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Carnival Mardi Gras Review

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By Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

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 August 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.

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.

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Highlights

  • Six themed zones each with its own unique atmosphere and attractions
  • First roller coaster at sea

Zones

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.

Itineraries

Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral (Orlando) at a brand-new cruise terminal, but it will debut first in Europe where it will sail one nine-night Baltic Sea cruise and one 14-night transatlantic cruise with stops in the Canary Islands and Portugal. It's U.S. debut will be in New York City, from which it will sail a six-night Canada and New England cruise roundtrip from New York, before repositioning to its permanent homeport of Port Canaveral.

A Green Ship

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.

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