Saturday, March 19, 2022

Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 19, 2022

 Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 19, 2022 
Just The Facts:

Ship:  Mardi Gras…Largest & flagship of the Carnival fleet. 182,000 gross tons. 5282+ capacity.

Ship Captain:  Allessandro Iemmi  -  Hotel Director: Pierre Camilleri - Cruise Director: Lee the CD           
Ports: Port Canaveral - Cozumel, Mexico - Costa Maya, Mexico - Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras
This is my seventh cruise on Carnival’s new flagship, Mardi Gras, my 96th Carnival cruise, and my 177th cruise overall.  I am sailing with the DW (Dear Wife) and have friends and colleagues sailing this cruise.
Day One -- Saturday --  March 19th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral Embarkation 
We left the Florida Villa about 7:45 am for our drive to Port Canaveral and our 10:00-10:30 am check-in time. Some traffic in Orlando but we arrived at Park-N-Cruise by 10:30 am. They were very busy, but we ran into friends and were able to visit while waiting to be shuttled. We arrived at the pier about 11:15 and went through security and check-in fairly quickly. Having the VeriFLY app helps as well as knowing where to go. We were on board and in our cabin by 11:45 am. Thankfully our cabin was ready for us so we were able to unpack our roll-on bags and set up our cabin. We have a nice balcony on deck 14 aft. Yes, you can hear the Bolt, I did not consider that in choosing a location. We checked in to our Muster Station on deck 7, then went up to Lido Deck for lunch. I had my favorite Big Chicken selections and DW enjoyed a nice salad. Then some rest and nap time in the cabin. Cabin steward Kris brought Ice and I scheduled our cabin cleaning times (~11 am daily). About 4:00 pm the Carnival Elation sailed past and we had our formal Muster announcements before our sail away soon afterward. We went to Summer Landing for drinks and met friends for BBQ dinner. I ordered the Filet Mignon, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Slaw, and Onion Fries. The steak was fantastic, the ribs were just so-so. DW had Macaroni & Cheese and Slaw, she didn’t care for it so she had a Vegetable Lasagne from the Lido Marketplace later. We collected our $50 free-play in the casino and turned it into $50 real chips with $25 free play left. Sweet. We watched the Center Stage Band (photo above) and ran into family members and visited, we will get together with them later. Small world. We sat outside on deck 16 and enjoyed dessert…we had plans but decided to retire early. We do need the rest from a very busy work week at the Villa. It was a very good day with surprises on the Mardi Gras.

Day Two -- Sunday --  March 6th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Very smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. Woke early, did some business, but fell back to sleep until a BOLT test run woke me again about 8:00 am. We met the family for the Sea Day Brunch in the Palm restaurant at about 10:00 am. Very busy this morning, but the girls were more interested in visiting than food so we had a long casual brunch. I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, Apple Danish, Tomato Juice, French Toast, and Leche Caliente. It was a very good breakfast. I returned to the cabin and the DW went shopping...I had a nice two-hour nap too. At 3:00 pm I saw another first for me…Cubans in a yellow rubber raft heading towards Florida. It’s a perfect day for an attempt. We were as close to the Cuban coast as allowed and we passed them fairly close on starboard as I was standing out on the balcony. Amazing, I wish them luck…Freedom is precious. We went down to the Alchemy Bar about 4:00 pm for cocktails, it was great seeing the Bartenders again. Daniel prepared two nice cocktails for us an absinth for me. I’m not longer an MDR person, but my friend Kelli arranged a nice table for the four of us with our favorite waiter for 5:00 pm. Early for me but it has become difficult to get good service and seating on a elegant night with 5000+ guests on board. Tonight I ordered the Sicilian Meatball Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara (as a starter), two Broiled Lobster Tails, and Mixed Fruit for dessert. DW ordered the Root Vegetables in a Pie Crust and Chocolate Melting Cake. It was a very good dinner and excellent service. We returned to the cabin and watched the sunset from our balcony and relaxed after dinner. I did a walkabout the ship picking up some water and candy for the cabin then we met Friends & Family in the Brass Magnolia. Instrumental Grooves with Washboard Joe has become one of my all-time favorite musical groups at sea. The Brazilian group is so talented and play a variety of music with a unique Jazz sound. Very enjoyable and we got an encore from them tonight. First time I’ve seen them do that and I caught most of their performances on the previous cruise when my cabin was below the Brass Magnolia. Everyone in the room and our group enjoyed them.  It was a wonderful ending to a great sea day on the Mardi Gras. 

