Brevard County

Carnival Cruise Line pops the champagne while christening new Mardi Gras cruise ship

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Carnival Cruise Line popped the champagne and christened its Mardi Gras cruise ship on Saturday.

It was the first cruise to set sail again since ships stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Saturday was a day for the Carnival history books.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald opened the ceremony to their newest ship by highlighting diversity.

One by one, staff carried flags to represent their native countries.

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The corporation president then followed, along with Miss USA.

And at the end of the line, chief fun officer, Shaquille O’Neal.

The NBA star and business owner also had a ceremony of his own earlier in the day.

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Shaq helped cut the ribbon for his newest restaurant on the Mardi Gras, Big Chicken.

“We take pride in everything,” O’Neal said. It’s not just one or two restaurants. We just started franchising and we’re looking to branch out quickly and methodically.”

With COVID-19 cases getting lower, and more people cruising, Carnival leaders are excited for the future of the industry, getting more people back on the water again.

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