It’s a big step for Carnival Cruise Line during the pandemic — the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship, the Mardi Gras, departed on its maiden voyage from Port Canaveral. It comes less than three months when cruises will resume from the Port City and also at a time with anything is subject to change.

There were lots of cheers as Carnival cut the ribbon for the Mardi Gras Saturday — welcoming guests aboard for its maiden voyage and also marking the first cruise ship to set sail out of Port Canaveral since COVID brought the industry to a standstill 16 months ago.

Mardi Gras is now the fifth Carnival ship to resume service. By October more than half its fleet will be operating — including the Port City’s Sensation, which replaces the Fantasy. Sensation is scheduled to begin service October 21st.  

According to Carnival — unvaccinated passengers will be allowed on cruises — but will be required to follow guidelines — including COVID testing. Unvaccinated passengers will also face a $150 per person charge to cover costs of testing, reporting, and health and safety screenings. Masks are also required for unvaccinated passengers in enclosed areas of the ship.

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