Carnival Mardi Gras Deck By Deck Tour

by Ray Roman | Last updated on November 26, 2023

Welcome aboard the Carnival Mardi Gras, a ship filled with excitement and fun for all! From the lively Lido Deck’s pool, hot tubs, and two-story tiki bar to the serene adult-only Serenity area on deck 18, there is a place for everyone on this magnificent ship.

The Mardi Gras offers unique experiences such as Shaq’s Big Chicken, the first-ever roller coaster at sea – Bolt, and the luxurious Loft 19, where guests can enjoy peace and quiet in their cabana.

Mardi Gras ship 22 12 2020 front view
Carnival Mardi Gras | Photo Credit Carnival Cruise Lines

As you explore the indoor decks, you will find entertainment and dining options galore, such as the Cloud 9 Spa, Punchliner Comedy Club, and Piano Bar on deck 6.

The ship’s neighborhoods, like the vibrant Grand Central and the charming French Quarter, offer a variety of venues like the Java Blue Café and Emerald’s Bistro. Don’t miss out on experiencing the Ultimate Playground on deck 18, complete with mini-golf, a water park, and a ropes course.

Key Takeaways

  • The Carnival Mardi Gras offers various activities and entertainment, from the lively Lido Deck to the serene adult-only Serenity area.
  • Indoor decks feature Cloud 9 Spa, Punchliner Comedy Club, Piano Bar, and neighborhoods like Grand Central and the French Quarter.
  • Unique experiences include the first-ever roller coaster at sea – Bolt, Shaq’s Big Chicken, and the luxurious cabanas in Loft 19.

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Lido Deck

Main Pool Area

On the Lido Deck, the heart of the ship, you’ll find the main pool area, surrounded by plenty of sun loungers. This pool area is excellent for relaxation and entertainment, with hot tubs and a two-story tiki bar – the Red Frog Tiki Bar.


The Lido Deck is also where you can enjoy a variety of food options. From the Blue Iguana Cantina and the Seafood Shack to Street Eats, which offers new bite-sized treats every day, there’s always something delicious to try. The layout of this Lido Deck is unique compared to other Carnival ships, with seating for the restaurants on both sides of the pool.

Lido Upper

Above the main Lido Deck on Deck 17, you’ll find the Lido Upper, which offers even more sun loungers to relax on. There’s plenty of space here, so you shouldn’t have issues finding a comfortable spot to soak up the sun.

Deck 18 Forward Serenity Area

For those who prefer a more tranquil environment, the adults-only Serenity Area can be found on Deck 18 forward. This is the largest Serenity Area I’ve seen on a ship, complete with its own pool, hot tubs, and numerous seating options – including shaded areas, sun areas, loungers, and sofas. There is even a dedicated bar and salad station for lunch, so you can enjoy your time at Serenity without venturing elsewhere on the ship.

Deck 19 Loft Area

On Deck 19, at the very top of the ship, you’ll discover a new, exclusive area called Loft 19. This serene space is an extra pay area for those who prioritize peace and quiet and desire guaranteed lounging spots. You can rent a cabana up here or pay for access to enjoy its tranquility and privacy. It’s worth checking out if you want a personal retreat during your cruise.

Loft 19 is a visually pleasing and relaxing area, ideal for guests who want a calmer and more exclusive atmosphere than the bustling Lido decks below. The location is prime, as it’s high up on the ship, away from the noise and activity of the pool areas. So, if you’re seeking a spot to unwind and recharge, the Loft 19 area is worth considering during your time on the Mardi Gras.

I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful it is to have an area like this available for guests who want a serene and luxurious experience on their cruise. It provides a perfect balance to the lively and action-packed atmosphere that can be found on other parts of the ship. With access to Loft 19, you can have the best of both worlds aboard the Mardi Gras.

Side Loungers

On Mardi Gras, plenty of side loungers are available for those who want a more peaceful and relaxing experience. Located on decks 16 and 17, these loungers are perfect for guests who prefer to avoid the noise and crowds around the pool. With so many sun loungers, finding a spot to relax and soak up the sun shouldn’t be a problem.

