Finally! Carnival Cruise's 'Mardi Gras' Ship Has Set Sail

After the long wait due to the pandemic, it’s finally time to laissez les bon temps rouler on the high seas.

Cruising is back. Now, the next time you want to let the bon temps rouler, you can do so at sea. Carnival Cruise Line brought a little slice of the French Quarter to its newest ship, fittingly named Mardi Gras.

Back in 2019 when the ship's moniker was first announced, noted that the name is "actually a throwback to Carnival's very first cruise ship, which was given the same name back in 1972." Now, Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship to set sail with guests from Port Canaveral since the world locked down 16 months ago to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Cruising is coming back, though, and the Mardi Gras promises to make sure those "bon temps" keep rolling right along.

As the massive (180,000 tons!) ship cruises to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, guests will be able to stroll down to the ship's French Quarter deck for New Orleans-style fun. There's the Fortune Teller Bar with dazzling drinks served with a dash of mystery (smoke bubbles?!), The Brass Magnolia, a jazz club that serves up Sazeracs and milk punch, and the all-hands-on-deck Carnival Kitchen.

The real star might be the first-ever at-sea restaurant from famed chef Emeril Lagasse. Emeril's Bistro 1396 brings all your favorite New Orleans flavors to ocean dining. The menu boasts a cavalcade of New Orleans most memorable dishes. There's boudin sausage balls, duck-and-andouille gumbo, creole boiled shrimp, po-boys, oysters, Cajun caviar, muffaletta sandwiches, Natchitoches meat pies, and Emeril's signature jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, and sausage. The menu extends to breakfast, too, with shrimp and grits, breakfast po-boys with eggs, cheese, and bacon or andouille sausage, and bananas foster crepes. The only thing missing are Café du Monde's beignets and coffee and that warm New Orleans air.

Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship departs from Port Canaveral
Anadolu Agency / Contributor/Getty Images

Of course, Emeril isn't the only chef with a restaurant on a ship this big. Guy Fieri has a BBQ spot, there is a two-deck Tiki Bar, a spot for street eats like bao and kebabs, and Shaq's Big Chicken with the basketball star's take on fried chicken with all the fixings. When you're not eating (never!) the ship is home to Bolt, the first-ever open-air roller coaster at sea. That's right, a roller coaster on a cruise ship. Between that and the boudin balls, sign us up to cruise!

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