Two Carnival Ships Bring Over 11,000 Visitors to Curacao in One Day

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It was a banner day for Curacao when two Carnival Cruise Line ships called at one of the island’s cruise terminals, including the acclaimed ship Mardi Gras and the Carnival Horizon. Port officials celebrated the arrival of more than 11,000 guests between the two vessels, with over 10,000 going ashore.

Carnival Horizon, Mardi Gras Deliver 11,000-Plus Cruise Guests

The Curacao Ports Authority hailed the island’s first visit from Carnival Cruise Line’s popular Mardi Gras on June 14, 2023. The ship entered service in 2021 and has a capacity of 6,500 guests.

The 4,977-guest Carnival Horizon visited the port at the same time. With both ships sailing at nearly full capacity – 6,407 on Mardi Gras and 4,913 on Carnival Horizon, the port welcomed 11,320 cruise guests that day, with more than 10,000 of them spending time ashore.

Carnival Mardi Gras in Curacao
Carnival Mardi Gras in Curacao (Photo Credit: Curacao Ports Authority)

Representatives from the port and the ship’s agent, Maduro Shipping, held an inaugural ceremony onboard the Mardi Gras, exchanging placards with the ship’s captain and other top brass.

Read Also: Best Things to Do in Curacao for Cruisers

Port officials addressed the attendees and officially welcomed the captain, crew, and passengers to the island, noting the cruise industry’s economic importance to the destination.

With her inaugural visit, Mardi Gras became the line’s first Excel-class ship to call at Curacao. Mardi Gras, which entered service in 2021, is Carnival Cruise Line’s first ship operating with liquified natural gas (LNG), a clean-burning fuel that cuts sulfur emissions up to 99% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 85%.

There are several other firsts attached to Mardi Gras, which was named after Carnival Cruise Line’s first Mardi Gras, a ship that launched in 1972 and signaled the cruise line’s march toward becoming one of the largest and most popular cruise lines in the world.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise
Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise (Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)

The ship features the industry’s first rollercoaster at sea, and in a nod to its New Orleans-inspired name, the Mardi Gras has a French Quarter neighborhood onboard, with live entertainment, bars and dining venues that capture the spirit of the Big Easy. Another onboard section, La Piazza, sports an Italian theme and offers restaurants specializing in cuisine from Italy.

The ship’s ropes course, called The SkyCourse, is the cruise line’s longest course at 600 feet. It features various obstacles and challenges, and has a zip line experience as well.

Sailing year-round from Port Canaveral, Mardi Gras’ itinerary also included Oranjestad, Aruba, and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. The ship will arrive back at her Florida home port on June 18. She sails a series of 6- to 8-day Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Eric Gilbert Creative / Shutterstock

In addition to her call at Curacao, Carnival Horizon, a Vista-class ship home-ported in Miami, also is calling at Oranjestad, Aruba, and La Romana and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, this week. She will return to Miami on June 18.

The ship has many entertaining features, including SkyRide, a pedal-powered ride suspended above the ship offering outstanding sea views, a SportsSquare with a challenging ropes course, the WaterWorks playground for children, the Twister WaterSlide, and two pools.

Carnival Horizon sails year-round from Miami, and like Mardi Gras, offers 6- to 8-day Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries.

Curacao a Great Port for Cultural Buffs

Curacao, along with Aruba and Bonaire, make up the ABC Islands, and are the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles. Curacao’s two cruise terminals are in the capital of Willemstad, known for its Dutch and Spanish architecture.

The town of Punda is home to historical landmarks such as the oldest Jewish synagogue in the Americas and Fort Amsterdam. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Streets in Punda and Willemstad are dotted with eateries, unique shops, and other tourist attractions.

The island is a popular port call and regularly receives ships from other major lines besides Carnival Cruise Line, such as Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Viking, and Celebrity Cruises, among others.

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