Carnival Cruise Line’s flagship, Mardi Gras, is finally being welcomed back to Grand Turk after numerous delays and cancellations as the port prepared for the return of cruise travel. This comes as welcome news to eager cruisers who’ve been missing this popular Caribbean port of call.
Grand Turk to Welcome Mardi Gras
After previously canceling the port of call for Mardi Gras in December, Grand Turk is now ready to welcome the new ship to its Cruise Center facility. The ship will arrive at the Grand Turk Cruise Center at 7 a.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2022, for a full day’s visit before leaving at 4 p.m.
Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald confirmed the ship’s planned visit in a Facebook post, saying “It’s brilliant news that finally we can take our flagship Mardi Gras to Grand Turk this Thursday and on voyages beyond.”
During the visit, Mardi Gras guests will finally be able to enjoy the island’s amazing beaches, elegant shopping, delicious restaurants, and shore excursions that include bus tours, museum visits, private beach cabanas, and more.
Mardi Gras is currently sailing a 6-day Exotic Eastern Caribbean itinerary that departed Port Canaveral on January 2 and has already visited Nassau in The Bahamas and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Grand Turk will be the ship’s last port of call before a final day at sea and arriving back at Port Canaveral on Saturday, January 8.
Because of Mardi Gras‘ exceptional size – the largest in the Carnival fleet by more than 45,000 gross tons, with a guest capacity nearly 1,200 passengers greater than Carnival Panorama, the fleet’s next largest ship – it was necessary to double-check dredging and how the facility could safely accommodate the new ship and provide an exceptional experience for cruise visitors.
Staff has also been trained in COVID protocols to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being, visitors and residents alike. Grand Turk has been exceptionally cautious about reopening to tourists, to ensure the island can safely and efficiently react to any positive cases or possible outbreaks.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center (GTCC) is financed and operated by Carnival Corporation. Parent company Carnival Corporation has agreed to more than $73 million in investments with the Turks and Caicos Islands, of which $25 million will go toward upgrades and renovations to the GTCC. A new vendor market is part of the planned upgrade, as well as additional facilities to accommodate more shore excursion options and on shore activities.
Other Ships Visiting Grand Turk
Other cruise ships have already begun calling on Grand Turk. On December 13, 2021, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam was the first cruise ship to visit the port since the industry-wide pandemic shutdown began in March 2020.
That first visit was quickly followed by Carnival Freedom on December 15. Other Carnival ships also visited the island throughout December, including Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Elation, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Magic, and Carnival Sunshine.
According to the Grand Turk Cruise Center port schedule, more than 30 cruise ship visits are scheduled throughout January, including vessels from Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line. Mardi Gras is scheduled to make her second visit to the port on Thursday, January 20.
These visits are a welcome opportunity for the island’s tour operators, retailers, restauranteurs, and others who depend on tourism, as well as for passengers eager to return to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful and most popular ports of call.