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Carnival Mardi Gras Review

Find a Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise from £491

Carnival Mardi Gras
-- / 5.0
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195
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Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Deals
Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Mardi Gras Overview

Carnival Mardi Gras will be a 5,200-passenger ship, and the largest vessel in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet when it debuts in November 2020. In a first for the line, Mardi Gras will feature six themed "zones," including the French Quarter, Summer Landing, Grand Central and the Ultimate Playground. The name of the ship is a throwback to Carnival Cruise Line's first-ever ship, which retired in 1993.

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In another first for Carnival, Mardi Gras will differ from the rest of the fleet in its exterior look; it will sport a classic navy blue hull with red and white accent stripes.

French Quarter: This zone, styled after New Orelans' French Quarter, will be lined with new-to-Carnival bars, restaurants and music venues, including a jazz club offering live entertainment and handcrafted cocktails. Details of the new establishments, one of which involves a new celebrity partnership, will be released in spring 2019.

Summer Landing: An expanded Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse will be the highlight at Summer Landing, a backyard barbecue-style space that also will feature a pool and hot tubs, a new-to-Carnival bar, a Smokehouse Brewhouse lunch counter, and an abundance of lounging space.

Grand Central: Instead of Carnival's traditional atrium, Mardi Gras will have Grand Central, an entertainment complex with three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar with sweeping ocean views. It's also where passengers will find expanded versions of the line's popular eateries Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki. Additional Grand Central venues will include the Punchliner Comedy Club and a revamped Piano Bar 88.

La Piazza: In this Italy-inspired zone passengers can grab a bite at another Carnival favorite, Cucina del Capitano, as well as an all-new Mediterranean seafood restaurant. There also will be a bar selling specialty coffee (including cappuccinos) during the day and cocktails at night, while roaming musicians will provide entertainment.

Lido: The Lido zone will be familiar to anyone who has ever sailed with Carnival before, featuring venues like Guy's Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and the Seafood Shack, but it also will have several new-to-Carnival dining and bar concepts that will be unveiled at a later date.

Ultimate Playground: This zone will encompass the ship's top three decks with the largest water park in the fleet, along with an expanded SportSquare. This zone is also where dare devils can experience the first-ever roller coaster at sea: BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster. Bolt will offer nearly 800 feet of twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. (More timid riders need not worry, you'll be able to control the speed at which you go.) The track, located about 187 feet above sea level, will run around the perimeter of Carnival Mardi Gras' top deck and include a loop around the ship's funnel. The line plans to offer the attraction to cruisers for free, but said it might need to levy a surcharge if demand is too great.

More than 70 percent of the rooms onboard Mardi Gras will have either an ocean view or a balcony. In rooms with balconies, nearly all the balconies will have floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors.

Other room features will include: sofas that "flip" into a twin-sized bed, an abundance of outlets and USB ports, more storage space, clear glass doors on the mini-fridges, larger wardrobes with pull-out bins and folding shelves, and bathrooms with glass shower doors.

Mardi Gras will be the first ship in the Carnival fleet to feature a new suite category -- Excel -- that includes access to an exclusive enclaved called Loft 19. There will be 32 suites that fall within the Excel category including Carnival Excel Presidential Suites, Carnival Excel Aft Suites, Carnival Excel Corner Suites and Carnival Excel Suites.

Loft 19 will feature a full-service bar and a private pool surrounded by lounge chairs, as well as cabanas available for renting. The cabanas will be fully stocked with beverages, robes, chilled towels, fresh fruit and lunch delivery, among other perks.

Other Mardi Gras suite categories will include Ocean Suites, Havana Suites, Family Harbor Suites and Cloud 9 Spa Suites, similar to those found on other ships. None of these will include access to Loft 19.

Free

Big Chicken Restaurant: Created by Carnival's Chief Fun Officer and NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, Big Chicken Restaurant will make its at-sea debut on Carnival Radiance in April 2020, but will also be found on Mardi Gras when it launches. On Mardi Gras, the venue will be located on the Lido Deck, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with items Shaq himself developed -- in partnership with his mom.

Street Eats: An open-air eatery with three themed kiosks offering fried, steamed and plancha (skillet) options representing a variety of global cuisines. The grab-and-go venue will have a daily rotating menu of small-plate items, such as empanadas or falafel at the fried station; bao buns or shumai at the steam outlet; and kebabs or satay at the plancha kiosk.

Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina: No Carnival ship would be complete without a Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, and best of all, the Guy's Burger on Mardi Gras will be the largest in the fleet.

Extra Fee

Emeril's Bistro 1396: The first restaurant at sea to be created by Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Bistro 1396 will be located in the ship's French Quarter, as befits its Cajun cuisine. The 66-seat a la carte bistro will offer all-day dining starting with breakfast; think shrimp and grits or a shrimp Creole omelet. Lunch and dinner options will include muffuletta sandwiches, ceviche, poboys, roasted duck and Andouille sausage gumbo, jambalaya and Emeril's signature barbecue shrimp. Sides and desserts will also be available.

Seafood Shack: Open for lunch and dinner, this grab-and-go New England-inspired venue offers a variety of fried and steamed seafood options.

RedFrog Tiki Bar: Replacing the RedFrog Rum Bar that's found on other Carnival ships, this two-level South Pacific-themed bar offers rum-based cocktails in an island-inspired atmosphere that's decked out with tiki heads and vibrant colors. Drink options will include such rum-soaked choices at Polynesian Punch, Red's Rum Runner Jumper and Jungle Bird -- all presented in pineapples, souvenir tiki glasses or Mai Tai glasses.

The Watering Hole: Located within The Patio at Summer Landing, The Watering Hole offers a wide beer selection, including Carnival's owned canned and draft beers, as well as summer-inspired cocktails like the Watermelon Cooler and Tequila Sunset.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse: Carnival's third brewery at sea, this spot will offer an assortment of the line's ParchedPig craft beers brewed on site, along with free barbecue at lunch and an expanded extra-fee dinner menu. It will also feature a stage for live music.

Brass Magnolia Bar: Located in the French Quarter, this watering hole will feature decor inspired by New Orlean's Garden District and jazz culture, with brass instruments and a bold gold bar with lush greenery. As befits a French Quarter bar, Brass Magnolia Bar will feature live jazz and classic cocktails.

Fortune Teller Bar: Another French Quarter bar, the Fortune Teller evokes the magic of New Orleans' with hand-crafted cocktails served with a twist, whether it's a color changing drink or one that bubbles and shimmers. The cocktail menu will feature drinks with names like the Abracadabra, the Golden Galaxy and the all-black New Moon.

Sports Bar: Located in Summer Landing, this bar will feature both indoor and outdoor TV screens.

Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral (Orlando) at a brand-new cruise terminal.

Carnival Mardi Gras will also be the cruise line's first ship to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a form of fuel that produces almost zero emissions.


Top Carnival Mardi Gras Itineraries

Carnival Mardi Gras
8 day exotic eastern caribbean

Port Canaveral (Orlando), Grand Turk, Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), San Juan, St. Thomas, Port Canaveral (Orlando)

8 Day Exotic Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Mardi Gras

View All Carnival Mardi Gras Itineraries (5)
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Carnival Mardi Gras Ratings

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Where does Carnival Mardi Gras sail from?

Carnival Mardi Gras departs from Port Canaveral, Manhattan, Copenhagen, Dover and Dover

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Cruises on Carnival Mardi Gras start from £491 per person.

Awards and Recognition

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