Carnival’s Mardi Gras, scheduled to debut next year, will offer cruise passengers a wide range of enticing dining options. As the soon-to-be largest ship in the Carnival fleet, the new ship will offer something for everyone, ranging from casual eating to upscale dining. If you want to sample every restaurant aboard, you’ll have to loosen your belt – and maybe even book a longer cruise!
Truth is that when it comes to eating on a cruise, Carnival is a leader in the field. While some cruise lines focus on high-end dining, Carnival instead offers something for everyone. For instance, sometimes you just want a great burger – without having to pay a fortune – and Carnival can deliver.
The Mardi Gras will showcase the full range of Carnival’s dining options. Carnival Cruise President Christine Duffy stated, “Great food and beverage experiences are at the core of any vacation, especially at Carnival. We always strive to provide our guests with the most diverse options possible, but the sheer variety of food and beverage venues on board Mardi Gras is unlike anything we’ve ever offered before.”
To give you an idea of what’s offered, here are all the restaurants you can expect on the Carnival Mardi Gras. Note that this doesn’t include the main dining room and buffet – two free dining staples across the Carnival fleet.
Complimentary Dining Options on Carnival Mardi Gras
When it comes to food that’s included in your fare, Carnival is by far the leader among major cruise lines. Most lines like to charge for just about everything outside of the buffet and dining room. Carnival, however, is giving passengers a ton of included options aboard the Mardi Gras.
Big Chicken is Carnival’s casual fast-food chicken restaurant that’s also a venture with Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer,” Shaquille O’Neal. If you’re a fan of Popeye’s or KFC, then you’ll love that this free option is aboard the ship.
Enjoy fried chicken baskets, crispy chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, along with potato salad, jalapeno slaw, and fries at this chicken venue. It also serves breakfast from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., with options including three-cheese omelets, chicken & biscuit, and biscuit & egg sandwiches.
Want some fast-casual Mexican food… that’s also included with your fare? At BlueIguana, you can get breakfast or lunch. Similar to Chipotle, you simply let the staff know what ingredients you want and they will put them in a taco or burrito for you. There is also a salsa bar where you can dress up your food with even more flavor.
Guy’s Burger Joint
Perhaps the most popular restaurant across Carnival’s entire fleet is Guy’s Burger Joint, so it of course makes an appearance on the Mardi Gras. Enjoy a menu of burger favorites at this poolside lunch spot from Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Burgers are freshly made, along with tons of topping options and seasoned fries. Simply line up (it’s by the pool) and get your lunch or early dinner. The only downside is that the restaurant is open only during the day.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse serves up BBQ, but if you want it for free then you need to go at lunch. During the dinner hours there is an ala carte charge. Similar to Guy’s Burger Join, this spot is also affiliate with Guy Fieri. During lunch the restaurant offers barbecue staples for no extra charge. (The restaurant costs extra for dinner). Along with your barbecue, you can quench your thirst with one of the brewed on-site craft beers, but you will have to pay extra for the alcohol.
A new concept on the Carnival Mardi Gras is Street Eats. It’s free and Carnival’s tribute to the great food available at carts, trucks, and shacks. Grab some lunch at one of three changing food stations serving up options like empanadas, kebab, satay, and falafel. It’s definitely a bit more adventurous than a simple hot-dog cart!
Pizzeria del Capitano
The Pizzeria del Capitano is Carnival’s 24-hour pizza joint that serves up fresh pies around the clock. There are only a few types of pie served (pepperoni, margherita, cheese, and a couple more), but they are absolutely delicious. Best of all, the pizza is free. In fact, you can even have it delivered to you on some ships, although that results in a small charge.
Cruise ships are known for their food – and the weight gain that comes from it. But sometimes you just want something fresh and light. Carnival has you covered. The new Fresh Creations is a salad bar that blows the traditional buffet salad bar out of the water. With a ton of variety (including nearly a dozen different lettuce options), you can eat great without the guilt.
Specialty Dining Choices on Carnival Mardi Gras
Many restaurants on the Mardi Gras are free, but there are a number of specialty options that charge extra for dining.
Want a little show with your dinner? Bonsai Teppenyaki is a hibachi grill where your chef is as entertaining as your meal is good. Savor delicious appetizers while you watch your chef expertly prepare main courses of filet mignon, grilled tofu or fish, shrimp and lobster. It’s small – only sixteen people can sit at one time, so be sure to make your reservations early. Good news is that it’s open for both lunch and dinner. The fare is $32 per person to eat your fill.
Some people may be a little hesitant to eat sushi on a cruise ship, but it’s a popular place to have a casual meal. Enjoy lunch or dinner at this sit-down restaurant serving a delicious menu of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more. California rolls, spicy tuna, tempura rolls ($5-7 per roll), even bento boxes ($10) or noodle bowls ($7)… they are all here on the Mardi Gras
Cucina del Capitano
Looking a date night where you also get a great meal? This shipboard version of an Italian Trattoria lets you eat dinner family-style, ordering a full-course meal of antipasti, entrées, pasta and desserts. If it’s an Italian classic, you’ll find it on the menu. That includes everything from meatballs to spaghetti to chicken parm, along with some more unique dishes porcini rubbed beef short ribs. It will cost around $15 per adult for your meal.
Emeril’s Bistro 1396
A Carnival Mardi Gras first, this restaurant with ties to celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse serves Cajun/Creole favorites in a New Orelans-style atmosphere. Located in the ship’s “French Quarter” zone, the bistro offers jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, fried oysters, gumbo, and muffaletta sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Hungry in the morning? The breakfast menu includes bananas foster crepes, breakfast po’boys and shrimp and grits. There’s no word yet on pricing, but you can bet it will be well worth whatever you have to pay.
Enjoy a fine dining experience in an elegant setting at the Steakhouse on Mardi Gras. Starter menu options include shrimp cocktail, ahi tuna tartare, and lobster bisque. Main course choices range from filet mignon and New York strip loin steak, to grilled lamb chops and broiled lobster tail. For dessert, treat yourself to a chocolate sampler, cheesecake, or homemade sherbet and ice creams. The Steakhouse is a classic cruise dining spot – perfect for celebrating being on vacation. It will set you back a little; prices are $38 for adults.
Are you a fan of New England style seafood? Seafood Shack will be right up your alley. With menu items like like fried shrimp ($6), clam strips ($6), clam chowder ($4), lobster rolls ($12), fish and chips ($6), and even steamed lobster by the pound, you’ll feel like you were at a New England seaside shack serving up the freshest catch.
Jiji Asian Kitchen
Regional favorites from Mongolia, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines make up the menu at this a la carte restaurant. Appetizer options include slow-braised pork belly, tamarind and shrimp soup, Nanjing-style duck, and shrimp pot stickers. The menu also offers entrees like Kung Pao chicken and Singapore chili shrimp, plus side dishes such as Chinese broccoli and eggplant in oyster sauce. The cost is $15 per adult, and kids under 12 pay only $5.
The highest-end dining on Carnival ships is The Chef’s Table and it makes its appearance on Carnival Mardi Gras. Only 14 people can eat here, making it the most exclusive dining spot on the entire ship. During your meal you’ll get drinks and hor d’oeuvers, a kitchen tour and then a one-of-a-kind meal full dinner served by Carnival’s chefs. There’s no set menu, but be sure to bring your appetite. Prices vary from $75-95 per person.