Grand Central takes inspiration from the traditional cruise ship atrium, but will serve a duel purpose as social space during the day and nightlife and entertainment venue by night.
Spanning Decks 6, 7 and 8, massive 3,000-square-foot glass panels built into the starboard side of the ship will provide guests with impressive views of the ocean and ports of call, as well as live music and trivia games during the day.
At night, a stage at the foot of the window will feature live entertainment and music. The entertainment will include experiences created just for Mardi Gras, with a troupe of entertainers and 16 individually controlled six- by 14-foot LED screens displaying video and special effects, as well as lasers and aerial feats.
According to Glenn Aprile, Carnival’s director of new build product development and part of the design team that developed the venue, the idea was to create a space that was as functional as it was eye-catching.
“Building an atrium into the side of a cruise ship is no easy task and it was a total team effort between our new build management team, engineers, designers, and hotel and entertainment teams to create a space that is as beautiful as it is functional,” Aprile said.
Aprile noted that “with a ship as innovative as Mardi Gras we wanted to create a multi-functional dining and entertainment space that guests can enjoy day and night, while at the same time providing an intuitive way to get around the ship and creating a dramatic centerpiece that is worthy of our most innovative ship.”
Overlooking Grand Central is the multi-level Grand View Bar, which like its name implies offers guests a chance to enjoy floor-to-ceiling sea views as they sip custom-cocktails amidst special design touches like a virtual waterfall on translucent panels.
There’s also the Center Stage Bar on the main level. Both venues will feature specialty cocktails inspired by the theme of that evening’s entertainment.
Steps away is Java Blue, which in addition to serving coffees, cappuccinos and lattes like other Carnival ships, offers a menu of fresh bakery items, wraps, salads and other light fare throughout the day.
The Cherry on Top sweets shop is also nearby for those who want to enjoy a decadent treat, as are the retail shops and casino, providing a variety of fun options for guests to enjoy.
Connecting all of these spaces are a series of spacious and airy promenades and bridges that serve as convenient thoroughfares to other areas of the ship while allowing guests to see all the other happenings on board.
“With its transformation from daytime relaxation to nighttime entertainment, Grand Central is unlike anything that’s ever been done on a cruise ship before and our guests are going to love it,” said Aprile.
Mardi Gras will be the largest cruise ship ever built for Carnival, at 180,000-gross tons, and will be the first US-based cruise ship powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).