Day Three -- Monday — March 21st, 2022 — Cozumel, Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was up early and watched us sail in the Straits of Cozumel. We had room Service delivery this morning so no rush to leave the cabin. We were docked before our scheduled 10:00 am arrival and no other Carnival ships at Puerto Maya…I did miss the Carnival Breeze. It’s a beautiful day in Cozumel so many guests will love a beach day. We met the surprise Family in the Havana outer lounge area about 11:45 to debark the ship. We shared a taxi into San Miguel and proceeded to Woody’s Bar and Grill my Cozumel hangout. Live Music! It was busy as we were arriving later than normal and it was lunchtime. We had a nice table and DW and I started with a proper Mexican Coca-cola as usual. I saw other friends and we soon ordered our Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, & Chips. Very good guacamole today…and becoming harder to find in the USA. I had a lot of business to do today including several cruise bookings for the owner and signing documents for Texas real estate transactions. The others spent time shopping…buying some very unique items. I did have time to get my haircut at Antonio’s Barber Shop. After a visit to the Pharmacia, we took the taxi back to Puerto Maya arriving well before our 6:30 back on board time. After some brief cabin time, we met our travel friends for dinner at La Cucina del Capitano. Tonight I ordered my favorites: the Arancini, Nonna’s Meatballs, a Pasta Pomodoro (as a starter), and the Chicken Parmesan entree. It was excellent as was the service. The only place with tablecloths on the ship too. After dinner and a busy day, we retired to the cabin and I was soon asleep. It was a very productive day in Cozumel and on the Mardi Gras.
Day Four -- Tuesday --  March 22nd, 2022 -- Costa Maya, Mexico  
Some rolling seas overnight and I slept well. We were docked by 9:00 am and it's a beautiful sunny day in Roatan. We had a very lazy morning in the cabin enjoying a fruit basket and the wonderful view from our balcony. Some follow-up business to do before leaving the cabin for a walkabout. We had brunch on Lido aft, Big Chicken for me, and a small Salad for the DW. We spent the afternoon on our balcony, we are docked blocking the sun and had a perfect breeze all afternoon. I was able to arrange some work on the ranch and DW read as we both enjoyed the view and weather. DW brought a Blue Iguana Salad down to eat and also some cookies to go with my Coca-cola, perfect day for a balcony. I took a walkabout before sailing away as I wanted to get photos of the Carnival Pride’s aft balconies as she is docked next to us today. I was easily able to see the balcony we will have for two cruises in Europe and the Transatlantic cruise in October (photo above).  The DW wanted to stay in this evening so I went to the Pig & Anchor for BBQ. I ordered the 1/2 Chicken special of the day, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Potato Fries, and Onion Fries. The chicken was only fair, the ribs were much better tonight and I had the Apple Cobbler for dessert. I watched the last 3 innings of the OU vs. Kentucky Softball game in Summer Landing, I enjoyed watching the OU girls last season when they won the National Championship. They are off to a good start as this win puts their record at 26-0. Afterward, I went to the Alchemy Bar for another nice cocktail from Daniel, then to the 11:00 pm Late Night Comedy Showcase in the Theater with Jorge Solano, and Billy D. Washington. It was a very good show. Barely time for a final Sazerac from the Brass Magnolia before they closed. It was another FUN day on the Mardi Gras.
Day Five -- Wednesday --  March 23rd, 2022 -- Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras
Heavy rolling seas overnight, it was a nice ride. I woke about 8:00 am and we were already docked at Mahogany Bay. Our balcony view is of the Bay and shipwreck side. The weather is beautiful but it will be hot today. We had room service breakfast this morning and no excursions planned outside the port so taking our time. We left the ship just to get in some walking and did the nature trail and walked as far as guests can go within the port property. We stopped at Fat Tuesdays for water, burrito, and a few Salva Vida beers. We walked the shops and craft areas before returning to the ship for cabin and nap time. A very nice nap. We went to the Fortune Teller Bar for cocktails this evening, DW had the Third Eye and I had a Bog Juice. We then met friends for dinner @ 6:30 pm at ChiBang. Tonight I ordered all my favorites: Egg Drop Soup, Green Salad, Kung Pow Chicken entree (very spicy), Beef & Broccoli entree, Hakka Noodles, Grilled Broccoli and the Tres Leches dessert. DW orderd a Salad and a Cheese Quesidilla. It was very good. After dinner, we met the surprise family at Brass Magnolia then went to the feature shows at the Center Stage: The Residency, Classic Magic, and Lovin’ Vegas. We had very good seats and it was a great evening of entertainment including Big Band Music, Singers, Dancers, Aerialist, Light Show, and more. An amazing Las Vegas-style show about Las Vegas. These are the shows not to be missed on the Mardi Gras. It was my third time to see it, but won’t be my last. It was a FUN day in Mahogony Bay and on the Mardi Gras.

