Life is a rollercoaster of fun on board Mardi Gras

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest flagship Mardi Gras has been creating quite a buzz among American cruise fans. So when Carnival announced the ship would sail a nine-day maiden voyage from Copenhagen to Southampton before departing on a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing to New York, we decided to have a look at why European cruisers should join the excitement and get ready for the biggest Carnival at sea.


Carnival has designed their new  flagship, Mardi Gras, to allow guests to stroll throughout the ship and enjoy new and exclusive features along with signature elements found on other Carnival ships. Six areas, throughout the ship’s 20 decks, will be themed around Grand Central, French Quarter, La Piazza, Summer Landing, Lido and The Ultimate Playground.

Grand Central (Decks 6-8, mid-ship): Creating a sense of wonder the moment guests step on board, the transformative Grand Central will take the traditional atrium concept to new heights and combines a day-to-night entertainment complex with spectacular three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows. A bar overlooking the starboard side of the ship will be the perfect venue for socializing and people watching amid sweeping ocean vistas. Steps away will be Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki which are being expanded from designs on existing ships to reflect their popularity with guests.  There’s will also be the first-ever dedicated Punchliner Comedy Club where guests can enjoy nightly shows, and the always popular Piano Bar 88 for sing-a-longs that bring guests together in an intimate feel-good setting.

French Quarter (Deck 6, aft): In a nod to the New Orleans’ culture that combines lively entertainment with an unparalleled food scene, French Quarter will be lined with new bars, music and eateries that perfectly capture the festive spirit of the Big Easy. And since the spirit of New Orleans is so closely tied to the jazz scene, this neighborhood will be linked via a two-deck-high promenade leading to a traditional New Orleans jazz club with live entertainment and refreshing hand-crafted drinks.

La Piazza (Deck 8, mid-ship): At La Piazza, guests will be transported to Italy where they celebrate the rich heritage of Carnival’s senior officers with authentic cuisine from the casual family-style Cucina del Capitano and 24/7 Pizzeria del Capitano to a new Mediterranean-themed seafood restaurant. There will also be a bar where guests can savor cappuccino by day or classic Italian cocktails at night, while roaming musicians keep everyone entertained.

Summer Landing (Deck 8, aft): Designed as the ultimate chill spot, Summer Landing will be home to an expanded Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse with smoked-on-board barbecue favorites created by longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri, along with the line’s exclusive ParchedPig craft beers brewed right on board.  For outdoor summer-inspired fun, there will be a pool and whirlpools, a new bar, the lunch counter for the Smokehouse Brewhouse along with ample lounging spaces and hang outs, making this the ideal spot to enjoy all the fun that a Carnival vacation experience delivers.

Lido (Deck 16-17, aft): Carnival is already known for its varied casual poolside restaurants and Mardi Gras’ expanded Lido will take this to a whole new level with existing Carnival favorites like Guy’s Burger Joint, the New England-inspired Seafood Shack and BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, along with some new concepts.

The Ultimate Playground (Decks 18-20, aft): The aptly named Ultimate Playground will span Decks 18-20 and offer guests amazing sea vistas as they soak up the sun and the fun in this spacious family-friendly play area highlighted by the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park in the fleet, along with an expanded SportSquare. The Ultimate Playground is also where guests will find the much-anticipated BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first rollercoaster at sea.

BOLT is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along an 800-foot-long track 187 feet above sea level, enabling guests to enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the sea. BOLT begins with an action-packed launch where riders can achieve race car-like levels of acceleration – of up to 40 miles per hour – and culminates with a high-powered hair-pin turn around Carnival’s iconic funnel.  Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and just like land-based roller coasters, guests have their photo taken during the ride for a memorable keepsake.


Carnival decided to name its new XL-class ship Mardi Gras in a nod to the cruise line’s rich history as America’s Cruise Line, bringing back to the fleet the name of the first Carnival Cruise Line ship that entered service in 1972 and started the wave of cruise vacation popularity in the United States.

The original 27,000-ton TSS Mardi Gras, a converted trans-Atlantic ocean liner  purchased by entrepreneur and Carnival founder Ted Arison, ushered in the modern-day cruise industry when it set sail on its inaugural voyage in 1972, helping to transform cruising from an experience once reserved for the elite into a mainstream vacation accessible and affordable to everyone.

Currently under construction at Meyer Turku in Finland, the 5,200-plus lower berth vessel will weigh 180,000 tons, making the new Mardi Gras more than six times the size of its namesake. The ship will offer a variety of never-before-seen innovations and attractions. Mardi Gras will also be the largest Carnival Cruise Line ship ever constructed and the first in North America to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Mardi Gras will set sail in 2020 offering an exciting inaugural schedule offering guests a myriad of opportunities to experience and explore stunning and historic destinations in Europe and North America before sailing the Caribbean.

Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral, Fla., which will feature a new state-of-the-art terminal. A second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s founding.

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