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SonoranDevil's Mardi Gras Pre-Inaugural Sailing Full Review with Pictures! -7/31/21


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I we are on Mardi Gras 8-14! Deck 9 Suite and I just learned that when you reserve specialty dining they want the $ upfront.

 

looking forward to your review!! 
thank you!!

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24 minutes ago, helene109 said:

I we are on Mardi Gras 8-14! Deck 9 Suite and I just learned that when you reserve specialty dining they want the $ upfront.

 

looking forward to your review!! 
thank you!!

 

When you reserve online ahead of time you have to prepay.  If you reserve onboard the charge is added to your sign and sail.  If you are in an Excel Suite the concierge can arrange the reservations as long as you give them a day's notice.

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On 7/11/2021 at 7:09 PM, SonoranDevil said:

Greetings fellow cruisers!  Welcome to the introductory post for our full review of the brand new Carnival Mardi Gras, sailing on 7/31/21!  My family and I are eager to sail on the newest Carnival ship, sailing on her first, pre-inaugural voyage.  With a brand new ship, I'm sure people are going to want a glimpse into the fun this beauty has to offer.  We are just under 3 weeks out from embarking on this long overdue adventure.  Like many of you, we've had multiple cruises over the past 16 months that have either been scrapped all together or rescheduled.  We are excited to get the train back on the tracks!

 

A Little Bit About Us

 

We are a family of three from Phoenix, Arizona.  My wife, Shani, will undoubtedly chime in here at some point and introduce herself.  We also have a 14 year old child that does their best to keep us on our toes.  We'll be joined on this cruise by Shani's 74 year old mother and two of Shani's cousins.  We'll be occupying three different cabins on Deck 9 Aft.  Shani's mother is a frequent travel companion of ours and I'm fortunate to have an excellent relationship with my mother-in-law.  I'm lucky in so many ways.  

 

While we've enjoyed a few cruises in the past, I wouldn't call us cruise experts.  We're not married to any particular cruise line, having sailed with Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival in the past.  Our cruising experiences have varied greatly, from Oceanview cabins on the former Carnival Imagination to a Penthouse Suite on Norwegian's Pride of America.  You can check out my review of the Carnival Imagination from 2018 (link at bottom of this post).  This will also help you get to know us a little bit better.  You can also check out my travel blog at www.havewifewilltravel.wordpress.com.

 

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Rob and Shani on the Disney Wonder in 2014

 

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Shani and the kiddo at Disney World 2020

 

Planning 

 

We had originally planned on traveling to Seattle the week of 7/31, to take our kiddo to a concert.  The concert ended up being rescheduled a few weeks ago, leaving us scrambling to figure out somewhere else to travel, before our child has to head back to school.  Shani jokingly mentioned that the Mardi Gras was scheduled for its first sailing during the same window and asked if I wanted to go.  What started as joking curiosity soon transformed into giddy excitement.  Within 48 hours, we had decided to jump in head first.  Not only would we sail, but we would book a brand new Aft Excel Suite.  If anyone is curious what the determining factor was in the decision to splurge on the suite, it was the hot tub on the wrap around balcony.  After 4 cancelled/rescheduled cruises, we decided we were going to go all out!  

 

What started as an intimate family trip for three, soon grew into doubling the size of our travel party.  Shani's cousins (mother and daughter) soon booked an Ocean Suite near ours on Deck 9.  Soon after that, we decided to bring Shani's mother along with us as well, grabbing a Balcony right between our two suites. A multigenerational cruise it is!

 

What to Expect

 

 What will the review include?  This won't be completely comprehensive.  I'm a traveler first, a writer second.  While you'll see a pretty complete account of our experiences, I'm certain that we will not experience everything the ship has to offer on a 7 day cruise.  While I'll do my best to capture menus and other details I know everyone is eager to read about, our first priority is to enjoy our vacation.  We will be offering our unique perspective as to what we experience.  With the focus on enjoying ourselves, it will not be a live review.  You wouldn't want me writing posts after hours and hours of maximizing the Cheers package anyway.  Well, maybe some of you would.  Regardless, the vast majority of the details will be updated AFTER we come back home to Phoenix.  But I promise, I'll make it as entertaining and valuable as I can.  

 

So stay tuned.  In the weeks leading up to our sailing, I'll be popping in to share details of our planning and preparations.  If any of you are joining us on this adventure, make sure to say hello and introduce yourselves.  You can also stop by the Roll Call for our sailing!  We are excited to leave the world behind, even for only a week, and enjoying several thousand people coming together and celebrating life with each other!

 

We’re sailing her June 2022. Can’t wait for your review and pictures to add to the excitement! 

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Another future Mardi Gras cruiser looking forward to your information and review!

 

I won’t be on MG till February 2022, with a group of 6. 

 

I am excited and nervous. By far the largest, but also the newest, boat I’ve ever been on! 

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I'm so freaking jealous of those who get to experience the brand new Mardi Gras, after being cancelled on, and now rescheduled for November... I'm looking forward to reading about your adventure...

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Not going to lie, I generally dislike when people start threads so far out, but I really like your style of writing and will be eagerly following along!

 

I'm really curious to see what the thermal suite and gym are like as well as how Serenity and the more exclusive sun deck compare. 

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Really looking forward to this ridealong! 

 

We were supposed to be on her for the 15 day repo from NYC to Canaveral. Building delays got that one. We have had 4 others (different ships) covid cancel. We will finally sail Mardi Gras Sept 25th with 4 others booked. 

 

Sincerely hope you guys enjoy your return to a ship!

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I was on the Panorama for a week in February 2020 right before the pandemic shut everything down.  It was a beautiful ship.  I am sailing on her again on August 28th.  I am looking forward to hearing about this Mardi Gras sailing.  It will give me something to look forward to.

