Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Mardi Gras, set sail from Port Canaveral on July 31, 2021. The day before its inaugural sailing, I had the opportunity to tour and eat my way around the ship from top to bottom (literally!) at a preview event for media and travel agents. My one-day visit was dubbed a ‘Sip and Sea’ event – a day for Carnival to show off their new ‘baby’.
I took 302 pictures and walked over three miles during my day on the ship, so needless to say I’ve got no shortage of news and stories to share over the upcoming weeks and months.
This new ship is impressive and truly unlike any other Carnival ship in the fleet. Mardi Gras is considered the future of Carnival and after spending a day onboard, it is easy to see why.
This new ship is unlike any other Carnival ship in the fleet. Coming in at 1,130 feet long with 17 passenger decks and 2,641 staterooms to choose from – passengers will be amazed at all of the “new” involved with this grand, new ship.
As a nod to the first ship in Carnival’s fleet back in 1971, also named Mardi Gras, this ship honors the 50 years of service for Carnival Cruise Line. If you think you’ve got the layout of Carnival ships memorized, scratch everything you know because things are new on Mardi Gras – and I mean that in a good way.
Let’s take a look inside the new Carnival Mardi Gras –
Time to Eat!
Whether you decided to have dinner in the Main Dining Room or book reservations at one of the ship’s new restaurants – ChiBang! featuring Mexican and Chinese dishes or seafood night at Rudi’s SeaGrill. Other popular spots for dinner include Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Cucina del Capitano and Emeril’s Bistro 1396. As a special bonus onboard the Mardi Gras, there is no additional fee for dining at Cucina del Capitano, ChiBang! or at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse.
For more casual meals, there’s the popular Guy’s Burger Joint that has a much larger area on this ship. The new BIG Chicken from Shaquille O’Neal features chicken strips, chicken sandwiches, French fries, southern sides and even breakfast until 3 p.m.! The Seafood Shack is on Mardi Gras, along with Java Blue Cafe and the buffet on the Lido deck.
Another personal favorite was Street Eats. Serving as a nod to the food truck and street vendors, Time Fries, Steam Dreams and Mad Sizzle are all open mid-day on the Lido Deck featuring a new item each daily. Time Fries focuses on French Fries – I sampled the Philly Cheesesteak fries with shaved steak, grilled onions and mushrooms and tons of melty cheese, delicious! At Steam Dreams, you’ll find Bao buns and potstickers and Mad Sizzle has kebabs and satay with lots of flavors.
A Look Inside the Mardi Gras Staterooms
From interior and balcony staterooms to the Family Harbor and the Havana Cabana staterooms – there are an incredible amount of room configurations on the Mardi Gras. I had the opportunity to tour many of the staterooms and no matter your interests onboard, there is a room style for you.
While the views and sizes of the stateroom may differ, there were some things I noticed in every stateroom. All staterooms now include plenty of USB plugs (Hallelujah!) and have new bedside tables that lack storage, but are much more compact. Every room now has an interactive, flat screen television. You can check your Sign & Sail balance, watch a variety of channels and watch the Carnival channel for up-to-date cruise information too.
You’ll also find a refrigerator in every stateroom, plenty of storage space and in the bathrooms — no more shower curtains! Every shower has a glass door – which means I no longer run the risk of flooding the bathroom.
Cheers to You!
And it wouldn’t be a Carnival cruise without some great nightlife and bars throughout the ship. The Mardi Gras has quite a few new spots that I can already tell are going to be huge hits. A few of the new bars onboard include The Brass Magnolia and the nearby Fortune Teller Bar – both located in the French Quarter neighborhood of the ship. Enjoy New Orleans-inspired drinks and live jazz trio at the Brass Magnolia and creative and magical drinks at the Fortune Teller Bar.
The Summer Landing neighborhood of Mardi Gras not only features Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse, but is also home to Carnival’s own brewed Parched Pig craft beer, making it a big hit for beer fans. Also at Summer Landing, The Watering Hole is on the back of the ship offering drinks with a view.
Of course, the popular Alchemy Bar, and the Havana Bar are still hot spots with Carnival ships. However, don’t pass up grabbing a drink at the expanded RedFrog Tiki Bar. Now located on the Lido Deck, the tiki bar is now TWO stories tall! Fruity, umbrella drinks and great ocean views – I’m excited about this area. They also have RedFrog Tiki mugs for purchase!
Let’s Have Fun!
The Ultimate Playground neighborhood on Deck 18 is nothing but fun. From the Carnival WaterWorks water park with three slides and SportsSquare with a ropes course, basketball/volleyball court and, of course, mini-golf too – it really is the ultimate.
The showpiece, though, is BOLT: The Ultimate Sea Coaster. Known as the world’s first rollercoaster at sea, I was too chicken to give it a try. The Elevated track is 187 feet above sea level! Plus, I wore a dress to the preview – not exactly a good match. Riders sit on the coaster, just like riding a motorcycle and can control the speed of the coaster by “revving” the handlebars – just like a motorcycle. At the time of this story, one lap on the coaster is $15 and you can reserve your ride time via the Carnival HUB mobile app.
In addition to all of the outdoor fun, another place new to Mardi Gras is the Carnival Kitchen. Choose from hands-on classes focused on cupcake decorating, tailgating favorites or step outside your comfort zone and learn how to make sushi rolls. Sign up for these lessons in advance, as I’d be willing to bet these classes fill up quickly.
Learn More About the Carnival Mardi Gras
I’d be remiss if I did not mention Grand Central Atrium – it is grand and a “first” for Carnival Cruise Line as it is the first atrium to be placed on the side of a cruise ship. It features 3,000 square feet of windows and views during the day and at nighttime, video walls are moved into place making for a fantastic backdrop for live music and shows. It is impressive!
Ready to book a cruise on the new Mardi Gras? You should be! This new ship is filled with NEW things and I’m ready for another cruise adventure! I’m ready for more than just a few hours to explore the Mardi Gras.
Go to www.carnival.com/mardi-gras to learn more about this amazing new ship and start packing your bags today!