After the successful reopening of the Turks and Caicos Cruise Sector, the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board said it was happy to announce that the destination has welcomed the Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship - the Mardi Gras - for the first time.
The ship arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Port on Thursday, 6th January, with over 4,135 passengers and a crew of 1,673, persons. Named for the original ship that took Carnival to the seas in 1972, the Mardi Gras is an XL-Class ship that accommodates over 6,500 passengers.
In celebration of this momentous occasion, the traditional plaque exchange ceremony was conducted.
Hon. Otis Morris, Minister responsible for Home Affair, Transportation, Broadcasting, Energy and Utilities, and Telecommunications Commission, awarded the ship’s captain the plaque on behalf of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and, in return, received a plaque on behalf of Carnival Corporation from the ship’s captain.
Due to health and safety protocols, and to ensure the safety of the visitors and residents alike, the scale of the ceremony was downsized and guests aboard the ship were not invited to participate in the festivities, nor was the embarkation of the vessel by Government officials conducted.
This ship boasts the very first roller coaster at sea, where guests can throttle through the air at speeds of 40+ miles per hour, twisting and turning around Carnival's signature funnel. Named the BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, it is also home to Carnival Water Works, the largest and most elaborate aquapark in the Carnival fleet.
Carnival has indicated that this ship will be added to the regular line-up of cruises scheduled to Grand Turk and, is expected to call on the destination on a bi-weekly basis.
Deputy Director of Tourism Ms. Mary Lightbourne commented: “We are extremely excited to welcome the Carnival Mardi Gras and add it to our vast portfolio of cruise ships that arrive to our ‘Beautiful by Nature’ destination. Grand Turk is considered one of the most sought-after cruise ship destinations and with the successful expansion of the port we will be able to accommodate newer and larger ships like the Carnival Mardi Gras. Due to this expansion, we are also predicting an increase in visitor arrivals, with figures exceeding pre-pandemic arrivals.”
The Deputy Director also emphasized that “Grand Turk is ready and eager to welcome visitors to the destination and treat them to the authentic Turks and Caicos experience.”
The Turks and Caicos Government put mechanisms in place to ensure that the destination was prepared to welcome cruise ships once again and as a result, Grand Turk is expected to have robust tourism season, with the quality of service provided exceeding the pre-pandemic standards.