Day Six -- Thursday --  March 24th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Rolling seas overnight that became smoother by dawn. I slept well although waking too early @ 6:00 am. I had some travel business to update on recent bookings that I completed before Room Service was delivered @ 8:30 am. It's a beautiful day so guests will enjoy the pool and outer decks. Today is the day I cash in my Casino Chips. I've been using my Diamond benefit $25 free-play that I carried from cruise to cruise to play on the Roulette Wheel the past several cruises. I have been lucky and converted them into $365 in real chips…cashed out this morning…not bad and to myself much more fun than playing Slots. The Diamond Luncheon was at noon in the Flamingo Dining Room, we sat with our good friends and had a very enjoyable lunch. I ordered the Peaches & Greens Salad (the new item-thinly sliced peaches as a base), the NY Strip Steak, & Tres Leches dessert. DW ordered the same salad and the vegetarian Pappardelle Pasta, which was very good, I sampled it. We had a favorite server, Servio Jr., and generous cocktail servers…we were the last guests to leave so yes…we enjoyed the luncheon. Cabin time after lunch. I updated this blog and DW went up to get an Ice Creme. The weather and shaded balcony are ideal for cabin/balcony time this afternoon, but the best was…a Nap. Nice. We met the surprise family in the Brass Magnolia for cocktails at about 7:00 pm. It was DW’s baby sistear's birthday. The entertainers were The Backyard Band, it seems our Washboard guys have an illness in the group, miss them. We had a nice dinner at La Cucina del Capitano, I ordered a lot: a Minestrone Soup, the Arancini, Nonna’s Meatballs, a Pasta Pomodoro (as a starter), and the Veal Marsala entree. It was a great meal. A short walkabout the ship before retiring for the evening. It was a lazy enjoyable day on the Mardi Gras.

Day Seven -- Friday --  March 25th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 

Rolling seas overnight, slept fair, did the up in the night, then slept late routine. I didn’t get around until 10:30 am even after a very restful previous day so a fruit basket breakfast. We did a walkabout, I purchased a Gift Card from Cherry on Top and we saw friends and family. We had lunch at ChiBang. I had both a nice Steak & Chicken Mongolian style stir-fry with nice Vegetables & Noodles and a Mexican Burrito bowl. DW had a Burrito Bowl. I like how they serve both Tortilla Chip and Fried Wonton with Pico de Gallo and an Asian hot sauce. Two worlds combining for the starters. Nice table and servers, we were very pleased with lunch. The weather has cooled only 74° at mid-day, but nice if sunning on deck as many guests are doing today. 5700 guests are enjoying the Mardi Gras this cruise, but it does not seem as crowded as the Sailabration cruise because there are 1300 children this week and enough activities for them that keep them from areas I frequent. Sailabration cruise was a premium price sailing with primarily all adults. I hadn’t had a Guy’s burger this cruise so had one this afternoon, it was cooked perfectly and very good. The Platinum & Diamond party was this afternoon @ 4:00, I didn’t attend but I took advantage of the free drink on my S&S card at the Fortune Teller Bar. We met the surprise family for cocktails and joined them for dinner at their table in the Palm Restaurant (photo above). DW and I ordered the Cobb Salad, I had the Pork Chop entree and DW the Enchiladas. Baked Alaska and the farewell song by the waiters ended the dining experience. We did a short walkabout and I had a final beer at the Pig and Anchor before retiring. It was a FUN final day on the Mardi Gras.