 

Candi

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11 hours ago, SonoranDevil said:

Hi amcankid!   We will surely check, though gauging from early reports of Vista and Horizon cruisers, it doesn't appear the Hub app will have that capability.

Thanks. I appreciate it.

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SonoranDevil and ShaniBell.  Looking forward to your review(s).  You realize of course you're heading into uncharted territory on this cruise.  New ship, New options, new check-in procedures.

 

Waiting to read and see .

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If I could make one "special request", I would definitely be interested in seeing the menu for the brand new, two level poolside Tiki Bar... Thanks in advance...

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2 hours ago, crewsweeper said:

SonoranDevil and ShaniBell.  Looking forward to your review(s).  You realize of course you're heading into uncharted territory on this cruise.  New ship, New options, new check-in procedures.

 

Waiting to read and see .

 

Right!  This is an Uber Planners worst nightmare!  I find new and exciting things to obsess and stress about just about daily at this point.  

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16 hours ago, natefish95 said:

Not going to lie, I generally dislike when people start threads so far out, but I really like your style of writing and will be eagerly following along!

 

I'm really curious to see what the thermal suite and gym are like as well as how Serenity and the more exclusive sun deck compare. 

Thank you natefish95!  I definitely debated whether I should start this early.  Ultimately, I decided that given the uncertainty that our family is experiencing for this cruise, perhaps sharing that with others will in some minor way, provide validation and reassurance.  I will definitely be checking out Serenity as well as Loft 19.  I have to admit, the artist rendering of Serenity on the Mardi Gras is quite impressive.

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17 hours ago, hebbynan said:

We’re sailing her June 2022. Can’t wait for your review and pictures to add to the excitement! 

Thank you hebbynan!  I am the same way.  Reading about other cruisers experiences serves as a much needed morale boost as we prepare for future trips.  

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17 hours ago, stellarose said:

I plan on journaling in December when I board MG.  now by then no one will want to read or see a MG review. but it will cool to document it. 

I'm confident that what you share will be useful to many of us.  Thank you for planning to share a little bit of your life with everyone!

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14 hours ago, candigirl41 said:

I was on the Panorama for a week in February 2020 right before the pandemic shut everything down.  It was a beautiful ship.  I am sailing on her again on August 28th.  I am looking forward to hearing about this Mardi Gras sailing.  It will give me something to look forward to.

 

Candi

We were supposed to sail on the Panorama in December, which was rescheduled to March of this year.  That then was rescheduled to March of 2022.  We were on the inaugural sailing in December of 2019 and had a regular balcony room.  Loved the ship, but the 3 day sailing was not nearly long enough to see all of her!  We have a Havana extended aft balcony for March 2022 and we are SUPER excited about that.  When it came time to book a room on the Mardi Gras, that was the first place we looked.  We were disappointed to see that Havana is not aft on the Mardi Gras and was sold out for the 7/31 cruise.  

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4 hours ago, sid_9169 said:

If I could make one "special request", I would definitely be interested in seeing the menu for the brand new, two level poolside Tiki Bar... Thanks in advance...

I'll see what I can do!  The new 2 deck location looks really neat.  My chief complaint is how busy they tend to get, especially on sea days.  But Shani loves her Ting Mojitos!

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Greetings again.  We are busy getting prepared for the cruise!  We get to check in officially this week, which is a huge milestone.  We have been scouring the digital world for cruise related shows (watched every single episode of the UK show The Cruise on YouTube) and making sure our wardrobes are where they need to be after a couple years of cruise neglect.  I thought I'd share a funny anecdote from this past weekend with you all, just to show you that we don't take ourselves too seriously!

 

I used to work in an executive position with our state government in Arizona.  I wore a suit to work every day, so I'm no stranger to the concept.  The past six years, I've worked in the private sector, in a leadership position, but the atmosphere is much more laid back.  When combined with remote work the past 16 months, I've not come across a situation where wearing a suit has been necessitated.  Well, after what must have been perceived as six years of neglect on the part of my suits, they unexplainably decided to shrink.  Amazingly, Shani's wardrobe has come through unscathed and fits perfectly to this day. That's the story I'm sticking with.  Anyway, if I wanted to bring a suit along for formal nights, I needed to bite the bullet and go buy another one.  Probably smart...the older I get, the more likely funerals become.  

 

So, off to my neighborhood tailor I go.  Picked out a suit, universally appropriate for any occasion and got the call this Saturday that it was in and ready to be formally fitted.  Shani and I brave the Summer hell the Sonoran Desert graciously provides graces us with and we were eager to check another task off our planning list.

 

Upon arrival, everything was going great.  Very few alterations were needed, with the exception of shortening the sleeves to accommodate my T-Rex proportioned arms.  I put the suit on and step out of the changing room to finalize the measurements.  This would be an appropriate time to point out that I've been accused of not having a rear end.  Flat as a door.  This is important to note.

 

So, I'm standing there, admiring myself in the suit when without warning, the slacks quickly fell to the floor.  Right there, in front of everyone in the shop.  Thank goodness for two things.  1...underwear was being worn and 2...my wife was the only woman in the store.  How did this happen?  Well, not having a rear end can be a challenge when one is not wearing a belt.  I don't have hips to stop my pants from falling off and similarly, I don't have a rear end to prevent it either.  I promise to bring a belt with me on the cruise.

 

Sometimes you just have to roll with it.  That's the approach I take with travel as well.  I've never been on a trip where everything went as planned.  Sometimes, you just have to make the best out of less than ideal circumstances, even when your pants fall down.  Until my next installment...

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