MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line says its new ship Mardi Gras will have Bahamas registry, not Panama as originally planned.
Mardi Gras is scheduled to enter service on June 4, 2021, sailing from Port Canaveral. The ship will be flying the Bahamian flag to designate the new ship registry for the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) ship to operate in North America.
Mardi Gras’ first originally scheduled sailings, along with sailings for other Carnival ships and for cruise line operations around the world, have been upended over the past 14 months due to COVID-19. Originally Mardi Gras was scheduled to launch in 2020, but delays at the shipyard and then the pandemic changed those plans.
But in recent weeks, with indications from the CDC that operations from U.S. ports could begin by mid-July, Carnival is moving Mardi Gras to Port Canaveral in preparation for the potential restart.
Mardi Gras will sail from Barcelona on May 21 to start its transatlantic voyage and eventual arrival in Florida.
Carnival President Christine Duffy thanked the Panama Maritime Authority for their support during the ship’s construction and registration process but said that the move to the Bahamas Maritime Authority made more business sense, for a number of reasons. Says Duffy: “The Bahamas will be a frequent destination for Mardi Gras, and we are pleased to bring this new level of environmental sustainability to the many ports in the Bahamas and the Caribbean that the ship and our guests and crew will be visiting.”
Carnival has worked closely Port Canaveral to build a new cruise terminal to accommodate the Excel-class ship and also facilitate the new LNG fueling process. Along with the new LNG technology, Mardi Gras will boast many other firsts, including the first cruise ship with a roller coaster, called BOLT. Mardi Gras’ sister ship, Carnival Celebration, is scheduled to arrive in 2022.
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