Debarkation -- Saturday --  March 26th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral, Florida 
Smoother seas overnight as we sailed along the coast of Florida and I slept fair. I was up by 5:40 am and we were already alongside the pier so I started my packing process. DW packed previous night. The Diamond guests, only 180 on board this cruise, meet was at 7:30 am at the Punchliner Comedy space, but they were already debarking at 7:20 when we got to deck 6. We were out and on the parking shuttle strait away.  I love Park-N-Cruise.  On the road at 8:00 am.  We stopped at Farmers Daughter in Brooksville about 10:00 am for brunch, then onto Spring Hill to pick-up the dog and GD (grand-daughter).  Home at the Villa in Meadow Oaks about noon.
Sailing with the DW
Sailing with Surprise Family and Friends
Instrumental Grooves with Washboard Joe 
Lovin' Vegas Show at Center Stage
The Themed Bars: Alchemy, Fortune Teller, & the Brass Magnolia
Good Fast Food: Big Chicken, Guy’s Burgers

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 5, 2022


           Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 5th, 2022

Just The Facts: 
Ship:  Mardi Gras…Largest & flagship of the Carnival fleet. 182,000 gross tons. 5282 capacity. 
Ship Captain:  Allessandro Iemmi  -  Hotel Director: Damir Mrsic  - Cruise Director: Chris, the Flying Scotsman
Ports: Port Canaveral - Mahogony Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico
This is my sixth cruise on Carnival’s new flagship, Mardi Gras, My 95th Carnival cruise, and my 176th cruise overall.  I am sailing as a solo on my forth leg of a B2B2B2B, four consecutive cruises on the Mardi Gras. I am sailing as a solo, but will know a lot of seasoned Carnival cruisers on board for the 50th Sailabration this week.

Day One -- Saturday --  March 5th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral Embarkation 
Center Stage during the day

