Carnival Cruise Line’s giant new ship, the Mardi Gras, will begin sailing from Port Canaveral in October 2020, with a range of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.
The cruise line announced Wednesday that its largest ship – now under construction in Finland – initially will offer four special cruises from ports in Europe and from New York City from late-August to mid-October before arriving at Port Canaveral.
Following a special eight-day Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral on Oct. 16, 2020, Mardi Gras will begin its regular seven-day sailings from Florida’s Space Coast on Oct. 24, 2020.
It will offer two three-port, seven-day itineraries, alternating weekly to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises will visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. Western Caribbean sailings will stop in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras.
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In a statement announcing the plan, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said: “For Mardi Gras, we’ve developed some truly exciting and diverse itineraries that will provide our guests with opportunities to experience and explore top destinations in Europe and the Caribbean.”
Port Canaveral is building a two-story, 188,000-square-foot cruise terminal that will be used by the Mardi Gras. It is part of the port’s largest single construction project in its 65-year history – the $163 million Cruise Terminal 3 complex on the port’s south side that also will include a 1,800-space parking garage.
The 180,000-ton “XL-class” Mardi Gras will have a maximum capacity of 6,500 passengers and about 2,000 crew members. It will be the first cruise ship based in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas.
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Among Mardi Gras’ initial sailings are:
• A nine-day maiden voyage from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Southampton, England, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9, 2020, calling at Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Gothenburg, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; and Le Havre (Paris), France.
• A 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York from Sept. 9 to Sept. 23, 2020, with stops at Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; and Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal.
• A six-day round-trip cruise from New York to Portland, Maine, and Saint John, New Brunswick, sailing Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, 2020.
• A 15-day voyage departing New York Sept. 30, 2020, and arriving in Port Canaveral on Oct. 15, 2020, calling at Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk.
Duffy said Carnival has started releasing some of its new stateroom designs to customers and travel agents, and plans to share additional details over the coming weeks.
Carnival Cruise Line last week announced some details about the ship, including that it will have 20 decks and six themed zones.
The themed zones include Grand Central (Decks 6-8, midship), French Quarter (Deck 6, rear), La Piazza (Deck 8, midship), Summer Landing (Deck 8, rear), Lido (Decks 16-17, rear) and The Ultimate Playground (Decks 18-20, rear).
The Ultimate Playground will include the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park in the fleet, as well as an expanded SportSquare. It also will feature BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first roller coaster at sea, where riders will travel along an 800-foot-long track as speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.
The accommodations on Mardi Gras will include more than 20 stateroom categories and multiple levels of suites.
Carnival said the Mardi Gras also will include the most expansive open decks on any Carnival ship, and an atrium that will serve as the hub of the ship.
Carnival Cruise Line is the world’s largest cruise line, with 26 ships. It has three new ships scheduled for delivery – Carnival Panorama in 2019, Mardi Gras in 2020 and an as-yet-unnamed ship in 2022.