We disembarked Mardi Gras on Saturday after a B2B – cruise number 45 for us the way we count them (we count B2B’s as a single cruise). The cruise can be summarized in one word: Wow! This is not your father’s (or grandfather’s) Carnival – it’s way better! We liked it so much that we are returning in December for another B2B!
Embarkation was easy, even with the additional vaccination and testing requirements now in effect. We retired to Florida three years ago; the port is only about a 2.5 hour drive from our condo. There is a bridge from level 3 of the parking garage to the embarkation level of the terminal – no wrestling luggage on and off elevators! Our docs were checked, and we were on the ship within 30 minutes of parking. Note that Carnival is not allowing “cheating” on your stated arrival time. If you arrive early they will make you wait outside the terminal until the time stated on your boarding pass.
The ship looks great as a new ship should. Not much in the way of art in the public areas, but a clean, modern look that handles the crowds well. My favorite feature was Grand Central, a large, three deck high space with a stage that replaces the traditional atrium. The stage backdrops can be stowed in the floor and ceiling to expose a three-deck high wall of windows looking out to the sea. Everything is highly automated; projectors can change the look of the stage in an instant. Very professional.