Carnival Cruise Line’s first Excel-class vessel, Mardi Gras, has come out on top in Cruise Hive’s annual Cruise Ship Awards for the second consecutive year. Readers have voted the Carnival vessel the best overall cruise ship of 2022.
The LNG-powered vessel beats out ships from other major lines, including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Mardi Gras Comes Out On Top
With 2022 coming to an end, it’s that time to begin announcing the winners of Cruise Hive’s Cruise Ship Awards. Receiving the most votes from readers, Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras cruise ship has become the winner of the best overall cruise ship of 2022. It’s now the second consecutive year that Mardi Gras has won the category.
The first Excel-class ship for the cruise line received more votes than ships operated by rival lines and within the same fleet. Voting in the annual awards opened in September, with eight categories, including the best overall cruise ship of 2022.
Mardi Gras was up against many other ships across multiple cruise lines. There were no nominations within the category, and readers were able to type in their favorite ship.
However, Mardi Gras had some tough competition, with Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas having the second-highest number of votes. The Celebrity Cruises-operated Celebrity Solstice came in with the third-highest number of votes.
Other ships that received a high number of votes included the Disney Dream, operated by Disney Cruise Line; Carnival Breeze from Carnival Cruise Line and the new Rotterdam, operated by Holland America Line.
Readers were only allowed to put forward a single cruise ship once, and any suspicious votes were not counted. There were more than 200 different ships recorded, including the new vessels of Norwegian Prima from NCL and Carnival Celebration from Carnival. There were also smaller luxury vessels, including Viking Sea, Star Breeze, and Silver Dawn.
It’s not the first time Mardi Gras has come out on top in the annual Cruise Ship Awards. The vessel was voted the Most Anticipated New Cruise Ship in 2020 and 2021. She was also voted Best New Cruise Ship in 2021 and Best Overall Cruise Ship in the same year.
The First Excel Class in the Fleet
Mardi Gras is the first excel-class cruise ship built for Carnival Cruise Line and the first in the fleet fully powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). The giant vessel is 180,800 gross tons and has a guest capacity of 5,282 at double occupancy, along with 1,735 international crew members. There are 15 passenger decks, including a total of 2,641 cabins.
Mardi Gras brought new concepts and innovations to the fleet, including the BOLT roller coaster, a first-ever at sea. The all-electric thrilling ride takes guests around the iconic Carnival funnel with drops and twits of up to 50 MPH on the open deck, 187 feet above the water.
There are six themed zones on the Carnival ship, including La Pizza, The French Quarter, Grand Central, The Lido, Summer Landing, and the Ultimate Playground, where BOLT is located. Also onboard, guests can find the first Chibang! Asian restaurant, Emeril’s Bistro 1396, Rudi’s Seagrill, Loft 19, and expanded venues already seen across the fleet.
The Carnival cruise ship was constructed at the popular Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. She underwent several major construction milestones before finally being delivered to the Miami-based cruise line in December 2020. However, the delivery took place during the cruise industry’s global suspensions due to the pandemic. Mardi Gras remained on hold until finally setting sail on her first guest voyage on July 31, 2021, from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Ever since the maiden voyage from the Florida port, Mardi Gras has been sailing Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, including popular ports of call such as Cozumel in Mexico, Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.