Carnival’s New Mardi Gras

(Images courtesy of Carnival)

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will name its new XL-class ship, Mardi Gras, bringing back the name of the first Carnival Cruise Line ship that entered service in 1972.

The new livery was also revealed. It is an 180,000-ton XL vessel will be powered by LNG, and homeport at Port Canaveral. With a max of 6,600 passengers she’s the largest Carnival cruise ship ever constructed, to be delivered in 2020.

The construction of a second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s founding.

“This new ship promises to be truly special, from its ground-breaking technology and one-of-a-kind features to its distinctive livery and hull design that is both timeless and forward-thinking while paying tribute to our nearly 50-year history of making wonderful vacation memories for our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“We are extremely pleased to work together with Carnival on this large and highly innovative ship. We are also very proud to build the first-ever LNG powered cruise ship for North American market, making this state-of-the-art green technology a reality,” commented Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.


Roller coaster details: HERE

The Original Mardi Gras


Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972 by Ted Arison. Until 1975, the line consisted of only one ship, the Mardi Gras. The ship was built in 1961 as the ‘Empress of Canada’. She was 27,284 gross tonnes and could accommodate 1,048 passengers.

Malcolm says: I though this new class was called ‘Helios’ rather than ‘XL’. This is the same basic design of ship that Costa and Aida will be getting. It will also be P&O’s ‘Iona’. Maybe the class name changes with the cruise line?

Within 43 years ships have changed beyond all recognition. The original Mardi Gras, purchased second-hand and Carnival’s newbuild, are words apart in terms of size and facilities. For example, the new ship is over 6.5 times bigger!

Impressively (or shockingly) the new ship design is NOT the world’s biggest, but will be capable of carrying a world record number of passengers, at up to 6,600. .

Roller Coaster At Sea


Carnival Cruise Line has  announced that their new ship, the Mardi Gras, will have the first roller coaster at sea

The ship will debut in 2020 out of Port Canaveral.

Built by Germany-based Maurer Rides, BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster is a “heart-pounding rush of adrenaline offering nearly 800 feet of exhilarating twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour,” the company said.

It is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187 feet above sea level.

The ride will begin with a launch sequence and race car-like levels of acceleration, Carnival said. The experience culminates with a high-powered hairpin turn around the 5,200-guest ship’s funnel.

Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and guests will have their photo taken during the ride. Guests will be able to choose their own speed.


Malcolm says: It was only a matter of time! We have seen increasingly seen bigger and bigger ships emulate ‘theme parks’. RCI have their surf-simulators, I-Fly (skydiving experience) and Sky-Pad (Bungee trampoline experience), NCL their water-chutes, the Oasis class have merry-go-rounds and Norwegian Bliss et. al have their go-kart tracks all on their respective sundecks.


Norwegian Encore: Where’s my sundeck gone? (Courtesy NCL)

Although Mardi Gras has a small roller coaster, with just two riders, how would you feel sitting on the sundeck (if you could find room) with one passing over your head? Also imagine the queue. It would probably be in constant use, in good weather conditions/in-port.

I can’t imagine what challenges a movable platform gives the structural engineers designing a roller coaster at sea!

The problem is that mass-market ships are getting taller (more decks) but only sometimes a little longer and/or wider. Therefore the sundecks are NOT getting proportionately bigger with the vast increase in the number of passengers. Plus, as we see, ships are now filling their sundecks with ‘gimmicks such as go-cart tracks and now roller coasters! Only a small number of passengers can benefit from these per hour, given the rides small capacity.