New Carnival ship is first to cruise from Port Canaveral

July 31, 2021 GMT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The first cruise ship to set sail from Port Canaveral with paying customers since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. in March 2020 was leaving Saturday on a seven-day journey.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship had about 70% of its normal 5,282-passenger capacity on its maiden voyage through the Caribbean. It was set to leave the Florida Space Coast port on Saturday night.

Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship to have a roller coaster and it also is powered by liquid natural gas, a first for a cruise ship in the Americas.

“Today was a truly emotional moment for our entire Mardi Gras team,” said Giuseppe Giusa, the ship’s captain.

Mardi Gras was the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to resume service since the pandemic forced cruises from the U.S. to be suspended. By October, 15 Carnival ships will be sailing, more than half its fleet, company officials said.


Carnival Cruise Line, at least for its July and August sailings, is requiring 95% of passengers and crew to be vaccinated.

On Friday, Royal Caribbean reported that six passengers who sailed on a Royal Caribbean ship tested positive for COVID-19 near the end of their cruise and were immediately quarantined.