Hey Park Journey Readers!!
By now we're sure you've all heard about the Bolt Coaster that is debuting on the Carnival Mardi Gras in 2020. Well, our friends at The Coaster Guy have put together a group next December to not only spend 7 nights aboard the Mardi Gras cruising the Caribbean, but also to ride the all new Bolt Coaster.
We are already registered and wanted to offer you all a chance to register as well.
When you register, make sure you indicate that you heard about the cruise through Park Journey (as shown below). We'll have some special treats just for those who join through us.
Click here to register for the Coaster Cruise!!
You can see all of the information about the Cruise below.
In 2020, Carnival Cruise Line will launch Mardi Gras, the largest ship they have ever built. At 188,000 gross tons, with enough room for over 6,600 passengers, it is the very first ship in their brand new XL-class and the 5th largest cruise ship in the world.
For us coaster enthusiasts, the most exciting thing about this ship is not how big it is, or how many passengers it holds. What we are excited about is what is bolted to the top of it - a roller coaster!! The Mardi Gras will be home to Bolt: The Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first and only roller coaster at sea.
The only way to get this coaster credit is to take this cruise!
Come join us on one of the very first sailings of this magnificent ship and spend a week riding a very unique roller coaster while visiting three exotic island locations - Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Turks & Caicos.
If you have never cruised before, absolutely everything is included! For less than a typical hotel room per night, you get your stateroom, all your food, entertainment, and stops in three exotic ports of call for an entire week. Here is what is included:
Food and Drink
Onboard Activities - Day & Night
Much like a theme park, the Mardi Gras will be made up of six distinct themed zones, with each area uniquely inspired to create a different atmosphere. This allows you to create your own personalized vacation, as you roam from zone to zone, each with different dining, drinking, entertainment, recreation, and relaxation options. The six zones are:
Your cruise will start in the main atrium, which is called Grand Central. The first thing you will notice are the high ceilings, giving you a peek at the fun happening on the three decks immediately above you. There will be lots of natural light streaming in from the floor to ceiling windows, providing you with amazing ocean views. It is here you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee while enjoying live music from the stage, or grabbing a handcrafted cocktail before a show.
The French Quarter
As the name implies, this zone is inspired by none other than New Orleans itself. The French Quarter is lined with bars and eateries worthy of their namesake, serving up everything from small plates to classic Hurricane cocktails straight from the bayou. There is also a hot jazz club, as well as funky little shops to explore.
This zone is considered the greatest chill spot at sea! This is where you will find Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse, with freshly smoked favorites designed by celebrity chef Guy Fieri. You can wash all that smoked meat goodness down with Parched Pig beers, which are brewed right onboard with a resident brewmaster. Of course, this is all available just mere feet from a swimming pool and hot tub.
This zone is home to the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, with pizzas made to order using imported Italian flour and fresh mozzarella cheese. It will also house the specialty Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano, as well as a new Mediterranean spot specializing in seafood. Look for roaming musicians that will enhance your time spent in this zone.
If you have ever sailed on a Carnival ship before, you should be familiar with the Lido deck. This is where a lot of outdoor fun happens. Wrapped around the pool, you'll find Guy's Burger Joint, the Seafood Shack, and the BlueIguana Cantina taco spot, which also serves amazing breakfast burritos! At night, grab some soft-serve from Swirls and pull up a lounge chair to watch the evening's Dive-In Movie on the giant TV screen.
The Ultimate Playground
Last, but certainly not least, is The Ultimate Playground. This zone has something for everyone. First and foremost is Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first and only roller coaster at sea. There is also the largest WaterWorks water park that Carnival has ever built, with three huge spiraling slides. SportSquare has a full mini golf course, an elevated ropes course, a full basketball court, and more. That should be enough to get your blood pumping!
