Carnival Cruise Line on Saturday, October 23, christened its Mardi Gras ship at Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida) during a “Universe of Fun” celebration in the first ship naming ceremony held in the United States since the industry’s restart this summer.
The line’s Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal cut the ribbon of his first Big Chicken restaurant at sea which debuted on Mardi Gras when the liner began operations on July 31.
Miss Universe, Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jimenez served as the Godmother and officially named Mardi Gras. She was joined by Andrea Meza (Miss Universe) and Asya Branch (Miss USA) who sang the national anthem. The ceremony featured a “World of Nations” flag procession highlighting the diversity of the 120 nationalities of Carnival crew, and a Mardi Gras parade with a Second Line Band.
Godmother Jimenez blessed the cruise ship in both English and her native Spanish activating the traditional champagne bottle break, and officially naming the vessel. In a celebration of the name, a special Mardi Gras parade capped off the festivities.
Carnival Mardi Gras is the first cruiser in the Americas to be LNG-powered (by Liquefied Natural Gas) and the first to boast a roller coaster. The 180,000 GT boat boasts 6 distinct themed zones with a variety of beverage, food, and entertainment options, including dining venues from Fieri, Lagasse, Shack, Rudi Sodamin.
Carnival's Mardi Gras departs weekly from Port Canaveral on alternating Eastern-Western Caribbean voyages.