We had smoother seas overnight and I slept with the Cabin door open to hear the sea. I was up early and watched as we sailed into Port Canaveral as I did the last cruise. I will be moving back to an interior this morning. I packed my bags and left them to be moved, then I had breakfast at Blue Iguana, a Burrito this time. I was taking my time getting to the B2B meet location as I know the MO and there were a lot of guests onboard. It ran a little later than the previous but had 230 B2B’s this cruise, double last week's count. We were walked down then back up by 11:00 am. Not bad considering the numbers. I went to my cabin and it wasn’t finished and no bags, so I went to my old cabins and brought them down myself. Saved the $5 I had placed on my bags. My new cabin was finished by the time I returned so I unpacked and set up for my final week. I’m on deck 5 close to mid-elevators, a pretty central location. My B2B basket was delivered and about 1:00 I went up to deck 16 and Big Chicken…already a long line but it went quickly. I had an MDE (basic chicken sandwich) and Tenders with Shaq & BBQ/Ranch sauces. Very good as always. I saw several friends along the way. I then went down to deck 6 and my Muster Station. I saw several good friends at Brass Magnolia who had just boarded. I picked up my VIFP gifts (same) at Pixels, then back to the cabin for afternoon nap time. I met my Cabin Steward and requested ice, robe, and mid-day service. I went up to the Alchemy for two nice cocktails from Jennifer and an Oyster from the Oyster Cart, it was very good. Afterward, I had a Farmhouse Ale in the Pig & Anchor while waiting for my dining table. Tonight I had the Filet Mignon, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Slaw, and Onion Fries. It was excellent. I’m running into old friends everyplace I go…very nice to see all the regulars from the old JH Bloggers cruises, TransAtlantics, and special event cruises…so the long-time hardcore guests are on board. I later watched the Welcome Aboard Show with Chris the CD, something I rarely do…loved the graphics of all the entertainers on the big LED screen. I retired early and since I’m in an interior I will have the TV on the forward camera during the day and the Map Channel at night. It was an easy Embarkation Day on the Mardi Gras.
Day Two -- Sunday --  March 6th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept very well in the interior cabin. I was up and on deck by 8:30 as the WiFi went down. I went by Guest Services to get small bills, RSVP for luncheon, and have my boarding photo taken. Then to Summer Landing for breakfast, they have all the basics including grapefruit. The casino was my final stop to get my $25 free play, there are so many VIFPs they do not require supervisor approval. I saw even more friends on this walkabout. At noon I attended the Diamond Luncheon in the Flamingo Restaurant. There are 508 Diamonds on this sailing so they are having the event on the first two sea days. For lunch, I ordered the Pork Belly, the NY Strip Steak entree, and the Fruit Plate for dessert. The food was good, but as a good friend mentioned two cruises ago, ‘we’re here for the drinks' and the bar service was very good. I had a stag table with old friends…it’s always a FUN get-together. I returned to the cabin to drop off two cans of soda and ended up taking a great nap…four hours. Super. The 50th-anniversary pin was delivered to my cabin as well as a refill of items for my Fruit Bowl, without disturbing my nap. Thanks all around Carnival. The last few cruises on Mardi Gras the elegant night dinner has been a fiasco, so tonight I went contrarian and I went to Pig & Anchor for dinner. I was right only 6 tables dining at 7:45 pm. Amazing. I took my Mason Jar and had a huge Farm-House Ale. Tonight I ordered the Strip Steak, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Slaw, and Onion Fries. It was better than excellent, the Ribs much better tonight than last night. Also finished my ale with good friends at the bar. I then made the 9:30 feature production show in the Theater: Rock Revolution, Summer of ’69. I had great seats on the 4th-row center…easier for a solo to score seats. It was a great show, my first time to have seen it. I bought candy at Cherry on Top and walked by the Washboard Joe guys on break, so stashed my candy in my Cabin (directly below) fixed a soft drink, and went up to watch their final set. It’s the set he uses the washboard so it's very entertaining. A quick visit to Alchemy to see friends and then retired for the evening. It was a fantastic sea day on the Mardi Gras.
Day Three -- Monday — March 7th, 2022 — Fun Day at Sea. — Sailabration Event  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. Some work to do this morning, but got away for a Bloody Mary in Flavortown (Summer Landing) by 10:30 am. First walkabout that I didn’t see anyone new. Sunny skies and pleasant outdoors, guests are loving it. I went to Big Chicken about noon for lunch, it is so very good. They are getting a lot of business but move food quickly. I saw friends who were on the ship for the first time and we discussed the NEW features, many they missed so I’m going to list them at the end of this review. They finally made an announcement about the seven Carnival ships gathering together later today so I won’t be napping this afternoon as on the previous day. The 50th Birthday merchandise became available this morning…I did get a magnet, about all I get in ports anymore anyway. I spent a couple of hours outside from 4:00 pm during the 
50th Birthday Sailabration Ship Meet-up. It was interesting seeing all the ships together. It was the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Pride, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Vista, Carnival Glory, Carnival Sunshine, and the Mardi Gras. The MG led a formation for a bit, I’m sure they had helicopters filming it all. The maneuvering took a while but I enjoyed two Pilsner Urquells from the Serenity Bar…who was doing a booming business with so many on deck. Yes, I did see more friends. Much needed cabin time as a from the break from the heat before going out. Just a short walkabout and I decided to try the Piazza Panini for sandwiches. I had a #12 Carne —(pepper roast beef, provolone, caramelized onion, tomato, and salsa verde on rustic bread) that has been highly recommended and a #3 Turkey (turkey, avocado, cucumber, arugula, and basil on a pretzel bun) just in case I didn’t care for #12. Both were very good. I watched a person with several $100 in free play chips at the Roulette Wheel. He answered some of my questions with the fact he played $25 on both red and black so that was almost guaranteed turning half of his free play into real $ cash. Interesting and I have considered that. I retired a bit early, too much afternoon sun. It was an interesting and unique sea day on the Mardi Gras.
Day Four -- Tuesday --  March 8th, 2022 -- Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras 
Very Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We were docked by 8:00 am and it's a beautiful sunny day in Roatan. I went for a very nice late breakfast at Blue Iguana, the usual Huevos Rancheros with two easy-fried eggs, Pico de Gallo, Ham, Arepas, & Watermelon. Best breakfast on the ship. I sat with good friends at the Tiki Bar and Michael, my former favorite Bloody Mary maker on the ship was bar tendering. Of course, I had to have one and it was good, now I know where to go on port days as Flavortown (Pig & Anchor Bar) is closed until noon on port days. I left the ship about 1:00 pm to get some walking exercise, I walked as far as one can go including nature trails then walked back. It did warm especially when on the jungle trails and away from the water & breeze. Some recovery time before going to an early dinner at La Cucina del Capitano. Tonight I ordered the Arancini, Nonna’s Meatballs, a Pasta Pomodoro (as a starter), and the Chicken Parmesan entree. It was excellent as was the service. The only place with tablecloths on the ship too. After dinner I had a nice cocktail prepared by Corina at the Alchemy Bar and visited with my good friends, third time today we have run into each other. Also more friends seen for the first time.  I did a walkabout the ship and turned in early, the walking, good food, and cocktail were ideal for sleep. It was a good port day on the Mardi Gras.

