With our youngest turning 10, we decided to finally take our three boys on a Carnival cruise adventure aboard the Carnival Mardi Gras! It’s my third time cruising but the first for our boys, and they had a blast! Here’s a quick run down of the highlights of our trip!
Highlights of the boat:
The boat felt really modern and new! There were 24/7 activities for every age group in the family (karaoke, comedy shows, casino, dance parties, trivia, family feud, and much more) so no one was bored! My kids loved all the cruise activities including the waterpark and slides, basketball court, roller coaster, mini golf, arcade, ropes course, pools and jacuzzis.
The cruise had a variety of foods with specialty restaurants, coffee shops and bars. We enjoyed 24/7 buffets, ice cream and speciality foods like Shaq’s Big Chicken, which my kids ate daily! I personally loved Guy’s Burger Joint, the gorgeous bars (the Cucumber Sunrise at Alchemy was a highlight!) and the more upscale restaurants offered by the boat.
The boarding and safety protocols were quick and streamlined. Getting on and off the boat was efficient and easy with their new technology. The cruise had an adult only area which was great when you needed a break from the littles. The cruise has an online app (you should download before arriving) which made it easy to communicate with our friends on the boat, plan for activities, and make reservations. I visited the spa twice for massages (one day was half off!) and made it to the beautiful gym daily.
The rooms and bathrooms were spacious and modern. We stayed on deck 14 which had a great view from the balcony. The staff were incredibly polite and helpful, and kept the boat and our room extremely clean at all times. The cruise director Donkey was a highlight! He had a cheerful and fun personality. Our kids enjoyed hearing his announcements daily and seeing him during the live performances.
Highlights of the Island stops:
First stop: Atlantis, Bahamas – we got passes to the waterpark ahead of time and the kids loved the aquarium, the water slides and the beach!
Second stop: Puerto Plata, DR – we did a hiking and waterfalls excursion which definitely made us work up a sweat but was a fun and unique experience for the family
Third stop: Grand Turk– one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever been to! We did some snorkeling (you can rent gear right on the beach), but mostly laid out and enjoyed the hot sun. Don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen from your head to your toes, you’ll need it!
Although there weren’t too many cons, I thought it would be fair to consider these. The ship had a party feel and felt pretty busy. If you’re looking for less crowds, this is not the boat. Reservations for the upscale restaurants, excursions and the spa have to be made in advance to guarantee your spots. It’s a boat! No matter the size, you occasionally feel the boat sway so it’s best to take nausea patches or nausea medicine. Wifi is only available at an extra cost, so be prepared to pay if you want to be connected with those off the ship.
Let me know if you’ve cruised or if this entices you take on a new adventure!
Xo, Ana B