A great place to find side loungers is on deck 17 aft. This area overlooks the back of the ship and offers comfortable lounge areas and an incredible infinity pool. The infinity pools on Deck 16 and Deck 8 offer breathtaking ocean views, giving the impression that the pool and ocean merge into one. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see.

Other fantastic amenities close to the side loungers include Shaq’s Big Chicken on aft deck 16 and the Tides Bar. For dessert, check out the swirl station by the pool aft on deck 16, with another option available on deck eight.

Deck 17 Aft

On Deck 17 Aft, there is an incredible spot overlooking the back of the ship with plenty of comfy lounge areas. I particularly love this area and found it towards the end of my cruise. Not only are there relaxing spaces to sit in, but there’s also a fantastic infinity pool. These infinity pools can be found on both Deck 16 and Deck 8, blending seamlessly with the ocean view.

In addition to the wonderful lounging and pool areas, Shaq’s Big Chicken is located on Aft Deck 16. Make sure you give it a try – it’s delicious. You’ll also find the Tides Bar here, perfect for grabbing a refreshing drink while enjoying the serene environment.

Ice cream lovers, rejoice! There’s a Swirl station right by the pool aft on Deck 16 and another one on Deck 8. So you won’t need to visit the Lido deck to fulfill your ice cream craving when nighttime arrives.

The Lido Marketplace, which serves as the buffet area of the ship, can comfortably accommodate a large number of guests. With two buffet stations – one near the aft and one more midship – and various seating areas throughout, it’s easy to find a comfortable spot to enjoy your meal.

Deck 17 Aft also houses the smoking section, providing a designated area for those who wish to indulge in a cigarette.

Lido Marketplace

At the Lido Marketplace, you’ll find a very large and diverse buffet area that can accommodate the many guests on the ship. There are two buffet stations: one towards the aft and one more midship, with seating everywhere. The seating is broken up into smaller sections, creating a cozy and comfortable dining experience.

I discovered a unique feature on this ship that I’ve never seen before, and I think it’s really cool – soda on demand! All you have to do is take your card, scan it at the station, and you can fill up your glass at 21 cents per ounce. There’s also a beer station where you can scan your Sail and Sign card, pull the tap handle, and pour up to 14 ounces of your favorite beer.

When it comes to ice cream, there are swirl stations located throughout the ship. One is by the pool aft on deck 16, and another one is on deck eight. You don’t have to come up to the Lido to get your ice cream at night, making it convenient for those late-night cravings.

You’ll find more ice cream stations on deck 17, just over the Lido pool deck and right by Guy’s Burgers. I particularly enjoyed that Guy’s Burgers have its own dedicated space on this ship, creating more seating and avoiding the crowded feeling right next to the pool.

If you’re looking to catch some sunshine during your cruise, plenty of sun loungers are available on decks 16 and 17. With so many options, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot to relax. The smoking section is also located on deck 17 aft.

Overall, the Lido Marketplace offers a diverse and comfortable dining experience with various food options, seating areas, and beverage stations to satisfy all cravings.

Deck 17 Midship

On Deck 17 Midship, I found an amazing spot – Guy’s Burger Joint. Unlike other Carnival ships, it has a massive dedicated space. In the past, I have seen people struggling to find a place to sit after getting their burgers, but that’s not a problem here, with tons of seating available. It’s located right across from the Warehouse Arcade and Circle C, making it an ideal spot for families and teenagers.

Adjacent to Guy’s Burger Joint is Club O2, the 15 to 17-year-old teen club. I bet they absolutely love having this burger place right there. There is even an outdoor patio just for Club O2 members, offering a private space for teens to hang out and enjoy.

Another exciting spot on Deck 17 Midship is the Arcade and Circle C, the club for 12 to 14-year-old teens, conveniently located opposite Guy’s Burger Joint. Circle C provides various activities in a designated area for kids to enjoy, making it an ideal location to entertain younger family members during their cruise.

On every ship deck, there is a board displaying deck plans. On Deck 17, you can find information about the cabins, the overlook to the pool, the Warehouse Arcade, Circle C, Red Frog Tiki Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint, and Club O2. This board helps passengers easily navigate the massive ship and locate different attractions and services.

