Mardi Gras Cruise 2021

The original "Mardi Gras" in 1972 and the new ship we were cruising on

We decided to take a cruise on the brand new Mardi Gras as a way to just "get away" after not travelling for so long. Although Carnival is known as "cheap and cheerful" we hoped that being a brand new ship, the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. One of the big advantages was that the ship left from Port Canaveral, only a ten minute drive from our Cocoa Beach condo.

In order to take the cruise, we had to be fully vaccinated against Covid (which we were) and we had to have a negative Covid test not less than 48 hours before departing. We took our tests on Thursday morning and on Friday evening (the day before we were leaving) we got the results - Kris was negative, Paul was POSITIVE. What a shock. I had no symptoms, but it didn't look as though we would be going anywhere!

Next morning, I walked to a small clinic near the condo which advertised "while you wait" Covid tests - for a price ($179.00). I took the test and to my relief, it was negative, so now we could go!

Day 1 and 2 (September 18 and 19)

The first two days were "at sea" so we had a chance to explore the boat. Of course, it was huge! Fortunately,  it wasn't full. It can carry up to 6,465 passengers, but when we were boarding, they said there just under 4,000 in total, so 62% capacity. The ship was busy, but not unpleasantly so. The cabin was very pleasant and of course, brand new. Having a balcony was an added extra.

The first night (my birthday) we ate at Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse. The food was actually very good and made better because the ship threw in a free bottle of red wine. Not at all like Carnival, where everything is usually extra.

Next day, we really got to see the ship.

In the middle of the ship was The Central Atrium, used for entertainment and various presentations.

In daylight

And at night

The great "novelty" on this ship was the first rollercoaster on a ship. In the end we never did try it and in all honesty, it looked pretty tame. And you had to pay extra !

Of course eating, is always a big part of any cruise. Besides the more formal "sit down" restaurants, there were many options for casual grazing. We never did get to all of them. Some were indoor and some were outdoor. 

Fish and chips at this restaurant

Day 3 (September 20) - Cozumel

Our first port was Cozumel, which we had visited before. 

The view from our balcony. The town is in the distance

On the dock

We took a taxi into town and stopped at a restaurant for a couple of Margaritas (for me) and a beer for Kris. That turned out to be enough for both of us and he headed back to the ship.

That night, we dined at the Chinese / Mexican restaurant "ChiBang".

We wanted to try the specialty item, "Golden Duck" but we were told they only prepare two per night and we were out of luck ! Fortunately, the Manager came to our table and promised to save a duck for us later in the trip, so eventually, we had our duck, which was really Peking Duck by a different name.

Day 4 - September 21 - Costa Maya

Costa Maya was another port we had visited before. There was a small shopping village at the port, so we got off the ship and had a look around.

Of course, we didn't buy anything but we enjoyed wandering around and people watching. After about an hour, we took the trolley back to the ship.

Day 5 - September 22 - Roatan, Honduras

We had never visited the island of Roatan before, so we wanted to get out and see something of the island on our own. We took our time and finally left the ship around 10:00am - ship time. Again, there was a nice shopping area near the port, which we had a look around before taking a taxi.

There was also a very nice private beach next to the village, but we didn't make use of it.

This picture was taken from our balcony on deck 16, which gives a good idea how high we were !

We headed for the "West End" but along the way, we stopped for gas and across the road was a small "market" selling local art.

We bought a couple of steel "fish" (made from old oil drums) which now adorn our bedroom wall in Cocoa Beach.

When we got to the "West End", which is a small village, everything seemed to be closed. Although by now it was about 11:00am "ship time", local time was 9:00am and most people were still asleep. 

Fortunately, a couple of stores and restaurants were open, so we managed to have a cup of coffee and as we walked around, things were slowly opening up.

Back on the ship, that night we dined at another specialty restaurant, Rudi's Seagrill, which was, of course, primarily a seafood restaurant.

This was dessert !

Day 6 & 7 - Sea Days

Once we left Roatan, we were headed home and had a chance to enjoy some of the other features on the boat, such a show - something like "The Best of Broadway"

We also found a favorite bar, the Havana Bar, which featured an excellent  Latin band.

On our last night, we tried the "Chef's Table" which was a small group of 24 people in a private dining room. The menu consisted of four small "starters" served before  we even sat down and then eight courses served over about a two hour period.

This was the "Slow Poached "Sabayon" which had a bubble over what amounted to a liquid strawberry soup. When the bubble burst "smoke" came out.

This was the duck course 

The celery root pastrami

The beef  (sirloin) course

And finally Patisserie Art

So with full tummies, we spent our last night on the Mardi Gras and early next morning, we left the ship (very quickly, I might add) and headed home.