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Mardi Gras Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 3
Helpful Votes: 37

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5
Mardi Gras

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 25, 2021

Ship: Mardi Gras

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 months ago

Review summary

Carnival is doing the best they can with what they have to work with. A little patience and flexibility is needed to fully enjoy your cruise. People who lack those traits will find more to complain about than I did. That said, there was a happy vibe all through this cruise. All the passengers were friendly, engaging, and having fun. It was so nice to be on vacation again!

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Took awhile to get through the line because of the health screening but the flow was organized well.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
First the bad: Ship was at 70% capacity. So was the staff and open food stations. Lido lunches had fewer choices than pre-COVID. Random beverage stations closed after dark. No Sea Day Teas. The Cucina and Chi Bang did not offer lunch on port days. Food shortages altered the menu (no bacon some days; leftover brisket from MDR winding up in next day's steamed dumplings, etc.). Now the great: Street Eats, Cucina Capitan and Chi Bang were all terrific! Nona's Meatball had the most amazing authentic sauce. My favorite meal turned out to be Monday lunch buffet on Lido: Roast pumpkin soup, black bean enchiladas and sesame dumplings. I'm not vegetarian but these items are OUTSTANDING. Sea day Brunch was also good with fresh croissants. MDR meals were adequate. Everything was cooked properly and tasty.

Street Eats

5 out of 5

Amazing. The seafood pad thai and sesame dumplings were excellent.

JavaBlue Cafe

5 out of 5

Just like Starbucks but cheaper! Get the coffee card- buy 6 and get one free.

Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse

5 out of 5

Worth the upcharge. The service and pacing of the meal were outstanding. Try the lava salt for the filet.

Cucina del Capitano

5 out of 5

Best overall dining on the ship. Pasta for lunch was generous and tasty.

Chibang!

5 out of 5

Excellent. My only complaint is the chicken in the spring rolls. I prefer veggie spring rolls.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Bolt is special. Short ride but they send you through twice and take lots of pics. Play deck has foosball, hoops, 9 hole mini golf, Bolt, and 3 water slides, but no shuffleboard or ping pong. Fitness center is huge. 5 hot tubs were adequate but would fill up fast on a full-capacity cruise. Something weird: Serenity pool/tubs closed at 9pm. Rear Lido pool/tubs open till midnight. But the nearest beverage station to rear pool closed early. So kids were running down to deck 8 in wet bathing suits to get drinks, where the bars are. This wasn't thought out well at all.

Atrium

4 out of 5

Roomy and liked having the coffee bar nearby. Surprising that it is only 3 stories.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Mid stage shows were good, not special. I did the comedy club mostly. Lots of show times and 6 different comedians, but this is a small club for such a big ship. SRO on sea day nights.

Children's Programs

No children in my party

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Here is where Carnival got it right. The staff were all truly happy to be back on the ship.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Layout is great once you get used to Serenity at the front! Generally food is at one end, shows at the other. If you have a mid cabin you do far less walking than it would appear. Deck 7 forces passing through the smoky casino, so just go up one or down to get where you are going if smoke is a problem. The decor throughout the ship is best described as bland. Muted earth tones everywhere gave it the look of a large shopping mall. Lido dining rooms had blaring music 24/7. This bothers me very much as an avid reader. There are no quiet indoor areas and no library. So people were sitting in Lido reading or playing cards. With the loud music of course! So can't Carnival cut off the speakers in just one area???

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Cabin was spotless, comfy bed and good size balcony.

Ship tip

Cabin light switches require inserting your sail & sign card to operate. We defeated this by inserting an insurance card. Any card will do. Also, find an ironing room (there is one on deck 15). It has a large utility sink with paper towels. Great place to wash sand out of the water shoes and goggles!

Ports of call

Port Canaveral, Florida

5 out of 5
It's new so it is easy to get through.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

3 out of 5
Don't expect shopping at this port. Area is still recovering from hurricane damage. I took an excursion to Isla Verde. The beach area is small but nice with some shade.

Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), Dominican Republic

5 out of 5
I just hung out in the pool at the port. There is a coffee shop. Food is very expensive but easy to walk back on ship for lunch then go back to the port.

Nassau, Bahamas

3 out of 5
The port is under construction. No signs posted so you really have to plan in advance where to go unless you have an excursion. There are cabs to Atlantis and Cabbage beach but be careful which one you pick and bring cash. No easy access to ATMs, most vendors don't take credit cards, and the area is crowded and confusing when 3 ships are debarking.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
As expected.
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