One of the cruise industry’s most anticipated new builds has finally been christened.
On Saturday, Carnival officially christened Mardi Gras during a ceremony at Port Canaveral, Fla., the first time Carnival has christened a new ship since pre-COVID-19.
The star-studded ceremony included the line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal, who was on-hand to celebrate the opening of his first Big Chicken restaurant onboard Mardi Gras, along with Miss Universe, Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jimenez, the ship’s godmother, and other Carnival friends and partners such as Emeril Lagasse, Kathie Lee Gifford, Vanna White, and Guy Fieri.
The ship already kicked off its pre-inaugural season at the end of July. It left for another sailing after Saturday’s ceremony, a seven-night cruise to San Juan, Amber Cove, and Nassau.
Photo: Carnival Cruise Line
Speaking during the ceremony, Carnival president Christine Duffy said that the ceremony “signifies excitement and optimism as we look to bring our entire fleet back into guest service by spring 2022.”
The ship is five years in the making for Carnival, with a name that calls back to the heyday of the cruise line.
It features the firsts ever roller coaster at sea, BOLT, and Carnival’s first Family Feud Live, as well as WaterWorks aqua park and the longest suspended ropes course at sea as part of its Ultimate Playground. It will be the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ship in the Americas.
Guest can enjoy more restaurants than any other Carnival ship—15 eateries not including the main dining rooms or buffet, eight of which are complimentary. That includes some celebrity-helmed restaurants including Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurant along with one from Emeril Lagasse and another from Guy Fieri.
The ship also has more suites than any other Carnival ship in the fleet at more than 2,600 staterooms and 180 suites across 11 categories.