Day Five -- Wednesday --  March 9th, 2022 -- Costa Maya, Mexico  
Smoothest seas of the four cruises overnight, I did the up @ 4:00 am to update items online then back to sleep routine. The wind and waves really picked up in the Straits of Cozumel. The ship is really rocking even though we are tied up at the pier. I’m staying on board ship as I can pick up cell service from shore and use Carnival WiFi from the ship. It’s been hard to get into secure sites without two-factor authorization. Bought shares, but it should have been done yesterday. Also checked in on the Girls in Florida. An enjoyable work session from the Lido deck this morning. About 1:00 I went aft to Big Chicken, that’s always a good lunch. I went down to the pier to meet a friend on the Glory that is docked next to us today and saw new friends from the Mardi Gras as well. Amazing how many old friends are on board for the Carnival Sailabration. I went to the Alchemy Bar for a nice cocktail by the Beautiful Jennifer then went down to the Fortune Teller Bar for a Bog Juice. I decided to eat at Emeril’s Bistro 1396 while down in the French Quarter. I ordered the Crispy Boudin Sausage Balls and Natchitoches Meat Pies. They were very good. I then went to the Center Stage and scored a second-row floor seat to see the show The Residency featuring the Center Stage Band, followed by a short Magic Show, then the late feature show Lovin’ Vegas. That show features the full band, the Singers & Dancers, and a group of aerial performers. An amazing Las Vegas-style show
(see photo). It was my second time to see it, but won’t be my last. A final cocktail at Fortune Teller before retiring. It was another great day on the Mardi Gras.

