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Celebrating Mardi Gras Around the World

By HarryFriday 13th February 2015


Party season is here! Mardi Gras, which literally means ‘Fat Tuesday’, is a time to treat yourself before the beginning of Lent, and what better way to indulge than a visit to some of the world’s most hedonistic carnivals! We’ve picked some of our favourite cruise destinations that are known world-wide for their fabulous Mardi Gras festivities. 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

12974217034_6e2f1946b3_z The biggest carnival celebration in the world, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro carnival draws millions of people to the city every year. The world famous celebrations are a jaw-dropping sight of colourful parades and floats, Samba music, dancing and food. Rio Carnival officially lasts for five days, taking place 40 days before Easter, with the final day landing on Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday). Catholics and non-Catholics from the world over join forces on the Friday, when the Carnival King is crowned by the city mayor, and receives the key of the city. This opening event is followed by huge street parties, live bands, Samba School parades, and a magic ball with the most elaborate and elegant costumes. Before you go, make sure you do your research and plan which events you’d like to see, as there is a lot to do and it’s easy to get distracted!

Veracruz, Mexico


One of our most popular Caribbean cruise destinations, Mexico is rife with Mardi Gras celebrations that take over the country during this time of year. Heaps of locally-run festivities pop up all over Mexico, but the main celebrations occur in the city of Veracruz. Kicking off the weekend before Lent, the festivities here are exuberant, and partying rules the streets day and night during this five day period. Join the thousands of locals and tourists who venture to Veracruz, and witness some fantastic floats, parades and music from live bands. Numerous food stands serve up delicious treats, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat. When you’ve finished sampling the local cuisine and are back onboard, you can enjoy contemporary French cuisine at Chic, onboard our Quantum and Anthem of the Seas ships!

Venice, Italy

12955345963_4350808be0_z Italy boasts some of the oldest celebrations in the world, and Venice Carnival is a nod to the city’s partying traditions. Beginning at the start of February and ending on Shrove Tuesday, the carnival in Venice is known for extraordinary costumes and beautiful masks that are donned by revellers as they parade through the streets. The theme for 2015 is ‘The Most Delicious Feast in the World’, so you’re sure to gorge on some fantastic local foods this year. The most popular carnival days are around the 7th and 8th February, with the Volo dell’Angelo (Flight of the Angel), which sees the carnival’s beauty pageant winner riding a zip wirefrom St. Mark’s Square. Other events include re-enactments, live music and street artists, and if you want to enjoy the carnival properly, wear a mask. Purchase one before you go, or take advantage of the countless mask stands in the city.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife

8504086643_ede9d80167_z Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is another popular festival, and as the city is twinned with Rio in Brazil, it’s not hard to see why. The theme for 2015 is ‘The Future’, and this will see the city transform into one huge costume party, with a whole host of events including the selection of the Carnival Queen from a list of nominees. Ash Wednesday brings with it the end of the celebrations, and this is marked by the Burial of the Sardine. Carnival-goers flock to the streets dressed in black, with smeared make-up, to mourn the end of the party season. A very fun and tongue-in-cheek parade, whilst this signals the end of carnival, the following weekend brings with it more partying in the form of the weekend of the piñata.

Get the party started!

If you’re planning a fun getaway, check out our destinations page for more information on our cruises.

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