Ultimate Playground

I am excited to tell you about the Ultimate Playground on Mardi Gras! Located on Deck 18, this fantastic neighborhood has numerous activities for all age groups.

Mardi Gras Playground
Carnival Mardi Gras Playground | Photo Credit Carnival Cruise Lines

The Ultimate Playground features mini-golf, a water park, and thrilling water slides for those who enjoy getting wet and having fun. If you prefer to challenge yourself, there is a ropes course to navigate, testing your balance and agility.

For sports enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know there is a large basketball court for some friendly competition. The most exciting part of the Ultimate Playground is the roller coaster, Bolt. The Carnival Bolt is the first roller coaster at sea, and it’s a truly unique experience!

If you enjoy jogging with a view, the jogging track is also located here, allowing you to get your workout in while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Moving to the indoor decks, you’ll find plenty more to explore on Decks 6, 7, and 8.

Indoor Decks 6, 7, and 8

There is so much to see and explore on Decks 6, 7, and 8 as these decks are chock full of entertainment, dining, and relaxation options. One of the main features on Deck 6 is the Cloud 9 Spa, spanning Decks 6 and 5, with the spa and thermal suite on the starboard side and the gym on the port side.

Forward on Deck 6; you’ll also find the Punchliner Comedy Club, offering hilarious comedy shows every night. Sometimes, these comedy shows are extended into the Limelight Lounge and sometimes on Center Stage. Right across from the comedy club is the bustling Piano Bar, which is packed every night starting at 9 pm. To get a seat here, arriving early is best as this place is always exciting.

Grand Central, located midship on Deck 6, is the heart of the indoor decks and home to various activities throughout the day and a coffee shop called Java Blue Café. Here, you can indulge in specialty coffees and smoothies or enjoy one of the free sandwiches available. For those who prefer not to pay for coffee, a free coffee station is provided at the side.

The French Quarter on Mardi Gras is another notable area on Deck 6. It houses the Brass Magnolia, Fortune Teller Bar, and Emeril’s Bistro. A Louisiana-themed area, the Brass Magnolia is not only a bar but also a music venue that hosts an extraordinary jazz band at night. The swanky New Orleans atmosphere continues with the Fortune Teller Bar, leading to Emeril’s Bistro as a specialty dining option within the French Quarter.

Aft on Deck 6, guests are welcomed to the main dining rooms, such as the Flamingo Dining Room. This is where you can enjoy your meals, with any-time dining available and a variety of selections to choose from.

As I mentioned earlier, Deck 7 offers additional seating and another bar for the Center Stage. Feel free to grab a drink and enjoy the entertainment from a higher vantage point. You’ll also be able to experience all the action from Deck 8.

Overall, the Indoor Decks 6, 7, and 8 are filled with activities, dining options, and beautiful design elements, making it a spectacular part of any Mardi Gras cruise experience.

Deck 6 Forward Cloud 9 Spa

Located all the way forward on deck 6 is the Cloud 9 Spa. This luxurious facility spans two decks, with the main spa area found on deck 6, while the gym occupies the port side of deck 5. The spa features a range of state-of-the-art facilities, including the thermal suite. Take a break from your busy schedule onboard Mardi Gras to indulge in some pampering and much-needed relaxation.

mardi gras cloud 9 spa interior gallery 1
Cloud 9 Suites on Carnival Mardi Gras | Photo Credit Carnival Cruise Lines

The thermal suite in the Cloud 9 Spa is an oasis of tranquility. It offers a variety of treatments designed to help you unwind and rejuvenate. From massages and facials to body wraps and invigorating scrubs, there is something for everyone at the spa. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to ensure that your experience is one to remember.

You will find the gym just across from the spa on the starboard side. This modern and well-equipped facility offers everything you need to stay in shape while on your cruise. The gym features a range of cardio and strength-training equipment and a variety of fitness classes led by professional instructors. Whether you prefer to work out alone or with a group, the gym at Cloud 9 Spa caters to all fitness levels and preferences.

As they say, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. So make sure to plan a visit to the Cloud 9 Spa to experience this elevated level of relaxation and rejuvenation for yourself during your cruise aboard the Mardi Gras.

