Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2020

Ibea suntius, quidem aut et est eaquam ipidem cumquiamet ut et versperunt, quid el et plabore, utem et ullaut eatinit 4 5 One of several pools for guests onboard Mardi Gras INTERV IEW Carnival season Cruises may be suspended but with Mardi Gras on the horizon, Carnival Cruise Line is set to return with a bang. Anthony Pearce speaks with president Christine Duffy F or the world’s biggest cruise line, 2020 was meant to be a bumper year. Carnival Cruise Line, the flagship brand of the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, was set to debut Mardi Gras, the lead vessel in its Excel class. At 180,000gt, it will be the largest ship in its fleet. The line was also supposed to make its long-awaited return to Europe – part of the inaugural season for Carnival Radiance, previously Carnival Victory, due to a US$200 million refit in Cadiz, Spain in April. Mardi Gras – named after the line’s first ship, which entered the fleet 1972 and was just 27,284gt – had already been delayed until October along with AIDAnova and Costa Smeralda, ships of the same class built for Carnival’s sister brands AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises. Then Covid-19 hit, closing borders, shutting shipyards and turning the cruise world upside down – impacting the industry perhaps more than any other type of holiday. “Covid-19 has created unprecedented challenges across every facet of business, including of course the cruise industry,” says Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, who strikes a positive note when she says that “travel is one of those things people are missing the most during this extended period of isolation.” Although the immediate future is uncertain, with cruise ships still unable to sail, there remains much for Carnival Cruise Line to look forward to – particularly with Mardi Gras set to become a landmark vessel in the story of theme-park-at-sea mega cruise ships. The