The first and biggest of Carnival Cruise Line's newest class of ships will be named Mardi Gras, after the line’s very first ship. Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s a sweet tribute to the converted ocean liner that sailed in 1972 and started a new era of cruising.
Mardi Gras is part of Carnival’s new XL class of ships. It will launch in 2020 at more than six times the size of the original vessel, a company statement said Wednesday.
The ship is expected to carry more than 5,200 passengers and will be the largest in the company's fleet. It also will be powered by liquefied natural gas.
The Mardi Gras is under construction at Meyer Turku shipyards in Finland.The traditional first steel was cut for the ship Nov. 15.
But back to the original Mardi Gras. Carnival founder Ted Arison bought the ship and showed Americans that cruising could be affordable, not limited to an elite few.
The Mardi Gras will homeport in Port Canaveral, Fla. A second XL-class ship will start construction in 2020 and is expected to be delivered two years later in time for Carnival's 50th anniversary.
If you’re interested in inaugural sailings on the Mardi Gras, itineraries will be announced in January. Cruises reservations open the same month.
Early birds can register at the ship's website to receive more news about the Mardi Gras.