Carnival Cruise Line made two exciting announcements this week, the first was that its new ship Carnival Mardi Gras would feature six themed zones, as well as a spate of other new details, while the second was that the cruise line would be adding more San Francisco cruises in 2020.
Carnival Mardi Gras is due in 2020, and will homeport in Port Canaveral. She’ll cruise the Caribbean, but detailed itineraries won’t be released until January 30th, when bookings for her inaugural season will also open.
In the meantime, Carnival are keeping our interest piqued with new details about the ship, such as the fact that she’ll have six separate ‘zones’, in a similar concept to Royal Caribbean’s seven ‘neighbourhoods’ aboard the Oasis-class mega ships.
The six zones will be located across all 20 passenger decks of the 183,900-gross ton, 5,200-passenger ship. Each will serve a different purpose, from the French Quarter of New Orleans to a backyard barbecue, to Grand Central – Mardi Gras’s take on the traditional central atrium.
In the French Quarter, there’ll be a plethora of bars, restaurants and music venues, many of them new-to-the-line, including a jazz club offering live entertainment and handcrafted cocktails.
Carnival says further details on these new bars and eateries, one of which involves a new celebrity partnership, will be announced later in the year.
Summer Landing will be a barbecue-style space that will feature a pool and hot tubs, a new bar, a Smokehouse Brewhouse lunch counter, and an abundance of lounging space. The hugely popular Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse will be a main attraction here.
Grand Central will be Mardi Gras main entertainment complex with three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar with sweeping ocean views.
It eschews the traditional atrium concept by turning what is usually a thoroughfare into a destination of its own, with expanded versions of the popular restaurants Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki, as well as the Punchliner Comedy Club and Piano Bar 88.
The La Piazza zone will be an ode to Italy with roaming musicians, and a bar selling specialty coffee (including cappuccinos) during the day and cocktails at night. It will also be home to another Carnival favourite, Cucina del Capitano, as well as an all-new Mediterranean seafood restaurant.
Carnival Mardi Gras pool deck, or Lido zone, will be largely similar to those aboard the Vista-class, except that up here there’ll be a rollercoaster zooming around the funnel and over the waterpark, while there will also be a range of new dining and bar concepts that will be unveiled at a later date.
For Carnival Cruise Line traditionalists, you’ll be pleased to know that the staple Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and the Seafood Shack, will remain prominent venues on the Lido.
The sixth zone, the Ultimate Playground, will be spread across the top three decks of the ship and will be home to the largest water park in the fleet, along with an expanded SportSquare, and the world’s first rollercoaster at sea (BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster).
These new details come on top of those we already know about this highly-anticipated new ship, including the fact that she will have 20 different cabin categories and multiple levels of suites, as well as the most generous outdoor spaces of any Carnival ship before her, with wide promenades and waterfront cafes and bars.
Carnival staples will include the Alchemy Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and the adults-only Serenity deck. The line added, though, that these much-loved spots will come with new twists.
Carnival Mardi Gras will also be the first cruise ship in the United States to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), an environmentally-friendly fuel that produces nearly zero emissions, but she won’t be alone for long. Carnival have exercised their option for a second ship to join her, which will be delivered in 2022.
The same week that Carnival Cruise Line released these new details about Mardi Gras, it also announced that it would be expanding its San Francisco cruise season in 2020 aboard Carnival Miracle.
The cruise line has added five new voyages to the mix, based on market demand, bringing Miracle’s total schedule to 27 cruises, with four-day long weekend sailings to Ensenada, Mexico, 10-day cruises to Alaska and 15- and 16-day voyages to Hawaii from March to September 2020.
Other Carnival moves on the West Coast include the new Carnival Panorama, sailing from Long Beach in December 2019 and new cruise programs from San Diego beginning in December, 2019 and San Francisco in 2020.
“After seeing the incredible reaction to Carnival Miracle’s initial San Francisco sailings announcement last month, we knew we had to continue to Choose Fun and bring even more options to the West Coast,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line. “And what better time to announce this amazing news than while the Carnival AirShip is flying over the city.”