Carnival Mardi Gras: Everything We Know So Far
Posted on January 30, 2019
Updated on October 5, 2020
The Mardi Gras is Carnival’s Biggest Ship Yet
Cruise ships are consistently outdoing each other in terms of size, value, and entertainment. So, the day the Carnival Mardi Gras was announced as their first XL-class ship, it’s no surprise waves were made (pun intended).
How was the Mardi Gras Announced?
When it came to revealing the name of their largest ship to date, Carnival did not disappoint. They chose to debut the Mardi Gras on Wheel of Fortune’s iconic puzzle board in conjunction with a cruise giveaway. To some, this ship name may induce déjà vu, but there’s a reason it sounds so familiar. In fact, this vessel is an ode to Carnival’s first ship, the TSS Mardi Gras, that launched in 1972 and set the tone for laid-back cruise vacations indefinitely.
What Will the Mardi Gras feature?
With the exception of her name, there’s nothing old about the Carnival Mardi Gras. She’s teeming with innovation and unique features that cruisers have yet to witness. Carnival’s brand ambassador John Heald describes the ship as having “many jaw-dropping areas and things.” He wasn’t kidding. The Mardi Gras will include six unique themed zones and 20 captivating decks. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe 20 different categories of staterooms will. Guests will be able to customize their vacation experience with elegant and spacious suites.
What sets the Mardi Gras apart from Carnival’s older ships is her open layout. The Grand Central zone is located right in the heart of the ship. It will include decks six through eight and offer plenty of spots to socialize and relax. The atrium’s floor-to-ceiling windows will span three entire decks to take advantage of the sea views. It will serve as a day-to-night entertainment complex, complete with a bar overlooking the starboard side of the ship.
If drinks aren’t your thing, fuel up on Asian cuisine at the expanded versions of Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki nearby. Need other ways to pass the time? Grand Central will also be the home of the beloved Piano Bar 88, as seen on Carnival’s Sunshine ship, and the Punchliner Comedy Club that also offers family-friendly shows.
With a name like Mardi Gras, it’s only fair to pay homage to New Orleans once again with a French Quarter zone. Deck 6 will be exploding with this city’s spirit, equipped with eateries and bars that capture its essence.
Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse will also have his chance to shine with his first ship-bound restaurant: Emeril’s Bistro 1396. You can expect a menu brimming with cajun fare and favorites from Emeril’s preexisting New Orleans joints.
As for the jazz scene, expect a double deck promenade paving the way to a “Big Easy” style jazz club in the ship’s aft. Hand-crafted drinks and live entertainment will bring the culture to life.
The middle of Deck 8 honors Carnival’s senior officers’ Italian heritage with an array of dining options. Some highlights of this La Piazza zone include a 24-hour pizzeria, an Italian coffee and cocktail bar, and wandering musicians setting the tone. Tired of the buffet? Enjoy a meal with family at Cucina del Capitano, Carnival’s new Mediterranean seafood restaurant.
The Mardi Gras’s Summer Landing Zone is all about the summertime barbecue and brews. Take a trip to “Flavortown” on the aft of Deck 8 when you dine at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse. It’s bigger than the version on Carnival’s Horizon and has a lunch bar option. The bar even offers a section of Parched Pig craft beers developed by Carnival’s own expert brewmaster — brewed right on the ship!
These same beers and unique craft cocktails can be enjoyed at The Watering Hole located at The Patio in this zone. Modeled after a sophisticated backyard bar, it’s an ideal place to grab a drink and gaze at the surrounding sea views. There will be more than enough places to lounge on this side of the ship, as well as a pool and whirlpools to capture the tranquility of summer year-round.
Poolside restaurants adorn the Mardi Gras’s Lido zone on decks 16 and 17. Here you’ll find casual foodie favorites like Guy’s Burger Joint, Seafood Shack, and Blue Iguana Cantina.
Craving rum-based cocktails and in a tropical atmosphere? The RedFrog Tiki Bar is situated just a short stroll away from Guy’s Burger joint. This island-inspired escape offers elaborate fruity drinks with a presentation worth mentioning. Drinks are served in pineapples and souvenir tiki glasses to keep the Polynesian theme alive.
Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer and NBA baller, Shaquille O’Neal will also bring his family’s cooking to the Mardi Gras with the first Big Chicken restaurant at sea. Its land location has already gained favor among foodies in Las Vegas. Big Chicken will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner from rotating daily menus — and the best part is it’s included!
Speaking of inclusive, Street Eats can be found right next to the Seafood Shack. Here you’ll find 3 kiosks serving fried, steamed, and grilled delights. Pulling inspiration from food trucks and streetside food stands, this grab-and-go eatery will represent multiple global cuisines with new options served each day.
Above all these eateries, Carnival takes fun to a whole new level—literally! Decks 18 to 20 are home to the Mardi Gras’s Ultimate Playground.
What makes it so grand? For starters, picture an 800-foot-long roller coaster circling the deck. The Mardi Gras’s coaster, called “BOLT”, will be the first of its kind. With a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour, this ride will actually allow its passengers to control how fast they go while taking in the ocean views from every angle. So, even if you aren’t much of a thrill seeker, you can enjoy “BOLT” at your own pace.
Add sea vistas, Carnival’s largest WaterWorks aqua park yet, and an expanded SportSquare into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a good time.
What kind of entertainment can be expected on the Mardi Gras?
Carnival enthusiasts are happy to know that Mike Pack will be responsible for leading the fun onboard. His energy and British charm gained him popularity on the Breeze and Horizon — winning cruisers over and making him a top cruise director in the industry. Pack is devoted to creating memorable experiences for guests sailing on Carnival’s newest mega ship.
Another feature that elevates the Mardi Gras is her exclusive debut of Family Feud Live. With the same format and set as the beloved show, this is the closest anyone can get to participating in the TV version. Carnival will hold four unique games a week, giving cruisers of all ages multiple opportunities to experience the excitement. Cruise director Mike Pack will be hosting the competition, so guests can expect a good time from whether you’re on stage or in the audience!
What Makes the Mardi Gras Better for the Environment?
The Mardi Gras’s environmentally-conscious practices make her special. Carnival claims she is “the greenest ship in North America” thanks to her ability to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). This cleaner-burning power source emits fewer greenhouse gases than “bunker fuel” typically used by cruise lines. Not only is LNG better for the environment, but it’s also more flexible and transportable—likely to be the future of fuel for all new ships. Port Canaveral has already built an LNG distribution plant in recent years with this is mind. The nearby space industry will also have access to it.
How Big are XL-Class Ships?
The Mardi Gras underwent her construction at Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard in and will begin sailing from Port Canaveral in February 2021. A traditional keel-laying ceremony took place in June 2019 to formally recognize the ship’s construction and to bring about good luck.
This 180,000-ton floating resort will be 45,000 tons bigger than Carnival’s current largest ship, the Horizon, and six times bigger than her namesake. At 1,130 feet long, she will be able to contain 6,500 passengers and will require 2,000 crew members.
Port Canaveral has been preparing for the arrival of the Mardi Gras as Terminal 3 is rebuilt to fit Carnival’s future XL-class ships. In March 2019, Canaveral Port Authority and Carnival Cruise Line officially broke ground for construction of this complex nicknamed the “Launch Pad” during a space-themed ceremony. At a whopping $163 million, this is the Port’s biggest project yet! Another ship is said to be ready by 2022 in celebration of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th anniversary, fittingly called the Carnival Celebration. These XL-class ships are so enormous that they’re going to have “dueling entertainment venues with two separate performance casts”, according to travel blogger Sal Pitera.
More Carnival Mardi Gras Information to Come
Carnival Mardi Gras cruises are currently on sale here. More details about the ship will be revealed this year. To be one of the first people to hear these updates, like Go Port on Facebook for news regarding this impressive new ship. Feel free to bookmark this page to check for new updates as they are announced!
Carnival Mardi Gras Fact Sheet
|Location Built:||Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland|
|Sailing From:||Port Canaveral|
|First Sailing Date:||2021|
|Fuel Type:||Liquefied Natural Gas|
|First Cruise to have:||Roller Coaster “BOLT”|
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