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Trip Report: First day on the Carnival ‘Mardi Gras’

Carnival Cruise Line invited us to sail on their newest ship, the “Mardi Gras”. It’s a seven day sailing and the first ship to sail out of Port Canaveral since the pandemic stopped all cruising in 2020. Here’s how our first day, July 31, 2021, on the Carnival ‘Mardi Gras’ went.
Top photo by @Bioreconstruct on Twitter.

Carnival Mardi Gras
Port Canaveral as we head to the First day on the Carnival 'Mardi Gras'

We had a pretty easy check-in. We showed our vaccination cards and our paperwork. They took our photo and we were off. We did have a little incident where security pushed our luggage through the scanner which pushed our computer onto the ground. It’s a brand new terminal and we were one of the first guests through it, so I’m sure this was just one of many things they need to address. Luckily, the computer was fine. It scared me because it was our work computer. But they were nice about it and the security gave us a contact number in case it starts acting up. They took full responsibility. We went through another little check in where they took our photo again. Then we were free to board the ship. The crew welcomed everyone onboard by cheering and clapping. It was great to see all the happy crew members back to sailing again.

We walked up to our room and our keys were on the outside of our room. We also met our room steward. We loved seeing the much-missed towel animals (an elephant). We unpacked the luggage we carried on and then headed out to explore the newest Fun Ship. 

Carnival mardi gras cruise ship size comparison with the original ship.

We noticed this mural which shows the size comparison between the original “Carnival Mardi Gras” cruise ship, which launched in 1972, and the new “Mardi Gras”. What a huge difference! My mom sailed on the original the year it was launched. I wish we could find her photos. You can buy a replica of the coin in the gift shop, and there’s a panel on the side which gives some history of the ship, which no longer exists. It also has a QR code you can scan to read more. (BTW: All the menus on the ship are accessed via QR code.)

Guy's burger and fries plus a tiki mug on the Carnival mardi gras cruise ship.

The new Mardi Gras is massive! There’s so many bar and restaurants options to choose from. We settled on some burgers from Guy’s Burger Joint for lunch and they were delicious! While we were seated, a waiter from the new Red Frog Tiki Bar came by selling drinks in Carnival’s first tiki mug, so we had to get one.

I made spa reservations for some treatments during the cruise. After that, my husband road the Bolt roller coaster (the first at sea). But I couldn’t ride, as I didn’t pack closed-toe shoes.  (Tip: Pack closed-toe shoes for the roller coaster.)

Key lime pie at rudi's seagrill on Carnival mardi gras cruise ship

After a nice afternoon nap, we got ready for cocktails and dinner at Rudi’s SeaGrill! It took a couple of hours for our large media group, but the meal was delicious. You’ll love it if you are a seafood lover. The atmosphere is a bit like being on the inside of a clam shell, and the entrees are artfully prepared. My favorite was the Key Lime pie that came looking like a happy face. It was in keeping with the fun theme of the cruise line. We called it an early night after our long, delicious meal. 

Balcony room on the Carnival mardi gras cruise ship.

Our 15th floor balcony cabin is very spacious with lots of storage space. The shower door is a big improvement over curtains. I’m not a fan of the sheets on the bed. They are a little scratchy. But it could just be because they’re brand new. The mattress is very firm. It might be a bit too firm for some. But overall the cabin is nice with calming ocean blue hues. Our balcony was particularly nice because has a large overhang that provides great shade throughout the day. If you like that, book the 15th floor.

Click here for day 2 of our cruise. Post your questions and positive comments below.

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