Punchliner Comedy Club

I want to tell you about the amazing Punchliner Comedy Club onboard Mardi Gras. Located all the way forward on Deck 6, this club offers comedy shows every night. It’s a great place to come for a night of laughs and memorable experiences with talented comedians.

The Punchliner Comedy Club is designed to provide a cozy atmosphere where guests can relax and enjoy hilarious performances. Sometimes, the comedy shows extend into the Limelight Lounge and Center Stage, so there’s always a chance to catch some entertainment regardless of where you are on the ship.

One thing to note is that the seats at Punchliner Comedy Club fill up quickly. So if you want to ensure you get a good spot, arriving a little early for the show is best. The great thing about this venue is that it’s only a short walk away from other fantastic spots like the Piano Bar, where you can enjoy more live music and entertainment.

In conclusion, the Punchliner Comedy Club is an excellent onboard experience for anyone looking to laugh and enjoy top-notch performances. With nightly shows and talented comedians, it’s a must-visit during your cruise on Mardi Gras.

Piano Bar

At the piano bar, every night is a fantastic experience. Starting at 9 o’clock, the place is jam-packed with people enjoying the lively atmosphere. From my experience, I recommend arriving early if you want to secure a seat, as the place is always hopping.

Inside the piano bar, the ambiance is perfect for enjoying good music and relaxing with a drink. The musicians are incredibly talented; one night, I enjoyed a jazz trio that played a mix of modern-day songs with a jazz twist. Each member played their instruments – an upright bass, drums, and keyboard – with such skill and passion, creating a captivating performance.

One of the key features of the piano bar is its central location on the ship. Being in such close proximity to other entertainment venues like the Punchliner Comedy Club and Grand Central, it’s easy to transition from one lively atmosphere to another. Moreover, the diverse range of music offerings ensures that there’s always something for everyone to enjoy.

In addition to the fantastic music, the piano bar offers a variety of beverages to further enhance your experience. The attentive bartenders and servers ensure that you’re always well taken care of, helping to create a truly memorable night.

With a perfect mix of music, entertainment, and beverages, the piano bar is a must-visit spot on the ship. Its energetic atmosphere and talented musicians will undoubtedly leave you wanting to return for more.

Grand Central

Grand Central is an area that has completely reinvented the traditional atrium experience on Carnival Mardi Gras. Located midship on Deck 6, this innovative space functions as a central hub for various activities happening onboard the ship. One of the main features of Grand Central is its massive stage that doubles as a second theater for events, activities, and night-time entertainment.

Seating in Grand Central is abundant, allowing guests to enjoy the bustling atmosphere and activities from several levels. Deck 6 provides many seating options, along with a bar for beverages while enjoying the entertainment. On Deck 7, additional seating and another bar can be found, ensuring that guests can always find a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy the shows. Even from Deck 8, you can catch a glimpse of what’s happening on the stage below.

To satisfy those cravings for a delicious pick-me-up, Java Blue Cafe is just a stone’s throw away from Grand Central. With specialty coffees, smoothies, pastries, and sandwiches, this cafe offers a variety of treats to indulge in. While the pastries come at an extra cost, the sandwiches are free of charge all day long. For those who don’t want to pay for coffee, a complimentary coffee station is also available.

Overall, Grand Central is truly the heart of the Carnival Mardi Gras, connecting the various decks and entertainment options to create a lively and dynamic atmosphere for guests to enjoy. From live performances to the convenience of coffee shops and bars, there’s always something happening in this exciting new hub.

Java Blue Café

At the Java Blue Café, you can get your specialty coffees and smoothies throughout the day. The café also offers pastries, although these come at an extra charge. However, if you’re looking for a quick bite without spending a dime, you can enjoy the complimentary sandwiches available all day long.

If you’d rather not pay for coffee, there’s a free coffee station over to the side of the café. This spot gets quite busy, so make sure to grab your caffeine fix when you can. The Java Blue Café is located within the expansive area called Grand Central, which acts as the hub of the ship, ensuring that you’re always close to the action.

