Carnival Cruise Line has officially christened its newest ship, Mardi Gras, in a recent ceremony held at Port Canaveral, Fla.
The christening took place at a “Universe of Fun” celebration, and marks the first ship naming ceremony held in the U.S. since the cruise industry’s restart earlier this summer.
Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer” Shaquille O’Neal was present and helped cut the ribbon of his first Big Chicken restaurant at sea, which debuted on Mardi Gras when it began cruise operations on July 31.
Miss Universe, Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jimenez was also present and served as the ship’s Godmother, officially naming the ship. She was joined by Miss Universe, Andra Meza and Miss USA, Asya Branch, who sang the National Anthem. The event featured a “World of Nations” flag procession to celebrate the 120 nationalities of Carnival crew members, and — of course — a Mardi Gras parade with a Second Line Band.
“Today’s naming ceremony of our flagship Mardi Gras, the first in the industry since our restart of operations, signifies excitement and optimism as we look to bring our entire fleet back into guest service by spring 2022,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “This ship has been amazing guests during her pre-inaugural season and the celebration today with our Chief Fun Officer Shaq, our Godmother Kimberly, and so many special guests, was extremely gratifying and emotional.”
After hearing remarks by Duffy and Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, Carnival friends and partners Romero Britto, Emeril Lagasse, Kathie Lee Gifford, Vanna White and Guy Fieri shared their congratulations on the ship’s naming and helped bring the champagne bottle to the ship.
Godmother Jimenez blessed the Mardi Gras in both English and her native Spanish, and activated the traditional champagne bottle break, making the naming official.
Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by eco-friendly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the first to feature a roller coaster (which we got to try for ourselves!). The 180,000-ton ship features six zones with a variety of food, beverage and entertainment options, including venues from the likes of Lagasse, Fieri, and more. Mardi Gras sails weekly from Port Canaveral on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.
To learn more or to book your own cruise vacation, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or visit Carnival.com.