TURKU — Carnival has taken delivery of the brand new Mardi Gras in a live virtual signing ceremony at the Meyer Turku Shipyard in Turku, Finland.
At 180,000 tonnes Mardi Gras is the largest Carnival ship ever constructed and more than six times the size of its namesake, the original Mardi Gras, which entered service in 1972 as Carnival’s very first ship and started the wave of cruise vacation popularity in the U.S.
Mardi Gras will accommodate more than 5,200 passengers and a crew of 2,000. There are more than 2,600 staterooms and 180 suites across 11 categories.
The new Mardi Gras is also the first ship in North America to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), part of Carnival Corp.’s green cruising platform.
Mardi Gras also boasts the first-ever roller coaster at sea, called BOLT.
Now scheduled to begin operations in April 2021, assuming U.S.-based cruise lines get the all-clear from the CDC, Mardi Gras will operate seven-day Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral. 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. The inaugural voyage for Mardi Gras is scheduled for April 24, 2021.
The CDC lifted its No Sail Order on Oct. 30, and cruise lines are now working with the CDC to get ships sailing again under the CDC’s new framework for a Conditional Sailing Order.
“We have been working tirelessly this year to get to this exciting day to take delivery of this beautiful ship, and the team at Meyer Turku has been an outstanding partner throughout this process,” said Carnival President, Christine Duffy. “I cannot wait for our guests and crew to see and experience Mardi Gras. Notwithstanding the delays related to the pandemic, there is tremendous enthusiasm and pent-up demand for this ship. Next we will work on the development of her sister ship, Carnival Celebration, which arrives in 2022 and has sold very well since inventory opened in October.”
The ship’s venues, dining and entertainment will be dispersed throughout six distinctive zones, and include a new restaurant by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, the line’s first-ever Big Chicken by Shaquille O’Neal, two dining venues led by Food Network star Guy Fieri, and a new restaurant concept by master chef Rudi Sodamin. The centrepiece of the ship is a three-deck-high atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows and movable LED screens that open up to ocean views.
“We are delivering a beautiful and highly advanced ship with world-class technology such as LNG propulsion, to name just one. With these sophisticated systems, she will be one of the most environmentally friendly ships to sail the North American waters. I am very proud of our team of shipbuilders and would like to thank everyone involved of their dedication during the building process,” said Tim Meyer, CEO, Meyer Turku.
Mardi Gras will depart from Turku later this month to begin its voyage to North America.