Carnival Mardi Gras Arrives in Port Canaveral for First Time

Since Cruise Terminal 3 at Port Canaveral was completed in June 2020, it has sat largely empty, waiting for the return of cruising and the arrival of its most famous tenant — Mardi Gras.

Arrival of Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral
Mardi Gras arriving in Port Canaveral. Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

Today, the newest Carnival ship made her first call on her new homeport, which was built specifically for the vessel.

“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making and today’s arrival is a historic milestone for our company, not to mention a truly emotional moment for everyone here at Carnival Cruise Line,” said Carnival President Christine Duffy.

The ship was originally scheduled to have already made her inaugural sailing from Port Canaveral, however, that trip was delayed due to the health crisis.

Still, the excitement about Mardi Gras has not waned. With more than two dozen restaurants, 19 decks, and the world’s first roller coaster at sea, the ship is not only the largest ship in the Carnival fleet, but also unlike any other vessel Carnival currently sails. It emphasizes a new direction for ships from the cruise line. Already Carnival announced that the rest of its fleet will get Mardi Gras’ distinctive “blue wave” hull livery.

A simple look at the guest list to meet the ship shows the importance of Mardi Gras and its arrival in the United States. In addition to more than 1,500 people that crowded a nearby park to watch her arrival, Mardi Gras was met by Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison, CEO Arnold Donald, Carnival President Christine Duffy, and Port Canaveral CEO Captain John Murray, along with hundreds of travel advisors.

“For nearly four years we have been working hard to prepare for Mardi Gras,” said Capt. Murray. “As we welcome home this magnificent ship to Port Canaveral, we are filled with pride to see her at berth at our beautiful Cruise Terminal 3.”

When Will Mardi Gras Sail?

Mardi Gras docked at Cruise Terminal 3 in Port Canaveral
Mardi Gras docked at Cruise Terminal 3 in Port Canaveral

While Mardi Gras’ arrival is a major step, it’s still not clear exactly when she will sail again. While Carnival is taking steps to return to sailing in the United States, it is initially scheduled to start with three other vessels (Horizon, Breeze, and Vista) sailing from Miami and Galveston.

A search of Carnival’s website shows the ship’s first available booking as November 13, 2021. However, the ship could sail before then. Checking the status of other Mardi Gras sailings on Carnival’s website shows a trip on July 31 as not cancelled.

Still, Carnival mentioned no inaugural date in the announcement about Mardi Gras’ arrival in Florida. Whenever she does sail, the ship will have week-long cruises to the Caribbean year-round from Port Canaveral.

Tour of Mardi Gras Cruise Terminal

If you’re excited about the arrival of Mardi Gras, then don’t miss our recent tour of Cruise Terminal 3, which will be home to the ship. It offers a complete look at the new terminal, including VIP passenger areas.

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