Carnival Panorama Trip Review: Day 4, Mazatlan – Sushi & Suites
Almost always the “middle child” port stop on a Mexican Riviera cruise, Mazatlán is a resort town along the Pacific shore in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning “place of deer.” The city was founded in 1531 by an army of Spaniards and indigenous people. It’s located just over 900 nautical miles from Los Angeles, and is well known for it’s hotels & nightlife. Some say Mazatlan is the shrimp capital of the world, and many cruise travelers seek out shore day activities focused on the region’s tasty cuisine.
A Unique Day on the ship in Mazatlan
While our plans for the day did not include a visit ashore, we certainly had a unique day on Carnival Panorama. My morning started with the usual blog wring session, this time in Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse where I found a cozy booth with a view to enjoy my coffee, and recount the prior day’s highlights. By this time, we were getting a bit behind on blog writing. Detailing out these trip diaries is new to us, and is something we’re doing in addition to vlogging, so it’s been a bit of a balancing act, to be sure.
After a family breakfast at the Lido Buffet, we met with a friendly guest services rep who was able to grant us access to film the Family Harbor Lounge in the Family Harbor area on Deck 2. The nautically themed Family Harbor complex of staterooms are located near the Family Harbor Lounge, an exclusive spot featuring breakfast, beverages & espresso machine coffees in the morning, snacks throughout the day, plus activities like board games, movies, video games and more. The lounge is accessible by keycard only to Family Harbor guests.
Family Harbor guests also get some extra perks along with their cruise, like kids eating free in most onboard specialty restaurants… plus one free evening of Night Owls babysitting service.
We also toured a family harbor suite, which featured two bathrooms (one with a tub, and one with a shower), as well as a HUGE walk in closet with nautically styled robes.
The private sitting and sleeping area is separated from the grown up sleeping area by a wrap around curtain.
The cove balcony is expansive, and features plenty of seating. Cove balconies are completely shaded, and are very low on the ship on Carnival Panorama, offering dramatic views of the sea.
We fell in love with this stateroom and the family harbor lounge, and if we can budget for it, we’ll most certainly try one of these cabins in the future.
Following our visit to the family harbor, we headed up to Carnival Waterworks for some red fun & blue fun, aka the aptly waterslides. The weather was hot and humid, and so was the water and air in the slides.
To cool down, we headed to the aft pool, adjacent to the Tides Bar. Kids are now allowed in the aft pool, (they weren’t in the past on some Carnival ships), but we were sure to ask before taking a family dip. We enjoyed a refreshing swim, as well as a poolside Cosmo with Grey Goose, then regrouped in our stateroom for lunch on the Lido, along with my first Lobster Roll from the Seafood Shack. This $14.00 upcharge item was delicious and perfect for sharing as it’s served in two buttery soft rolls, with nearly-perfect krinkle cut french fries. We kept lunch light, knowing we had big dinner plans later than evening at Bonsai Sushi.
After showering & resting, we settled into our now usual routine of taking sunset photos around the upper deck areas.
Finally, hunger set in, and we headed to Bonsai Sushi, the Japanese restaurant adjacent to Bonsai Teppanyaki. Once seated, you’re given a menu and a pencil to select your choices. Menu items were so inexpensive that we assumed they’d be small. Our server had to warn us that we were ordering too much food, and we’re so glad we headed her advice.
For $56.00 (including my martini featured below) we feasted, and wished we’d scheduled this stop into Bonsai Sushi our cruise sooner. Favorites for our family included the noodle bowl & California roll. We don’t eat raw fish, but the sushi looked wonderful too.
Tip for dining at Bonsai: Don’t assume that the low prices mean tiny portions, and go early in your cruise – you just might fall in love with the value & quality of the food here!
Drink of the Day
I can’t rave enough about the Saketini at Bonsai Sushi. Reasonably priced at $10.50, ingredients are: Tito’s Vodka, Sake, & Coconut water. Simple and refreshing. Bonsai also offers Sake Sangria, a Bonsai Bellini and a cocktail I tried later in the cruise called the Geisha.
After dinner, we had to burn some time (and try to stay awake- who are we kidding) before the 10:30p.m. Mega Deck Party. The Mega Deck Party, also known as “White Night” or the “White Party” is where cruisers gather on deck, under the late evening stars for a fun-filled 45 minute party. This cruise-director led event is a bit like the 80’s party, with line dances, audience participation, but it’s a bit more low-key than the 80’s event.
While Junior didn’t win any prizes for his guitar skills at this deck party, he joined me on the dance floor as we followed Cruise Director Lee Mason’s lead and learned some new moves.
We were pretty tuckered out after the Mega Deck Party, so it was off to bed for us in preparation for our 6:30am arrival the following day in sunny Cabo San Lucas.
P.S.- you don’t have to wear white OR dance to attend this party. There were lots of observers.
Venue of the Day
Carnival Waterworks truly brings the fun on Carnival Panorama. With two water slides for bigger kids, and some toddler sized slides for the littles, this safe area is a family fave for Carnival Cruisers of all ages. Of course, the water bucket that spills a cool 300 gallons of water every 5 minutes or so provides a little drama and humor!
Mazatlán’s Malecon (or boardwalk), along Avenue del Mar is four miles long, the longest in Mexico.
See more from our Carnival Panorama cruise here.
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