Here are some additional artist renderings of what different parts of the ship will look like
Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster
The Bolt roller coaster is an industry first! Never before has anyone ever been so bold as to attach a roller coaster to the top of a cruise ship. Leave it to a Carnival Fun Ship to do what we've been dreaming about for years! This coaster is located at the highest point of the ship, giving you 360 degree ocean views as you circle the iconic red, white, and blue Carnival whale tail funnel. Unlike traditional roller coasters, this one is not powered by gravity, as there is no lift hill. Instead, it's electric powered, so you launch out of the station, and you control how fast (or slow) you go on the track. Here are some stats:
For those of you who have never cruised before, I would like to explain a few basics. First and foremost, cruising is a lot of fun!! This is not your grandfather's cruise. Think of it as a nice hotel room, situated inside a small city of entertainment, that moves from country to country as you sleep. Every day you wake up, there's something new to see and do. You will have the entire day to explore the city and/or country, having fun and creating new memories. For those days at sea, there is a ton of things to do on the ship. In fact, you will likely not even get to do or experience everything that you want just because there is so much there. Between the shows, bars, entertainers, sports, restaurants...you will never get bored. I promise!
As I mentioned above, absolutely everything you need for the week is included in your base cruise fare; room, meals, entertainment, etc. Just like a hotel, your room will be made up daily, and you'll never go hungry. However, sodas and alcoholic drinks are not included. You can either pay for them as you go, or you can buy a drink package, either soda or alcoholic. They're basically unlimited, all-you-can-drink options that make drinking onboard much easier, and a whole lot less expensive. If you think you might drink more than five drinks a day, then a drink package will save you a ton of money. Ask me for details.
Shore excursions are another cruise add-on that are very popular. Every port of call has different vendors that provide local adventures you can go on, for a fee. Depending on the location, you can ride horses on the beach, go wine tasting in the valley, sail around the island on a catamaran, go golfing, scuba diving, zip lining through the jungle, or any number of fun things in that area. Ask me for details.
The staterooms we have chosen for this group are some of the nicest cabins on the ship. They are on a high floor, for great visibility, and are mostly located mid-ship, so you are never that far from your room. They also have private balconies, so you can sit outside in total privacy and watch the world float by. While in port, you may even have a beautiful view of the island or surrounding area. If you'd like to spring for something even nicer, or perhaps bigger, we can certainly arrange that for whatever the nominal price difference is. If you'd like to try and save a little money, we can also downgrade your room for an ocean view or inside cabin. Talk to me if you think you might like something different.
The base price for this cruise that we have locked in with Carnival is $964/person, based on double occupancy, not including port fees and taxes. This means that you need to commit to two people in each cabin to get this price. If you're a solo traveler, there is a 200% supplement charge, which is a fancy way of saying that you'll basically be paying double for the privilege of having the cabin to yourself. Each cabin will either have one king size bed, or two twins, based on your preference during booking. The port fees and taxes are just that. They are fees that Carnival gets charged every time they dock in a foreign port. They take that cost and split it up amongst the passengers, so everybody pays their fair share. This amount varies on every cruise, based on the ports you call on, and how many of them there are. For this cruise, it's $127.52/person and there's no getting out of it. Therefore, when you look at the total cost for this cruise, it comes to $1,091.52/person. We only have a limited number of cabins guaranteed at this rate. Once they are gone, we can still book you into the group, but the cost will be based on whatever the prevailing rate is that day. Bottom line is - book soon to guarantee the best price.
This cruise comes out to be just under $156/person per day for the entire week. You can barely find a decent hotel room for that, not to mention all the food you care to eat, entertainment, transportation between multiple countries, all on a brand new ship. And, don't forget that you will also get a brand new coaster credit that all of your friends will be jealous of! It really is a tremendous value for a wonderful vacation!
You also do not need to pay for the entire cruise right away. Since we do not sail until December 2020, you have almost two whole years to save for it. All you need to pay now is a small deposit to lock in a cabin on the ship. For a nominal deposit of $250/person, you not only guarantee your spot on the ship, but you also get to pick out your exact cabin. The sooner you sign up, the better cabin selection there is to choose from. The rest of the money isn't due until Sep 21, 2020. You can wait and pay it all at once, or you can make smaller payments along the way. However you want to do it. You can also rest assured that everything is 100% refundable up until that same date, Sep 21, 2020. Two years is a long ways away and we never know what the future holds for us. If something comes up and you can't make the trip, you can rest assured that you can get your money back up until Sep 21, 2020. Even after that date, you can still get a refund, but there will be penalties involved. The closer to the cruise date you cancel, the more severe the penalties are. I will go over all the dates with you when you book.
