Two cruise lines — Royal Caribbean and Carnival — will welcome paying passengers for the first time aboard their newest ships. Carnival’s Mardi Gras will set sail from Port Canaveral while Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas will make its debut from Port Everglades.
Mardi Gras (And the First Roller Coaster at Sea) to Welcomes Passengers
When Mardi Gras sets sail from Port Canaveral this afternoon, it will mark the start of a new direction for Carnival Cruise Line.
Mardi Gras looks completely different than other ships in the Carnival fleet. For one, it’s the largest ship from the line, coming in at 181,000 tons and measuring more than 1,100 feet. She can hold more than 5,200 passengers at double occupancy.
By comparison, the next largest ship in the fleet is about 134,000 tons and carries around 4,000 passengers.
Onboard, the ship carries new interior design, including themed “zones” such as the French Quarter and La Piazza. It also has a number of restaurants exclusive to the ship, including Emeril’s Bistro 1396, Shaq’s Big Chicken and Street Eats.
Other firsts include it being the first North American ship powered by liquified natural gas, and the debut of the Bolt roller coaster. The 800-foot long track takes passengers around the ship at up to 40 miles per hour.
Even the ship’s hull paint is a new style. The ship’s “blue wave” hull livery is completely different from the rest of the Carnival fleet. However, following Mardi Gras, the cruise line has decided to extend the design to the rest of its ships.
The inaugural journey will sail from Port Canaveral on a seven-day cruise to San Juan, Amber Cove, and Nassau. She will also be departing the brand-new Cruise Terminal 3 from Port Canaveral, which was specifically built for Mardi Gras.
The new terminal was actually completed last year in anticipation of the ship’s debut, but has yet to welcome passengers due to the cruise suspension. You can see a full tour of the new terminal below:
You can see more about the Mardi Gras’s sailing on the Port Canaveral Facebook page or watch the port webcam here.
Odyssey of the Seas Departing Port Everglades
Just about 160 miles south of Port Canaveral, Royal Caribbean is excited to see its newest ship also set sail with passengers for the first time. Odyssey of the Seas sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The ship is part of the cruise line’s Quantum class. At 169,000 gross tons, it is significantly smaller than the largest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but no still plenty large. She can carry around 4,200 passengers at double occupancy, although it is assumed that the number of passengers sailing on this trip will be significantly under that figure.
On the ship, activities include bumper cars, a skydive simulator, and the Sky Pad (a trampoline/bungee jumping experience), which juts out over the sea. There are more than a dozen restaurants and 16 decks aboard the ship. Odyssey of the Seas also has the “North Star” — an observation pod that raises 300 feet over sea level to give 360-degree views of everything around you.
If you want to sail aboard the ship, there are plenty of opportunities no matter what sort of itinerary you’re looking for. While primarily sailing six and eight-day trips, there are also some five-day trips for those looking for a shorter journey.
Odyssey of the Seas had planned to sail from Israel starting in May 2021, but those trips were cancelled due to unrest in the region. Now sailing from Fort Lauderdale, the cruise line recommends passengers have vaccines to sail. However, due to Florida law they cannot be required.
If not sailing with the shot, guests have to undergo additional testing, have travel insurance requirements, and have restricted access to venues on the ship.
If you want to watch the ship sail away, Port Everglades will broadcast the departure on Facebook Live: