The last time I cruised on a Carnival ship I was a 25-year-old newlywed. Over the years, I've always assumed tourists who liked a good party are the target audience for this cruise line. When the opportunity to sail on the new ship Mardi Gras was offered, I decided to see if my assumptions were correct. I am happy to say that I was wrong!
First off, the ship was stunning, and the layout is completely different from most large ocean vessels. With several “nooks and crannies” to tuck away in, you’re never without somewhere to enjoy a meal or quiet moment. Mardi Gras does not have the standard track around deck 6, nor does it have a large dining room dominating the main entry space. Instead, there is a multi-floor wall of windows that converts to an incredible screen backdrop for the evening entertainment programs. Another great surprise was the wide variety of restaurants that were included in the cost of the cruise. I was shocked to see how many options we had to choose from outside of our main dining assignment. This really spread passengers out across the ship, so we never felt crowded. We tried Emeril’s Bistro ($5 for sweet potato waffles that were delightful!) as well as the Seafood Shack and both restaurants were very high quality and worth the price.
While we experienced a few hiccups here and there, it was to be expected on the ship’s second sailing. Overall, the staff was incredibly attentive. Carnival did a great job of managing the “bubble groups” going on and off the ship for COVID and we felt very at ease thanks to the safety measures implemented on the ship.
One thing to make note of for you and your clients is that the Hub App is used for just about everything. Hub is a very user-friendly app but lacked some critical information about shore excursions. Information about disembarking in ports was not detailed in the app likely because things have been changing so quickly in ports. Hopefully, as things normalize this will be easier for them to communicate.
Unique to Carnival Mardi Gras is BOLT - the roller coaster. I wrote a full review of BOLT on my business page but here are the basics: You pay $15 per person to ride the motorcycle-style cart and it can go as fast or slow as you choose. I do not recommend this for anyone with any type of physical difficulty or propensity for motion sickness. For roller coaster enthusiasts though, it was a great ride, and I loved being able to control my speed!
During the cruise, we made a point to book VIP experiences for our excursions, and in the LOFT 19 space, neither disappointed. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mardi Gras for mid-budget cruisers who are looking for a way to spoil themselves with upgraded experiences. With the lower price-point of the sailing, a fully upgraded cruise on Mardi Gras would satisfy many of my pickiest clients!