Photo: Mardi Gras heads out for sea trials; Image courtesy: Meyer Turku

Watch: Carnival’s LNG-powered giant wraps up sea trials

Mardi Gras sea trials
Mardi Gras heads out for sea trials; Image courtesy: Meyer Turku

Carnival Cruise Line’s LNG-powered XL-class cruise ship Mardi Gras has completed its sea trials with flying colors, Finland-based shipbuilder Meyer Turku said.

The giant cruise ship returned to the yard last week, after testing its systems and operations at sea for ten days.

The mega-ship will now undergo final outfitting in a wet drydock of Meyer Turku.

Mardi Gras will be the largest Carnival Cruise Line ship ever constructed and the first in North America to be powered by LNG.

The newbuild bears the same name of Carnival Cruise Line’s first ship launched in 1972.

At 180,000 tons, the 5,200-plus lower berth vessel will be more than six times the size of its namesake.

This ship introduces six themed areas packed with brand-new experiences, including the first-ever rollercoaster at sea.

Mardi Gras, sea trial

Jälkitunnelmointia Carnival Mardi Grasin onnistuneelta merikokeelta! 😎 Alus palasi takaisin telakalle maanantaina ja työt jatkuvat 💪🏻

Posted by Meyer Turku on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The delivery of the 5,200-passenger ship was delayed on several occasions, and due to the COVID-19 impact, it is now scheduled to enter into service from Port Canaveral, Florida, on 6 February 2021.

Resumption of operations post COVID-19

Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line’s parent, has resumed sailing in what has been described as a phased resumption of guest operations.

Namely, the company’s cruise brands, Costa with first cruises launched in Italy last month, followed by AIDA cruises set to begin this week with cruises in Germany, have resumed local sailings.

The resumption of cruises comes on the back of a certification process ensuring that all aspects of life onboard and ashore are in compliance with rules on the prevention and control of infections.

“The initial cruises will continue to take place with adjusted passenger capacity and enhanced health protocols developed with government and health authorities, and guidance from our roster of medical and scientific experts,” the company said.

Carnival is encouraged by the announcement from the US-based Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) that the No Sail Order would be extended by only one month to October 31, 2020, the same date as the industry’s end of voluntary suspension of passenger operations.

Carnival said it hopes to resume sailings in the US this year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said the company made a full circle from suspension and pausing sailings, rightsizing the organization to the phased resumption of cruises.

As part of the process, the company plans to dispose of 18 ships, ten of which have already left the fleet.

The 18 ships represent approximately 12 percent of pre-pause capacity and only three percent of operating income in 2019.

Following agreements with yards on delaying ship delivery, only two of the four ships originally scheduled for delivery in 2020 will be delivered before the end of the fiscal year 2020, including Enchanted Princess.

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The company expects five of the nine ships originally scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2020 and 2021 to be delivered prior to the end of fiscal year 2021. Nine cruise ships and two smaller expedition ships of the 13 ships scheduled for delivery prior to the end of fiscal year 2022 are expected to be delivered by then.

“We are taking aggressive actions managing the balance sheet and reducing capacity to position us to weather this disruption and also emerge a leaner, more efficient company, reinforcing our industry leading position,” Donald said.

As of August 31, 2020, the company has a total of $8.2 billion of cash and cash equivalents.

Carnival’s monthly average cash burn rate for the third quarter of 2020 was $770 million, and following the recent actions, the average for the fourth quarter is expected to approximately $530 million.