Carnival Cruise Line wrapped up its week of homeport veteran tributes with a thoughtful ceremony at Port Canaveral, onboard Mardi Gras.
The celebration was the last of six such tributes at different US homeports, each of which was partnered with a local Veterans Administration office for special recognition and a very practical donation.
Veterans Tribute at Port Canaveral
Carnival Cruise Line hosted local Central Florida veterans during a tribute ceremony at Port Canaveral on Saturday, November 11, 2023. The event included a recognition ceremony and luncheon aboard Mardi Gras, the cruise line’s first Excel-class vessel that debuted with great fanfare in 2021.
Each attendee was presented with a commemorative coin in honor of Veterans Day, as well as sincerely thanked for their service that helps millions of cruise passengers enjoy travel all over the world in peace and safety every year.
“Veterans and active armed forces members have sacrificed in service of their country, and so this is our way of showing them the gratitude they so deserve,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line President. “It is an honor to partner with the local VA and welcome these brave men and women aboard Mardi Gras, just as it is an honor to carry more active and retired military than other cruise line.”
Port Canaveral’s event was the last of six throughout the week that honored veterans at different Carnival homeports. Tampa, Miami, Galveston, Long Beach, and New Orleans each hosted similar events leading up to Veterans Day.
In addition to welcoming veterans aboard different ships for each ceremony, Carnival Cruise Line also donated 15-passenger vans to the Veterans Administration (VA) office in each homeport city. Those vans will help provide transportation for veterans to reach medical appointments and other services provided by the VA.
“We are dedicated to improving the lives of our veterans and their families every day,” said Kalautie JangDhari, Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Executive Director, at the recognition event in Miami on Sunday, November 5.
“I know our veterans appreciate this special event hosted by Carnival Cruise Line. And their generous donation of a passenger van is going to help us to ensure that they can get to their medical appointments easily.”
Carnival Cruise Line and Veterans
Carnival has supported veterans and active duty service members in many ways over the years. Since 2016, every Carnival sailing has featured a Military Appreciation Gathering, which was expanded to a full Military Appreciation Day in July 2023. This year, more than 1,500 such gatherings and tribute days will be held across the fleet.
Several Carnival cruise ships also have a Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge venue, with notes of recognition to service members, that serves as a gathering place for camaraderie and the perfect spot to raise a glass to all military members. Furthermore, the bar offers special souvenir glasses, and for each glass purchased, Carnival Cruise Line donates $1 to Operation Homefront.
Currently, seven ships have a Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge: Carnival Celebration, Freedom, Panorama, Pride, Radiance, Venezia, and Mardi Gras. The venue will also be featured on the upcoming Carnival Jubilee and Carnival Firenze.
On ships with onboard breweries, a special Heroes American Pale Ale is also available, brewed with hops selected by veterans. As with the souvenir glasses in the Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, $1 of every pint of the special ale purchased is donated to Operation Homefront.
Five ships have their own breweries to supply Heroes American Pale Ale: Carnival Vista, Horizon, Panorama, Celebration, and Mardi Gras.
Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military members and their families through programs such as financial assistance, family events, transitional housing, and much more.
The organization’s website lists Carnival Cruise Line as a “two-star partner” showing one of the higher tiers of partnership support.