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Carnival Cruise Line’s celebrated a return to cruising from Florida after a 16-month pandemic pause with the launch of the maiden voyage of its new flagship ship, Mardi Gras, on Saturday from its home base in Port Canaveral. Cruise line president Christine Duffy and ship captain Giuseppe Giusa led a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony officially welcoming guests on board.

“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making so to finally welcome guests on board to experience this one-of-a-kind ship is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Duffy said.

As the line’s newest flagship, the 5,282-passenger Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by eco-friendly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the first to feature a roller coaster. The 180,000-ton ship boasts six distinct themed zones with a variety of food, beverage, and entertainment options, including dining venues from Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, Rudi Sodamin, and its “Chief Fun Officer” (and former basketball great) Shaquille O’Neal.

Foremost among the zones is the “Ultimate Playground,” encompassing the ship’s top three decks and featuring the largest water park in the fleet, along with three slides, a suspended ropes course, and mini-golf course.

It is the setting for the first-ever roller coaster at sea: BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, an all-electric coaster an all-electric roller coaster encompassing an elevated track across Mardi Gras upper decks with 245 m. of twists, drops and turns, including a hairpin turn around the ship’s funnel. Riders can achieve speeds of up to 65 kph as they enjoy views to the sea 57 m. below.

On Saturday (July 31), Mardi Gras set sail from Port Canaveral for a week-long cruise with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; and Nassau. It is the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to resume service with additional vessels set to restart operations soon. By Oct., 15 Carnival anticipates that it will be sailing more than half its fleet.

Carnival Mardi Gras

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at – Global Travel News