This article is Mardi Gras Hits and Misses. It is a review of my experiencing cruising on Carnival Mardi Gras on a six-night sailing to the Caribbean.
Mardi Gras was the name of Carnival’s first cruise ship. The ship originally sailed in 1972 and was very small compared to the modern cruise ship. It was via that ship that Carnival became known as the Fun Ships. Since that time Carnival began naming their ships with the word Carnival preceding the ship name. In an look back to the history, in 2020, Mardi Gras was reborn as a modern cruise ship. They choose to use the original Fun Ship name for the ship.
Mardi Gras has plenty of memorabilia pointing back to the original ship including this plaque.
It was fun seeing some of the historical photos and elements used around the ship.
I originally booked in an inside room via a discounted travel agent offer but about a day before departure accepted an upgrade offer for a couple hundred dollars into an Extended Balcony Cabin.
If I booked the balcony cabin directly it would cost between $2,900 – $3,500 for a room for two-people.
My reservation including $200 in onboard credit. I used the onboard credit towards Cheers, which is Carnival’s beverage package as well as Premium Internet. After the credit those items cost $375 including the beverage gratuities.
I used miles and points to cover airfare and a hotel room for the night before the sailing from Port Canaveral.
I recently wrote about my experience on a weekend sailing on Carnival Conquest. Check out that article to see how Mardi Gras compares.
Want to know what to pack for the cruise? Check out my cruise packing guide.
Mardi Gras Six-Night Sailing
This sailing on Mardi Gras was for six-nights visiting Nassau, Amber Cover and Grand Turk with two fun days at sea.
The sailing took place in September, 2023.
Mardi Gras offers alternating six, seven and eight day sailings to the Caribbean from Port Canaveral about 45 minutes from Orlando.
Hits and Misses
I had a great time on my cruise on Mardi Gras and enjoyed the Carnival Fun Ship!
Below are some of the things that I loved as well as a couple things that have room for improvement. Below are Mardi Gras Hits and Misses.
Hit: Comfortable Extended Balcony Room
As I mentioned above, about a day before departure I upgraded from an inside room to an extended balcony cabin.
I was assigned room 10334 which was a comfortable room with a large balcony.
The room featured a king size bed.
In addition, the room offered a large sitting area as well as a balcony that was extended on an area of the ship that curved out to provide for good ocean views.
I loved spending time on the balcony to take in views of sunrise and sunset depending on the direction that the ship was moving.
This is a walkthrough video of the room.
The room offered plenty of power outlets; however, you might want to bring a power strip to have outlets close to the bed. Here is one I found on Amazon.
By the bed you will find a USB input at the lamp on each side of the bed.
Miss: Small Bathroom and Shower
While I loved the comfortable room, the bathroom on the other hand was small. In addition, the shower was a bit crowded.
As you can see there is not much room to move around or use the toilet.
Hit: Fun Bars and Cool Spaces
I loved all the great bars and cool spaces on Mardi Gras. There is something for everyone.
My favorite bar on Mardi Gras was Alchemy Bar. The Alchemy Bar is found on most Carnival ships and it offers great craft cocktails.
The mixologists on Mardi Gras did not disappoint with some great offerings at this bar.
I also enjoyed the New Orleans bar on the ship with the cool designs. The bartenders there were helpful in picking drinks and they provided good service.
In addition to those bars, you can also get some cool Instagram-able drinks at the Fortunes Bar.
Hit: Excellent Dining in the Complimentary Restaurants
On Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, guests get one free visit to the Asian and Mexican Themed Cha Bing and one free visit to the Italian restaurant Cucina Del Capitano. This is a nice touch as other ships you have to pay between $15-$30 for meals in those venues.
In addition, if you want to return to either restaurant it is only $8 per-person.
Carnival recently updated the menu in the main dining room and I loved trying the new specials from Emeril. They were full of flavor and really enjoyable. The new menus were a hit in my book.
I was pleasantly surprised with all the great meals I had in the main dining restaurants. With so much push to dine at specialty restaurants with lower quality main dining becoming the norm, it was a nice experience finding excellent food in the complimentary dining rooms!
Main Dining Room Dinners
In the main dining room, I had three excellent meals.
