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MEI Travel

Comparing Symphony of the Seas and Mardi Gras Cruise Ships

Carnival Mardi Gras at sea

Leaders in the cruise industry, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean continue to push the envelope with innovative design and offerings on their latest ships.

Symphony of the Seas and Mardi Gras both provide what we expect from a mega ship, endless activities, fun for all ages and a great selection of food, drinks and entertainment.

Although they both share some similarities, they each offer unique benefits and features.

Here is how Symphony of the Seas and Mardi Gras compare:

Symphony of the Seas


Homeport: Miami, Florida

Ports: Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, St. Marteen, St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Labadee, Haiti and CocoCay, Bahamas

Overview of Symphony of Seas


Symphony of the Seas launched in 2018, becoming the largest cruise ship in the world. It has a maximum capacity of 6680 guests and 2200 crew. For 2022, it will be offering numerous 5-7 days in the Caribbean throughout the year.

Its seven themed neighborhoods are full of great venues and are easy to navigate. Its distinct design allows for incredible open air spaces in the center of the ship, including Central Park, a quiet green haven full of trees and flowers and the Boardwalk with a carousel, carnival style treats and amusements. Whether guests want to relax, swim, eat or seek adventure, this ship has something for every cruiser.

Symphony of the Seas Highlights  


Dining, Beverage and Entertainment  

  • 9 inclusive dining options, including the new El Loco Fresh
  • 10 specialty dining venues – seafood, sushi, steakhouse
  • 14 lounges, bars and nightclubs
  • Musical Productions - Hairspray, 1977 and Flight
  • Live entertainment, Comedy Club and casino
  • Open air AquaTheatre shows and movies

Amenities/ Activities

  • 4 main outdoor pools + hot tubs
  • Adult only area with pool and
  • Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea 
  • Waterpark, with waterslides
  • FlowRider surf simulators
  • Sports activities, including ice skating, zip lining and rock climbing
  • Kids programs from 6 months to 17 years old

Why pick Symphony of Seas?

  • It offers 4 port stops on most of its 7 day cruise sailings to popular eastern and western Caribbean destinations.
  • Sailings throughout the year provide numerous options for travel. The convenience of Miami and its major airport that serves 167 domestic and international destinations is a benefit.
  • The largest ship currently sailing with unsurpassed onboard amenities for all types of cruisers
  • Extensive musical productions including Broadway shows
  • Offers a wide array of cabins options such as Boardwalk and Promenade balcony, and a variety of suites such as the top of the line, Ultimate Family Suite.

Mardi Gras


Homeport: Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida,

Ports: Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Overview of Mardi Gras

Built in 2021, this ship has a maximum guest capacity of 6631 and a crew of 1735 Throughout 2022, Mardi Grass will offer cruises of 7 days on 5 different itineraries throughout the year.

It was named after Carnival’s first cruise ship TSS Mardi Gras, which marked the beginning of a more casual approach to cruising. Today, Carnival continues its focus on fun as the world’s most popular cruise line.

Mardi Gras’ new design with its 6 neighborhoods is full of great new restaurants, lounges and activities. One big first at sea is a roller coaster on top of the ship, not for the faint of heart.

Mardi Gras Ship Highlights

Bolt roller coaster

 Dining, Beverage and Entertainment

Mardi Gras themed venues such as Emeril’s Bistro 1396, along with Fortune Teller and Magnolia Bar located in the French Quarter neighborhood. Other highlights:

  • 20+ dining options with celebrity chef partnerships
  • Inclusive options such as celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint and BBQ, Blue Iguana Cantina, Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken
  • Specialty dining venues – Mexican/ Chinese fusion, seafood, teppanyaki and sushi, steakhouse, and smokehouse
  • 12 lounges and bars - Brewhouse, Havana Bar, Tiki, Alchemy
  • Family Feud Live, the iconic game show
  • Live entertainment, Comedy Club and casino


  • BOLT first rollercoaster on a cruise ship
  • 6 pools + hot tubs
  • Serenity - Adult only retreat
  • Loft 19 resort style deck area with cabanas and infinity pool
  • Waterworks park with Twister waterslide
  • Sports court for basketball, soccer and ropes course
  • Dine in Movies

Why pick Mardi Gras?

  • It is a brand new ship that executes well on its fun Mardi Gras theme.
  • Introduction of 6 zones improves flow and guest experience.
  • For those concerned about their carbon footprint, Mardi Gras is the first ship in North America that uses LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for all the ship's systems, significantly reducing emissions.
  • Unique themed staterooms including Havana, Spa and Harbour (Nautical)
  • The convenience of homeport near Orlando, a major airport serving 135 domestic and international destinations.

Main Differences between Symphony of the Seas and Mardi Gras


Mardi Gras is a newer ship that promises non stop fun, building on the livelihood and amusement associated with Mardi Gras.

Symphony of the Seas offers 4 port days on most of its 7 day itinerary whereas Mardi Gras offers 3 stops.

Symphony of the Seas rear aerial dusk

While similar for the western Caribbean, their eastern itineraries differ:

  • Mardi Gras visits Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic)
  • Symphony of the Seas sails to the US Virgin Islands, St Maarten and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s impressive private island

Mardi Gras offers good value on some specific cabin types such as interior rooms. These cabins tend to run at a lower cost, although it depends on the sailing. They are also slightly bigger with 9 square feet of extra space.

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