch TV the entire time, it jut made for a nice reprieve.
I enjoy watching some tv right before going to bed. I just wish the connections were better. The last cruise, the channels kept going in and out.
We didn’t have that issue, but our last cruise the remote barely worked. Had to press the channel button three times before it registered!