The debut of Mardi Gras in the United States has been delayed until April 24th, 2021, while Carnival Cruise Line has also announced further cancellations until March, 2021 of departures from Miami, Port Canaveral, and Galveston.
The delay to Mardi Gras’ debut, and cancellations of further cruises come as Carnival works on implementing new health protocols and adapting to the new Conditional Sailing Order announced by the CDC on October 30, 2020.
Carnival had been planning to restart cruises in February with a limited number of ships from the three homeports before the CDC’s announcement. The cancellations also affect Mardi Gras, which was meant to sail her first cruise in the US in February as well.
Carnival Cruise Line has emphasised the importance of resuming cruises safely, and with Mardi Gras being one of the most anticipated ship launches in recent years, they’ll be focusing on getting it right.
Mardi Gras will be delivered from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland later this month, giving Carnival time to train crew, implement onboard anti-COVID measures and sail test cruises ahead of her first revenue-generating voyage.
“We apologize to our guests, but we must continue to take a thoughtful, deliberate and measured approach as we map out our return to operations in 2021,” said Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line.
“Our commitment to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is at the forefront of our decisions and operations,” she added.
Carnival has already emailed impacted guests about the further cancellations covering compensation options.
Mardi Gras is one of the most exciting new cruise ships for North America in recent years. She will be the first LNG-powered cruise ship in the US market, the largest ever built for Carnival, and will feature the first-ever rollercoaster on a cruise ship.
Mardi Gras was originally scheduled to debut on August 31st, 2020, out of Copenhagen but was delayed until November, 2020 due to the pandemic.
She was then delayed again until February 6th due to shipyard bottlenecks as a result of lockdowns across Europe, while the latest delay is a result of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order, which will assess cruise line’s on a ship-by-ship bases before granting permission to resume cruise services.
In addition to the delay to Mardi Gras’ debut until April, and the cancellation of cruises for the rest of the fleet until March, Carnival has also announced that three ships will be dry-docked until May and September.
In a letter to guests and travel agents, Carnival said that it has cancelled cruises on Carnival Magic (up to and including the embarkation on September 24th, 2021), Carnival Paradise (up to and including the embarkation on May 31st, 2021) and Carnival Valor (up to and including the embarkation on September 11th, 2021).
Guests will have the option of a 100 percent future cruise credit combined with a generous onboard credit, or a full refund.