One of the world’s biggest cruise ships has been delayed by the coronavirus — again

Dec 3, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You’ll have to wait until April to ride a roller coaster on a cruise ship.

Citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Carnival Cruise Line on Thursday pushed back the debut of its much-anticipated, 180,000-ton Mardi Gras — a ship so big it’ll famously have room for a roller coaster on its top deck — to April 24.

Currently being built at a shipyard in Turku, Finland, the 15-deck-high vessel originally was scheduled to debut in August of this year. But its arrival already had been delayed twice, and it was most recently scheduled to debut on Feb. 6, 2021.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter

“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,” Carnival president Christine Duffy said in a statement accompanying Thursday’s announcement. “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.”

A dozen departures of Mardi Gras that had been scheduled from Feb. 6 to April 17 have been canceled.

Despite the delay, Carnival said it would go ahead with plans to take delivery of Mardi Gras from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, later this month. The ship is nearing completion.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Carnival Mardi Gras
The soon-to-debut Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras departs Turku, Finland, on Sept. 28, 2020 for sea trials in the Baltic Sea. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Mardi Gras is the first of a new series of bigger Carnival ships designed to take the line’s “fun ship” shtick to a new level. In addition to a roller coaster — a cruise industry first — it’ll also have a far broader array of suites than earlier Carnival vessels and new dining venues such as the first Emeril Lagasse restaurant at sea.

Mardi Gras also will be notable as the first ship from a North America-based line designed to operate on liquid natural gas. The fuel is touted as being cleaner than traditional ship fuel.

Related: The four new giants of the cruise world — and how to book them

At around 180,000 tons, Mardi Gras will be nearly 35% bigger than Carnival’s recently unveiled Carnival Panorama and one of the biggest ships from any line. Depending on its final measurements, it’ll either rank seventh, eighth or ninth among the biggest cruise ships ever built.

Mardi Gras is designed to hold up to 6,630 passengers per sailing with every berth filled.

Carnival on Thursday also announced that it had canceled all remaining sailings on its schedule through the end of February. The line in November canceled most of its sailings through the end of February but kept a few voyages out of Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston, Texas, on its schedule.

Carnival now has no voyages scheduled until March.

When it debuts in April, Mardi Gras will sail out of Port Canaveral, as planned.

Carnival is just the latest line to push back the arrival of a new ship due to coronavirus pandemic-related delays at shipyards. Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Royal Caribbean also have significantly delayed the arrival of new vessels in recent months.

Carnival hasn’t said how many customers are affected by its new cruise cancellations, but the number could be in the tens of thousands or more.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image of courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.