Guests lucky enough to enjoy the yet-released Carnival Mardi Gras can look forward to some new food and beverage options, some of them not found on any other Carnival ship. We've been excitedly watching as more information comes out about this new build, and these announcements have us all the more eager to try out what seems to be a totally new concept from Carnival. Be sure to check out Billy's Take and the video near the bottom.
Mardi Gras is going to be a large vessel, so to keep things simple, they're dividing the ship up into distinct zones - something you can read more about here.
Food and Beverage Concepts in Lido and Summer Landing Zones on Carnival Mardi Gras
Street Eats – This open-air eatery will bring the ready-to-eat nature of street food to the seas with three themed kiosks offering fried, steamed and plancha (skillet) delicacies. Representing a variety of global cuisines and located next to Seafood Shack, the quick, grab-and-go venue will offer a daily rotating menu. Small plates like empanadas or falafel will be available at the fried station; bao buns or siu mai at the steam outlet; and kebabs or satay at the plancha venue. And the best part – Street Eats’ ever-changing options are free of charge.
RedFrog Tiki Bar – Designed to transport guests to a South Pacific paradise, the new two-level RedFrog Tiki Bar is a twist on Carnival’s popular poolside bar with playful, rum-based cocktails in an island-inspired atmosphere decked out with tiki heads, floral patterns and vibrant colors. Steps away from Guy’s Burger Joint, guests can wash down hand-crafted burgers with refreshing cocktails – such as the Polynesian Punch, Red’s Rum Runner Jumper and Jungle Bird – creatively presented in pineapples, souvenir tiki glasses and Mai Tai glasses with elaborate garnishes.
The Watering Hole – Situated within The Patio at Summer Landing, The Watering Hole is modeled after a fun backyard gathering spot and is the perfect space for guests to unwind, grab a cocktail and enjoy sweeping sea views. The bar will boast a wide beer selection including Carnival’s own canned and draft brews, as well as refreshing summer-inspired sips like the Watermelon Cooler and Tequila Sunset.
Big Chicken Restaurant by Shaquille O’Neal Mardi Gras will also feature the second Big Chicken restaurant at sea created by Carnival Chief Fun Officer and NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Already winning over fans on land at its Las Vegas venue and debuting on Carnival Radiance in 2020, Big Chicken will be located aft on Lido Deck. The all-inclusive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will also give guests a glimpse into O’Neal’s family traditions as all menu items will be developed and taste-tested by the star himself and based on his favorite recipes.
“Big Chicken is a labor of love featuring all of my favorite fried chicken recipes developed in tandem with my mom,” said O’Neal. “Carnival is a great partner, and I am very excited to bring the largest Big Chicken at sea aboard the spectacular new Mardi Gras.”
Other Dining, Entertainment, Recreation and Relaxation Options
Mardi Gras takes Carnival’s two-deck-high Lido zone to new levels with:
- New England-inspired Seafood Shack
- Mexican-themed eatery Blue Iguana Cantina
- Lido Marketplace with an extensive array of international favorites
- Mid-ship Beach Pool and an infinity Aft Tides Pool with a bar, ample seating and sweeping ocean views
Guys Burger Joint by Guy Fieri, Mardi Gras will feature the largest Guy’s Burger Joint in the fleet
Dive-in Movies at the Carnival Seaside Theater featuring exciting entertainment such as legendary deck parties
Designed as the ultimate chill spot for fun in the sun, Summer Landing will be home to:
Expanded Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse offering smoked-on-board favorites and an assortment of Carnival’s Parched Pig craft beers brewed on site and developed by the line’s in-house beverage team, as well as a large stage for live music.
An expansive outdoor deck area with an infinity pool and two whirlpools.
- A sports bar featuring both indoor and outdoor television screens
- Hang-out space with cornhole, trivia, arts and crafts, dance classes and more
We were actually pretty excited about Carnival Vista when we toured her just after coming out, and now Mardi Gras seems like another big leap for Carnival, both in terms of the variety of options as well as her overall look. As we were viewing these photos we realized some traits of the build look a bit like Project Mille builds out of Fincantieri's shipyards (examples would be MSC Seaside and Virgin Voyage's Scarlet Lady), though Mardi Gras is being built by Meyer Turku. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We loved the pivot we saw in the style on board Vista, and looking at some of the spaces on Mardi Gras, familiar as they might be to some other ships, we love the look.
In terms of the dining options, we'll of course have to wait a bit to find out how things taste - Mardi Gras isn't scheduled to arrive in Florida until mid-October 2020. The variety of the options however does seem interesting, providing a wider variety of casual eats than we've seen Carnival offer in the past, while amping up some of the already popular venues, like Guy's Pig & Anchor, Red Frog Tiki Bar, and Guy's Burgers. Details are however still a bit slim on the ship's table-service offerings, both main dining and specialty - though you can find a few details in the initial release of information and renderings in early February.
What we do know is that we really are excited to try this ship out, something that, by no fault of Carnival's, we don't always feel - and we'd bet that's just what Carnival is trying to do here. The line has a loyal following, but those who prefer a slower pace and more refined product have often had an aversion to the line that is often seen for families and partiers. Increasing the "chill spaces" and dining options could go a long way in reframing the brand a bit, as well as trying to draw some of the crowds from the Norwegian and Royal Caribbean fleets, where guests have come used to a multitude of options at sea. We'll bet those guests still haven't seen a two story tiki bar, or a roller coaster at sea - and Mardi Gras will feature both.