PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras will be setting sail on its maiden voyage from Port Canaveral Saturday.
The port’s long-anticipated debut of Mardi Gras is also Port Canaveral’s first revenue cruise departure since the cruise shutdown.
Carnival’s Mardi Gras has six themes and the first rollercoaster on a cruise ship. The ship will take off on an eight-day cruise with 4,000 passengers on board, bringing the ship’s voyage to about two-thirds capacity.
The Mardi Gras is the largest ship in the Carnival fleet. It is 1,130 feet long, weighs 180,800 tons and has 19 decks. It has a passenger capacity of 5,282, based on double-occupancy of its cabins, and a full capacity of 6,465 passengers, plus a crew of 1,745.
Brian Hubbard from Connecticut will be one of the first 4,000 passengers.
“We’re all vaccinated so we’re pretty much open to the whole ship,” Hubbard said of his party. “I’ve been on quite a few. This one here being the biggest and the best, just that part is exciting,” he said.
The cruise line said 95% of the guests are vaccinated and the other 5%, such as families with small children, will see additional restrictions.
Carnival President Christine Duffy said if a guest gets sick or tests positive for COVID-19, the guest will be safely isolated in the ship’s medical center. The ship also has a public health officer onboard along with medical staff. All guests, vaccinated or not, will have to wear masks while getting on and off the ship.
“I think you’re actually safer on a cruise ship because of all the protocols that we have in place already,” Duffy said.
The eight-day cruise was scheduled set sail at 6 p.m. and is going to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.