Everything We Know About the New Carnival Mardi Gras

Maybe you saw the headlines about Carnival starting construction on a new mega-ship that looked unlike anything else in the fleet. Or maybe you saw the naming announcement on a recent episode of Wheel of Fortune.

No matter where you’ve heard about Carnival’s latest ship under construction, the newly-dubbed Carnival Mardi Gras is sure to continue making headlines. That’s because the ship breaks a lot of barriers for the cruise line that are noteworthy.

As of now the details surrounding the ship are still sparse, but what has been announced is interesting to say the least. If you want to know the latest on Carnival’s new ship, here’s everything we know so far.

The Ship Will Be Named Mardi Gras

Carnival recently announced at the ship will be dubbed Mardi Gras. The announcement was made on an episode of Wheel of Fortune. Take a look:

Mardi Gras name announcement on Wheel of Fortune
Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Lines

If you’re wondering where the name came from, it was actually the name of the first ship in Carnival’s fleet. That ship was much smaller and sailed from 1972 until 1993. It’s been about 25 years since the ship last sailed for the cruise line, but with the name coming back into service, it’s a nod that harkens back to the cruise line’s founding.

It Will Be the Largest Carnival Ship Ever Built

When the Vista-class of ships (Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama) were announced, they made headlines. Not just because they were new ships, but they were also to be the largest ships Carnival had ever built.

Mardi Gras will put them to shame.

While Royal Caribbean has been known for its mega-ships that can hold upwards of 6,000-plus passengers, Carnival thus far had built big — but not too big — ships. The Carnival Horizon, for example, is about 135,000 tons. The Carnival Mardi Gras will be 180,000 tons — about 33% larger.

The Mardi Gras Will Hold 5,200-plus Passengers

We’ve mentioned how much larger the Mardi Gras will be compared to other ships in the Carnival fleet in terms of tonnage. But what does that mean in terms of passengers? While a specific count hasn’t been yet released, Carnival has said the ship will hold 5,200-plus passengers.

For comparison, the just-launched Carnival Horizon holds about 4,000 passengers. In other words, the new ship will be a massive jump in the number of passengers and put it head and shoulders above any other ship in the fleet.

The Mardi Gras Will Sail From Port Canaveral

Think of cruising and you likely think of Miami. However, while the Port of Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world, Port Canaveral near Orlando isn’t far behind. Meanwhile, Carnival already sails several ships from there. Carnival Mardi Gras will be homeported in Port Canaveral when it begins sailing in 2020.

The Ship Has a Completely Different Hull Design

Mardi Gras rendering
Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Lines

For cruise lines, the shape and outline of the ship is a calling card. You can tell a Carnival ship from a Royal Caribbean ship from a Norwegian ship from miles away. That’s why it’s noteworthy that Carnival Mardi Gras changes the hull design and livery of the ships in the past.

While the iconic “whale tail” funnel will still be present, the rest of the ship looks like nothing else in the fleet. In addition, an eye-catching blue-wave hull paint design makes it look completely different from other Carnival ships up close.

The Mardi Gras Will Be Powered By LNG

It’s a steady trend that cruise ships are trying to be more environmentally friendly. There’s been significant concern among cruise lines and environmental groups alike about the fuel used by many cruise ships to power their engines. Commonly known as “bunker fuel” many say that the fuel pollutes too much.

Carnival is taking a greener route by having the Mardi Gras be the first ship in its fleet powered by cleaner-burning liquified natural gas (LNG). This is something that many cruise lines are looking toward as they look to better take care of the ocean environment. That said, Carnival will be the first to LNG-powered cruise ship in North America.

Carnival Will Have a New Terminal for the Ship

When the Carnival Mardi Gras starts sailing from Port Canaveral, she will have some new digs to call home. Port Canaveral and Carnival have announced there will be a new terminal built for the ship.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the terminal will be 185,000 square feet and have an 1,800 vehicle parking garage. In total, the new construction is expected to cost $150 million. It’s expected to be completed by the middle of 2020, in time for the arrival of the Mardi Gras.

This Isn’t the Only Big Ship Coming

While the new Carnival ship is certainly going to get the press and headlines, it’s not the only major ship coming. Carnival Panorama — a Vista-class ship — is already under construction and set to arrive in 2019. But there is also a sister ship to the Carnival Mardi Gras planned. This ship is set to be the same size as the Mardi Gras and be completed in 2022. There are no details as of yet about features, name, or where it will sail.

Mardi Gras Itineraries Will Be Announced in January

Are you just chomping at the bit to know where the ship will sail? We are too. Unfortunately, we still have to wait some time to see exactly where she will go. Itineraries are set to be announced in January 2019. Given the other ships in Port Canaveral, we expect that the Mardi Gras will sail week-long trips that hit ports all around the Caribbean, including Mexico, the U.S Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and more. There shouldn’t be any port that’s too far for the ship to sail over the course of a week.

Cruises Go on Sale in January

In addition to announcing itineraries in January, the cruise line has said that cruises will go on sale later in the month. That’s more than a year before the ship is expected to start sailing, giving you plenty of time to make plans to set sail.

If you are interested in being notified when Carnival Mardi Gras cruises can be booked, you can go here to sign up and receive a notice when cruises go on sale.

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