In addition to its food and beverage offerings, the Java Blue Café features ample seating on deck six. If you prefer a spot with a view, head up to deck seven, where you’ll find even more seating and an additional bar. You won’t miss any of the stage activities happening in Grand Central, as the area is visible from decks six, seven, and eight.

Center Stage

Center Stage is an entirely new concept for Carnival ships and serves as the heart of the ship’s entertainment. Replacing the traditional atrium, Center Stage is a vast area featuring a massive stage that doubles as a second theater. Throughout the day, the stage hosts various activities, and by nightfall, it transforms into a vibrant entertainment spot.

Seating is plentiful at Center Stage. On Deck 6, a bar and numerous seats surround the stage. Moving up to Deck 7, you’ll find even more seating and another bar. Additionally, you can catch a glimpse of the action from Deck 8, ensuring you won’t miss any of the excitement happening on stage.

Adjacent to Center Stage, you can find the Java Blue Cafe. This café is perfect for grabbing a refreshing specialty coffee or smoothie. Though pastries come at an additional charge, there are complimentary sandwiches available throughout the day. Additionally, if you prefer not to splurge on a specialty coffee, a free coffee station is conveniently located nearby.

One of the most appealing aspects of Center Stage is its versatility. As the heart of the ship, it serves as a central hub for various activities, gatherings, and entertainment. The dynamic and lively atmosphere keeps you engaged and entertained, ensuring a memorable experience onboard the Mardi Gras.

French Quarter

While on the Mardi Gras, I had the pleasure of visiting the French Quarter, a New Orleans-inspired area that boasts some of the most exciting entertainment and dining options on the ship. Within the French Quarter, I found the Brass Magnolia, Fortune Teller Bar, and Emerald’s Bistro.

The Brass Magnolia quickly became one of my favorite spots on the ship. This Louisiana-themed bar and music venue made for some incredibly enjoyable evenings. At night, they hosted a magnificent jazz trio with an upright bass, drums, and keyboard, who played modern-day songs with a jazz twist. Their talent and unique performances drew me in and kept me coming back for more.

In the swanky New Orleans-style area, I discovered the Fortune Teller Bar. This elegant and upscale bar was a perfect spot to unwind and relax while enjoying expertly crafted cocktails in a sophisticated atmosphere. The décor and ambiance of this bar truly made me feel as though I was transported to the heart of the Crescent City.

Finally, I had the opportunity to dine at Emerald’s Bistro, another highlight of my French Quarter experience. This specialty dining restaurant was designed to resemble a classic café, and they served an assortment of mouth-watering dishes. The meals they offered provided a delightful culinary experience that left me craving more. The French Quarter and its offerings add a touch of New Orleans flair to the Carnival Mardi Gras, setting the stage for unforgettable moments on this incredible ship.

Emerald’s Bistro

Emerald’s Bistro is located within the French Quarter on Mardi Gras and offers a unique dining experience for visitors looking for specialty cuisine. As I entered this café-style restaurant, I was immediately drawn to the stylish design and atmosphere.

One thing that sets Emerald’s Bistro apart from other dining venues on the ship is its intimate setting. The French Quarter is beautifully designed with a swanky New Orleans theme, and Emerald’s blends seamlessly into this ambiance. With comfortable seating and a cozy atmosphere, this restaurant provides the perfect environment for a leisurely meal or a place to unwind after an action-packed day on the ship.

Another interesting aspect of Emerald’s Bistro is that it initially started as a specialty dining restaurant. Over time, it has evolved and adapted to feature not only an excellent selection of dishes but also serves as a café. This makes it an ideal spot to enjoy a variety of food options while taking in the overall ambiance of the French Quarter.

Emerald’s Bistro has consistently delivered an unforgettable dining experience throughout my time onboard, Mardi Gras. From its unique setting within the French Quarter to its extensive menu, this restaurant offers something for everyone to enjoy.

PS: Want to track the actual location of the Mardi Gras? Check out our Carnival Cruise Ship Tracker.

Carnival Mardi Gras Final Thoughts

Overall the Carnival Mardi Gras is the finest Carnival ship at the moment. With the arrival of the Carnival Jubilee, that ranking might change. We are scheduled to be on the Jubilee in May 2024 and will have a thorough video review.