One expense that people don't often warn new cruisers about is the gratuities. The cruise lines charge all guests a flat gratuity per person, per day, for the duration of the cruise. This covers the tips for all the various people that will wait on you throughout each day, such as your cabin steward, bartenders, and restaurant wait staff. For Carnival, this is currently set at $13.99/day, or $97.93/person for the entire week ($15.99/person for suites). This can either be prepaid before the cruise, or it will be added to your onboard account that must be settled before you depart. If you choose not to pre-pay it, you will have the opportunity to discuss it with Guest Services at the end of your cruise if you are dissatisfied for any reason. They will do their best to make it right with you. The gratuities are the only mandatory expense that is not included in your cruise fare. I mention it here because I never want anyone getting to the end of a cruise that I arranged and get blindsided with an unexpected expense.
This is going to be an amazing cruise! A brand new ship, a new roller coaster, three amazing islands...how could it not be? All that is missing right now is you! I will be personally escorting this group, so I really hope to see you there! Be sure to click on the Cruise Information tab above to see more specifics about the ship and where we will be going. If you already know you want to go for sure, click on the Register tab above and fill out the form. It won't collect any credit card information, but it will alert me to call you and we can walk through the details. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me (310.424.5591). -Kurt Dahlin
Grab all your coaster friends and join us on this amazing adventure!!
MASSIVE GINGERBREAD CRUISE SHIP MODELED AFTER CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE’S NEW MARDI GRAS ‘DOCKS’ AT ATLANTA MALL
23-Foot-Long Ship-Shaped Confection Officially Named by Godmother, Culinary Artist Karen Portaleo, During Ceremony at Atlanta’s Lenox Square Mall
MIAMI (Nov. 25, 2019) – Leave it to Carnival Cruise Line to spice up the fun this holiday season!
In partnership with Atlanta culinary artist and baker Karen Portaleo, the world’s most popular cruise line has created a massive 23-foot-long gingerbread replica of Carnival’s new Mardi Gras,set to debut next year.
Weighing 1,500 pounds, the ship-shaped confection is “docked” at Atlanta’s Lenox Square Mall and was officially named by Portaleo who served as godmother this past Saturday. In keeping with maritime tradition, the Food Network star smashed a ceremonial bottle across the vessel’s bow. Carnival also made a $10,000 donation to the Immune Deficiency Foundation, Portaleo’s charity of choice which is dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of those with primary immunodeficiencies.
“I’ve created hundreds of cakes during my career but a 1,500-pound gingerbread cruise ship is certainly a first for me,” said Portaleo. “As a baker, I’m always looking for a challenge and creating a gingerbread replica of Mardi Gras was an amazing experience as it serves as a fun conversation piece for thousands of holiday shoppers. I can’t wait to see the real Mardi Gras when it debuts next year.”
“Carnival is all about bringing fun and memorable vacations to more than five million guests who sail with us every year,” said Hugo Castillo, Carnival’s creative director. “And what better way to ring in the season and bring fun to holiday shoppers than with the world’s largest gingerbread ship! If they like this version of Mardi Gras, they’ll be blown away when the real deal arrives next year.”
Comprised of 130 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of cinnamon, and 50 gallons of icing, the gingerbread Mardi Gras is an creative representationof Carnival’s most innovative ship complete with a water park and even a working replica of BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea.
The real Mardi Gras is set to debut in Europe in August 2020 and, after several sailings in New York, will reposition to Port Canaveral for year-round Caribbean departures beginning in October 2020.
The gingerbread cruise ship will be on display at the Lenox Square Mall through Dec. 24, providing a unique and memorable attraction for shoppers during the holidays.
Shoppers can also interact with the ship through a fun custom Snapchat geofilter, special Snapchat AR lenses that provide a peek into Mardi Gras’ many on board innovations, and a GIF booth for shoppers to capture how they’re Choosing Fun with Carnival.
To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. Carnival can also be found on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter andYouTube.
NEW SEAFOOD RESTAURANT BY AWARD-WINNING CULINARY ARTIST RUDI SODAMIN TO DEBUT ON CARNIVAL MARDI GRAS
Rudi’s Seagrill to Showcase Diverse Menu Including Dishes Uniquely Presented as Playful ‘Food Faces’
MIAMI (Nov. 21, 2019) – Carnival Cruise Line announced today that a new seafood restaurant designed by acclaimed culinary artist Rudi Sodamin will be among the varied dining options on Mardi Gras when it debuts next summer.