The first night I had salmon for the entree which was served with a crispy onion ring as well as a great pasta starter and tomato soap appetizer!
The second night, I also had Salmon, but this time choose the Emeril special one which excellent spicy along with a firecracker tuna appetizer and Carnival’s famous chocolate melting cake for dessert.
The third meal I enjoyed in the main dining room was Lobster night with a great lobster tail, shrimp cocktail and salad.
It was honestly impressive that Carnival still serves lobster tail in main dining. In addition, you could even get a second lobster tail for no additional cost. If you wanted a third one there was a nominal charge significantly less than on other cruise lines.
Cucina Del Capitano
I enjoyed the Italian dinner at Cucina Del Capitano so I returned for an additional dinner at the end of the cruise. The additional dinner in the restaurant was only $8.
The first night at Capitano I enjoyed Carnival’s feature of the Pistachio pasta which was rich and creamy and had a great flavor. I enjoyed the pasta with excellent salad and a super tasty meatball.
For the second dinner at the restaurant, I tried the chicken parmesan. The chicken parmesan was very large and it went well with a farro side as well as arancini.
These dinners were all excellent and I was pleasantly surprised.
Guy’s Burgers and Shaq’s Big Chicken
Carnival serves some awesome burgers from Guy Fieri at Guy’s Burgers. I had a couple burgers during the week and really enjoyed them.
I enjoyed grabbing breakfast at Shaq’s Big Chicken for some excellent chicken and biscuits.
Overall the food on Mardi Gras was excellent!
Hit: Awesome Solo Singers and Other Entertainment
I loved listening to live music in the various venues on Mardi Gras.
You could find live music throughout the ship with multiple sets each night by each musician.
One of the nights, I spent some time listening to a great singer at Guy’s Pig and Anchor where you can have a great BBQ dinner. I was stuffed, so I just listed to the music, which was by a talented singer.
I also enjoyed the comedy shows and piano bar on Mardi Gras. There was always some great entertainment option onboard!
Miss: Silent Disco Party
I am a big fan of silent disco. It is hilarious seeing everyone sing along to the music on their headphones. I normally keep one ear on and one ear off so I can hear everyone singing.
I was excited to see that Carnival has Silent Disco on Mardi Gras but I ended up being a little let down by the experience overall.
From the event taking place in a small venue which created a very long line at the beginning as well as the end to return the headphones was the first disappointment.
The second one was the fact that only two channels were being utilized while normally it is three. There were two live DJ’s spinning the tunes and there was an oldies channel and a very modern rap and R&B channel. They were both good, but in a perfect world there would have been a third channel with perhaps a mix of pop, rock, rap and R&B that may appeal to wider audience.
Nonetheless, I still had a great time singing and dancing along to the music. Here are a couple videos of the experience:
Hit: Fun Port Days
This cruise on Mardi Gras offered three ports including Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.
It was a fun day in Nassau with only three ships in port.
I enjoyed checking out the new port facilities which opened within the past few months.
Plus with the timing of the Nassau departure was in time for some great golden hours views.
Amber Cove is located near Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. I took a Carnival Shore Excursion that had a cost of about $65.
The shore excursion went to a small beach house were I enjoyed time in the sun.
The excursion included drinks as well as lunch at the beach house. The food and drinks were okay but nothing too exciting.
The beach and the views were amazing though!
My favorite port from the trip was Grand Turk.
There is an awesome beach right next to the ship.
Plus Margaritaville is in the port area with a great party pool and fun environment.
It’s 5-O-Clock somewhere and there is always a good party at Margaritaville.
Between spending time in the pool at Margaritaville and time in the ocean it sure was a great day in Grand Turk.
Port days are fun days!
Often Shore Excursion Group offers the same tours as the cruise does but without the markup. They also tend to be smaller group.
Please consider using my links to book your excursions. I appreciate your support of John the Wanderer.
Carnival Mardi Gras Hits and Misses
I had a good time on my Mardi Gras sailing with Carnival. The above Mardi Gras Hits and Misses were the things I experienced on the cruise.
Hopefully I will get to check out the sister ships to Mardi Gras in the future including Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee.
Have you sailed on Mardi Gras? How did your experience compare to mine?