Carnival Cruise Ship Delayed, Embarkation Pushed Back

One of Carnival Cruise Line's largest ships is delayed and the next embarkation will be later than expected due to a medical evacuation.

Guests boarding Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral on Saturday, February 3, 2024 have been asked to push back their arrival to the cruise terminal due to a medical evacuation that has delayed the ship’s return to her homeport.

While the delay is relatively minimal, it is essential that disembarking passengers have ample time to clear the cruise terminal and exit the parking areas in order to accommodate new arrivals.

Mardi Gras Delayed

Mardi Gras had to divert to Nassau in The Bahamas for an emergency medical evacuation at the end of her most recent sailing, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean voyage that left Port Canaveral on Saturday, January 27.

The ship visited Nassau, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk, but on her return to Florida had to turn around and go back to Nassau in order to get a guest to a hospital.

Details of the medical emergency have not been disclosed in order to protect the privacy of the individual, as well as their family members, friends, and traveling companions.

As soon as the individual was debarked in Nassau to seek medical treatment, the ship continued on her return to Port Canaveral. As a result of the diversion, however, the ship did not dock until roughly 9 a.m., several hours after the ship would normally arrive.

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras
Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

Carnival Cruise Line reached out to guests booked on the next sailing to alert them to the delay and advise them to change their arrival time to the cruise terminal.

“On the return to Port Canaveral, Mardi Gras had to deviate course to disembark a guest who needed urgent medical care ashore,” the email explained. “As a result, the ship will be arriving later than scheduled and embarkation for your cruise has been revised.”

Guests are asked to delay their arrival to Cruise Terminal 3 by 1.5 hours. An 11 a.m. arrival time would then become 12:30 p.m., while a 1 p.m. arrival time would become 2:30 and so forth.

Travelers driving to the port will want to take the delay into account for their plans, while guests who have arranged transfers with shuttle services or ride shares will want to contact their service providers about adjustments. Carnival Cruise Line will also factor the delay into their own transfer options.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Camera walk / Shutterstock)

All guests will need to be onboard by the final boarding time printed on their boarding pass. At this time, there is no expected delay to Mardi Gras‘s planned departure from Port Canaveral at 4 p.m., but it is possible that departure might be pushed back slightly to accommodate the day’s time rearrangements.

The ship’s next sailing is a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise to visit Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, as well as Roatan Island in Honduras.

Parking at Port Canaveral Under Construction

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald also stressed the need for guests to abide by the delay, as parking at the port can be at a premium and it is essential for disembarking guests to leave before embarking guests can smoothly arrive.

Read Also: Port Canaveral Cruise Parking – What You Need to Know

“I do hope everyone will follow this request so that we can make embarking 6,000 guests as smooth as possible,” Heald said. “Most importantly our thoughts are I am sure with the guest who needed that urgent medical care and that we all wish them a full and speedy recovery.”

Terminal 3
Terminal 3 (Credit: Port Canaveral)

Port Canaveral is currently working on a parking project that has closed some surface lots and made it more challenging to find a parking space. This can be especially true with a ship as large as Mardi Gras, one of the largest in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet.

The 180,800-gross-ton, Excel-class ship can welcome 5,282 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 6,500 passengers when fully booked. Also onboard are 2,000 international crew members.

Medical Diversions on Cruise Ships

All cruise ships are equipped with a modern medical center capable of tending to typical illnesses and injuries, as well as offering emergency medical care.

When stronger medical interventions may be necessary, however – such as surgeries or critical care support – guests must be evacuated so they can receive the care a fully equipped hospital and specialized medical personnel can provide.

Depending on where a cruise ship is located and what type of medical intervention is required, this may mean diverting to reach a port more quickly, or else calling for an at-sea evacuation either by boat or helicopter.

These processes can be very expensive – tens of thousands of dollars – and guests are urged to purchase cruise travel insurance protection to help cover such emergency costs if they become necessary.

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