Mardi Gras was showed off to the travel industry in Port Canaveral, before her first passengers were welcomed onboard for a 7-night cruise to the Caribbean.
Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, and Captain Giuseppe Giusa, the master of Mardi Gras, led a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony officially welcoming guests onboard in Port Canaveral on July 31st.
Mardi Gras was the first cruise ship to sail from Port Canaveral with guests onboard since the pandemic emerged 16 months ago.
“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making so to finally welcome guests onboard to experience this one-of-a-kind ship is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” said Duffy.
“Not only is Mardi Gras providing a truly unique vacation experience to our guests, it’s so gratifying to be able to play a role helping the local community by providing much-needed jobs and a boost to the economy,” she added.
Captain Giusa said it was an honor to take the ship to sea with guests for the first time.
“Today was a truly emotional moment for our entire Mardi Gras team,” he said. “Having the distinction as the flagship of Carnival Cruise Line is a great honor and our entire team is ready to provide our guests with the vacation they have been so patiently waiting for.”
Mardi Gras set sail at 6 p.m. from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 3 for a weeklong cruise with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and Nassau, The Bahamas.
She is the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to resume service with additional vessels set to restart operations in the coming weeks. Carnival plans to have 15 ships, representing more than half of its fleet, back in operation by October.
Ahead of the ship’s departure, Carnival Cruise Line welcomed local officials, travel advisors and mediaonboard to experience the ship.
Guests enjoyed samples from Mardi Gras’ vast array of restaurants and eateries, including the first seagoing version of Big Chicken by Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, Emeril’s Bistro 1396, the first shipboard restaurant created famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse, and a new international street food venue called Street Eats.
Guests also enjoyed drinks at the new Polynesian-inspired RedFrog Tiki Bar, the New Orleans-themed Brass Magnolia and others.