Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras cruise ship has pushed back its launch date due to construction delays at the Meyer Turku shipyard, the cruise line reports. The first sailing of the ship, which had originally been scheduled for August 2020, will now begin November 14, 2020, out of Port Canaveral. Carnival will officially take delivery of the ship in October.
The move means that the ship will now begin sailing from Port Canaveral, instead of in Europe as had originally been planned. The first eight sailings that had been scheduled to begin August 31, including European, transatlantic and New York-based itineraries, as well as four sailings out of Port Canaveral, have all been cancelled.
Carnival said that the guest notification process began promptly after the notice by Meyer Turku so that impacted guests could begin to make alternative vacation plans. The cruise line is offering these guests a 25 percent future cruise credit (FCC), in addition to the full refund of their cruise fare (and applicable fees and taxes and other pre-purchased cruise components), as well as assistance with non-refundable airline and hotel reservations already booked. In addition, if guests rebook their cruise vacation using their 25 percent FCC by February 18, 2020, they will be credited with an additional $100 per person onboard credit for that cruise.
“We have been working closely with Meyer Turku executives to keep the Mardi Gras delivery on schedule, and while we deeply regret disappointing our guests, this change in the delivery date is required to make sure all of the ship's systems, features and technology will be fully operational,” said Ben Clement, Carnival Cruise Line's senior vice president of newbuild, in a written statement.
The Mardi Gras is the first in Carnival’s XL class of cruise ships, and when it launches it will be the largest vessel in the cruise line’s fleet. As the first of a new ship class, it will sail with a number of new features, including the BOLT roller coaster on the top deck, restaurants by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and the line’s “chief fun officer” Shaquille O’Neal, and new, premium Carnival Excel suites, which will offer select amenities and access to a new resort-style, open-air enclave called Loft 19. Also planned is a new-to-the-fleet Family Feud Live experience, bringing the classic game show onboard via an exclusive partnership with Fremantle.