Carnival Cruise Line celebrated the keel laying for its upcoming cruise ship Mardi Gras at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.
The ceremony was marked with a traditional laying of coins within the keel in front of senior executives from both companies.
“We have been very excited to design and now finally to start assembling the Carnival Mardi Gras,” said CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer. “All these different features onboard require a lot of engineering and design expertise, which we have been happy to provide to our customer.”
Carnival’s new ship will be LNG-powered, built on a similar platform to the new Costa Smerelda and Princess Cruises new LNG-powered mega ships. At 180,000-gross tons it will be far and away the largest cruise ship ever built for Carnival.
The assembly of the ship’s mammoth hull is well underway and the engine room unit has been delivered from another Meyer shipyard, Neptun Werft, in Rostock, Germany, a few weeks ago.
“This is a historic day for Carnival – the official start of construction of the spectacular Mardi Gras which will usher in an exciting new chapter for our company and introduce so many guest-pleasing innovations,” said Carnival Cruise Lines SVP Newbuilds, Ben Clement.
Ahead of the awarding of the contract to build Mardi Gras, Meyer Turku invested 200 million euros in infrastructure at the shipyard.
The steel halls at the shipyard are going through a major rebuilding with new machines and IT-systems, but also new processes to build the ships with newly trained employees.
“We are seeing the benefits already and will continue to see more benefits later this year,” said Meyer. “Already our automated steel pre-treatment facility and storage have been up and running for some time now and supporting the steel construction of Mardi Gras.”
The ship will debut a number of firsts for the cruise line and the wider cruise industry, including the first roller coaster at sea, BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, an 800 foot series of twists, turns and drops at 40 miles per hour, and the most luxurious suites ever on a Carnival cruise ship.
The ship is so large that it has given Carnival the room to emulate Royal Caribbean’s ‘neighbourhood’ concept aboard the Oasis-class. Mardi Gras will have six ‘zones’ each focusing on a unique aspect of her onboard experience, from swimming and fun in the sun to cuisines from around the world.
Mardi Gras is due for delivery in mid-2020 and will cruise in Europe, New England and the Caribbean, according to initial itineraries released by Carnival.