Carnival Cruise Line christens Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral

Carnival Cruise Line christens Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral

Carnival Crusie Line

Shaquille O’Neal, Arnold Donald, Christine Duffy and Kimberly Jimenez led a Mardi Gras parade

Carnival Cruise Line has christened its new cruise ship Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral, Florida, in the first ship naming ceremony held in the USA since the resumption of cruising after the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Shaquille O’Neal, former professional basketball player and Carnival’s ‘chief fun officer’, attended the ceremony and cut the ribbon of his first Big Chicken restaurant at sea, which debuted on Mardi Gras when she began sailing on 31 July. Miss Universe, Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jimenez served as the ship’s godmother and was joined by Miss Universe, Andrea Meza and Miss USA, Asya Branch who sang the American national anthem. The event featured a World of Nations flag procession to highlight the 120 nationalities of Carnival crew members and a Mardi Gras parade with a Second Line Band. 

“Today’s naming ceremony of our flagship Mardi Gras signifies excitement and optimism as we look to bring our entire fleet back into guest service by spring 2022,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “This ship has been amazing guests during her pre-inaugural season and the celebration today with our chief fun officer Shaq, our godmother Kimberly, and so many special guests, was extremely gratifying and emotional.” 

Following speeches by Duffy and Carnival Corporation’s president and CEO Arnold Donald, Carnival partners Romero Britto, Emeril Lagasse, Kathie Lee Gifford, Vanna White and Guy Fieri helped bring the champagne bottle to the ship. Jimenez then blessed the ship in both English and her native Spanish and triggered the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle against the ship’s hull. 

Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by LNG fuel and the first to feature a roller coaster. The ship is divided into six themed zones, each of which offer a range of food, beverage and entertainment options. She is currently sailing weekly from Port Canaveral on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
26 October 2021

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