By GERRY BARKER
PORT CANAVERAL (July 31, 2021) — The sheer joy of the moment couldn’t be overstated. Not only was Carnival about to debut the largest cruise ship in its fleet, but also this port was about to see its first ship depart in 16 long months. Not to mention Pam and I were about to set foot on our first cruise ship in about the same amount of time.
Happiness was evident all around, and nowhere more so than on the face of Carnival President Christine Duffy, who welcomed a select group of guests, travel agents and media onboard to preview Mardi Gras, Carnival’s latest and greatest, one day before her maiden voyage on July 31.
We spent a full day touring this new megaship, the first in America powered by eco-friendly LGN (liquified natural gas). Weighing in at 180,000 GT, she can accommodate up to 6,500 passengers, with a crew of 2,000. And did I mention she’s also the first ship to feature a roller coaster? The first of three planned, Excel-class ships, her long-delayed launch is a big deal for Carnival, in every sense of the word.
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