Port Canaveral was the welcoming host of the Mardi Gras naming ceremony today. In a ceremony attended by several high-ranking Carnival Corporation figureheads and several celebrities, Mardi Gras was finally officially christened by Miss Universe, Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jiménez.
It has been a momentous day for a ship that so many people have so eagerly awaited. Mardi Gras was initially scheduled to set sail on August 31, 2020. The pandemic and delays in the shipyard meant that she only sailed this year, on July 31, from the same homeport where she was christened today.
While the christening of a ship is often one big event for a cruise line, one cannot blame Carnival Cruise Line for taking a more subdued approach today. Then again, it wouldn’t be Carnival if it wasn’t fun.
With Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal in attendance and joined by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, guests were welcomed into Mardi Gras’ purpose-built home in Terminal 3 earlier today.
“Today’s naming ceremony of our flagship Mardi Gras, the first in the industry since our restart of operations, 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.”
Who else but Cruise Line Ambassador John Heald and Cruise Director Mike Pack were the hosts during a special naming celebration in Mardi Gras’ theater on deck seven forward, showing live on Heald’s Facebook feed.
During the ceremony, Miss Universe Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jiménez, officially named Mardi Gras. Carnival Cruise Line chose Ms. Jiménez to be the godmother in May of this year; at the time, Christine Duffy had this to say:
“Kimberly is a role model for female empowerment and has a passion for so many worthwhile causes, particularly those that assist women, children and families. It is such an honor to present Kimberly with the ‘Spirit of Carnival’ award and an even bigger thrill to announce that she’s going to be the godmother of our newest ship, Mardi Gras.”
Carnival wanted to have a more elaborate ceremony for its biggest ship ever; however, the pandemic played havoc with the vessel’s schedule, forcing the cruise line to choose cruises over ceremonies earlier this year. On July 31, Mardi Gras set sail from her homeport in Port Canaveral.
She is Finally Officially Here!
Today’s naming ceremony marks the end of a difficult period for Carnival Cruise Line. With the entire fleet grounded for more than 15 months over the last two years, Mardi Gras’ delivery was a bright point at the end of a dark period.
In Finland, the Meyer Turku Werft completed sea trials for Mardi Gras in October of 2020, and she was officially handed over to Carnival Cruise Line on December 18, 2020.
At the time, the expectation was that she would soon enter service; after all, the CDC had just released new guidelines for resuming cruises. It took seven more months, including several months docked in Barcelona, Spain, before the first guests set foot onboard on July 31, 2021.
When guests set foot on board, they experienced a cruise ship that can rightfully be called a game-changer. The 180,000 gross tons, 5282 passengers, Mardi Gras, is the first ship in history to feature a rollercoaster onboard and has no less than seven different themed zones around the ship.
From the Ultimate Playground to the French Quarter, the spectacular Summer Landing, and La Piazza, there is something for everyone onboard Mardi Gras.
Read our Countdown to Carnival’s Mardi Gras series of articles to see everything Mardi Gras has to offer. Mardi Gras’ itinerary includes 7-day cruises to the western and eastern Caribbean.
The Eastern Caribbean itinerary calls in ports like Nassau, Amber Cove, and San Juan, while the Western Caribbean itinerary calls in Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan Island.