Sodamin’s reputation for curating unique dining experiences will lend itself to Rudi’s Seagrill which will offer dishes as artistic as they are flavorful. In addition to an extensive selection of seafood entrees and sides, there will also be several dishes presented as playful “food faces” that double as Instagram-worthy pieces of art.
“We wanted to offer our guests a new and exciting dinner-time option that is as sophisticated as our steakhouses but takes our tradition of fun to the next level,” said Cyrus Marfatia, vice president of culinary and dining for Carnival Cruise Line. “Rudi’s Seagrill will feature next-level seafood delicacies and showcase Rudi’s innovative artistry and ‘plates with personalities’ where guests can feast their eyes on a new personable presentation every time they dine – we’re sure everyone will enjoy them.”
“I’ve spent decades perfecting dishes for my restaurants both onboard and ashore, but it has been such a special experience to partner with Carnival to bring this exciting restaurant concept to life,” said Sodamin. “I believe the quality of a restaurant starts on the plate, so with Rudi’s Seagrill, I want guests to enjoy the food and feel connected to their meals in a fun and engaging way.”
Creatively crafted with a keen attention to detail, the menu at Rudi’s Seagrill will feature a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts presented as food faces including big eye tuna, grilled branzino, seared scallops and apple cheese cake.
Guests can also choose from a full menu of dishes including crab cake, salt-roasted prawns, broiled lobster tail, and chocolate truffle cake. For guests who prefer non-seafood options, there will be plenty of alternatives, as well.
Sodamin’s entrée into the culinary world began with an apprenticeship in Austria at age 14 which led to earning the title as youngest chef at sea leading a team of 260 culinary professionals. Sodamin, one of the hospitality industry’s most innovative chefs, serves as Holland America Line’s Master Chef, is a member of a number of prestigious culinary organizations including the Club des Chefs des Chefs and has authored a dozen cookbooks including “Food Faces” which features 150 vibrant images of his edible creations. The book as well as other merchandise will be sold onboard Mardi Gras.
Situated on Deck 8 between La Piazza and Summer Landing, Rudi’s Seagrill will boast an 80-seat indoor dining room with warm lighting and stylish design elements as well as an al fresco area on The Lanai. From creative décor to distinctive table settings, the restaurant will offer a fun and immersive atmosphere with Sodamin’s food face-themed artwork front and center as well as highlights including fish-shaped ‘Gurgle Pots’ that make comical gurgling sounds when poured and plates featuring Rudi’s most beloved food. Rudi’s Seagrill will carry a reservations fee in line with Carnival’s other full-service specialty restaurants.
Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in Oct. 2020.
To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. Carnival can also be found on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line, part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is "The World's Most Popular Cruise Line®" with 27 ships operating two- to 24-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery – Mardi Gras in 2020 and an as-yet-unnamed ship in 2022. Carnival Cruise Line is certified as a Great Place to Work.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE UNVEILS ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON FIRST ROLLER COASTER AT SEA AND EXPANSIVE OUTDOOR RECREATION AREA ON MARDI GRAS
Two-Deck-High ‘Ultimate Playground’ Also Boasts Massive Water Park, Fleet’s Longest Ropes Course, and More
MIAMI (Nov. 19, 2019) – Carnival Cruise Line today revealed additional details on BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, and the centerpiece of the Ultimate Playground, an expansive open-air recreation area on Mardi Gras, set to debut in August 2020.
The announcement was made at the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Conference in Orlando by Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy who was joined by the line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal. Carnival partnered with industry leader, Munich-based Maurer Rides, to showcase BOLT at IAAPA which brings together innovators from the world’s largest theme parks and attractions.
Duffy revealed that BOLT’s all-electric, motorcycle-inspired vehicles will be adorned with metallic red and blue stripes and an eye-catching yellow lightning bolt. The vehicle will also feature a digital speedometer display and speakers with new sound effects that will activate to enhance the exhilarating, one-of-a-kind experience.
Cameras will be located along the 800-foot-long track, as well as within the vehicle itself, providing riders with unique photo keepsakes as they take in 360-degree views and race 187 feet above the sea with drops, dips and hairpin turns achieving speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Guests choose their own speed so no two rides will ever be the same.
“Whether guests want to get an adrenaline rush or take it slow and enjoy the breathtaking views, BOLT will have it all,” said Duffy. “Combining the most talented designers, technicians and attractions professionals in the industry, we’ve taken FUN to a whole new level with this amazing onboard experience that is also a true game changer in our industry.”
BOLT will take center stage in the Ultimate Playground, one of Mardi Gras’ six themed zones, spanning Decks 18-20 and home to the largest WaterWorks aqua park in the Carnival fleet featuring three unique heart-racing slides designed for all-ages fun.
Blue Lightning will offer 312 feet of high-speed twists and turns, while the 229-foot-long Orange Thunder drop-down slide will propel guests into a wet ‘n wild splash zone. Back by popular demand, Carnival’s signature Twister slide encompasses 265 feet of thrills for the young and young at heart. Other features will include a splash-tastic zone just for kids with a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket and numerous water toys.
The expanded SportSquare recreation complex features a 600-foot-long suspended ropes course – the longest in the fleet – a nine-hole miniature golf course, a jogging track and outdoor fitness equipment, and a basketball court.
A virtual tour of The Ultimate Playground can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYLeJuLzHzs&feature=youtu.be
Further details on Mardi Gras’ features and themed zones will be announced in the coming months.
Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in October 2020.
To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL. Carnival can also be found on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line, part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is "The World's Most Popular Cruise Line®" with 27 ships operating two- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery – Mardi Gras in 2020 and an as-yet-unnamed ship in 2022. Carnival Cruise Line is certified as a Great Place to Work.
Hi everybody, and welcome to Part Three of our Cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor in August. Sorry it's taken so long to get to part three but, well, it was scary season.
We promise the wait is worth it, as today we're looking at our shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta which was all kinds of amazing.
And lastly we'll take one last look around the ship which is actually in dry-dock right now getting refurbished before going to it's new home in Australia. Definitely interested to see how it will look when it's done.
If you missed Part One or Part Two of our cruise, be sure to check them out!!
Written by Gregg Condon
Good Morning Puerto Vallarta!!
We sat and watched them docking, it was super cool.
Amazing music to greet us!!
And I met a friend!!
Today we are going on a snorkel adventure!!
It was nice that we could just walk from one ship to another right in the port.
Let's go have some fun!!
So at this point of the update, we switched to our 10+ year old Olympus Tough camera. It's not the best camera, but it's water proof and drop proof.
Our excursion was put on by Vallarta Adventure and they couldn't have been more amazing.
First stop was Majahuitas for a bit of snorkeling.
And of course, each update must include a video of me looking like an idiot. =)
Oooooh, Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Fish
As you can see, the water was amazing.
Floating around in the ocean
Then it was off to Yelapa. This looks like a postcard. The only way to get here is by boat, which is kind of awesome.
There were two options here, the first included a hike to a waterfall and the second included extra time relaxing on the beach. We took option 2.
Is it wrong I want to buy one of those condo's and just work from here? No? Good.
We spent the next 2 hours lounging in the sun, enjoying the amazingly warm water and just enjoying our amazing vacation.
After finding our relaxation it was time to head back to the ship.
These are the faces of two totally relaxed and content people.
The crew put on a really fun show as we made our way back to port.
So long Mexico, we've got two sea days coming up!!
Dinner that night was pasta something, and it was amazing.
And bread pudding
Rockin' night at the theater. It was awesome!!
Over the next two days we spent a lot of time exploring the ship and of course relaxing A LOT. This also included our second formal night.
We've come to refer to this as our "Prom Picture".
Our last day at Sea
Had to get our St Jude shirt!!
And of course get a selfie with our amazing Cruise Director Leigh
Oh, and Bingo with the amazing Captain Cash (who's a huge Disney fan we found out)
Also, just a shout out to the amazing service team at all of the restaurants, our room steward and basically everybody. You get SO spoiled while on a cruise, nothing can prepare you for the amount of pampering.
Flatbread, it was so freaking amazing.
Our final Sunset
We're not really "party" people, but we had such a fun time the last night at the departure party.
Sadly, the next morning we woke up to find ourselves pulling into Long Beach.
Get out. We mean, Please, Get out. (a little Jungle Cruise humor)
Thank YOU Carnival!!
So that's our trip, we hope you enjoyed our adventure and we seriously can't wait until the next one. It's literally our Xmas present to each other this year.