Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new mega-ship left Port Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday, reintroducing cruise ship revenue expeditions to the port city following a lengthy COVID-19 break.
Carnival President Christine Duffy attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony themed “Back to Fun” to welcome guests aboard the brand new vessel. “MARDI GRAS has been five years in the making, and we’ve been looking forward to finally welcoming guests aboard to enjoy this one-of-a-kind ship for a very long time,” Duffy said. “It’s extremely satisfying to be able to contribute to the local community by creating much-needed jobs and stimulating the economy.”
MARDI GRAS is a powerhouse ship that houses 5,200 passengers and features all of the accommodations that one would expect from a family-friendly Carnival ship, such as a waterpark as well as the world’s first at-sea rollercoaster.
The ship is the first LNG-fueled ship under the Carnival Cruise Line name, and it incorporates design aspects of seven existing Carnival Corporation LNG ships, including the AIDANOVA and COSTA SMERALDA. Carnival Celebration, another of such sister ships, will be stationed in Port Miami following its handover next year.
All crew and passengers on MARDI GRAS’ first voyage were mandated to be vaccinated (although non-vaccinated customers could apply for qualification, with additional costs and restrictions). According to social media posts, all crew members, as well as a few passengers, wore masks. Based on new information that vaccinated people can transmit the Delta variant of the virus if exposed to the virus, the CDC now advises masking in public indoor environments for all people in high-transmission regions. As per the organisation, COVID transfer rates remain rising throughout the Southeast United States, including all except one county in Florida.
MARDI GRAS is the fifth Carnival Cruise Line vessel to reopen for business, and more ships are scheduled to do so shortly. By the end of October, 15 Carnival ships comprising as much as 50% of their fleet will return to service.