Day Six -- Thursday --  March 10th, 2022 -- Cozumel, Mexico
Smooth seas overnight, and I slept well waking at 7:00 am. I met my good friend Dave at 8:00 am and shared a taxi to Hotel Cozumel and Resort for the day. His DW decided to stay so it was a stag day. Only $45 for a Day Pass (9-5) that includes Beach, Hotel Pool, WiFi, Food & Drink. We were a bit early, but the first surprise was yes includes breakfast. I had two proper Huevos Rancheros, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Toast, Chicken Tortas, and more. We started at the beach by 9:00 am and I had a Coca-cola when the bar opened at 10:00 am. I enjoyed two good swim sessions in the water...I did bring goggles so I could see as much fish as a snorkeler. About noon we moved up to the Hotel Pool. Complementary pina-flavored water as soon as we sat. I enjoyed a few Dos Equis Cerveza on tap then switched to Mojitos after lunch. Smaller glasses but generous pours. Lunch is ordered off of a menu. I ordered the Mixed Burrito that came with Fries and an order of Guacamole & Chips. It was good. The swimming pool was refreshing. We have an early 4:00 pm departure due to switching port days because of the Sailabration meet-up so we left about 3:00 pm and were back on the ship by the 3:30 request time. I very much enjoyed the visit to the resort. Rest & relaxation once back on board. The 50th Birthday dinner is tonight in the Main Dining Rooms, no way I’m attempting that even with the through-back items on the menu. About 6:30 I went down to the Pig & Anchor for dinner, sitting at the bar enjoying a large Farmhouse Ale while waiting for my table. Tonight is Pork Chop night and that is what I ordered, it was great, especially with the signature BBQ sauces on the table. Of course the usual St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Slaw, and Onion Fries. I had the Banana Creme Pie for dessert…very good. I did a walkabout on the outer deck, a beautiful evening, then retired early…Movie night in the cabin, The Longest Day. It was an excellent Cozumel day on the Mardi Gras.
Day Seven -- Friday --  March 11th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea — Carnival’s 50th Birthday
Smooth seas overnight and I did the up @ 4:00 am to update items online then back to sleep routine again. About 11:30 I was off to the Summer Landing for a Bloody Mary. They were busy but Ivana helped me out. I saw B2B friends and Texas friends, still haven’t seen all. I had not had had Guy’s burger this cruise so that’s where I went for lunch…good burgers, great fries, and a nice table outside. I like the 50th anniversary pressed hamburger bun (see photo). I crave candy after a burger, at home or at sea so a quick trip to Cherry on Top. I had a walkabout the ship and it’s getting cloudy and cooling off as we approach Florida. They did have a large Birthday Cake on display on Lido, I believe they have done that fleet-wide. I went up to the Serenity Deck and had some Sun and Hot Tub time and enjoyed my free Diamond meet cocktail, a Mojito. I did Big Chicken just before they closed and that will be my dinner, when I’m back in 8 days with the DW I’ll be doing the dining rooms so taking advantage of solo cruising today. The hot tub on Deck 16 was going unused so might as well watch the sundown from the aft pool area. Nice. I went to the Alchemy Bar for a Hugo Spritzer from Corina, it was nice, she was surprised that I knew what it was…I had asked her to make me her favorite. I then went to see the 9:00 pm. production show: Broadway Beats in the Mardi Gras theater. It was very good and I had a seat in row two, Sweet. Afterward, I went to the casino to play my $75 in free-play at the Roulette Wheel and I was able to turn it into $60 in real $. Sweet again. Washboard Joe was doing their final set, a great Jazz set, in the Mongolian Grill. Triple Sweet and a good ending to the final sea day on the Mardi Gras.
Debarkation -- Saturday --  March 12th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral, Florida
Smooth seas overnight as we sailed along the coast of Florida and I slept well. I was up at 6:00 am and we were already alongside the pier so I started the packing up process. The Diamond guests meet is at 7:30 am at Center Stage...seems all 508 wanted off early. Overall not so bad...Face Recognition at Border Security and the parking shuttle was waiting so we were at the parking lot just after 8:00 am. My auto was ready with the key and I was on the highway by 8:15 am. I am very pleased with Park-n-Cruise and highly recommend them for parking at Port Canaveral. A stop at the grocery store and home at the Florida Villa by 11:00 am.
Rock Revolution, Summer of ’69
Lovin’ Vegas
Hotel Cozumel and Resort
Instrumental Grooves with Washboard Joe especially the Jazz sessions
The Themed Bars: Alchemy, Fortune Teller, & the Brass Magnolia
Good Fast Food: Big Chicken & Guy’s Burgers
Sailabration - Gathering of Carnival Ships

Less Obvious FEATURES I Like on MARDI GRAS
Glass shower doors
Glass front refrigerator doors with light
Night light in bathroom
Reading lights & USB on wall of cabin @ bed
Sliding balcony doors
Larger TV screens in cabins
Directional graphic on inside elevator doors indicating Forward/Aft
Clock faces with current time on the floor.
I never ate in the Main Dining Room